Uganda Meteorological Authority asks for Shs10 billion to purchase Supercomputer for reliable weather predictions

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The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) has requested the government to provide Shs10 billion for the purchase of a supercomputer to make reliable weather predictions.

The revelation was made by Emmanuel Otaala, the Chairperson of Parliament’s Environment Committee, while presenting the report on the 2024/25 ministerial policy statement on Wednesday when Parliament decided to disband UNMA and return its functions to the Ministry of Water and Environment.

“There is underfunding in the following areas: procurement of a supercomputer, which requires Shs10 billion. That supercomputer would enable them to more reliably predict weather and provide more accurate information. Dissemination of weather forecasts requires Shs1 billion,” said Otaala.

Supercomputer.

For starters, a supercomputer is a computer that performs at or near the highest operational rate for computers. Supercomputers are used for scientific and engineering applications that must handle massive databases, perform a great amount of computation, or both.

They perform resource-intensive calculations that general-purpose computers can’t handle. They often run engineering and computational sciences applications, such as weather forecasting to predict the impact of extreme storms and floods, oil and gas exploration to collect huge quantities of geophysical seismic data to aid in finding and developing oil reserves, molecular modeling for calculating and analyzing the structures and properties of chemical compounds and crystals, and medical research to develop new cancer drugs, among other things.

How do supercomputers work?

Supercomputer architectures are made up of multiple central processing units (CPUs). These CPUs have groups composed of compute nodes and memory. Supercomputers can contain thousands of nodes that use parallel processing to communicate with one another to solve problems.

The cost of designing, building, and deploying a supercomputer can range from US$ 100 million to US$ 300 million.

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