Home Business IT Technology Intersect selects $1m 33 Tflop supercomputer
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NSW based e-research organisation Intersect is about to retire a four year old SGI supercomputer and replace it with a brand new model offering 20-30 times more grunt.

The high performance computer, which researchers at universities and institutes in NSW will be able to bid to use, was selected following a tender which attracted seven organisations according to Ian Gibson, Intersect CEO. Dr Gibson declined to name the rival bidders but said SGI was again successful and will install the high performance computing cluster in September.

Nick Gorga, general manager, SGI Australia and New Zealand said that the upgrade path from the old cluster to the new system would accelerate research outcomes for Intersect’s users.

According to Dr Gibson demand for high performance computing within Intersect’s membership is roughly doubling each year. To secure access to the facility researchers each year must submit a proposal which is reviewed by a merit committee formed of senior academics who rate the proposals’ research merit.

Those that pass muster are allocated a slot in Intersect’s high performance computer schedule.

The new research infrastructure is funded through the Australian Research Council's Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LEIF) scheme. The University of Sydney led the project to select the new high performance cluster which also secured additional investment from the University of Sydney, UNSW, UTS, Macquarie University, the University of Newcastle, the University of Wollongong, Southern Cross University and the University of New England.

The new system features 100 cluster nodes with 1600 cores powered by the Intel Xeon E5-2600 chips. It also includes 101 Tbyte of usable shared storage delivering 33.3 TFlops.

In June Intersect was named as one of five nodes of the $50 million Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) project which is intended to transform the way in which research data collections are stored and accessed in Australia. By 2014 the RDSI is tipped to be able to offer researchers up to 100 petabytes of data collections.

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Beverley Head

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Beverley Head is a Sydney-based freelance writer who specialises in exploring how and why technology changes everything - society, business, government, education, health. Beverley started writing about the business of technology in London in 1983 before moving to Australia in 1986. She was the technology editor of the Financial Review for almost a decade, and then became the newspaper's features editor before embarking on a freelance career, during which time she has written on a broad array of technology related topics for the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, Boss, BRW, Banking Day, Campus Review, Education Review, Insite and Government Technology Review. Beverley holds a degree in Metallurgy and the Science of Materials from Oxford University and a deep affection for things which are shaken not stirred.

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