"Eagle" supercomputer lands at Adelaide

Tuesday, 1 June 2004

A new $4.5 million supercomputer located at the University of Adelaide promises to make research faster and easier for South Australian scientists.

Named Aquila (Latin for "eagle"), it features 160 powerful processors joined together with extremely high-speed networking to provide blazingly fast and efficient computing power.

It is capable of a peak operating speed of 830 gigaflops - or equivalent to 830 billion arithmetic calculations per second. It will be one of the fastest supercomputers in Australia when installed later this year.

Funded partly by a $1.035 million grant from the State Government, Aquila is run by the SA Partnership for Advanced Computing (SAPAC). It also features contributions from Silicon Graphics (SGI), Intel and the South Australian Consortium for IT&T (SACITT).

SAPAC Director, and Professor of Physics at the University of Adelaide, Tony Williams, says Aquila will complement SAPAC's current two supercomputer clusters, Hydra and Orion. With Aquila and Hydra, South Australia will have two of the five fastest computers in the nation.

"The arrival of Aquila will mean we now have a world-class suite of supercomputers here in Adelaide," Professor Williams says. "Because Aquila is a genuine supercomputer, and not a supercomputer cluster, it can attack even the most demanding research and industry-based problems with ruthless efficiency.

"It is designed so that even if all 160 processors are communicating at once, there is enough capacity that all of them can communicate at full speed. It is also able transmit large amounts of data in this way very quickly, in a small fraction of the time of most other connection networks."

Aquila will be used in a wide range of scientific areas, including nanotechnology, physics, cancer treatment, chemistry, salinity, climate modelling, fluid dynamics and genetics. It occupies five racks 1.5m deep, 1.8m tall and a total of 4m wide, and weighs three tonnes.

It is powered by the SGI Altix multiprocessor supercomputer. SGI chairman and CEO, Mr Bob Bishop, is a University of Adelaide graduate.

 

Contact Details

Professor Tony Williams
Email: anthony.williams@adelaide.edu.au
Director, SA Partnership for Advanced Computing (SAPAC)
Director, Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM)
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3546
Mobile: 0414 687 264


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084


Mr David Ellis
Email: david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
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