GPUs boost MASSIVE Melbourne supercomputers

 

Advanced imaging facilities to open in March.

Victorian scientists will have access to almost 150TFLOPS of computing grunt this year, with the launch of two GPU-based supercomputers at the Australian Synchrotron and Monash University.

The machines will be launched on 10 March to form the so-called Multi-modal Australian ScienceS Imagine and Visualisation Environment (MASSIVE).

The MASSIVE project was formally established last May to improve how scientists visualise and manipulate data for various subjects including biomedicine, astronomy and climate studies.

It was expected to cost $8.2 million over three years, with funds going towards the hardware purchases, power and water, specialist software, specialist expertise, training and outreach.

MASSIVE will comprise a total of 1008 CPU cores and 168 GPUs on launch, with each machine delivering a theoretical peak of 49TFLOPS.

Technology provider IBM has agreed to deploy its iDataplex dx360 M3 server clusters for both MASSIVE1 at the Synchotron, MASSIVE2 at Monash.

Each cluster will contain 42 Intel servers and 84 NVIDIA GPUs.

According to the company's strategic initiatives executive Wayne Goss, both supercomputers are likely to rank on the TOP500 list of supercomputers in June 2011.

A planned upgrade in late 2011 will then double the performance of MASSIVE2 to 98TFLOPS.

Wojtek Goscinski of the Monash e-Research Centre expected MASSIVE to facilitate the "near real-time" processing of high resolution data from instruments like the Synchrotron's Imaging and Medical Beamline.

The MASSIVE project was supported by a $800,000 grant from the Victorian Government, $1.45 million grant from the Victorian Department of Industry Innovation and Regional Development, and $1.2 million from the National Computational Initiative.

Monash, CSIRO, the Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing (VPAC) and the Synchrotron were also jointly contributing $4.8 million to the venture over three years.

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