Supercomputer ushers in new era of Australian research

Supercomputer ushers in new era of Australian research

Pawsey Supercomputing Centre installs most powerful supercomputer in the southern hemisphere

The most powerful supercomputer in the southern hemisphere is ushering in a new era of Australian research.

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre’s Petascale Pioneers program is bringing the world’s best researchers to Australia, using ‘Magnus’, the most advanced scientific supercomputer in the Southern Hemisphere.

In September, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre installed the final stage upgrade for Magnus, ushering in a new era of Australian research.

The upgrade saw Magnus break the PetaFLOP (one quadrillion floating point operations per second) barrier.

The Centre has awarded almost 90 million CPU-hours for pioneering research projects to use the petascale supercomputer Magnus from September to December 2014.

These projects are able to take advantage of the world-class capabilities of Magnus, an eight-cabinet Cray XC30 machine with over 35,000 cores using Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors and 95 TB of memory.

In one second, Magnus is able to perform more calculations than the entire population of Australia could in 21 years.

The installation of this world-class technology meant demand for the program was exceptionally high.

Supercomputing specialist, Rebecca Hartman-Baker, said the centre had nearly three times the requests for time than it could accommodate.

The projects chosen under the program span priority areas of research from geo science to astrophysics, chemistry and bioinformatics.

These elite research projects, dubbed Petascale Pioneers, were accepted based on their ability to take advantage of the state-of-the-art technologies provided by the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and Magnus.

In particular, projects were chosen for grand-challenge scientific problems that would be impossible without the immense processing power of petascale supercomputing.

Fourteen projects were selected as petascale pioneers, and three additional projects that were more experimental in nature were added as pioneering director’s share projects.

The projects are led by teams of Australia, international and Western Australian researchers.

Three quarters of the WA researchers in the program are collaborating internationally.

Pawsey supercomputing executive director, Neil Stringfellow, said Australian researchers now had to access a world-class supercomputer in Perth.

“In addition, we are pleased to enable collaborative research projects between local and international researchers.”

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Tags Pawsey Supercomputing CentreSupercomputing specialistRebecca Hartman-BakerMagnus

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