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Thursday, 14 November 2019 10:55

Pawsey Supercomputing Centre looks to buy new wares Featured

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Western Australia. The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Western Australia. Supplied

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has invited tenders for a new system to replace its existing Magnus and Galaxy supercomputers. Worth $70 million, the new machines will be funded by an Australian Government grant.

Pawsey is a joint venture of CSIRO, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia. It provides services in supercomputing, data management and analysis, and visualisation.

Magnus, a Cray XC40 supercomputer, uses a massively parallel architecture consisting of 1488 individual nodes that are connected by a high-speed network while Galaxy, a Cray XC30 supercomputer, is currently a dedicated system for the radio astronomy community.

Galaxy supports Australia’s two Square Kilometre Array precursor instruments, the ASKAP and MWA radio telescopes, both located at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in remote WA.

Pawsey executive director Mark Stickells said the upgrade would deliver a big increase in computing power and speed.


“Once complete, the Pawsey upgrade will further support Australian researchers to accelerate scientific discovery, enable high-impact research for the benefit of society, and remain globally competitive," he said.

“Our aim is to provide more powerful supercomputing resources for Australian researchers, and to also improve access and efficiency for our users."

David Schibeci, the technical manager for the capital refresh project, said: "The successful vendor or vendors must provide an integrated and diverse range of services where users can seamlessly move their data as required, enabling researchers to upscale their ambitions and work more efficiently in their science.

Delivery is expected to occur in two phases. The first will provide researchers with a system that is at least equivalent in capacity to what they are currently using, with the latest generation of processors and increased memory per node.


During this phase, researchers with an active allocation on Magnus will transition to the new system. Phase one is due to be commissioned in mid-2021.

The second phase is expected to be in production by mid-2022. It will provide an exponential expansion in capacity and state-of-the-art technology.

The tender closes at 2pm on 11 February 2020.

Photos: Courtesy Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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