September 9, 2009

South Korea Buys New Weather Forecasting Supercomputer

Officials said on Wednesday that South Korea has signed a $45 million deal for a supercomputer that will update the country's weather forecasting system.

The supercomputer, manufactured by U.S. firm Cray, will replace the five-year-old system the country is currently relying on, according to the officials.

The $44.6 million computer will give the country more accurate weather forecast, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) and the Public Procurement Service said in a joint statement.

The weather office said the new system would be ready to go next year once a one-month test run is complete.

The state procurement office said Cray's bid was picked amongst the other five-supercomputer manufacturers, which included IBM and NEC.

South Korea's weather office said it changes supercomputers every five years.

The KMA had several inaccurate forecasts last year, which resulted in the office appointing Kenneth Crawford, a leading U.S. meteorologist, as vice administrator.

He is the first foreigner to take over a high-ranking post at the office.