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NIWA relishes 5G opportunity, arrival of new supercomputers

NIWA relishes 5G opportunity, arrival of new supercomputers

New Cray supercomputers are performing ahead of expectations, NIWA reports

Credit: Dave Allen (NIWA)

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) sees opportunity in fast networks and fast computing.

NIWA has been monitoring the development of 5G and believes extra bandwidth will provide further opportunities, as had been the case when mobile networks moved 2G to 3G and then to 4G.

"It will become easier to take sophisticated equipment with high data generation rates and transmit that data via mobile technology with greater reliability," a researcher told Parliament during its annual review. "This impacts NIWA’s networks of environmental sensors and IoT.

"It will also present new opportunities in high resolution video streaming, with associated image processing opportunities."

NIWA also reported its investment in new supercomputing power is paying off, exceeding expectations with respect to availability of greater than 99 per cent and also application performance.

"With the new processing rates ,capable of up to 1,450 trillion calculations per second, jobs that have previously taken days to complete are now taking only a few hours, meaning that more model runs and scenario testing can be carried out in a timely way leading to higher quality science and greater agility," it said.

NIWA and partner agencies invested a total of $31.7 million in three Cray supercomputers, with NIWA's share totalling $18 million.

However, that project has led to delays elsewhere, in particular to the delivery of high resolution weather re-analysis data for the period 1980–2010 which was to be available for application.

"This KPI was only partly met due to extended requirements for setting up NIWA’s new supercomputing infrastructure," the agency said.

"A ‘pseudo’ reanalysis dataset was nevertheless generated by compiling existing analyses and short-range forecasts."

This dataset has been used by several research projects, including a myrtle rust research project for the Ministry for Primary Industries.


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