ANU to house $100m supercomputer

One of the world's most powerful supercomputers will be built at the Australian National University

The Australian National University (ANU) will be home to the most powerful supercomputer in the Australian research community.

The $100 million supercomputer will be used for data-intensive research on climate change, earth sciences and national water management and will help to fast-track advances in computational research techniques.

The project is a partnership involving some of the powerhouses of the research community, including the ANU, CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, other universities and the Australian government, with the supercomputer to receive half its funding from the Australian government’s $901 million Super Science Initiative.

“The new supercomputer will provide Australia with a much needed capability to meet national challenges. It will take Australia’s research to new levels in areas such as weather and climate modelling, computational chemistry, particle physics, astronomy, material science, microbiology, nanotechnology and photonics,” said Ian Young, ANU vice-chancellor, in a statement.

The supercomputer will be capable of 1.2 petaflops and have a 12 petabyte storage capacity. This will give it the processing power of 56,000 standard desktop PCs running in parallel, and the equivalent of 20,000 PCs in terms of disk storage.

It will be built by Fujitsu and utilise its PRIMEHPC FX10 supercomputer.

“Fujitsu elected to bid its Fujitsu PRIMERGY X-86 High Performance Computing (HPC) technology in order to meet the ANU’s stringent performance, efficiency, and benchmarking requirements and to support the continued use of software codes developed for the X-86 platform,” the company said in a statement.

Fujitsu’s HPC design is based on commodity hardware and comprises an X-86 cluster using Intel Xeon E5 CPUs.

The ANU supercomputer will be the largest X-86 HPC installation in the southern hemisphere.

Work on the supercomputer has commenced and it is scheduled to be operational in early January 2013.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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