AUSTRALIA FIRES UP ITS FIRST GPU-POWERED SUPERCOMPUTER

by Andrew Humber

CSIRO Group - Australia's First GPU ClusterIt’s always exciting to hear about the switch getting flipped for the first time on a new GPU-powered supercomputer. And the new system recently announced by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is no exception.

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has some exciting projects planned for its new cluster, which features 256 Tesla GPU Computing processors in a space equivalent to six kitchen refrigerators. Among these is a project to figure out where tiny fragments of genetic code sit on a single genome. Another is to reconstruct 3D medical images from the Australian Synchrontron, the largest stand-alone piece of scientific infrastructure in the southern hemisphere. A third is an ocean study, modeling interactions between nutrients and plankton. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with others including projects in weather modeling, astrophysics, computational biology, chemistry and geosciences.

CSIRO scientists have already reported speedups of 10-100X in their research applications by using a GPU-based system rather than traditional CPU technology.

CSIRO Group Executive, Dr. Alex Zelinksy, said in a recent press conference: "It’s pleasing to see the first installation of a GPU cluster in Australia. This cluster will be part of our family of high-end computers in CSIRO and important to our e-Research Strategy. It will enable CSIRO to, in a cost effective way, be globally competitive in addressing computational challenges for big science.”

As a part of their launch, CSIRO put together a really informative video about the new system and how it will be used. Check it out below: