iVEC to build second Pawsey supercomputing site

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iVEC to build second Pawsey supercomputing site

Welcomes early adopters of first site, seeks tenderers for second.

Supercomputing group iVEC has kicked off Stage 1B of its Pawsey Centre build, inviting industry representatives to participate in a briefing this week.

The Government-backed organisation sought vendors to expand its 87.2-TeraFLOP cluster, and planned to issue a request for tender on 17 January 2011 as per CSIRO procurement guidelines.

Stage 1B would be hosted at the University of Western Australia and connect to Stage 1A - a $5 million HP POD deployment at Murdoch University - via a 10Gb Ethernet connection.

Last month, Stage 1A was ranked 87th on the Top500 supercomputer list, despite representing only one-fifteenth of the computing power that the $80 million Pawsey Centre would eventually provide.

iVEC spokesman David Satterthwaite said the centre would be the "sum of its parts", referring to Stages 1A, 1B, and 2.

The final stage would be established in a purpose-built facility next to the CSIRO's Australian Resources Research Centre in Kensington by 2013.

Although Stage 1A featured HP Blade servers and 500TB of HP storage, the Pawsey Centre was "definitely not an HP-only project", and different vendors would be considered alongside HP for the next stages, Satterthwaite said.

Meanwhile, the Murdoch University deployment was undergoing diagnostics and performance tests to prepare it for use by early adopters at the end of this month.

Those early adopters had been chosen from users of iVEC's current West Australian supercomputing facilities. They tended to be large projects that would use the additional computing power to open new avenues for research.

Satterthwaite said Pawsey facilities would be provided for free to all West Australian academic researchers on a merit allocation basis.

He said iVEC was also in discussions with its legal team about providing computing power to the private sector, although it was not likely to be able to support direct commercial outcomes due to anti-competitive concerns.

Edited on 8 April 2011: The headline initially indicated that CSIRO was to build Pawsey. iVEC comprises the CSIRO, University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University.

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