VICKSBURG, Mississippi, July 20, 2021 – Modeling the risk of extreme weather and natural disasters along the nation’s coastline is critical to the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) mission to providing innovative solutions for a better and safer world.
Increasing this modeling capacity and better disseminating data for climate research is the goal of a new agreement between ERDC and Microsoft Corporation. This government-industry collaboration aims to improve climate modeling and disaster resilience planning through the use of predictive analytics-based, cloud-based tools and artificial intelligence services (IA).
The agreement aims to demonstrate the code scalability of ERDC’s first coastal storm modeling system, CSTORM-MS, within Microsoft’s Azure government, a cloud computing service for building, testing, deploying and the management of applications and services through data centers managed by Microsoft specifically for the US government. CSTORM-MS is a comprehensive integrated system of highly skilled and highly resolved models used to simulate coastal storms. The models provide a robust and standardized approach to establish the risk of coastal communities to future storm occurrences and to assess flood risk reduction measures. With its physics-based modeling capabilities, CSTORM-MS integrates a suite of high-fidelity storm modeling tools to support a wide range of coastal engineering needs to simulate tropical and extratropical storms, as well as water levels. of wind, waves and water.
Currently, CSTORM-MS models are running at the Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center of ERDC, one of the DoD High Performance Modernization Program (HPCMP) supercomputing centers. In 2020, ERDC and HPCMP realized a commercial cloud for high performance computing workload assessment. These initial tests included a feasibility study of the CSTORM-MS models and were successfully conducted using Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
Through the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between ERDC and Microsoft, two objectives have been set for this second phase of the project:
- Demonstrate the scalability of CSTORM-MS code on Azure by running the entire North Atlantic Coast storm suite with a sea level rise value not previously simulated; and
- Create an opportunity for researchers to use model results and replicate the workflow on their affected coasts.
Microsoft’s participation in this effort stems from their Microsoft AI for Earth, a working group within Microsoft established in June 2017 that provides cloud-based AI tools and services to organizations working to protect the planet. in five key areas: agriculture, biodiversity, conservation, climate. change and water. AI for Earth provides grants to support projects that use AI to change the way people and organizations monitor, model, and manage Earth’s natural systems.
The CRADA between ERDC and Microsoft is made possible by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986. The law provides that developments in federal laboratories, such as those of ERDC, should be made accessible to private industry and state governments and facilities for the purpose of improving the economic, environmental and social well-being of the United States by stimulating the use of federally funded technological developments or capabilities.