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Supercomputing Challenge


Team: 95


Area of Science: Meteorology

Interim: Problem Definition:

Hurricanes have threatened costs over and over again. We plan to make a system of satellites to help collect data against hurricanes, called N.E.R.D.S. or Near Earth Rader Satellites. These satellites will be able to calculate water content, temperature, and wind speeds of the hurricanes. We are trying to find the best plot for these satellites so that they can find the most effective plot for the least amount of money. We will be using STK to find create several different plots in which we can gather the most amounts of data. We can then use that data in C++ .We can then send this information to weather organizations, and allow them to make more accurate predictions concerning hurricanes.

The problem with hurricane prediction is unpredictability. As we watch a satellite’s progression, we can give an estimated guess as to where the satellite’s headed. However, the weather can change almost instantly, wind direction, temperature, humidity, and many other variables. This makes it extremely difficult to predict because hurricanes are sensitive to extreme weather changes. If the wind changes quickly, the hurricane may turn more northward from its predicted west-northwestern direction. Too, hurricanes change increase in intensity (measured by category 1 to 5) with an increase in water temperature. However, we can issue a broad-spectrum alert to probable location in the hurricane’s path.

Problem Solution:

So far we have worked with STK and programmed a simple form of what we wish to do. This simple program shows a satellite and a mock hurricane. We’ve also began work on a C++ that will be able to calculate how far a satellite can see over the Earths surface due to it’s altitude above the Earth. Later on we wish to write a program that will be able to program a hurricane, and see how effective our satellites will be.

Another situation we face is financial expenditure. Satellites and their sensors are extremely expensive, a decent satellite costing an estimated $15 million. We cannot simply throw satellites into orbit and move them wherever we want. They have a limited fuel capacity and weight capacity. Time must be taken before launch to run simulations like we are running to reduce cost and increase efficiency. We also have to get the orbit of the satellites programmed to the minute to keep the satellites on target and in the air. Satellite programmers take years to run simulations on potential satellites NASA might launch.

Expected Results:

Our objective in this experiment is to be able to accurately predict hurricane destinations, content, and magnitude. This data will be extremely helpful in forecasting hurricanes due to their sometimes unpredictable nature. Our data will be taken from the National Hurricane center and put into a STK simulation, programmed by C++. We hope to gain valuable information in predicting these hurricanes. Our program will help create satellites and plot their course around the world and their coverage ability. Coverage with the least amount of satellites is essential because covering a large are with a small amount will reduce the expense factor essential to keep our budget reasonable.

Team Members:

  Vivek Prinja
  Alessandra Anderson
  Kaitlyn Hughes
  Matthew Scharmer

Sponsoring Teacher: Neil McBeth

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