Met Office picks Virgin to provide supercomputer connectivity

Virgin Media Business has been awarded the contract to provide high-capacity optical circuits for the Met Office’s new supercomputer.

The supercomputer, due to be fully operational in 2017, will be capable of conducting more than 23 quadrillion calculations a second, making it one of the world’s fastest, most high-performance computers. 

It will allow scientists to provide more accurate weather forecasting and help countries become more resilient to high impact weather. 

Under the deal, procured through the government’s Network Service Framework, Virgin will supply two diverse, high capacity optical circuits to move large volumes of data between the Met Office’s Exeter headquarters and the supercomputer, which will be housed two kilometres away.

Virgin said each circuit would carry 6 x 1Gbps, 1 x 10Gbps and 1 x 100Gbps ethernet services.

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Dave Underwood, deputy director of the Met Office’s high performance computing programme, said the organisation needed a robust network to power some of the world’s most intelligent technology.

“Virgin Media Business created a bespoke solution for us which meets the complex needs of this supercomputer and will ensure we can sustain quality weather and climate services.”

The new Met Office HPC Complex at Exeter Science Park will include an IT Hall and a collaboration space where a wide range of industry organisations, research establishments and start-ups can collaborate.

Jim Dunton

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