Monash Uni launches MASSIVE-3 supercomputer

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Monash Uni launches MASSIVE-3 supercomputer
Chief Scientist Alan Finkel at the launch event.

Extra computing firepower will help biomedical research.

Monash University has boosted its research infrastructure with a third GPU-based supercomputer dubbed MASSIVE-3. 

MASSIVE-3 includes 1700 Intel Haswell CPU cores and 50 Nvidia Tesla K-80 GPUs for data processing and high-end visualisation, with two GPU chips per card. 

The Dell-supplied supercomputer also includes eight Nvidia Grid K1 GPUs for medium-end remote desktop visualisation that support up to 32 users concurrently. 

The system features a 1.15 petabyte Lustre parallel file system capable of reading data at 24 gigabytes per second, which is around four times faster than the system used for its older MASSIVE-2 supercomputer. 

It is connected to the rest of Monash's research infrastructure through a 100 Gb/s Mellanox spectrum network. 

The new supercomputer sits in the data centre at Monash University's main Clayton campus, alongside its university's pre-existing MASSIVE-2 cluster. 

The MASSIVE-1 supercomputer is located at the nearby Australian Synchrotron.  

MASSIVE–3 was officially switched on at a launch event hosted by Australia's Chief Scientist and former Monash University chancellor Alan Finkel. 

"There's a nexus between science and technology. Some think they're separate, but really they enable each other," Finkel said at the launch.  

"We need world-class high-performance computing to make the massive breakthroughs." 

Monash Unviersity's dean of the medicine faculty Christina Mitchell said the new supercomputer would be used for research into protein expression, genomic data and cellular-level microscopy.. 

"I heard a very compelling talk from a cancer researcher who argued we should stop doing experiments and start analysing the data we already have, because many of the answers are in the data researchers already have – if only they can make the links," Mitchell said. 

"When you think there are 7 billion humans and 30,000 genes, we need to have some way of looking at that data and analysing it. 

"Examining the links between gene sequences and human outcomes can help us to identify how to prevent disease... But that data is worthless without analysis, and that's why we're so excited by the MASSIVE project." 

CSIRO director of manufacturing Keith McLean said uses of the new supercomputer will include data processing, synchotron beam-line imaging, imaging medical beam-lines in real-time 3D, as well as 4D-imaging of materials, organisms and organs. 

"In CSIRO, we choose to develop computer partnerships for very specific reasons. We have more than 5000 staff across more than 50 locations around the country, and many have very specialised computing requirements. 

"Partnering makes it easier to achieve critical mass and economies of scale, while also tapping into expertise from across the university system, and by partnering we can also achieve economies of utilisation." 

McLean said biosciences now account for over 50 percent usage of MASSIVE. 

Monash University also today said it had become the first partner of Nvidia's Technology Centre in Singapore, which will see the chip vendor invest in and assist with research involving the supercomputer. 

At their launch in March 2012, MASSIVE 1 and 2 each contained 42 Intel servers and 84 Nvidia GPUs, delivering a theoretical peak of 49 TFlops. 

Since then, MASSIVE-2 has been upgraded and now includes 1720 CPU-cores and 244 Nvidia GPUs across 118 nodes. 

Accompanying the three supercomputers is a data visualisation facility called CAVE-2, which the university rolled out two years ago

The launch of the new Monash supercomputer comes just weeks after Adelaide University unveiled its new supercomputer, dubbed Phoenix, which benchmarked at 300 TFlops at launch

Andrew Sadauskas attended the launch of MASSIVE-3 as a guest of Nvidia.

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