Episode #15: Charles Ewen, Director of Technology & CIO at the Met Office

Podcast Details

Series 2 of the One Zero One podcast continues with a (remote) discussion with Charles Ewen, Director of Technology & CIO at the Met Office. The Meteorological Office, abbreviated as the Met Office is the United Kingdom’s national weather service, an organisation that has been supporting the British public since 1854. The Met Office makes meteorological predictions across all timescales from weather forecasts to climate change.

As CIO, Charles Ewen is accountable for all aspects of technology within the Met Office and manages a dedicated engineering team of 350+ people. In a remote interview with our host Peter Gothard, Charles shared with our listeners the relationship between what the Met Office does and the high-performance computing (HPC) estate running at the organisation.

Kicking off with the connection between the Met Office and the world’s first general-purpose Turing-complete computer ENIAC and moving on to the relationship between what the Met Office does today and the long complex chain of technology that the general public would simply view as a ‘weather forecast’, Charles excellently describes the scale and complexity of what they do today.

From utilising the world’s top supercomputers to leveraging the capabilities of the Public Cloud, the Met Office technology platform uses operational predictions and simulations to derive over 4 million discrete forecast products every day and distribute them to a wide range of expert users and systems as well as delivering the UK Public Weather Service.

Download or stream this episode for an excellent deep dive on the technology of the Met Office and to gain advice and insights from Charles Ewen, a CIO with progressive beliefs around technology, innovation, diversity, people and processes.

My advice for CIOs and organisations is to recognise the dynamics of technology changes. Technology changes exponentially. You can't fight that. Rethink your expectations, and your openness to new ideas, developments and technology innovations, and don't beat yourself up at the fact that your two-year plan becomes very dated very quickly. Stay focused on the outcomes. I think it's all too easy as a technologist to become embroiled in the details of the delivery of that outcome; the particular stack or flavour of technology and increasingly, there are no right or wrong answers. The context of the organisation is absolutely everything and it's a journey. All people and all organisations are at different points of that journey, and I get frustrated with articles or analysis that say 'here is the right answer' ubiquitously, as that can't possibly be true.
- Charles Ewen, Director of Technology & CIO, The Met Office

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