Professor David Beanland, chair of the APAC board, said they expect the agreement to provide "a huge boost to Australia's research infrastructure and to the uptake of eResearch in Australia".
"It will substantially increase Australia's world standing in advanced computing and grid capabilities," he said.
Under the agreement, SGI will install an Altix 3700 Bx2 system with a total of 1,680 Intel Itanium 2 processors in the APAC National Facility located at the Australian National University in Canberra. This system will deliver a ten-fold increase in computing capacity for the APAC National Facility.
Professor John O'Callaghan, executive director of APAC, said that the SGI supercomputer will provide Australia with world-leading computing environment assisting over 600 Australian researchers to make new discoveries in areas such as the environment, bioinformatics, astronomy, chemistry and high-energy physics. It will allow researchers to address computational challenges not yet possible in Australia.
Some of these challenges will include modelling the sea-ice interaction in Antarctica as part of the component to understand climate change; visualising hypersonic astrophysical shocks that underlie the origin of galaxies; predicting three-dimensional fluid flow to develop novel bioreactors in the fight against terrorism; and modelling the performance of light alloys and material composites to boost innovation in car design and performance.
The agreement will strengthen the national facility through staff exchanges, specialist support from SGI and Intel as well as a fund for cooperative projects between APAC and SGI.