ClimaCell Delivers Innovative Weather Prediction

Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and Google Cloud C2 nodes provide performance, flexibility, and AI-readiness for ClimaCell.

Executive Summary
ClimaCell disrupts today’s weather prediction industry with all-new tools and an Application Programming Interface (API) for high precision micro-forecasting. That information helps ClimaCell’s clients make more informed operational decisions to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize employee safety risks. The global API platform runs on Google Cloud Compute Optimized instances (C2) featur­ing 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors to deliver a high performance computing (HPC) solution. The combination provides ClimaCell’s unique business model a fast and scalable solution to accommodate massive datasets and artificial intelligence (AI) assisted modeling.

Challenge
In the past, accurate weather prediction proved a daunting task. ClimaCell’s gov­ernment and enterprise clients needed better ways to understand current and future weather patterns. That actionable information helps clients mitigate busi­ness and safety consequences caused by severe weather conditions. ClimaCell’s micro-forecasts gather weather data from government sources, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, connected cars, wireless signals, drones, and other proprietary data. Making sense of the enormous data volumes, and forming accurate predictive models using it, requires HPC systems that can accommodate heavy workloads.

Solution
By incorporating AI into their detailed analysis process, ClimaCell can maximize its predictive services to produce a holistic and highly accurate model of impending weather conditions. After rigorous proof-of-concept testing, ClimaCell selected Google Cloud’s Compute Engine C2 instances, powered by 2nd Generation Intel Xeon processors with AI acceleration built-in. The infrastructure solution offers the scalability, performance, and cost-effectiveness needed to process and interpret the broad mix of data.

Driven by 2nd Generation Intel Scalable Processors, CPU-only C2 machine types offer up to 3.8 GHz of sustained all-core turbo boost. The instances also provide transparency into the architecture of the underlying server platforms, letting users fine-tune the performance. Compared with N1 high-CPU machine types, C2 machine types offer much more computing power, run on a newer platform, and are generally more robust for compute-intensive workloads. The C2 instances also scale globally as needed.

Customers can make reservations to ensure their applications have the capacity required for scale. Together, these features simplify integration and help users derive more value from their hosted environment.

In addition, ClimaCell used Intel® compilers and Intel® MPI with their code to help boost weather forecasting application performance on C2 instances. The Intel® software helps maxi­mize the code’s performance by utilizing the latest hardware instructions (such as Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel® AVX-512)), optimally use all the cores and memory footprint, and help the code scale without degradation among multiple C2 nodes.

Results
To find the instance that would provide the best micro-forecast performance, ClimaCell performed internal bench­marking of the proof-of-concept solution, comparing a Google Cloud C2 instance with previous-generation N1 clus­ters. With the C2 instances, ClimaCell achieved 40% better price/performance.1, 2 than the N1 instances. The Google Cloud Compute Engine C2 nodes also address ClimaCell’s unique needs for elasticity. The cloud solution can spin up additional nodes whenever workloads require it.

Advanced Cloud-Based Weather Modeling Enables Breakthroughs for Multiple Industries
With real-time insights, ClimaCell’s enterprise customers derive value from the service in multiple ways:

  • A major airline taps ClimaCell data to increase passenger safety and minimize operational costs. With ClimaCell solutions, the airline can determine in advance when extreme weather conditions pose a safety risk or impact flight times. In the winter, micro-predictions can also inform staff if their planes require de-icing before takeoff. By providing insights like these, the airline claims that ClimaCell’s weather prediction technology saves the company $50,000 per month per airport hub.
  • A large investment trust owns power transmission infrastructure across India. In 2020, a cyclone posed an unprecedented safety threat to the region. With the assistance of ClimaCell technology, the company found it was able to predict the path of the cyclone and determine which of its hundreds of locations were at risk. ClimaCell solutions identified the two vulnerable sites, allowing their client to prioritize their attention on the safety and service at those specific locations.
  • A professional football team in the United States depends on ClimaCell to mitigate operational challenges. With insights about the approaching weather, managers can determine the best times to water or paint the football field. They can also plan for snow, or halt operations when lightning storms approach. The team asserts that the combination of benefits reduces the cost of stadium upkeep and reduces risk to staff.
  • ClimaCell.org solutions offer weather prediction capability to the 5 billion people living in regions where traditional weather forecasting technologies do not reach. In parts of Africa, for example, ClimaCell solutions help farmers determine the ideal time to plant crops. With foreknowledge of coming weather, farmers can lessen the cost of field maintenance and maximize crop yields.
  • A class-A railroad uses ClimaCell technology to predict weather patterns that could impact train travel. In one case, the railroad found the weather model predicted 90 mile-per-hour winds along their route of travel. By delaying the trip, the train avoided the possibility of a dangerous and costly derailment.

Key Takeaways

  • ClimaCell’s micro-forecasts derive from a mix of proprietary and publicly available weather data that is combined and processed using HPC-driven AI, simulation, and modeling workloads.
  • With the underlying support of 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel® software, Google Cloud C2 nodes provide a fast, highly elastic, scalable, and AI-ready solution.
  • Google Cloud’s Intel®-based HPC solution provides ideal price-performance for ClimaCell’s unique business service.

Table 1: Google Cloud’s Compute Optimized (C2) HPC Instances3, 4, 5, 6

C2 machine types have the following restrictions:

  • You cannot use regional persistent disks with compute-optimized machine types.
  • C2 machine types are subject to different disk limits than general-purpose and memory-optimized machine types.
  • C2 machine types are only available on select CPU platforms.
  • Caution: C2 machine types do not support GPUs.

Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors are architected to deliver performance leadership across a broad range of demanding workloads. 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scal­able processors are the only data center CPU with AI acceleration built in. The C2 instance with the 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor scales up to 60 vCPUs with exceptional memory bandwidth per vCPU.

Spotlight on ClimaCell
ClimaCell offers people and organizations the best weather insights through big data collection and exclusive analysis and modeling approaches. By providing its clients with highly accurate micro-forecasts, ClimaCell solutions offer invaluable business insights. ClimaCell’s patented MicroWeather technology engine gathers Weather of Things data from wireless signals, connected cars, drones, and other devices. By combining that data with proprietary AI-driven models, insights from ClimaCell solutions improve safety, operational efficiency, and profitability.

Spotlight on Google Cloud
Google Cloud solutions help customers solve their biggest business challenges through outstanding technology and a toolset engineered for ease of use. As a leader in cloud services, Google Cloud provides customers a holistic solution for data security, intelligent analytics, and hybrid or multi-cloud solutions. Today, customers in over 150 countries trust Google Cloud to modernize their computing environment to bring ideas, insights, and people together.

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Notices and Disclaimers

Intel® technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No computer system can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at https://www.intel.com. // Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel® microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark* and MobileMark*, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information visit https://www.intel.com/benchmarks. // Performance results are based on testing as of the date set forth in the configurations and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. See configuration disclosure for details. No product or component can be absolutely secure. // Cost reduction scenarios described are intended as examples of how a given Intel®-based product, in the specified circumstances and configurations, may affect future costs and provide cost savings. Circumstances will vary. Intel does not guarantee any costs or cost reduction. // Intel does not control or audit third-party benchmark data or the web sites referenced in this document. You should visit the referenced web site and confirm whether referenced data are accurate. // In some test cases, results have been estimated or simulated using internal Intel analysis or architecture simulation or modeling, and provided to you for informational purposes. Any differences in your system hardware, software or configuration may affect your actual performance.

Product and Performance Information

1“The new Compute-Optimized VMs offer a greater than 40% perfor­mance improvement compared to current GCP VMs.” Bart Sano, VP of Platforms, Google Cloud. Learn more here.
2From Google Cloud’s CPU platforms page: Learn more here. C2 instance all-core turbo CPU frequency is 3.8 GHz, with the lowest first-generation N1 machine type base frequency being 2.0 GHz. Note, all-core turbo not available for first generation N1 instances. Improve­ment from 2.0GHz to 3.8GHz=40%. Also see https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/compute/expanding-virtual-machine-types-to-drive-performance-and-efficiency
4A vCPU is implemented as a single hardware Hyper-thread on one of the available CPU platforms.
5Persistent disk usage is charged separately from machine type pricing.
6Network egress bandwidth is up to the specified limit. Actual performance depends on factors such as network congestion or protocol overhead.