From Iceland — Supercomputer (Probably) Coming To Iceland

Supercomputer (Probably) Coming To Iceland

Published February 18, 2020

Sam O'Donnell
Photo by
Wikimedia Commons

A new supercomputer is rumoured to be coming to Iceland. The British Meteorological Office is looking for somewhere to keep their supercomputer, and Iceland and Norway are two of the top contenders for this honor.

In the past, all of the British Meteorological Office’s supercomputers have been in the UK, but because of the level of energy required to run such a machine, government officials in the UK are looking for a location where the supercomputer can run on clean energy. According to the BBC, Iceland and Norway are both on the shortlist due to the renewable energy sources in both countries.

Arni Snorrason, CEO of the Icelandic Meteorological Office says that no one from the British Meteorological Office has contacted him regarding the installation of a supercomputer in this country.

In 2016, a supercomputer from the Danish Meteorological Office was installed here, which tripled the Danes’ computational capacity. Arni says that this experience has been good for the Icelandic Meterological Office. “The Nordic countries have been collaborating on weather research for several years, which has extended to the Baltic countries, and then Ireland and the Netherlands,” Árni told Fréttablaðið. “The next step in the collaboration is for the Norwegians, Swedes, and Finns to provide weather forecasts for Scandinavia and the Baltic countries. So we are preparing to run weather forecasts for Iceland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Ireland. It starts in 2023.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, said that the Foreign Service was watching the case. “I have commissioned our embassy in London to monitor the opportunity that may open to Icelanders. This is a large data center that needs a lot of energy. Thus, it can be a great opportunity for Iceland,” he said.

Eyjólfur Magnús Kristinsson, CEO of Advania Data Centers, confirmed that the company is considering participating in the project as an indirect third party. However, he said that it’s too soon to know if the project will take off. “It’s too early to predict how likely this is,” he told Fréttablaðið. “It would be great if such a project came to Iceland, but it depends on many competitive factors, such as energy prices, bandwidth, political will and stability, and more.”

While the project is still in the developmental stages, we believe that Iceland is the obvious choice for the project. Don’t let us down, Britain!

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