Music to the ears of us Brits...IBM has won a contract to build the world's most powerful weather forecasting supercomputer, dubbed Blue Storm, to boost European medium-range weather forecasting. The computer, based on multiple, clustered p690 Unix servers, will give meteorologists more accurate advanced warning of severe weather anywhere on the globe. It will be used by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the body in charge of weather forecasting for Europe, providing information upon which all the national European Met Offices base their predictions. Five times more powerful than the ECMWF's current computer, it will compute using highly sophisticated numerical models of the world's atmosphere to predict the likelihood of different weather patterns. Users will access the system using Linux workstations. IBM said the computer would take one second to complete the number of calculation a human could manage in 17 million years with a pocket calculator. Blue Storm will contain 1.5 petabytes of data by 2004 - equal to the storage capacity of 75,000 average desktop PCs. Big Blue would not be drawn on the likelihood of a White Christmas.