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(Natural) disaster averted with the help of Lenovo and MMD

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD) has adopted Lenovo’s HPC to make weather forecasts, in order to help keep Malaysian citizens safe from monsoons and other natural disasters.

With extreme weather events becoming more and more common, it is critical for government agencies to be able to accurately predict the severity and timing of hurricanes and other potentially disastrous storms. 

In Malaysia, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD) plays an important role in the safety and well-being of Malaysian citizens by forecasting the weather and issuing the appropriate severe weather warnings. 

Complex weather prediction models require big computational power

MMD uses a powerful Lenovo high performance computer (HPC) to make weather forecasts, running highly complex numerical weather prediction models (NWP) that require a huge amount of compute power.

These models and forecasts enable MMD to issue weather warnings for torrential rain, monsoons, floods and tsunamis. With its old system, MMD was limited in its compute power, and thus its ability to accurately predict the weather, both in the time range for the forecast, and in the detailed area covered.

In order to provide longer range forecasts with more accurate results, MMD needed a more powerful computer. Dr. Wan Azli B Wan Hassan, deputy director general (Strategic & Technical) at MMD, explained, “With our old system, we were only able to run detailed weather forecasts for three days ahead at a resolution of 3km. Not only did we want to increase the range of our in-depth weather forecasts to a week, we also wanted to improve the resolution of our NWP models to give more accurate results.”

Saving lives with faster, more accurate predictions

After researching various options, MMD decided to purchase a liquid-cooled Lenovo NeXtScale M5 System made up of 296 Lenovo NeXtScale nx360 M5 compute nodes. “The Lenovo solution came out on top in terms of performance and cost-efficiency,” said Dr. Hassan. “It met all our compute and storage requirements at the best price.”

Now MMD can complete four seven-day forecasts each day at a resolution of 1km, and each forecast takes less than three hours to generate. Dr. Hassan is extremely pleased with the results, and so are the government agencies that MMD serves.

“The difference compared to our old HPC system is remarkable,” he said. “Performance levels are so much higher. This means that we can provide more informative and accurate services to the public and to affiliated government agencies who rely on our meteorological data to serve citizens in all kinds of ways, from irrigation and drainage planning to disaster response.”

The new HPC cluster is doing more than predicting weather – it is saving lives and property. With earlier warnings, government agencies, emergency services and the general public have more time to prepare for extreme weather events. The new Lenovo solution makes Malaysian Meteorological Department better equipped to keep Malaysian citizens informed and safe.

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