America's Cup racing in San Francisco Bay will electrify unprecedented numbers of spectators, but that storied locale's complex matrix of tides, winds, and current will also test teams' abilities to get the most from their boats. For ORACLE TEAM USA, technology is vital to solving this meteorological puzzle.
"The ability to get accurate readings about physical factors such as tides, currents, wind, and weather is much more important this time given the venue," says Asim Khan, performance database programmer and director of IT for ORACLE TEAM USA. "It requires a lot more effort to know what's going on, and if we don't measure accurately, it will affect boat performance."
Oracle Exadata Database Machine uses the latest Intel® Xeon E5 and E7 families of processors. Extensive coengineering, testing, and validation by Oracle and Intel have yielded an optimal balance between processor, memory, and I/O resources to deliver extreme performance for demanding OLTP and data warehouse applications—and that's exactly the type of extreme performance ORACLE TEAM USA demands.
Khan pulls weather and tide data from publicly available sources such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration into Oracle Database and adds information from the team's meteorologist, who has created locale-specific models based on the sensor-derived historical data stored on the team's Oracle Exadata Database Machine. From that, Khan builds grib files—matricies of wind, tide, current, and weather data—and sends them to the performance team via a 4G connection. The team uses the data to calculate the most efficient path to navigate a course, as well as to measure the predictive data's accuracy by comparing it to real-world conditions.
"When the guys say, ‘Hey, what's the wind blowing like on the south bay, it's getting too windy on the main bay,' or vice versa, we have a lot of this data, plus we can access the database back on shore to actually give them information on what's happened over the last few hours," says Ian "Fresh" Burns, design team coordinator.