The Swinburne University of Technology has handed Dell EMC a $4 million deal to build a supercomputer to underpin its research into astrophysics and gravitational waves.
The deal sees the Melbourne-based university replace technology by SGI with Dell EMC.
The Dell EMC supercomputer will be the primary computational engine for the new $31.3 million ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), led by Swinburne University of Technology, to understand the physics of black holes and warped space-time.
It aims to process large volumes of data coming from giant telescopes, searching for insights that could unlock answers about the universe.
Named the OzSTAR supercomputer, it will feature the new Dell EMC 14th Generation PowerEdge Servers, Dell EMC H-Series Networking Fabric and Dell EMC HPC Storage with Intel Lustre filesystem.
Specifically, the Dell EMC PowerEdge R740 compute and data-crunching nodes contain Intel ‘Skylake’ Xeon processors and NVIDIA Tesla P100s.
The system is designed to deliver processing speeds in excess of one petaflop.
According to the Swinburne University of Technology centre for astrophysics and supercomputing professor, Jarrod Hurley, the deal branches off the existing relationship both organisations forged since 2001.
He also said that it selected Dell EMC technology for the supercomputer as it needed a system that will be used to sift through reams of data from Advanced LIGO, the observatory that first detected gravitational waves, to search for new examples of merger, explosions and data on nearby neutron stars.
“The supercomputer will also serve our other astronomers both at Swinburne and nationally who calculate theoretical models and crunch data,” he said.
The supercomputer is also expected to incorporate the GPU Supercomputer for Theoretical Astrophysics Research (gSTAR), operating as a national facility for the astronomy community funded under the federal National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (NCRIS) in cooperation with Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL).
In addition, it will underpin the research goals of Swinburne staff and students across multiple disciplines, including molecular dynamics, nanophotonics, advanced chemistry and atomic optics.
“This machine will be a tremendous boost to our brand-new field of science and will be used by astrophysicists at our partner nodes as well as internationally,” Swinburne University of Technology director of OzGrav, professor Matthew Bailes, added.
“The Dell EMC supercomputer will allow us to capture, visualise and process the data to make those discoveries.”
Dell EMC A/NZ compute and networking vice-president and general manager, Chris Kelly, said the OzSTAR replaces the machines that have served Swinburne for the last decade and seeks to further reduce Swinburne’s carbon footprint.
“With this new supercomputer, Swinburne and OzGrav will be able to embark on a new era of astronomy that could unlock answers to questions mankind has pondered for centuries," he said.
"It’s an incredibly exciting time for astronomical research and we at Dell EMC are proud to power the discoveries of tomorrow.”
Kelly also confirmed that the deal was direct, and done without the involvement of a channel partner, at the request of the customer.
“We certainly do work with many partners on many instances but for this one, it was direct at the request of Swinburne University of Technology and the relationship that existed there," he added. "That’s why we went down that path and was the best route for this instance."
The Dell EMC supercomputer is expected to take four weeks to install and be operational before the end of September.
Dell EMC was also most recently revealed as the technology partner tasked with building the Australian national science agency’s new $4 million supercomputer system, which went live in early July and won a $24.2 million hosting contract from the Federal Government’s Department of Human Services (DHS).
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