HPE to build Australia’s No. 1 Supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today announced it was awarded a $48 AUD million contract to build a new supercomputer for Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, one of Australia’s leading national supercomputing centers, located in Western Australia. The new supercomputer is part of the Pawsey Capital Refresh Program, which is a $70 AUD million program funded by the Australian government to invest in next-generation supercomputing to advance the nation’s research.

Pawsey’s new system will be Australia’s most powerful supercomputer with 30X more compute power and 10X more energy efficiency to target complex modeling and simulation for accelerating research in areas such as astronomy, plant pathology, drug discovery and more.

HPE will build the new system using the HPE Cray EX supercomputer high-performance computing (HPC) architecture to support higher performance, density and efficiency needs. HPE will also integrate the Cray ClusterStor E1000 system, which utilizes software and hardware features to meet expanded high-performance storage needs, and feature a future-generation of AMD EPYC CPUs and AMD Instinct GPUs for compute power and processors for AI and image-driven applications.

“Supercomputers like those at Pawsey are increasingly crucial to our ability to conduct world-class, high-impact research. The upgrades we’re announcing are a critical move in strengthening Australia’s position in the global research environment and playing a part in major global research projects, from helping in the fight against COVID-19 to working with the precursor telescopes to the Square Kilometre Array,” said Mark Stickells, executive director at Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. “The new supercomputer built by HPE will not only deliver next generation compute power to meet these growing requirements, it will enable entirely new research projects with global reach and impact.”

HPE, Cray and SGI, well before the companies merged with HPE, have had a 20 year-long history in powering Pawsey’s supercomputers. More than 1,600 researchers use these systems today to accelerate discovery and innovation. Recent outcomes from Pawsey’s supercomputers include:

  • Understanding grape vine viruses to preserve crop production:Pawsey’s supercomputers have been used to study grapevine leaf-roll viruses (GLRV) which infect grape vines and impact up to 70% of production across Australia. Scientists sped up the assembling, mapping and analysis from GLRV genome data which has helped vineyard owners today identify and remove infected vines before the virus spreads.
  • Using AI to teach underwater robots to swim like fish: Underwater robotics are used in environmental monitoring, resource exploration, search and rescue efforts and more. To further improve navigation for underwater robots and enable them to be autonomous, scientists are teaching them to swim like fish. Computational fluid dynamics models were developed and leveraged on Pawsey’s supercomputers to simulate fish swimming styles, including how they increase speed and change direction, and applied these capabilities in machine learning algorithms to train neural networks on underwater robotics.
  • Solving mysteries of the universe: In an ongoing quest to uncover unknown parts of the universe, scientists used improved sky-mapping techniques to detect seven new galaxies which has been further studied using complex modeling and simulation as a step to understanding dark matter and the universe’s overall physical processes. Researchers also use this knowledge to improve technologies used on earth, such as scanners and communications networks

“Scientific breakthroughs made by world leading research centers, such as Pawsey Supercomputer Centre, inspire us to continue empowering the community with powerful supercomputing solutions that combat the broadest range of challenges,” said Nick Gorga, general manager, HPC and AI, APAC-India at HPE. “We look forward to collaborating with AMD to build Pawsey the most powerful system for the region and boost Australia’s research capabilities to advance missions from understanding human viruses to discovering new galaxies.” 

The new system will have a speed performance of 50 petaflops, making it one of the largest supercomputers in the region. It will replace Pawsey’s Magnus and Galaxy systems, which are based on Cray technology.

“AMD is excited to help accelerate groundbreaking scientific research with our high-performance processors in the next-generation HPE and Pawsey supercomputer,” said Forrest Norrod, senior vice president and general manager, AMD Data Center and Embedded Systems Group. “Significant new discoveries will be made at the Centre for years to come, enabled by Pawsey’s almost 50 petaflops of supercomputing capacity.”