by Byron Connolly

Feds to pump $70M into Perth’s supercomputers

Apr 30, 2018
Big DataEducation IndustryGovernment

The federal government will shell out $70 million to replace tech infrastructure at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth.

The money is being used to roll out a replacement for Pawsey’s supercomputers Magnus and Galaxy as both systems at close to the end of their operational lives, Pawsey said over the weekend. These computers are used to accelerate discoveries in medical science, engineering, geoscience, marine science, chemistry, food and agriculture.

Magnus, a Cray XC40, is claimed to be one of the most advanced supercomputers in the Southern Hemisphere. Galaxy is dedicated to the Australian Square Kilometre Array (SKA) pathfinder telescopes, Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA).

John Langoulant, chair of Pawsey, said the latest funding, together with last year’s investment in the National Computational Infrastructure in Canberra, will strengthen Australia’s position in the global research environment and enable Australia to stay globally competitive.

During this new phase, Pawsey staff will work with Australian researchers to identify their needs, which will inform the configuration of the next systems.

The procurement process for this latest infrastructure refresh will commence immediately with new infrastructure intended to be available from 2019, Pawsey said.

Pawsey currently serves more than 1,500 active researchers from across Australia, involved in more than 150 supercomputing projects. Nine Australian researchers centre benefit from the infrastructure.

This investment in Pawsey will have a positive impact on the research community, said Pawsey’s acting executive director, Ugo Varetto.

“The centre has already been accelerating scientific outcomes and will now be able to solve even bigger scientific problems,” Varetto said.

Magnus underwent its final upgrade in September 2014. The machine’s 35,000 cores, which use Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors, provide processing power in excess of a petaflop. It can complete one quadrillion floating point operations per second.

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