A collaboration between Boise State University and technical staff at Idaho Power Company on Boise State’s newest computing cluster, R2, quickly processes big data and enhances both partners’ ability to forecast weather and water supply.
Idaho Power’s Atmospheric Sciences group’s access to R2 allows them to use sophisticated models to forecast weather and water supply throughout the interior Pacific Northwest region.
Idaho Power is a national leader in its utilization of hydropower as compared to other sources of energy. As such, the company’s ability to accurately predict how much precipitation falls in Idaho’s mountains and when that water ultimately arrives at Idaho Power’s turbines is extremely important.
Boise State’s Lab for Ecohydrology and Alternative Futuring (LEAF), led by professor Lejo Flores in geosciences, uses these same models to advance scientific understanding of how water is distributed in Idaho in space and time, and how that “water budget” is affected by factors like climate variation and change, as well as land cover and land use change.
“It really provides us an opportunity to ensure that our research is quickly translated into knowledge and information that can help the operations of one of Idaho’s largest and most important companies,” Flores said. “It also gives our student-researchers a chance to understand how their knowledge and skills are important outside of academia and can impact the private sector.”