WA shells out for supercomputer expertise

Summary:The Western Australian Government has announced $15.8 million in funding over four years for the state's Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Bentley, run by iVEC.

The Western Australian Government has announced $15.8 million in funding over four years for the state's Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Bentley, run by iVEC.

The supercomputer is to be the number-crunching backbone for Australia's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope, a global radio astronomy project. However, it also provides computing resources to multiple institutions conducting work in areas such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and informatics.

The funding announcement was made at the official launch of the first stage of the supercomputer project, the iVEC@Murdoch supercomputer — a 87.20 teraflop system using HP ProLiant Blade servers with 1600 Intel Xeon 5600 processors, totalling 9600 cores and 500 terabytes of high-performance storage, connected via 4x infiniband.

The centre had received $80 million in funding from the Federal Government in 2009.

According to state Science and Innovation Minister John Day, the additional money will be used to help "attract supercomputing expertise to the state".

"I am pleased to announce that the Western Australian Government has allocated a further $15.8 million over four years to fund the highly skilled workforce required to operate the infrastructure at iVEC's Pawsey Centre," he said in a statement.

"iVEC@Murdoch, the first of three supercomputers forming the Pawsey Centre Project which is managed by iVEC, will provide an immediate boost to the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder project and further strengthen Australia's bid to host the SKA."

When completed, the combined resources are expected to form one of the top 20 supercomputing facilities in the world. iVEC@Murdoch already reached number 87 last year.

Topics: Government, Emerging Tech, Government : AU, Hardware, IT Employment, Servers

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Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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