HPE to power new Pawsey supercomputer for Australian research

An artist’s impression of the new $48 million supercomputer purchased by Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, part of a $70 million capital refresh project. Image credit: HPE

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has selected Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to deliver its new supercomputer, which will power future high-impact Australian research projects.

HPE was selected as the preferred vendor under a $48 million agreement following a thorough tender process led by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, the centre agent for Pawsey, based on energy efficiency, cost, and HPE’s integrated hardware and software solution.

Director of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, Mark Stickells, said the new system will help propel the position of Australian research on the global stage.

“Supercomputers like those at Pawsey are increasingly crucial to our ability to conduct world-class, high-impact research,” he said.

“The upgrades we’re announcing are a critical move in strengthening Australia’s position in the global research environment and playing a part in major global research projects, from helping in the fight against COVID-19 to working with the precursor telescopes to the Square Kilometre Array.”

Chairman of the Board at Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, John Langoulant, echoed the impact of the new supercomputer for the state, the country, and the world.

“Today’s supercomputer upgrade will significantly boost the national effort, elevating the role of Australian research on the global stage and creating opportunities for new high-impact research that benefits Western Australia, the nation and the world,” he said.

The new supercomputer will help meet the exponentially increasing computing needs of Australian researchers in fields such as medicine, artificial intelligence, radio astronomy and more.

Dr Chenoa Tremblay, Postdoctoral Fellow in Dark Magnetism at CSIRO, is using Pawsey’s existing supercomputing systems to analyse extremely sensitive radio telescope signals that could give us our first potential evidence of life outside our solar system. Her team’s work requires scanning more than ten million stars and analysing hundreds of terabytes of data, a herculean task that will be accelerated with the new supercomputer.

“Doing this on my laptop would take 25 years,” Tremblay said. “Pawsey’s supercomputing systems have brought some of our research timelines from years down to days, giving us the power we need to analyse hundreds of thousands of images quickly. With the signals being very weak, finding new ones will require even more data to crunch.”

The new supercomputer is part of Pawsey’s Capital Refresh Program, which is being delivered under a $70 million grant from the federal government announced in 2018.