HomePR NewswirePawsey unveils fastest supercomputer in the Southern Hemisphere

    Pawsey unveils fastest supercomputer in the Southern Hemisphere

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    PERTH, Australia, Sept. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The first phase of what will be the fastest public research supercomputer in the Southern Hemisphere has been unveiled at its new home at WA’s Pawsey Centre, resplendent in artwork that reflects the skies it will help researchers to unlock.

    Stage 1 of Pawsey’s new $48 million HPE Cray EX supercomputer, known as Setonix — the scientific name for Western Australia’s cheerful marsupial, the quokka — now stands in the white space at the Pawsey Centre next to its supercomputer cousins, Magnus and Galaxy.

    When fully operational, Setonix will be 30 times more powerful than the existing two systems combined, packing the punch of about 150,000 laptops working in parallel.

    Stage 1 delivery of Setonix will increase the computing power of the centre by 45 per cent.

    When Stage 2 is installed in mid-2022, Setonix will be able to operate at 50 petaFLOPS of power, equivalent to three times the combined power of Australia’s current Tier 1 public research supercomputing facilities.

    Pawsey Centre Executive Director Mark Stickells says through Setonix, Australia is on the cusp of the biggest computing power advance in the nation’s history.

    “This new system will accelerate discovery and enable more universities, scientific institutions and researchers — as well as our partners in industry and business — to access next-generation computing speed and data analysis,” he said.

    “The urgent problems of the 21st Century demand analysis and action sooner than can be achieved by traditional computing.

    “Supercomputing is the path to understanding climate change, tracking the growth of a viral pandemic or providing pieces to puzzles we haven’t yet begun to solve.

    “Setonix marks a step change in Pawsey’s supercomputing firepower, and this additional capacity will allow more researchers and industries to access next-generation computing speed and data analysis.”

    Stage 1 will see a team of early adopter researchers run code to fine tune Setonix before new allocations start in 2022.

    Wajarri Yamatji visual artist Margaret Whitehurst produced the artwork for Setonix’s casing, inspired by the stars that shine over Wajarri country in Western Australia’s Mid-West. 

    “Margaret’s design is a beautiful representation of a tradition of Aboriginal astronomy that dates back thousands of years,” Mr Stickells says.

    “Margaret and the Wajarri people are the traditional owners of CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia where one part of the world’s largest radio astronomy observatory, the Square Kilometre Array, will be built. 

    “Setonix will process vast amounts of radio telescope data from SKA-related projects, and many other projects of national and international significance that we are proud to support.”

    Images of Setonix and technical specifications can be found on this link

    About Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

    The Pawsey Centre is a world-class high-performance computing facility accelerating scientific discoveries for Australia’s researchers. Named for Australian scientist Joseph Pawsey, known as one of the pioneers of Australian radio astronomy for his work in the field of interferometry, Pawsey is currently serving over 1600 researchers achieving unprecedented results, in domains such as radio astronomy, energy and resources, engineering, bioinformatics and health sciences.

    The Pawsey Centre is an unincorporated joint venture of CSIRO — Australias national science agency, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and The University of Western Australia.

    The Pawsey Capital Refresh project is supported by the Australian Government through a $70 million grant. Pawsey is also supported by the Australian Government under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) through the Department of Education. The Centre would also like to acknowledge the support provided by the Western Australian Government and its partner organisations.

    Raaj Lokanathan
    Raaj Lokanathan
    A software engineer as a profession. A tech blogger as a passion.

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