Unique code-generating software makes weather and climate forecasting easier
09 Sep 2016
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This week, developers of atmospheric and oceanographic computer models will get a chance to hear about a truly innovative and unique piece of software being developed in a project funded by the Hartree Centre.

 

Credit: Dreamstime

 

This week, developers of atmospheric and oceanographic computer models will get a chance to hear about a truly innovative and unique piece of software being developed by scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in a project funded by the Hartree Centre.

Dr Mike Ashworth from STFC’s Scientific Computing Department will showcase PSyclone, a software framework that automatically generates the parts of the code necessary to run on supercomputers at the 2016 MultiCore 6 workshop on 13-14 September in Boulder, Colorado.

PSyclone was developed for the UK Met Office and is now a part of the build system for Dynamo, the dynamical core currently in development for the Met Office’s ‘next generation’ weather and climate model software.

By generating the complex code needed to make use of thousands of processors, PSyclone leaves the Met Office scientists free to concentrate on the science aspects of the model. This means that they will not have to change their code from something that works on a single processing unit (or core) to something that runs on many thousands of cores.

“This is quite a radical approach to the challenge of running models on different kinds of computer architectures,” said Dr Ashworth. “It significantly reduces the potential for errors and will make weather forecasting and climate modelling simpler and more efficient on the high performance computers of the future.

“It will be of particular interest to those developers who focus on trying to adapt such models for novel and emerging highly parallel computer architectures.”

PSyclone can help a user to parallelise and optimise the code for a particular architecture. Its ability to generate both MPI- and OpenMP-parallel code has enabled the UK Met Office’s prototype dynamical core to go from serial execution to running on more than 50,000 cores with no change to the scientific code base.

The development of PSyclone was funded by the STFC Hartree Centre as part of the GungHo project, a collaboration between STFC, the UK Met Office and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

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