Second stage of CSIRO SKA project released

High-end computing hardware needed

An $80 million Perth-based facility intended to meet the needs of the radio astronomy research community is calling for data processing hardware as it gears up with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

According to tender documents released this week, the Pawsey HPC (High-Performance Computing) Centre for SKA (Square Kilometre Array) project will act as a real-time processing facility for data, storage and analysis of data products from the Murchison Radio-Astronomy Observatory (MRO) and other data used by researchers in the fields of geoscience, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

CSIRO is also planning a computing environment, which includes a mix of multi-core processors and graphic processing units (GPU) components, to aid the analysis of data.

“The data intensive role will include high bandwidth parallel file systems to aid data intensive work, such as pre/post processing of large datasets and analysis of large collections of metadata,” the documents read.

According to CSIRO, the system will be installed within an existing building on the University of Western Australia campus in Perth, albeit with some upgrade covering additional electrical power, chilled water and improved physical access.

To ease the challenges of moving large amounts of data between the various systems as part of the scientific workflow, a shared file system will be incorporated to speed up the analysis of results and reduce the overall requirement for storage.

“A rich software environment will be provided for the users, covering such areas as programming tools, scientific libraries, along with relevant emerging trends highlighted by the user community,” the documents read.

In addition to providing a significant computational resource, the second stage is also intended to focus on providing a platform for user development activities and building up systems experience relevant to the Pawsey Centre architecture.

“A productive environment will require computational, storage, and networking technologies along with leading edge application and system software,” the documents state.

The tender release follows stage one of the project in January last year where CSIRO announced plans for a high-availability container based Linux cluster with a high speed, low latency interconnect, globally accessible file system, UPS and appropriate cooling infrastructure including a minimum five-year warranty.

Stage one of the project has been completed with a 100 teraflop cluster system installed at Murdoch University in Perth.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags CSIROCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)SKA stage 2Pawsey HPC CentreSquare Kilometre Array (SKA)

More about CSIROCSIROLinuxMurdoch UniversityMurdoch UniversityUniversity of Western Australia

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