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Australian Supercomputers to help fight COVID-19

NCI Australia and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre are supporting the Australian and international research community undertaking COVID-19 research through provision of streamlined, prioritized and expedited access to computation and data resources.

Both national facilities are contributing resources to support researchers in Australia in the fight against COVID-19. NCI today announces support for three targeted projects with over 40 million units of compute time, which is equivalent to one single computer doing constant calculations for over 4,500 years, on the Gadi supercomputer; while Pawsey Supercomputer Centre has provided access for researchers across five projects to over 1100 cores on the new deployed Nimbus cloud.

NCI’s Director Professor Sean Smith said that the successful grant recipients will have access to compute power that’s never before been available in Australia.

The Australasian Leadership Computing Grants represent a peak merit award for high-performance computing at a scale that is unprecedented within the Australian context, made possible by the Federal Government NCRIS funding for the new peak facility recently commissioned at NCI,” Professor Smith said. “We look forward to working with Australian researchers to deliver this prestigious grant and trust that their projects will ultimately contribute substantially to the global scientific effort addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition to access to the Gadi supercomputer, NCI will provide storage for major reference data sets (national or international) needed to support the computational and data analysis by multiple projects.

Resources being made available at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre include large data stores and the new refreshed Nimbus Cloud service. COVID-19 projects will have access to allocations of up to 500 cores, with up to 100 TB of storage available for use during 2020 – 2021.

Gadi Supercomputer

The rapid deployability of the Cloud resources means that Pawsey staff have been working with researchers from The University of Western Australia, Monash University, WA Department of Health, the Queensland Facility for Advanced Bioinformatics and Telethon Kids Institute for the last two weeks.

In response to COVID 19, rapidly advancing the relevant science can deliver real public health outcomes and this initiative is all about rapid and expert support at a time of great need” said Mark Stickells, Pawsey Executive Director. “Having access to advanced HPC resources and data expertise at Pawsey and NCI allows Australian researchers to accelerate their science to combat the pandemic and we are proud to contribute our national infrastructure and expertise in this collaborative effort.”

Research projects gained access mostly to Pawsey Nimbus allocations, however after discussions with researchers other needs where identify that included training, and GPU resources on Topaz cluster, a new commodity Linux cluster, supporting pre- and post-processing of data, throughput workflows, and simulations.

NCI Australia and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre are Australia’s leading supercomputing facilities. NCI Australia is based at ANU in Canberra and supported by ANU, the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the ARC. Pawsey, in Perth, is a joint venture between CSIRO and Western Australia’s four universities.

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