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Australia’s next supercomputer brings ten times more firepower to ANU

Lachlan Roberts 6 August 2019
supercomputer

Gadi is ten times faster than its predecessor. File photo. 

Step aside Raijin, there is a new supercomputer in town.

Australia is set to have a new supercomputer which will deliver a 10-fold increase in speed for Australian National University researchers thanks to a $70 million upgrade.

Australia’s current fastest supercomputer Raijin, which is also housed at ANU, began operating in 2013 but has been sliding down the global rankings in recent years.

The new supercomputer dubbed Gadi – which means “to search for” in Ngunnawal language – will replace current supercomputer Raijin and is scheduled to go live at ANU’s National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) in November.

The new supercomputer will be capable of transferring data at 200 gigabytes per second.

Fujitsu Australia, who supplied Raijin in 2012, has been awarded a contract to deliver the new supercomputer, with the Australian Government providing $70 million under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt believes the upgrade will power some of Australia’s most vital research.

“NCI plays a pivotal role in the national research landscape, and the supercomputer is the centrepiece of this important work,” Professor Schmidt said.

“Investing in Australia’s research is an investment in our future. The upgrade of this critical infrastructure will see Australia continue to play a leading role in addressing some of our greatest global challenges.

Gadi will give researchers the tools to unlock the mysteries of the universe, predict and manage natural disasters, advance cancer research and design new materials for future technologies.

“As the nature and complexity of the problems that need supercomputers have become even greater and more pressing, computational and data science has grown to meet the challenge.

“This new machine will keep Australian research and the 5,000 researchers who use it at the cutting edge. It will help us get smarter with our big data. It will add even more brawn to the considerable brains already tapping into NCI.”

Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand CEO Mike Foster said the supercomputer will utilise local expertise to provide an innovative computing platform.

“Fujitsu is proud to be part of this important initiative, which will play a vital role in the progress of science in Australia,” Mr Foster said.

“We look forward to renewing and further invigorating our long-standing relationship with ANU and NCI, which includes the commissioning of Raijin and also dates back as far as the 1980s with the commissioning of one of the University’s first supercomputers.”

Technical specs include:

  • Second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, codenamed “Cascade Lake” and V100 NVIDIA GPUs
  • Underlying storage sub-systems provided by enterprise-class storage arrays, linked together in a DDN Lustre parallel file system enabling the high-performance throughput needed for computing on big data challenges
  • Utilise both Fujitsu and Lenovo Neptune™ innovative direct liquid cooling technology with warm water, allowing for high-density computing
  • Optimise job scheduling and workload management with Altair’s PBS Works Suite software.

Original Article published by Lachlan Roberts on The RiotACT.

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