The value of the supercomputer purchase represents $33m of the $80m Australian Government SuperScience initiative to establish the Pawsey Centre. Two smaller supercomputing systems have already been established at Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia and the construction of the data centre to house the new petascale supercomputer is already underway at the Australian Resources Research Centre (AARC) in Kensington, WA.
The installation of the supercomputer will occur in two phases scheduled for June 2013 and June 2014.
The Pawsey Centre supercomputer will be a Cray Cascade system with partitions for multi-purpose research and real-time processing of radio astronomy data. In 2013 it will have a combined performance of 0.3 petaflops, or 300 trillion 14 digit numerical calculations per second. In 2014 this will be expanded to more than 1.2 petaflops, using a combination of Intel Ivy Bridge, Haswell and MIC processors, although the precise configuration is still to be determined.
iVEC and the CSIRO will manage the installation of the systems which are being supplied by vendors including Cray and SGI. The networking component of the procurement consists of Palo Alto firewalls to be provided by o2 Networks and Cisco switches and routers to be supplied by Perth-based L7, an Amcom Company.
Paul Nicholls, Acting iVEC Executive Director, said: “This purchase represents a remarkable investment in the future of Australian research. Using the power of this petascale supercomputer and the expertise of iVEC’s staff, scientists will be able to explore new paradigms of research that were previously unavailable.
“From the far reaches of space to the depths of the Earth, the Pawsey Centre will open new vistas of knowledge to increase Australia’s profile as an international leader in innovation.
“iVEC would like to acknowledge the strong support of its joint venture partners and especially the Western Australian government which has committed approximately $20m over the period 2011-2016 to support iVEC operations.”
iVEC is an unincorporated joint venture of CSIRO and the four public WA universities; Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and The University of Western Australia. It was established in 2001 to foster and promote scientific and technological innovation through the provision of supercomputing and eResearch services to the research community, commercial organisations and government agencies. In 2009, iVEC was charged with establishing and operating the $80 million Pawsey Centre by the Australian government. iVEC has a 5 year agreement with the WA State Government to fund staff to manage the Pawsey infrastructure and provide uptake services for the user community.
About the Pawsey Centre:
The Pawsey Centre (named after Dr Joseph Pawsey, an Australian pioneer in the field of radio astronomy) was officially launched by Senator Kim Carr, Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research on 27 August 2009. The Centre is located adjoining CSIRO’s Australian Resources Research Centre in the Technology Park, Kensington, Western Australia. As a supercomputing facility, it is expected to be amongst the leading echelon of supercomputers in the world at the time of its final commissioning. The Pawsey Centre is owned by the CSIRO and managed by iVEC.