University, Sun boost computing capacity

The installation of a new computing network at the Australian National University (ANU) will create a five to 10-fold increase in the capacity of the largest computer systems available for research and education in Australia.

Setting unprecedented standards in total computing power for Australia, the Sun Microsystems installation will be employed in scientific endeavours such as molecular modelling for new drugs, simulation of airflow for engineering product design and pattern discovery for fraud detection.

The three-year agreement involves the initial commissioning of a 200-Gigaflop system next month that comprises a cluster of four E10000compute nodes which will be progressively upgraded to more than 1 Teraflop by mid-2002.

The Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (APAC) at ANU aims to implement an advanced, integrated computing network throughout the country, which will place Australia in the top 10 countries in the use of high performance computing systems.

APAC executive director John O'Callaghan said the facility will be a major factor in attracting researchers both Australian and international to conduct their research locally.

"The lack of an advanced computing infrastructure has forced many scientists to use overseas systems to perform the complex computations required for their research," O'Callaghan said.

Sun Microsystems and the APAC partners will extend their relationship through a strategic R&D alliance valued at $5 million over the three years of the agreement.

Sun's managing director, Russell Bate, said these relationships have resulted in the cultivation of technologies that have significant market implications and instigate change in the information technology sector.

"The size and complexity of the data computations involved in APAC's work also gives us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the robustness and scalability of the Sun system," he said.

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