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Australia’s most powerful computer unveiled

The Australian National University has installed the most powerful supercomputer in Australia, a 1.2 Petaflop Fujitsu PRIMERGY cluster.

It is housed in National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) high performance computing centre at ANU. It has a name – Raijin, the Japanese god of thunder and rain. It is the one of largest Intel x86 HPC (high performance computing) installations in the world, and the largest Fujitsu PRIMERGY deployment worldwide.

Raijin will provide high-end computational services to the Australian research community. Its speed of 1.2 PetaFlops (1.2 million billion (floating point operations per second) comes from 56,000 x86 processors working in parallel, but working much faster. It can perform the same number of calculations in one hour that every one of the 7 billion humans on Earth, armed with calculators, could perform in 20 years – 70,000 calculations per second, per person on Earth.

You can see a fascinating timelapse of it being installed on YouTube.

The NCI is supported by a $50 million grant under the Australian Government’s Super Science Initiative. Raijin’s speed is taking the Australia’s research capacity to new levels with Commonwealth agencies such as the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia to run complex weather and climate modelling, and research in computational chemistry, particle physics, astronomy, material science, microbiology, nanotechnology and photonics.

Professor Lindsay Botten, Director of the NCI, said: “Advanced computational methods form an increasingly essential component of high-impact research, in many cases underpinning discoveries that cannot be achieved by other means, as well as the platform with which to sustain innovation at an internationally competitive level. NCI welcomes the opportunity to continue to build a substantive collaborative relationship with Fujitsu, the peak system vendor, with a focus particularly on the optimisation of Australia’s primary modelling suite.”

Mike Foster, Chief Executive Officer of Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand, said: “We are proud to have delivered Australia’s most powerful computer to the NCI and now look forward to seeing Raijin underpin the NCI’s role in facilitating breakthrough research in Australia and internationally.”

Raijin at a glance:

  • Fujitsu’s PRIMERGY x86 HPC technology is based on commodity hardware, which delivers improved price/performance; access to a greater range of ISV applications; and simplified the migration process from existing x86 applications.
  • Processor cores: 57,472 (Intel Xeon Sandy Bridge, 2.6 GHz).
  • Main Memory: 160 Tbytes.
  • Disk Storage: 10 PBytes.
  • Peak Performance: 1195 TFlops.
  • Available Resource: 503M core hours per annum.
  • Peak performance speeds of 1.2 PetaFlops – 1,200,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second.
  • The installation of Raijin was undertaken by Fujitsu’s combined supercomputing expertise from Australia and Japan with support from Fujitsu Australia engineering teams and project partners.


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.