ITU150 in October: Big Data and Innovation

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Innovating with Dan: How does big data help us understand climate change?

Climate change is a real threat to our planet, with destructive consequences already being felt across the globe. Dr. Daniel Duffy, High-Performance Computing Lead at the NASA Centre for Climate Simulation (NCCS) explains how big data is essential to the task of studying climate change.

What kid hasn’t dreamed of being an astronaut? Science and space exploration have always been extremely interesting to me, so working at NASA is not only an honor and a privilege, but a dream come true. Though they have not selected me to be an astronaut – yet – as High-Performance Computing Lead at the NASA Centre for Climate Simulation (NCCS), I work with former astronauts and some of the world’s best scientists and engineers to develop solutions to model climate change.

NCCS provides high-performance computing, storage, and networking resources for large-scale NASA science projects. Many of these projects involve global simulations of the Earth’s weather and climate. These simulations create huge amounts of data; data that is literally too big for the scientists to read through. Therefore, it is increasingly important to provide new methods for analyzing and visualizing the big data sets created by these simulations in order to better understand critical scientific questions such as climate change.

Understanding how the climate is changing and its potential effects across the Earth is an extremely important research question. Performing research on weather forecasts will provide us with more accurate information on extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and strong convective systems that can create tornados, which has a direct impact on both the U.S.A. and the rest of the world.

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