Qld universities found supercomputing group

A consortium of six Queensland universities has implemented a new generation of supercomputer technology capable of simulating virtual environments and solving complex scientific problems.

The $10 million State Government funding initiative is aimed at developing world-class computing facilities in the region.

The consortium, known as the Queensland Parallel Supercomputing Foundation (QPSF), has purchased the SGI Origin 3000 supercomputer.

It is one of the first projects of its kind in Australia offering an integrated combination of computational, large storage and 3D visualisation capability that will enable faster scientific discovery, the single greatest challenge for the science and research community.

Andrew Lewis, acting CEO of the foundation and manager, Research and HPC Services at Griffith University said the infrastructure allows universities and industries throughout the state to link up to the computing facility.

"The aim is for researchers to collaborate with industry," Lewis said.

Director of the University of Queensland's Advanced Computational Modelling Centre, Professor Kevin Burrage said that, in harnessing the power of a large number of processors, supercomputers are able to tackle problems much too complex for a normal computer.

"What once took months for researchers to sift and analyse could now take seconds with the SGI supercomputer. By being able to access large data sets and visualise key components of a research problem, the productivity of a project can be increased dramatically."

With the click of a mouse, an engineer designing a bridge can see potential stress, strain and other variables, then modify the design to maximise strength and durability. The technology can be used for drug design, genetic research and engineering projects by using virtual environments.

The Origin 3000 system consists of 64 newly released CPUs and 64GB memory, integrated with a fast storage system and solid VR visualisation technology. The system is based on the highly scalable ccNUMA modular architecture.

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