Sun sells new systems in Australia, billed as southern hemisphere's most powerful

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insideHPC’s man down under sent us a note today letting us know that winner in the competition for new supers at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian National University has been announced. From Australian IT

Sun logo[The agencies] will spend $30 million on two new supercomputers that will more accurately predict cyclones, tsunamis and the effects of climate change.

The supercomputer, which is being supplied by Sun Microsystems and will be the most powerful in the southern hemisphere, will be ten times more powerful than the Bureau’s current system. It will be able to crunch 1.5 trillion calculations per second when it is at full operational capacity in two years time, Bureau of Meteorology chief information officer, Phil Tannenbaum said.

The new supers will be part of an effort to assess both weather and climate change at the same time

“This supercomputer will allow us to map the effects of climate change with what we call an ‘earth model’ which can measure both weather and climate at the same time. Previously we were only able to do weather forecasting or climate forecasting, but not both at the same time,” Mr Tannenbaum said.

…This new ‘earth model’, or The Australian Community Climate and Earth-System Simulator (ACCESS) as it’s known to the scientific community, couples climate and weather forecasting with an earth system simulator. It is being developed as a joint initiative between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO in cooperation with the university community in Australia.

This direction of this purchase had been hotly speculated, since insiders tell me that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology tends to follow UK MET who recently purchased an IBM (and ran into some trouble over the machine’s carbon footprint). We posted an Inside Track back in November that the acquisition had been delayed due to rumored extended negotiations with Sun; evidently that rumor was right on the money. This purchase displaces incumbents NEC and SGI.


  1. The delay you mention happens to be around the time of the crash of the Aussie dollar against both the USD and GBP, so perhaps it was down to currency conversion issues ?