Research powers ahead with new supercomputer

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

University of Adelaide researchers will have access to vast computing power under a new supercomputer being launched at the University today.

Named ‘Phoenix’ by the University, the supercomputer gives researchers as much as 30 times more computing power than before, with no application or waiting times.

Previously, researchers requiring high performance computing (HPC) were accessing external, shared national or state HPC resources which had to be booked in advance. The new supercomputer will mean ready access and faster research outcomes.

“Investment in Phoenix is about giving our researchers the tools they need to keep producing world-class research,” says Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Mike Brooks.

“The University of Adelaide is home to five world-class research institutes and about 50 specialist research centres in a wide range of disciplines from chemical engineering to agriculture. Most of these research areas require a great deal of computing power to analyse data and model solutions.

“From modelling turbines for clean energy systems to processing enormous genomic datasets, our new supercomputer will support cutting-edge research for years to come.”

Phoenix, based on a Lenovo NeXtScale System M5 cluster, has over 3800 processor cores and over 15,000 GB of memory, among the world’s Top 500 supercomputers.

Calculations by particle physicists at the University that would previously have taken three months will now run in just days.

“As one of Australia’s foremost research institutions, we’ve seen demand for high performance computing resources skyrocket over the past five years,” says Mark Gregory, the University’s Chief Information Officer. “We knew that to continue supporting world-leading research, we needed to increase the computation power available.

“One of this supercomputer system’s strengths is its graphics processing abilities – among the best in any supercomputing facilities dedicated to supporting Australian research endeavours.

“Our Phoenix platform gives researchers the certainty that they can immediately access a facility many times faster than the allocations of regional or national facilities they previously were limited to. And we can expect high performance ─ on a technical level, actual computing performance of the new system is quite close to its theoretical performance limits.”


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Ms Robyn Mills
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The University of Adelaide
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