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Current Uses of Computers in UK Business and Industry

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1 Current Uses of Computers in UK Business and Industry
Kevin J Needham Met Office 20th November 2001

2 The Talk Who am I What is the Met Office? The Weather Machine!
Some IT Challenges The Future Summary Questions

3 I.e. a Bit of..... History - what done/learned Now - what doing
Future - where going

4 I was asked to Show how computers enhance the performance of business users. You will see that "The Met Office needs IT like a fish needs water.” CAN YOU READ THIS OK???

5 Who am I? - why should I be here talking to you?
Kevin J Needham Project and Programme Management and IT Training Programme Manager at the Met Office College in Reading Been with Met. Office 21 Years from Research, Training, Strategy, Y2K etc

6 My Experience Most recent past - Project 2000 -
Deputy Project Manager Stage 1-3 Testing & Technical Information Manager Y2K Business Continuity Manager for Government Departments (PMS, DHSS, DETR, Home Office etc) Future - IT?/Met?/????

7 What can we do today? Barely scratch the surface
It will be “fast and furious” Give you a flavour Leave you wanting to know more? Tell you where to find it!!

8 Rules if engagement WARNING Laugh at the “Jokes” or they get worse!!!!
We have a lot to get through, so Please leave questions to the end In the unlikely event of you going to sleep - PLEASE DON’T SNORE zzzzzz WARNING Laugh at the “Jokes” or they get worse!!!!

9 The Met Office - what do we do?
TV forecasts?? BBC & ITV Newspapers?? CEEFAX The Weather programme BUT WHAT ELSE? The above is less than 1% of our business

10 A few vital Statistics As of March 2001..... 147 years old
Trading Fund

11 History of Met Office Established Meteorological Dept. Of the Board of Trade. Became Meteorological Office Separate Met. For each armed force. Part of Air Ministry Became MOD

12 History of Met Office 1990 (April 2) Next Steps Executive Agency
1993 First Charter 1996(April 1) Trading Fund Met Office run as a business.

13 A Business? Continued and proven improvements in Quality of service
Greater flexibility Sustained improvement for less money Reduction in staff - increased use automation

14 What’s in a Brand? When you see this logo - what do you associate with us? November 2000 “The Met.Office became

15 Why? The Odyssey Project (1998) examined scenarios of our future.
Key outcome - to widen our horizons - moving the ‘Met Office’ to becoming the nation’s key provider in the wider field of natural environmental services such as hydrology and oceanography, not just ‘weather’.

16 Why? To become a key player in development of European meteorological collaboration. Fully embrace internet, its emerging technologies and the huge potential of e-commerce. Did our old Brand say all this??? Does our new one???

17 Brand & IT New templates for fax, letter, web, etc
Machine ready brand, logo etc Revamped Web site All products re-badged All customer systems rebadged All on a single day to maintain the impact…..

18 Competitors - do we have them?
YES!!! - lots of them In Strategic “arms length” business unit - to compete on a level playing field “Buy” services from the Met. Office Same services provided to competitors - same charges

19 DPDS Data & Products Distribution Service
Set up 4 years ago to provide our competitors with “push” or “pull” data and products via internet European and world wide Ahead of its time Continually improved

20 A few vital Statistics As of March 2001..... 147 years old
Trading Fund Staff Directors 10 (plus CE) 7 Executive, 3(4) non executive

21 Our Management Board But what about IT? Peter Ewins - CE
Paul Mason - Chief Scientist Colin Flood - Operations Director Roger Hunt PS Business Director Jim Caughey - Technical Director Philip Mabe - Finance Director Martin Sands - Company Secretary Stephen Lawrenson - Commercial MD MO Board above + 3/4 Non Exec But what about IT?

22 “Divisional Structure” - “Matrix work” moving towards a Process Based structure

23 Staff MOD Civil servants & contractors
Split 50/50 between R&D/support/sales and forecasting Scientists & Admin - single grade structure Competency based assessment of posts, skills and achievement

24 Staff vs Computers Staff 1970 3500 1980 2750 1990 2500 1996 2138
2001 ???? Computers 1970 2 2000 ?????

25 A few vital Statistics As of March 2001..... 147 years old
Trading Fund Staff Directors 11 (inc CE) 100 UK Sites( + Overseas)

26 Bracknell Sites HQ - NMC, Ops. Centre, Admin Development, Library
Sutton -Business Johnson -Business Systems Hadley -Climate Research Scott -Marine & Archives P Duffryn-Relocation, HR & Services Beaufort Park - Experimental Site Simpson - Stores & Contracts

27 Other Sites Met O College - Reading Met Research Unit - Cardington
Met Research Flight - Farnborough JCMM - Reading University RSI - Farnborough regional Weather Centres in main cities - inc London, Cardiff, Manchester…..

28 also Port Met Offices ADAS MAFF Lighthouses RAF - UK
Navy, ARMY RANGES, Airports Local Councils, Auxilliaries etc And that’s just the UK!

29 Overseas All RAF bases overseas All military operations overseas
Mobile unit Other bases Cyprus, Falklands Dependent on ALL other met services in ALL other countries in peace and war.

30 Defence outstations Key: Subsidiary Forecast Office MAIN MET. OFFICE
Lossiemouth Key: South Uist Kinloss Subsidiary Forecast Office MAIN MET. OFFICE Leuchars Observing Office Principal Forecast Office West Freugh Leeming Eskmeals Dishforth Linton-on-Ouse Valley WADDINGTON Coningsby Cranwell Cottesmore Coltishall Shawbury Marham Wittering Aberporth Wattisham HQSTC BRIZE NORTON Northolt Shoeburyness Lyneham Benson Larkhill Odiham Manston Boscombe Down Boscombe Down Middle Wallop St. Mawgan 1 March 1997

31 Defence outstations overseas
Gibraltar Akrotiri Germany Gütersloh Laarbruch Brüggen HQ 2 GP (RAF) Ascension Island Falkland Islands Main Met. Office Area Met. Office Subsidiary Forecasting Office

32 Mobile Met. Unit (MMU)

33 With all the tech, pilots still trust the Forecaster with their lives!!!

34 Rainfall Sites

35 Basic “Manned” Land Stations

36 A few vital Statistics As of March 2001..... 147 years old
Trading Fund Staff Directors 11 (inc CE) 100 UK Sites( + Overseas) Turnover ?

37 Money? Turnover: - £154M Expenditure:- £150M Operating Profit:- £4M
ROCE 2.8% = In profit

38 Where does the money come from?

39 The Met. Office Multi-functional organisation MOD owned
Responsible to Government Has diverse responsibilities Is a world-wide and world-class organisation 24 hour, 365/6 days operation

40 Met Office Our Vision: Through unrivalled know-how, to enable individuals, society and enterprises everywhere to make the most of the weather and the natural environment.

41 Met Office This all requires VERY effective use of IT Our Goals:
To lead the world in advice on weather and the natural environment. To make the Met. Office a source of pride to our staff, our owner, and the public. This all requires VERY effective use of IT

42 The Met. Office is: Accountable Chartered Investor in People
TARGETS set and measured by NAO eg 84% accuracy general forecast Chartered Investor in People

43 Gosh, that was really interesting!

44 The Talk - where are we? The Weather Machine! Who am I
What is the Met Office? The Weather Machine! Some IT Challenges The Future Summary Questions

45 So how does the Met. Office operate?

46 The Weather machine Verification R&D Transmission
Support & Infrastructure Observations Prepare and give Product to Customer Input to Model Interpret Forecast

47 Observations Many types Methods Second, event, hourly… Yearly…
Surface, Upper air, satellite, Buoys, Ships, Aircraft, Radar, spherics Methods Manual - Met & auxilliary automatic Semi Automatic Second, event, hourly… Yearly… World-wide -co-operation Future!! Why need observers? Why not fully automate???

48 Buoy Network - early warning system


50 Observations Coded - alpha/numeric World wide agreed standard (WMO)
achievement in itself!! Language independent World wide recognition!! Continually changing - software changing!!!! WMO At GMT worldwide - 365/6 days - 24 hours Surface, Upper air, satellite, radar… War and peace

51 Code example

52 Automatic Observations
SAMOS - Semi Automatic Observing System Still some elements difficult to automate - eg cloud cover BUT we are using remote TV cameras

53 One Reason to Automate





58 Measuring Visibility

59 The Weather machine Verification R&D Transmission
Support & Infrastructure Observations Prepare and give Product to Customer Input to Model Interpret Forecast

60 Think of the number of Obs in an hour!!!
How cope with this amount of data Global Network GTS - joint owned and funded Largest private network Moving to ftp Radio to satellite


62 Number of Obs One timezone Upper air Limited lifetime.
individual observations used in 24 hours. Upper air radiosonde pressure, temp.,humidity, wind 2300+ observations

63 Number of Obs Satellites
Polar Orbiting & Geo-stationary 43000 observations Ships, Aircraft, Buoys etc (automated and manual - collecting platforms)

64 Number of Obs Radar Data Others - eg Spherics (lightning)
Heavy reliance on technology GTS, Observing & reception systems, Message switching etc

65 Radar systems - data & forecasts direct to users and customers in real time - Warnings of Flooding, erosion etc

66 Radar

67 Co-funded satellite programmes - only as good as calibration & verification data


69 New Satellites Magnitudes more data More Instruments More calibration
Greater resolution Storage and transmission Challenges! (We also build and test the satellite instruments)

70 Global Networks Global Observations are Key to modern Met.
WMO maintains framework for international exchange Bracknell one of several Hubs on GTS. - Tropics - 100s Thousands bulletins and products to customers and other Met Centres from few K to many Gbytes.

71 Tropics -Tandems 4 Highly resilient fault tolerant K1000 systems
input 200K messages output 2.5Million msgs Chars/day I/P 800Mbyte O/P 3300Mbyte Peak 15mins I/P 9000 msgs O/P msgs 12 processors Paired mirrored disks 80Gbyte 192 in/out channels + Backup system. - continually upgraded!!


73 Tropics in the future?

74 Tropics in the future? PC/workstation based
In-built redundancy - increased tolerance Standard technology - less specialists Cost much less to buy/maintain/upgrade Meets greater pull demands for products

75 The Weather machine Verification R&D Transmission
Support & Infrastructure Observations Prepare and give Product to Customer Input to Model Interpret Forecast

76 Brief History Computing
Richardson 1922 Desktop Computer 1950s EDSAC - Cambridge UNIV for LYONS (LEO) - paper tape-mercury storage lines Ferranti Mark I - Manchester - Storage Cathode Ray - simple models Ferranti Mercury (METEOR) - Valve Storage -Dunstable to Bracknell Printers, paper tape 3 level model

77 Ferranti Mercury “Console”

78 The Move !

79 Brief History (2) IBM/ level model - disks and tape, programs from disk, 24hr forecasts 70 mins, programmer training, punched cards input.

80 Brief History (2) IBM/ level model - disks and tape, programs from disk, 24hr forecasts 70 mins, programmer training, punched cards input. IBM 370/158 - gave backup, TSO, links to outside world in >1000 jobs per day. Cray at ECMWF Cyber 205 Bracknell - 400Mflops, Vector Pgming, fed by IBM

81 The CYBER 205

82 History Computing (3) 1980s - Various upgrades to front end mainframe
more disks, tapes, reduced use cards, film and plotted output. ETA MFLops - Flopped..... Late 80s/90s - succession Crays Early 90s HDS Mainframe Today

83 Computers and the Met “The Met Office does not just use, it abuses computers….” “If you want someone to get 120% out of a computer - it’s the Met Office” “The Met Office makes computers do things it wasn’t designed to - and do it well…..” “They get every ounce out of them..”

84 IBM 9672-R45 Installed October 1998 4 CPUs (scalar) 3 Gb Memory
Performance 61 MIPS/CPU 2.3 Kilowatts Weight 0.1 Tons O/S 390

85 IBM 9672-R45 “Workhorse” Front end Processor & data handler - 200K Jobs per month Controls Grau Tape Robot and Front end disks. Feeds and clears up after Supercomputer!! Acts as ftp and intranet site Holds corporate software, backups and databases


87 IBM Runs Terminal network (IBM 3270 emulation) MVS, UNIX FORTRAN
4 Logical Partitions Operational Development Test UNIX Managed 24 hours/365

88 Second IBM With amount of data handling, system “slow” at certain times - eg forecast production! Second IBM installed to provide backup and alleviate hot period Support for CRAY twins! (more later)

89 Second IBM IBM 9672 R25 Smaller version of original
Avoided Licensing issues (by MIP) 3 months buy - installation Runs all forecast output - greater consistency for Forecasts Releases R45 for use by rest of Office

90 Future of the mainframe?
Distributed UNIX functional systems - September 2001 Prevent maintenance of MVS system architectures & legacy languages eg JCL Greater use of Proprietary Database (Met created its own in 70s, as until recently nothing suitable - now ORACLE) Will it have its place?? How do we convert?

91 T3E Massively Parallel Processor
Oct 96 - april 97 (extended) support (clock speed 450Mhz) each PE - 128mb (8 have 256) 1152Gb 900Mflops per PE Liquid Date of Installation Number Processors elements (PEs) Local Mem size Disk Storage Peak performance Cooling

92 T3E Massively Parallel Processor
Power consumption KWh Total weight tons Operating system - UNICOS/mk Backup generators for operational areas

93 Second CRAY Because of volume of work require a second CRAY T3E recently installed and accepted 1999 Mhz Most 256MB Total - 1,500 Billion calculations per second…. Also “Baby” test T3E

94 Second CRAY Used for Numerical weather prediction & Climate research
To keep ahead of our competitors Enhanced models Overall upgrade by 80% even though 25% fewer processors they run faster

95 T3E Massively Parallel Processor
Replaced Cray 90 once all code converted and tested in parallel at least 5 times faster. Much of code had to be rewritten to make most use of parallel processors - data exchange.... Connected via Ethernet Change from few fast expensive CPUs to many small cheap RISK based. Where to store all this data?

96 Future of Super Computing
Has to be parallel Greater speed of processors Less cost More memory LINUX based PC chips? Fewer companies Distributed by function?

97 GRAU tape Robot Installed July 1993
5 Towers = bar-coded cartridges Two Robots 200 mounts /hour High availability 17.5million Chars/Sec to IBM 250Million to/from Cray (superlink) Job of two staff -No tea breaks

98 A Few Statistics 1981 - 10K 1600bpi tapes 1985 - 20K 6250bpi tapes
K 18 & 36 Track Cartridges - Approx 21.1 Tbytes Now growing at 100+ bytes year Tbytes?? Tbytes?? Current MF Disk Capacity GB RAID - HSM

99 Future - Mass Storage Replacing ageing Grau with File Tek MASS storage system Forecast well over a Peta Byte (thousand Tera Bytes by 2005 Use for all storage and backups? Automated high capacity tape cartridge silos - dedicated computer system Where to now???

100 Why Need Such Storage Hi Speed Computers = Hi Res Models = more data
Ongoing Archive of info Operational Backup Climate Data - Keep Forever?? Research - Still comparing with 20 years ago.

101 Models -




105 Models - Limited out to T+48
Global out to T Special - Chemet etc Gulf - T x92x31 Takes 1800secs CPU Global takes 1 Hour + 1 hour to process Strict Opnl Schedule Moving to 60 levels 15km & 7km grid….


107 Models 2 Operational Schedule
0320Z - 1st Analysis based on 00Z to 6 days 1120 Second update to catch late info. + background for next run update to T+6 Z repeat Backup ECMWF Washington etc

108 However Cant yet automate everything Need to verify models
Need to verify observations Quality only as good as the verification Still rely on HUMAN verification




112 The Weather machine Verification R&D Transmission
Support & Infrastructure Observations Prepare and give Product to Customer Input to Model Interpret Forecast

113 Outstations Production Unified System - 1990s
Hardware:Vax Server, PCs,Macs Software:Windows,MS Office, Freelance Network: x400, , fax async file transfer, telex Customer Interface Was at 13 Sites Mix Met and WP Standardised Outstations

114 NIMBUS Replacement for ODS Standard across all sites
Forecasters can use any site to do their work Local and central products Standards Off shelf and tailored software Based on NT systems Project managed - why?

115 Few Issues ? Same all sites
Cultural (not let go - always done this way) Ergonomics each site - desking New cabling Continue services during install Parallel running

116 Few Issues ? Forecaster training across 4 shifts
Training Just in time and at site Portable system! Managing rollout with contractors Managing change to system releases and local products On-going training for new releases

117 The Weather machine Verification R&D Transmission
Support & Infrastructure Observations Prepare and give Product to Customer Input to Model Interpret Forecast

118 Customers PMS - Safety of life & information
National Severe Weather Warnings Storm Tides Gale Warnings Shipping & inshore Pollution Information (including WWW & Library) Customers

119 Some want their product and delivery kept very simple
Paper & Form based Fax transmission Mobile communications rooms Rely heavily on experience of staff Reactive to situations and events



122 Customer DETR - major climate prediction programme, warnings etc
World Temps Others want a report following millions of pound of research over several years

123 Working with all aspects of life

124 Customer CAA - World area Forecast Centre for civil aviation
Automatic products and personal briefings 5% Tolerance on fuelling based on forecast Customer

125 Services to Civil Aviation
NATS contract World Area Forecast System General aviation Airlines Services to airfields

126 Customer Defence - All armed forces
presence at all RAF & Ranges UK all sites abroad Mobile Met. Unit NAVY Customer Special services when they need them - logistics to battlefield - people on the ground to advise



129 CORE Gathering & exchange of observations (space & terrestial) worldwide. Operation NWP models NMC - interpretation & adjustment model output - guidance R&D to improve overall efficiency & effectiveness. Core Customer Group - agrees programme & targets BBC Customer

130 Customer Commercial Products tailored for each customer
All industry, Medai, commerce eg Utility demand forecasts, Open Road, Transport, N.Sea Oil, Newspaper, TV, Supermarkets, Legal, Building, MIST, MetFAX, WWW, Overseas - TOMMS Products tailored for each customer Customer

131 Commercial Products

132 OpenRoad system RST Weather T3E Centre MES SSFM Highway authority
Sensor data Highway authority

133 International OpenRoad sites

134 CUSTOMERS Non Core R&D Admin & Finance
All audited against very strict performance & Business targets eg advice pollutants within 30 mins, annual improvements in forecast accuracy

135 Keeping it all going Own engineers for instruments
Single source maintainers of Computers 24X365 Help Desk Operations team 24X360

136 Keeping it all going Tivoli management system across - monitoring events across all platforms Allow OPS staff to concentrate on resolution management not problem tracking

137 Help for the Customer 24 x 365 Customer Call centre
Single number local and 0800 calls Help across range of services Knowledge based responses During Floods - peak 2K calls per hour

138 Recap - The Met Office Deliver World Class forecasts
Best possible accuracy Lowest unit cost delivered appropriate to Customer needs Lots of delivery methods stock products ?? others “significant” customers

139 NT Project Delivered on time to budget by experienced Project managers with appropriate resources and staff “Standardised NT desktop” Standard “functional” software eg not 30 word processors Managed software Supportable centrally Cost effective Compliant

140 IS Strategy Covers all uses of IT in Met Office
Core observing, NWP, Forecasting research commercial Interfaces to Customers Product format, transmission, security Continual Process Directions not technical Solutions

141 Standards Comms: TCP/IP, X400, LAN
Environments M.Frame, Workstation, PC Operating Sys. MVS,UNIX,NT Data Storage. Central Graphics GKS, CGM Programming Fortran, C Analysis/Design SSADM, CASE

142 Software? Who uses standards? Standards & User group?
Standards documents Documentation? Earliest Code 1972? Lots Versions of languages System dependent? Software management Software backups - dangers? Who uses standards?

143 Areas of uncertainty FORTRAN and OO - latent impact of language changes JAVA, PERL and C++ Training for the new millennium FORTRAN training!!! UNIX vs MVS

144 Other Issues Centralised Purchasing Single Source Maintenance
Use of Partners - Core business issues Central File Storage Virus Control System & Data Integrity System and Service Monitoring Databases Standards

145 Integration & Testing

146 Integration & Testing ISO900 and TickIT Processes mapped to services
Critical services need to be protected Offshore and support for other met services systems as greater international use of Met Office systems Increased maintenance issues

147 Supporting “our” systems
Now need 24 X 365 for software and Hardware Cultural issues Help desk support groups Criticality of services defined and tested contingency and recovery plans in place

148 So who does use these computer things?
Perhaps better who not? Messengers? , Bookings, Memos, corporate info…. Security - surely not Janus, Memos, , etc Cleaners Timesheets - corporate information Compared to even 5 years ago….

149 Relocation Between 2001 and 2003 the Met Office will relocate all its Bracknell functions to Exeter

150 Some IT Challenges of Relocation
New Building, working practices and Desktop New Operating systems Keeping continuity of services Parallel running End to end testing - right into customer sites Moving goalposts of technology Support infrastructure in Exeter area

151 Some IT Challenges of Relocation
Chance to re-write code or not? Is there time? Loss of experts in short term? Change of operating system to UNIX? Get rid of legacy - will there be time? Training between sites Increased home and mobile working Paperless Office??

152 Met on the net Web Site - Oct 95 Business Site - Jan 96 Intranet
System Monitoring K hits per day Pay as go services



155 Internet based services
Met where you need it, when you need it Based on WAP, internet and mobile computing What customers are demanding Low cost, high volume Problems of “technology” Use of packages “Dreamweaver” to provide standards, and ease of training

156 Internet based services

157 Weather on other’s sites

158 Future Greater diversity requirements
Hydrology, Oceanography, Environmental etc Greater Customer drive for more effective services at lower cost - reduced errors etc Even greater reliance on appropriate IT for cost effective solution

159 Future More effectively managed IT Centralise Storage?
Centralise Services etc Greater use of effective SLAs Centralise production (NMC) - get more info to point use/sale faster. Always need bigger and better facilities Continue to get most out of kit etc

160 Use of Computers OK to be reliant on computers
Must not be led by computers Must not be slave to computers An effective organisation relies on appropriately skilled, allocated, resourced and motivated STAFF - computers are after all just a TOOL!!!

161 What is most important? “The Met. Office’s most valued asset is its staff - in a crisis they are always there…” “You can buy a new computer - not so easy to buy expertise”

162 VACANCIES Are you right for the job?

163 The Job Science & Technology
Improving performance of models Climatic and environmental investigations Support and development of comms, remote sensing & computing Specialist - HR, Finance, Marketing & Sales, Property management IT Specialists - eg Workstation support, Internet development

164 IT Specialist Are you A graduate or have experience in computing or a physical science Fluent in FORTRAN and UNIX / configuration management can demonstrate aptitude to IT in scientific environment excited by computer systems, networks or applications keen to apply your skills to real problems

165 IT Specialist Do you want to
apply your knowledge to weather forecasting and environmental sciences work across the range of systems from the web to supercomputers make a positive contribution to development and IT service provision help us to take advantage of exciting developments in local and wide area networks develop your existing computer skills

166 The Job - graduate Starting Salary - £12,740 - £32,619
Terms - Permanent and Fixed. Qualifications: good degree (or other professional qualification & experience) in: maths physical discipline computer science meteorology

167 Application forms & info
Capita RAS, Innovation Court, New Street, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 7JB Tel (24 hours) Register interest - see web site… Placements….

168 The Met Office Is Equal Opportunities Employer
seeks to achieve excellence through it's most valued asset - the people it employs. Keen to hear from suitable applicants Vacancies regularly. SEE WEB SITE FOR DETAILS

169 How to contact me Kevin J Needham Met Office Met Office College
Shinfield, Reading, Berks, RG2 9AU phone: fax:

170 Questions?

171 Thank You

172 "The Met Office needs IT like a fish needs water.”
“To provide what it needs to survive”


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