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Into the Storm: Lenovo PCs Power VORTEX2 Tornado Research Project

   
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – May 7, 2009: Lenovo today announced a partnership with the non-profit Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR) to power advanced levels in tornado and severe weather research. CSWR is bringing more than 50 Think-branded PCs into the eye of the storm as part of the $11.9 million VORTEX2 project - the largest and most ambitious tornado field research project of its kind. As the lead agency for the project, the CSWR team will use the Lenovo PCs to help track and store radar data, guide vehicles in the storm, provide weather briefings and analyze information for years to come. VORTEX2 begins May 8 in Norman, Oklahoma.

Research meteorologist Dr. Joshua Wurman, president of CSWR, coordinates radars and tornado pods from the Doppler on Wheels mobile radar, which he invented to advance the way tornadoes are researched. “This is without a doubt the largest tornado research project ever undertaken with the sheer number of participants, the breadth of organizations involved and the amount of equipment used. To pull off a project of this scale, we need rugged and reliable PC technology to collect, house and analyze every bit of data. A fleet of Lenovo PCs will help us see further inside the storm and to help bring some predictability to this natural phenomenon.”

VORTEX2 Tornado Research
Based in Boulder, Colo., the CSWR conducts ongoing research on tornadoes, hurricanes and severe weather. With VORTEX2, the team will work in the field in “tornado alley” for several weeks to study why some thunderstorms produce tornadoes while others do not. The efforts will help them better predict future tornadoes’ intensity, duration and path.

VORTEX2 includes a diversity of governmental, academic, non-profit and international organizations including the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. More than 100 scientists will participate in the field study, which will span 500,000 square miles across parts of seven states. They will use more than 40 specially designed vehicles and 70 pieces of weather equipment to get close to the eye of a storm.

Tracking Down Tornados with Technology

Lenovo PCs are at the heart of information operations for these storm chasers. Throughout the field study, Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, ThinkCentre desktops, ThinkVision monitors and IdeaPad netbooks will crunch millions of megabytes of data in the field. The crew will use a variety of Lenovo PCs including:

ThinkPad T400 laptops
– Used in the instrumented Probe and Disdrometer vehicles, these laptops play an important role in transferring data collected through the dozen weather pods that are placed in the path of a storm. These pods measure weather data, such as wind speed and temperature. The laptops also power diagnostic software used to test and monitor weather stations in the field.  

ThinkPad W500 laptops – Attached to the mounts inside the Probe and Disdrometer vehicles, the laptops run navigation, tracking and mapping software.

ThinkPad W700 laptops – These laptops are used for housing a variety of radar and mapping applications for analyzing and displaying graphically demanding data and video without being tied to a desk. The laptops are also being used for public presentations of preliminary science results as well as in the field for a first analysis of data.  

ThinkPad X200s laptops – For lightweight and portability, the team is using these laptops to conduct tornado damage assessments.

ThinkCentre M58p desktops – The newest Doppler on Wheels, DOW7, is a mobile radar and serves as a mission control. Inside the heart of the operations, a library stack of eight Lenovo desktops help crunch information from the Internet, navigate, translate and display radar data, and track the CSWR fleet to keep them safe but close to a hazardous environment. Each PC performs a different function focused on helping run the mobile radar and weather observatory and radar operations.

ThinkVision L2440x wide and L220x wide monitors – Housed in the DOW6, the high resolution monitors step up energy efficiency and video performance standards for the crew, helping them view the latest, up-to-date information. The monitors also are being used for weather briefings for the team of 100 scientists.

IdeaPad S10 netbooks
– Individual scientists are using the netbooks as a quick and convenient way to check Internet weather forecasts and email.

Click here to see photos of the Lenovo PCs being used in the CSWR vehicles.

“Lenovo Think-branded PCs have been put through military tests for reliability and durability, being used by customers with the highest requirements working in conditions like space or at the far reaches of the Earth in hot terrain or in freezing temperatures,” said Sam Dusi, vice president, Worldwide ThinkPad Product Marketing. “Going into the eye of the storm marks a first for our PCs, and we will be working with the Center for Severe Weather Research team to continually raise the bar on performance on our ultimate business tools.”

Follow Along for the Ride

Click here to see a video tour of some of the rigs and the technology being used. Additionally, members of the VORTEX2 project are updating their progress from the road live through Facebook and Twitter.  

About Lenovo
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is dedicated to building exceptionally engineered personal computers. Lenovo’s business model is built on innovation, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction as well as a focus on investment in emerging markets. Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services worldwide. Lenovo has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information see www.lenovo.com.

Links
Check out photos and video footage of lead scientist Josh Wurman and his team on the Lenovo YouTube Channel and Flickr page.
Get the latest storm chasing updates on Twitter by following @vortex2nssl and @LenovoSocial.
Join the Facebook group VORTEX2 for the latest photos and commentary.
Read first-hand accounts from Lenovo employees on the Lenovo Blogs as they travel through “tornado alley” with Josh and his team.
Subscribe to Lenovo’s RSS Feed.