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Fujitsu & ANU to deliver Australia’s most powerful supercomputer

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Australia's fastest supercomputer will soon be up to 10-times more powerful.

The Australian National University (ANU) has received a new supercomputer from Fujitsu that is 10-times faster than its predecessor.

The equipment has been purpose-built for ANU’s National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) using technology from its creators, Fujitsu, and other technology vendors including Lenovo, Intel, Nvidia, NetApp, Mellanox Technologies, DDN (Lustre), Altair and Schneider Electric. The supercomputer is expected to go live in November.

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Named Gadi – meaning “to search for” in the language of the aboriginal owners of the Canberra region, the Ngunnawal – the machine will be significantly faster and more powerful than NCI’s current supercomputer, Raijin.

Raijin, which NCI had previously boasted was the most powerful supercomputer in the southern hemisphere, was upgraded with four IBM Power System servers in December 2016. Following Gadi’s arrival, Raijin will now be decommissioned.

According to the technical specifications laid out by ANU, Gadi contains 3,200 nodes, features Fujitsu Primergy CX2570 M5 servers, and will include second-generation Intel Xeon Platinum processors, Intel Optane DC persistent memory, and Nvidia V100 GPUs to accelerate deep learning training and inferencing.

“Gadi will give researchers the tools to unlock the mysteries of the universe, predict and manage natural disasters, advance cancer research and design new materials for future technologies,” said ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt.

“This new machine will keep Australian research and the 5,000 researchers who use it at the cutting edge. It will help us get smarter with our big data. It will add even more brawn to the considerable brains already tapping into NCI.”

Fujitsu said the new supercomputer will utilise both Fujitsu and Lenovo Neptune direct liquid cooling technologies with warm water, allowing for high-density computing.

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The underlying storage sub-systems will be provided by high-performance NetApp storage arrays, clustered together in a DDN Lustre parallel file system. The inter-connect network is architected using Mellanox HDR InfiniBand technology in a Dragonfly+ topology, which Fujitsu said is capable of transferring data at 200GB per second.

While the total value of the upgrade is unknown, the project is backed by AU$70 million (US$48 million) in funding provided by the Australian Government under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).