ANU launches Australia's largest supercomputer

A $26 million supercomputer capable of completing 170,000 calculations for every human on the Earth every second was unveiled on Wednesday at the Australian National University (ANU).

The 1.2 petaflop Fujitsu PRIMERGY cluster at the ANU’s National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) performance computing centre has been in production since mid-June after several months of performance testing.

The NCI is funded through a $50 million co-investment from the ANU, Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, and other research-intensive universities supported by the Australian Research Council.

The centre was opened by Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. He was joined by ANU vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young; Bureau of Meteorology CEO Dr Rob Vertessy; director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Professor Andy Pitman, and CEO of Geoscience Australia, Dr Chris Pigram.

Around 30 per cent of the processing power of this machine – named Raijin after the Japanese god of thunder, lightning and storms – is being used for calculations in the area of Earth system science.

“When the Bureau of Meteorology ramps up to full steam, the use in this area will go to around 50 per cent, which is what it was always intended to do,” Professor Lindsay Botten, director of the NCU told, CIO Australia on Wednesday morning.

“The rest is used [in the areas of] physical sciences, advanced materials, the biosciences, in particular in modelling molecular dynamics – a whole range of uses.”

Associate Professor Andy Hogg from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences discusses how the supercomputer is used in the area of Earth system science