NCAS-Climate, University of Reading  

Mike Blackburn
NCAS-Climate, University of Reading

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Computer Modelling: Then and Now

Running experiments with global atmospheric models at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading.
The change in computing infrastructure from 1979 to 2017.

The present UK national supercomputer for academic computing, a Cray XC30, is around 16 million times more powerful than the Cray-1 used in the early 1980s. This comes from a faster processor (clock period reduced by a factor of 34), the huge number of processors (>0.1 million) and chip/software design (multi-threading etc). Both machines were in the top 50 for performance worldwide when they were introduced.

Input/output then
Input/output early 1980s
Input/output then
Mainframe 1983: Cray-1S SN28 at Daresbury then ULCC
Single 80MHz processor, 160 MFlops peak
(photograph shows Cray-1 SN1 at Daresbury in 1979,
after periods at ECMWF and Aldermaston)
Input/output now
Input/output 2017
Input/output then
Mainframe 2017: Cray XC30 at EPCC
118,080 processing cores, each 2.7 GHz, 2.55 PFlops peak

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National Centre for Atmospheric Science
Mike Blackburn   23 May 2017
Department of Meteorology
University of Reading
PO Box 243, Reading RG6 6BB, UK

University of Reading