It provides the UK and European climate and earth-system science communities with the ability to access very large sets of environmental data, which are typically too big for them to download to their own computers, and process it rapidly, reducing the time it takes to test new ideas and get results; from months or weeks to days or hours.
It is really a 'super-data computer' as it has more data than computing power, and was custom-built by STFC's Scientific Computing Department specifically to meet the needs of the ever-expanding science communities that use it for data analysis and data sharing. This makes it globally unique.
JASMIN has recently been upgraded and now has around 45 Petabytes of data, which would be the equivalent of more than 8 million DVDs. Imagine having to copy, say, 100 terabytes of data (equivalent to 213,000 standard DVDs) and send it to colleagues working on a project. Sending that amount of data over a normal broadband connection would take several months. JASMIN removes the need to send data in this way and enables scientists to access the data very quickly.
The storage and networking technologies within the JASMIN facility are vastly improving the user experience, and providing capabilities that we have never before been able to make available. Users can now enjoy the deep, on-demand cloud computing capacity and the flexibility of data analysis that this brings as if it was on their own laptop or desktop computer.
What is JASMIN used for?
The environmental data stored by JASMIN is being used for projects which enable scientists to monitor changes in the Earth's surface with millimetre accuracy. For instance, they can identify and respond quickly to changes that might cause earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, or identify where faults are being disturbed by land subsidence or fracking.
Others are monitoring greenhouse gases and their impact on the global climate system. Satellite observations and computer models are improving our knowledge of how these gases are formed and where they are most likely to be found on our planet. JASMIN is enabling the scientists to very quickly calculate the amount of greenhouse gases being measured by satellites, leading to much better climate predictions.
Big data skills are crucial to the future of the UK's digital economy and JASMIN provides a platform to address all of the skills required - from computer modelling to sharing, managing and understanding the complexities of the data.
JASMIN is managed jointly by STFC's Scientific Computing Department and CEDA (Centre for Environmental Data Analysis), part of RAL Space. It is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).