The role of computing in climate science

03 March 2010

The 21st Century School is soon (on 18 March) to host a special seminar by Bob Bishop, former CEO at Silicon Graphics and a physicist with more than 40 years’ experience in scientific, technical and engineering computing. Bishop will talk about the role of computing in climate science, and about his efforts in helping to network the sciences to create new knowledge and better predictions.

As President of the newly formed International Centre for Earth Simulation (ICES) Foundation, Bob Bishop’s goal is to build a supercomputer capable of modeling the whole Earth and thus simulating its behaviour. It’s complex and expensive – on par with the scale of the Large Hadron Collider – but Bishop believes that such a supercomputer could simulate the Earth’s behaviour so well that we could predict or even prevent from occurring dangerous natural phenomena.

A new supercomputer for understanding climate could help integrate all the various specialist science areas. As Bishop states, “In the case of the Earth sciences and climate sciences, one can find 50 or 60 specialised areas of overlap. Geology, but also geography, atmospheric physics, clouds physics, solar physics and cosmology are all involved, and these areas need to be integrated. I think the 21st century will be a century of reintegration – making the pieces talk to each other again, as they do in Nature.”

Bob Bishop will talk in more detail about these ideas at his seminar on 18 March, 11am-12.30pm in the James Martin 21st Century School. The event is free and open to everyone. For more details, click here.

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