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|A quick tour of Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

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A quick tour of Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

A quick tour of Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

Executive Director Neil Stringfellow invited the Particle team to take a quick tour of WA’s own supercomputing facility: The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.

A quick tour of Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

WHAT IS THE PAWSEY SUPERCOMPUTING CENTRE?

Standing atop the hill of Kensington’s Technology Park is the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre: a world-class supercomputing facility.  The Centre is an unincorporated joint venture between CSIRO and the four major WA universities: Curtin, ECU, UWA and Murdoch. Its main source of funding comes from the WA and Australian Governments.  “The Western Australian Government provides us the money so we can have our highly skilled staff – who are able to actually operate this – and also to be able to serve the researchers” explains Neil
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Standing atop the hill of Kensington’s Technology Park is the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre: a world-class supercomputing facility. The Centre is an unincorporated joint venture between CSIRO and the four major WA universities: Curtin, ECU, UWA and Murdoch. Its main source of funding comes from the WA and Australian Governments. “The Western Australian Government provides us the money so we can have our highly skilled staff – who are able to actually operate this – and also to be able to serve the researchers” explains Neil
Outside the centre, snippets of its history are displayed proudly. The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre was able to reach its impressive petascale status thanks to $80 million dollars from the federal government as part of their Super Science Initiative.  Today, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre supports national scientific research by providing high-powered computing facilities and expertise to Aussie researchers.  “We’re not an IT centre, we’re actually here to support science – we just happen to have the sexiest IT equipment that many people have ever seen” Neil chuckles
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Outside the centre, snippets of its history are displayed proudly. The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre was able to reach its impressive petascale status thanks to $80 million dollars from the federal government as part of their Super Science Initiative. Today, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre supports national scientific research by providing high-powered computing facilities and expertise to Aussie researchers. “We’re not an IT centre, we’re actually here to support science – we just happen to have the sexiest IT equipment that many people have ever seen” Neil chuckles

THE SYSTEMS

Galaxy: The striking space motif patterned across Galaxy is perfectly suited to the machine supporting radio astronomy activities. The Cray XC30 system processes data from the ASKAP telescope and caters to the needs of the wider radio-astronomy community​
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Galaxy: The striking space motif patterned across Galaxy is perfectly suited to the machine supporting radio astronomy activities. The Cray XC30 system processes data from the ASKAP telescope and caters to the needs of the wider radio-astronomy community​
Magnus: The name Magnus comes from the Latin word for “Great” and it truly is great in both size and processing power – delivering over 1 PetaFLOP of power. For the non tech-heads, a PetaFLOP can perform a quadrillion calculations per second!​
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Magnus: The name Magnus comes from the Latin word for “Great” and it truly is great in both size and processing power – delivering over 1 PetaFLOP of power. For the non tech-heads, a PetaFLOP can perform a quadrillion calculations per second!​
This mightly petascale supercomputer hosts projects for a huge range of scientific fields. Even from fields such as Archaeology. One example is the well-known Sydney-Kormoran project, where Magnus has been used to build a 3D model of a shipwreck site from World War II
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This mightly petascale supercomputer hosts projects for a huge range of scientific fields. Even from fields such as Archaeology. One example is the well-known Sydney-Kormoran project, where Magnus has been used to build a 3D model of a shipwreck site from World War II
Zeus: The next room on the tour contains a small Linux cluster for pre and post processing jobs, including remote visualisation. Remote visualisation allows researchers to connect to Pawsey from their own workstation – think of it like a technology preview
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Zeus: The next room on the tour contains a small Linux cluster for pre and post processing jobs, including remote visualisation. Remote visualisation allows researchers to connect to Pawsey from their own workstation – think of it like a technology preview
NeCTAR Research Cloud: The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has a Research Cloud node called the WA NeCTAR Research cloud, which is like a middle ground between traditional desktop computing and supercomputing. Researchers can use the cloud for their work, and it can be used also as a steppingstone into the high performance computing world
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NeCTAR Research Cloud: The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has a Research Cloud node called the WA NeCTAR Research cloud, which is like a middle ground between traditional desktop computing and supercomputing. Researchers can use the cloud for their work, and it can be used also as a steppingstone into the high performance computing world
Around the corner is another type of data storage system, where data is stored on tapes. If you take a peep inside, you’ll see a robot arm. When a scientist needs to use data from the tape storage, the arm finds the tape, plugs it in and transfers data to their computer
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Around the corner is another type of data storage system, where data is stored on tapes. If you take a peep inside, you’ll see a robot arm. When a scientist needs to use data from the tape storage, the arm finds the tape, plugs it in and transfers data to their computer
One of the most impressive things about these machines is their low power use – even when close to full capacity​
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One of the most impressive things about these machines is their low power use – even when close to full capacity​
In addition to their work in national research, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre also hosts monthly tours for the public, which you can register for here
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In addition to their work in national research, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre also hosts monthly tours for the public, which you can register for here

Neil believes the operations of the centre are invaluable to Australian science.

“Not only do we have all these things where we can be captains of industry, we can help out farmers, we can look into the farthest reaches of the universe, but we can also save the world.”

Read more about Pawsey researcher’s outcomes here.

Tracking WA Science VIDEO

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