Thursday, 19 March 2009 07:02

Southern hemisphere's largest HPCs coming to Australia

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Australian weather forecasters are set to get a supercomputer 12 times as powerful as their existing system. More than 2500 Nehalem-based Sun Blades will be installed in Canberra and Melbourne.

Sun has been selected to supply the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and the Australian National University (ANU) with a pair of HPC Constellation systems running open source software.

The BoM system will comprise at least 1000 blades. It will be the the first major weather forecasting site in the world to implement an open source software stack.

"It's a move away from where we've traditionally been operating and we believe the Sun infrastructure will benefit our operational systems, as well as our research and development users," said BoM CIO Phil Tannenbaum.

"We anticipated moving to Open Source Supercomputing for the next generation, and are pleased to have the opportunity to adopt it in 2009."

The ANU Constellation will have more than 1500 blades, which should make it one of the world's top 30 HPC systems. It will be used for research in climate change, earth science and other areas.

Ben Evans, head of the ANU supercomputing facility, said the new system "has excellent expansion capability to meet Australia's rapidly emerging needs, particularly as we implement the next generation of high resolution climate models that further our understanding of this complex natural system."

The systems will also be used by the CSIRO and other Australian universities to run the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator.

The $A30 million purchase is funded by the Commonwealth National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, ANU and CSIRO.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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