Cray XC40 supercomputer

Met Office Cray XC40 Supercomputer Gets Connected Thanks to Virgin

Virgin Media Business has been contracted by The Met Office to provide the connectivity required by its new supercomputer, the Cray XC40.

The Cray XC40 boasts four hundred and eighty thousand CPUs the equivalent power of one hundred thousand Playstation 4 video game consoles. Two petabytes, equivalent of two thousand terabytes or two million gigabytes or on hundred and twenty thousand iPhones, allows the supercomputer to process twenty three trillion calculations per second, that’s eighteen times what they are currently able to do.

There was some doubt whether The Met Office would press on with their plans for the supercomputer after they lost their contract to provide the BBC with weather data but this has had no effect. The Met Office themselves hope to provide the UK economy with more than £2 billion of socio-economic benefits with research into climate change one of the hot topics at the moment.

Given the speed of the Cray XC40, The Met Office needed a high speed connection between their base in Exeter and the facility housing the supercomputer two kilometres away. That’s where Virgin Media Business will come in. They are providing two high-capacity optical networking circuits that can move the massive amounts of information quickly and reliably. Each of these circuits will have six one gigabit per second, a one gigabit per second and a one hundred gigabit per second Ethernet connection.

The Met Office’s deputy director of high performance computing Dave Underwood highlighted the importance of Virgin Media Business’ “bespoke solution” creating a “robust network” able to “weather all kinds of storms” ensuring The Met Office can continue to provide the excellent service they are known for.

Executive sales director at Virgin Media Business Rob Orr said the company were “honoured” to be the ones chosen to be the force behind fuelling one of the planet’s top performing supercomputers.

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