Met Office to Sell Supercomputers

The Met Office aims to raise £2bn by offering commercial services over the web using a powerful supercomputer.

The UK's national weather forecasting service has spent £97m on a Cray XC40 - a new supercomputer - and estimates it will generate extra revenue for the UK Treasury between 2016 and 2020.

The department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has managed the Met Office as a trading fund since 2011. This means it is required to operate on a commercial basis and meet agreed targets set by the department.

Nearly half of the revenue will come from companies working to predict the scale and timing of climate change and another quarter will be raised by providing services to the renewable energy sector.

The Met Office predicts that customers in the aviation industry could buy up to £295m worth of services which would allow better weather predictions for adverse conditions, enabling improved planning for airport traffic controllers prior to disruption.

The Met Office predicts the new supercomputer will be one of the fastest in the world and from March 2017 it will be able to perform more than 23 trillion calculations per second.

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