Earth System Models
Neil Edwards in Earth Sciences uses and develops simplified Earth System Models to study the interactions of climate change and economics, the origins of ice-age cycles, and mass-extinction events through the Phanerozoic.
The thorough analysis of model error is absolutely essential for the credibility of this work, and requires large ensembles of order 1000 simulations to produce reliable statistics. This research therefore relies on having regularly upgraded machines, so that processor speed allows the longest integrations, and a large cluster of computing nodes, to investigate large-dimensional parameter spaces.
Competitor institutions (e.g. Bristol, Exeter, Notts, Hamburg to name just four) have recently invested in new ~1000-processor clusters, thus to remain at the cutting edge in this field requires significant, sustained investment in procuring, upgrading and managing a large-scale cluster.