By Simone Ulmer, Contributing writer, ETH Zurich

Continued from the previous news post: Weather and Climate Models Serve Destination Earth — Digital Twin of Earth…

Profiting from artificial intelligence

The authors also see great potential in artificial intelligence (AI). It can be used, for example, for data assimilation or the processing of observation data, the representation of uncertain physical processes in the models, and data compression. AI thus makes it possible to speed up the simulations and filter out the most important information from large amounts of data. Additionally, the researchers assume that the use of machine learning not only makes the calculations more efficient but also can help to describe the physical processes more accurately.

The scientists see their strategy paper as a starting point on the path to a digital twin of the Earth. Among the computer architectures available today and those expected in the near future, supercomputers based on graphics processing units (GPU) appear to be the most promising option. The researchers estimate that operating a digital twin at full scale would require a system with about 20,000 GPUs, consuming an estimated 20MW of power. For both economic and ecological reasons, such a computer should be operated at a location where CO2-​neutral generated electricity is available in sufficient quantities.

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