Commodity supercomputing, was: Re: NDAs Re: [Beowulf] Nvidia, cuda, tesla and... where's my double floating point?

Gerry Creager gerry.creager at
Tue Jul 1 04:59:03 PDT 2008

Toon Moene wrote:
> Gerry Creager wrote:
>> I'm running WRF on ranger, the 580 TF Sun cluster at  I 
>> can complete the WRF single domain run, using 384 cores in ~30 min 
>> wall clock time.  At the WRF Users Conference last week, the number of 
>> folks I talked to running WRF on workstations or "operationally" on 
>> 16-64 core clusters was impressive.  I suspect a lot of desktop 
>> weather forecasting will, as you suggest, become the norm.  The 
>> question, then, is: Are we looking at an enterprise where everyone 
>> with a gaming machine thinks they understand the model well enough to 
>> try predicting the weather, or are some still in awe of Lorenz' 
>> hypothesis about its complexity?
> This is where I think the pluses of the established meteorological 
> society will be: We know how to establish the quality of meteorological 
> models, how to compare them, how to dive into their parametrizations to 
> figure out the relevant differences and to solve the problems.
> Because we know this, we will be sought after.  However, we will be 
> working inside the industry that needs this knowlegde, and outside 
> academia or institutionalized weather centres.

This is already starting to happen.  However, what I continue to see is 
managers wanting/expecting an absolute answer be generated numerically, 
  and they're paying less attention to the modelers' concerns about the 
"goodness" of the model in certain settings.

As an example, for our evening news programs, we've someone purporting 
to be a meteorologist.  Over the last 10 years, the proportion of folks 
actually trained in meteorology has grown significantly, and talking to 
them one-on-one, they tend to recognize the limitations of the models 
they present.  Yet, rather than saying the temperature tomorrow will be 
in a range from 93-98 deg F (with apologies to our brothers across the 
Pond) they're generally required to say, "96F" because their managers 
believe the public requires an absolute number.

Perhaps, in some industries where statistical analysis is more integral, 
we'll see appropriate use of the data...

Gerry Creager -- gerry.creager at
Texas Mesonet -- AATLT, Texas A&M University	
Cell: 979.229.5301 Office: 979.458.4020 FAX: 979.862.3983
Office: 1700 Research Parkway Ste 160, TAMU, College Station, TX 77843

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