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Inauguration 2009

Hamburg, December 12, 2009 - The German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, and the First Mayor of Hamburg, Ole von Beust, inaugurated the world's most modern climate computing center in Hamburg with the start of the latest calculations for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The new climate computer “Blizzard” at the German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ) enables increasingly accurate computational projections of future climate change.

It is one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, delivering more than 158 Teraflop/s (trillion floating point operations per second) and is approximately 60 times more powerful than its predecessor. This new high performance computer system will even be able to simulate phenomena such as hurricanes and very small ocean eddies. A considerable share of the results will be used for the IPCC Assessment Reports, the world’s leading climate forecasts. The climate simulations performed at DKRZ in Hamburg have contributed significantly to the scientific foundations of the world climate conference in Copenhagen.


The new IBM supercomputer system, which received funding of 35 million Euros from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, can run these internationally recognized climate models with even higher spatial resolution than in the past. Scientists are thus in a position to make more accurate predictions of regional climate phenomena in particular. “The new Hamburg climate computer is an excellent example of the leading position of German climate and earth system research worldwide” said the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan.


Apart from studying the atmosphere and ocean, the new supercomputer also makes it possible to include processes in the ice, on land and in the plant kingdom as well as their influence on the carbon cycle and thus the greenhouse effect in the projections. "Hamburg is a Mecca for the international climate modeling community because, in addition to scientific facilities such as the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and the KlimaCampus, we also have a unique computing capacity", said Prof. Dr. Thomas Ludwig (48), who was appointed scientific-technical director at DKRZ in May 2009. Together with his team, Ludwig, a specialist for storage systems and energy efficiency, will make the supercomputer even more efficient and sustainable. Whereas in the past, time-to-solution has been crucial; in the future, energy consumption will play an increasingly vital role. In addition to its important task as a service center, DKRZ itself will engage in scientific research in the future. Ludwig´s cutting-edge-research as a professor for computer science at the University of Hamburg focuses on energy efficiency in high performance computing.


"The new climate supercomputer, for which we have specially modernized a building in Hamburg, meets the highest demands for performing the most realistic climate and environmental simulations. Only when we are familiar with the interactions within the global climate system will we be able to make the right decisions. The "KlimaCampus Hamburg" is an internationally high profile and nationally unique cluster of excellence in climate and ocean system research, which we are supporting together with our North German neighboring Länder", said the First Mayor of Hamburg, Ole von Beust. The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg has invested 26 million Euros in modernizing and restructuring the building at Bundesstraße 45a in just 18 months.


The archive of the new high-performance computing system has a total capacity of 60 PetaByte (= 60,000 TeraByte), which corresponds to 13 million DVDs. 56 robots operate the 65,000 magnetic cartridges on which the world's largest climate data archive is stored. The "Blizzard" supercomputer weighs 35 tons and its components are connected by more than 50 km of cables.


DKRZ’s shareholders - the Max Planck Society, the University of Hamburg, the GKSS Research Center Geesthacht and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Marine and Polar Research in Bremerhaven - are entitled to use 50% of the computing resources for their own scientific projects. The remaining resources are available to approximately 100 scientific working groups from all over Germany.

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