UK’s Met Office has awarded a £20m contract to construction firm Willmott Dixon for developing a home for the final part of its new supercomputer.
Planned to be located at Exeter Science Park, the supercomputer will enable the UK weather service authority to implement more sophisticated weather and climate models, and produce better forecasts.
The first phase of the supercomputer is already operational. Over the next 14 months the construction firm will build the house for its final phase at the park, which is located beside the Met Office headquarters in Exeter, Devon.
The set-up is expected to be fully operational in 2017, and will expand the present capacity for the authority’s high-performance computing programme.
The UK’s Met Office has secured the new centre through the National Major Works Framework, one of the six national frameworks offered by local authority procurement entity Scape Group.
Willmott Dixon will coordinate with architect Stride Treglown, services engineer Arup, and structural engineer WSP for development of the centre.
Willmott Dixon managing director for the South West Neal Stephens said: "This will be another important asset to our country’s technology sector, providing us with one of Europe’s biggest supercomputers inside an iconic building that we will create.
"We are very proud to be playing such an important part in this project; it further compliments our skill-set for building science facilities that make us a world leader in this sector."
Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth Andrew Leadbetter said: "The Met Office’s new supercomputer is exactly the sort of high-tech investment that the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point was designed to attract.
"Sitting it at the Science Park will strengthen the economic growth of the area and act as a real catalyst in driving job growth and private sector investment."
Image: The home for the supercomputer will be built at Exeter Science Park. Photo: courtesy of Willmott Dixon.