New supercomputer for South Australia

High-performance clustered machine will be used by scientists studying climate change, cancer genomics and high energy physics

Scientific researchers across South Australia now have access to the massive processing power of a new supercomputer following eResearch SA’s launch yesterday of a high-performance machine, which can calculate 34 trillion transactions per second.

eResearch SA said its new ‘Tizard’ supercomputer – purchased with a grant under the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme – will provide new research opportunities for scientists studying in fields such as climate change, agriculture, cancer genomics and high energy physics.

The high performance machine – based on SGI’s HPC Clusters – provides 2304 cores that deliver 24 teraflops of processing power. The system has 48 compute nodes, each with 128GB of memory, an additional 17 nodes using 68 graphical processing units, and two large memory nodes with 512GB and 1024GB of memory.

Tizard is six times faster than its predecessor, making it the most powerful high-performance computing research facility in South Australia.

“The Tizard machine represents an exciting new era in South Australia’s eResearch capability,” said Dr Paul Coddington, deputy director of eResearch SA.

“The Tizard will be of immense value to researchers at the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, Flinders University and state government research facilities and groups, providing a much wider range of computing models and overall power than eRSA’s existing supercomputer.”

Physicist Professor Derek Leinweber, head of the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemistry and Physics and chief investigator on the grant, will be one of the first users of the HPC machine.

His research in quantum chromodynamics – which describes complex interactions between quarks and gluons as they combine proton or neutron particles – requires a high performance computer cluster.

“The installation of the Tizard machine will transform the way we perform these computations as we harness the power of dedicated graphics hardwre, or GPUs,” Professor Leinweber said in a statement.

According to senior research associate Dr Waseem Kamleh, the clustered supercomputer completes calculations 100 times faster than standard CPUs alone.

"By exploiting this speed-up we will be able to acquire the massive statistics needed to explore aspects of QCD that are otherwise unknown," he said.

"This is crucial to discovering the dynamics of the basic building blocks of the universe."

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