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Researchers Break Ground in Storm Prediction on Cray Supercomputer
Major Storm Forecast Modeling Research Project at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Incorporates Radar Data for Increasingly Accurate and Advanced Storm Prediction

SEATTLE, WA, Jul 22, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) -- Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) today announced that researchers from the University of Oklahoma's Center for Analysis and Prediction Storms (CAPS) used a powerful Cray XT3(TM) supercomputer housed at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) to incorporate real-time radar data into their high-resolution thunderstorm forecasting model for the first time. This critical milestone in severe weather prediction, part of the annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) Spring Experiment, demonstrated an ability to predict storms more accurately and with improved lead time.

Doppler weather radars observe air flows and precipitation intensity within thunderstorms. Computer models run for the HWT Spring Experiment incorporated observational data from more than 120 weather radars enabling the most realistic storm prediction to date.

"The powerful Cray XT3 system was designed for the highest scalability and reliability, which allows researchers to incorporate a greater and greater number of variables into their models to create increasingly accurate computer simulations and shed light on scientific phenomena that we can't explain today," said Ian Miller, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Cray. "When advanced high-performance computing meets sophisticated field research, the result is this kind of scientific breakthrough that has the potential to advance science and provide tremendous benefit to society."

This milestone marks the second consecutive year of "firsts" in the HWT Spring Experiment runs. Last year, researchers from CAPS ran the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model faster than ever before on the Cray XT3 supercomputer at PSC. This year, researchers were able to incorporate radar data into the WRF model using software developed by CAPS for the first time ever at such resolutions and scale using the same Cray system.

"The Cray XT3 system at PSC provided much greater computing power than the allocation available at the National Weather Service operational forecasting center, allowing us to test and refine storm-scale 'ensemble' forecasting, which was a key goal of the experiment," said Kelvin Droegemeier, vice president for research at the University of Oklahoma and director emeritus of CAPS. "Ensemble forecasting involves running a forecast model multiple times to assess the degree of uncertainty inherent in the forecast. Since it requires running a model many times within a short time period, ensemble forecasts demand large amounts of computational power, and Cray answered that call."

Each day during the seven weeks, CAPS scientists transmitted weather data to the Cray supercomputer. Running a 10-member ensemble -- 10 different configurations of the forecast model -- covering nearly the entire continental U.S. with one grid point every 4 kilometers, the Cray system produced forecasts for the next day and transmitted the data to researchers as they were produced. In addition to the 10-member ensemble runs, CAPS also ran on the Cray XT3 higher-resolution forecasts with one grid point every 2 kilometers covering the same area.

"The finer resolution of this run better captures the structure of thunderstorms," says Ming Xue, director of CAPS. "The result is improved accuracy in the forecasting of severe storms and tornado potential. The Spring Experiment is an iterative process and each improvement equates, hopefully, to diminished loss of life and economic damage. The goal is to build each year on our growing knowledge of storm prediction and forecasting. Our efforts should help accelerate the implementation of advanced prediction capabilities at the national operational weather forecasting center."

About Cray Inc.

As a global leader in supercomputing, Cray provides highly advanced supercomputers and world-class services and support to government, industry and academia. Cray technology enables scientists and engineers to achieve remarkable breakthroughs by accelerating performance, improving efficiency and extending the capabilities of their most demanding applications. Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing vision will result in innovative next-generation products that integrate diverse processing technologies into a unified architecture, allowing customers to surpass today's limitations and meeting the market's continued demand for realized performance. Go to for more information.

Cray is a registered trademark, and Cray XT3 is a trademark of Cray Inc.

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SOURCE: Cray Inc.