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HPE to build new Pawsey supercomputers

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has snagged a A$48m deal to deliver a supercomputer for Australia’s Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) has been awarded a A$48m contract to build a supercomputer for Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, one of Australia’s national supercomputing centres located in Western Australia.

The supercomputer is part of a A$70m programme 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 30 times more compute power and 10 times more energy efficient, enabling researchers to perform complex modelling and simulation tasks in areas such as astronomy, plant pathology and drug discovery.

HPE will build the system using the HPE Cray EX supercomputer and its advanced high-performance computing (HPC) architecture to support higher performance, density and efficiency needs. Cray was acquired by HPE in 2019.

HPE will also integrate the Cray ClusterStor E1000 system, which uses tailored software and hardware features to meet expanded high-performance storage needs.

The system features a future-generation of AMD EPYC processors and AMD Instinct GPUs for significant compute power and targeted processors for artificial intelligence (AI) and image-driven applications.

“Supercomputers like those at Pawsey are increasingly crucial to our ability to conduct world-class, high-impact research,” said Mark Stickells, executive director at Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.

“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,” he added. 

The HPE system will replace Pawsey’s current flagship machine, Magnus, as well as the real-time supercomputer, Galaxy. Both systems are close to the end of their operational lives.

Magnus, a Cray XC40 considered as one of the most advanced supercomputers in the southern hemisphere, currently supports the operational requirements of several Australian radio telescopes.

Pawsey supercomputers were also used to study grapevine leaf-roll viruses (GLRV), which infect grape vines and affect up to 70% of production across Australia.

The systems had enabled scientists to speed up the assembly, mapping and analysis of GLRV genome data that has helped vineyard owners identify and remove infected vines before the virus spreads.

“Scientific breakthroughs made by world leading research centres, such as Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, inspire us to continue empowering the community with powerful supercomputing solutions that combat the broadest range of challenges,” said Nick Gorga, HPE’s general manager for HPC and AI in Asia-Pacific and India.

“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.”

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