ANU, Fujitsu build petascale supercomputer

ANU, Fujitsu build petascale supercomputer

Summary: The Australian National University (ANU) has brought on Fujitsu to help build a petascale-performance supercomputer that will be shared by Australian researchers.

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The Australian National University (ANU) has brought on Fujitsu to help build a petascale-performance supercomputer that will be shared by Australian researchers.

The supercomputer will be installed within the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) facility, which provides services to the Australian research community, and is due to come online by January next year.

Once up and running, Fujitsu says that it will have the equivalent processing power of 56,000 computers and the disk storage of 20,000. More specifically, this translates to 1.2 petaflops (1.2 x 1015 floating point operations per second) and 12 petabytes of storage.

"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," ANU vice-chancellor professor Ian Young said

The supercomputer will use Fujitsu's Primergy X-86 high performance computing technology, created from clusters of Intel Xeon E5 CPUs. Once complete, it will be the largest x86 high performance computing installation in the southern hemisphere.

The project is being funded from a $50 million grant that came out of the Federal Budget in 2009 under the government's Super Science initiative. This line of funding was made possible, following a 2008 report that strongly argued for the upgrade of national computing infrastructure. At the time, the supercomputer was estimated to cost $30 million. NCI had expected the facility to be operational late 2011 or early 2012, however, ANU went to market for the supercomputer in July last year.

Fujitsu had help with its winning bid: US company APC will provide power and cooling; Brocade and Xenon/Mellanox will provide the supercomputer's InfiniBand switching; Data Direct Network will cover storage requirements; and Intel will provide the chipset technology.

"This win confirms Fujitsu's ability to leverage its global resources to complement its strong capability in cloud services, application development and managed services at a local level. We are proud to be able to assist the ANU and NCI in playing its vital role as one of the leaders in Australian research," Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand CEO Mike Foster said.

The NCI is also undergoing changes of its own. The facility, which is co-supported by the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia, will have a new datacentre to work alongside the supercomputer. In 2009, it was expected to take up $20 million of the government's $50 million grant. It is also expected to be completed in September this year.

Topics: Storage, Emerging Tech, Hardware

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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