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CSIRO Waves Flag for SKA on $5million Machine

CSIRO announced today that it plans on spending up to $5million on a Linux-based high performance computing system destined for the Pawsey Centre for SKA Science in Perth, Australia.  Remember, ‘SKA’ stands for the Square Kilometre Array project that will eventually use a telescope 50 times more sensitive than current instruments.  All in all, there will be about 3600 antennae spread of thousands of kilometres generating data.  The SKA will capture data on the evolution of galaxies, dark matter and energy.

The Pawsey Center HPC is will soon kick off a procurement process that is outlined as follows: “Stage 1A — 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.”  You heard it right.  They’re calling for container technology.

The system will be housed at the iVEC Informatics Facility at Murdoch University, South Street campus.  Initial workloads on the Stage 1A machine will include nanotechnology, marine science, bioinformatics, resources and radio astronomy.

A major focus of the system is to provide these user communities a resource that will allow them to scale their codes up from the hundred or so processors that they currently use to many hundred or thousands of processors,” tender documents read.

According to the article, the Stage 1A system is the first step towards a petascale computing environment through the Pawsey Centre in 2013.  Given the requirements, the design will present some interesting challenges for system vendors.  For more info, read the full article here.

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