eResearch SA launches game-changing supercomputer

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Thursday, 4 October 2012

South Australia's most powerful public research high performance computing (HPC) system, 'The Tizard Machine', was launched today by Science and Information Economy Minister Tom Kenyon.

The eResearch SA computer will be a game changer for those researchers in our state performing some of the most complex calculations and who require the use of the most powerful supercomputers that we can build.

The Tizard machine is more than six times faster than its predecessor, and is capable of 40 trillion calculations per second.

eResearch SA is a collaborative joint venture between the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the University of South Australia.

It will support the kind of science that unlocks the secrets of evolution, that searches for cures to diseases like cancer, cystic fibrosis and epilepsy, that develops sustainable food and agriculture practices, that looks at increasing the acceptance rate of medical implants, and that allows us to better understand the basic building blocks of the universe and the fundamental forces of nature.

Dr Paul Coddington, Deputy Director of eResearch SA, said: "This is the biggest and fastest supercomputer South Australian researchers have ever had access to. Our previous supercomputer was capable of 6 trillion calculations per second. Tizard provides 40 trillion calculations per second, so it is more than six times faster, provides more memory, and is more energy efficient than our previous machine."

Science and Information Economy Minister Tom Kenyon said the Tizard machine represented an exciting new era in South Australia's computing capability and provided the essential infrastructure the State needed to attract high profile and world leading researchers to our universities and research institutions.

The unique combination of Central Processing Units (CPUs), Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and large memory nodes have been purchased specifically to support the computational demands of South Australia's leading scientists.

Professor David Adelson, Head of the School of Molecular and Biomedical Science and the Centre for Bioinformatics and Computational Genetics at the University of Adelaide, and Professor Hamish Scott, Head of the Centre for Cancer Biology, and their team are analysing DNA sequences with the aim of identifying which chemicals are likely to provide the most effective treatment against particular cancers.

They can generate 600 gigabases of DNA sequences, equivalent to about 1,000 human genomes, in just two weeks, and will rely heavily the on the new large memory nodes.

"Tizard will increase the processing capacity and computing power available through eResearch SA's high-performance computing service which will make our research even easier and allow us to get results faster," Professor Adelson said.

"For example, previously it would take three months to sequence the DNA of one mouse, but with Tizard we can sequence 20 mice in the same amount of time."

Professor Derek Leinweber, Professor of Physics and Head of the School of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Adelaide, is also looking forward to using the machine.

"We're trying to understand the basic properties of a fundamental quantum field theory called quantum chromo dynamics. This theory is a beautiful simple theory describing what is inside protons and neutrons, but to understand what phenomena emerges from this theory, that is very hard. The only way to do it is to use the world's fastest supercomputers," Professor Leinweber said.

"In some cases, we will be able to perform six months worth of calculations in a day."

The Tizard machine is named in memory of James Tizard, the founding CEO of SABRENet (2007-2011) and Director of eResearch SA (2009-10), who passed away in 2011.

eResearch SA offers expert computing technology knowledge services and facilities to research, government and business sectors.


Contact Details

Ms Sarah Nisbet
eResearch SA
Business: +61 8 8313 3185
Mobile: +61 420 959 278

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814