Photos: UWA installs Fornax supercomputer

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Photos: UWA installs Fornax supercomputer
iVEC computer support officer Khanh Ly takes stock of the new equipment. Credit: iVEC

Prepares to launch second Pawsey machine in March.

Supercomputing group iVEC has installed the second machine in its $80 million, Government-funded Pawsey Centre project.

The hybrid-GPU cluster, dubbed Fornax, was delivered to the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Physics building on Monday morning and installed during the week.

IVEC, which comprises UWA, CSIRO, Murdoch University, Curtin University and the Edith Cowan University, expects the $4 million machine to be ready for use in March.

Fornax is ‘Stage 1B’ of the Pawsey Centre project, which delivered a $5 million, 87.2-TeraFLOP computer called Epic@Murdoch in ‘Stage 1A’ last June.

Epic is an HP Linux cluster, comprising 1600 six-core Intel Xeon CPUs and 500 terabytes of storage in an HP POD.

Fornax was procured from SGI and comprises 96 nodes, each containing two six-core Intel Xeon CPUs, an Nvidia Tesla GPU, 48 GB RAM and seven terabytes of local disk space.

Fornax nodes are connected to each other and to a 500-terabyte global file system through two separate InfiniBand networks.

IVEC stated last year that Fornax’s combination of GPUs and fast local disk would be particularly well-suited to data-intensive computations in radioastronomy and the geosciences.

The three-stage Pawsey Centre project was intended to support the Australian SKA Pathfinder radio telescope, Australia’s precursor to the international, 1.5-billion-Euro Square Kilometre Array project.

For the final stage – Stage 2 – of project, iVEC has called for applications from the industry to supply and install a petascale supercomputer in a custom-built facility in Kensington, Western Australia.

The request for proposals closed yesterday. iVEC expects to sign a final contract in April this year and deliver the full petascale machine in April 2014.

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