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Australia’s most powerful super computer unveiled

By Barcham - 31 July 2013 23

The ANU have revealed their new super computer and I have some serious tech-envy.

It’s called the Raijin, it’s the most powerful computer in Australia, and I want one.

The nation’s most powerful computer was officially launched today at the opening of the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) high performance computing centre at The Australian National University (ANU).

Named after the Japanese god of thunder, lightning and storms, Raijin can perform the same number of calculations in one hour that would take seven billion people armed with calculators 20 years.

The supercomputer is the largest in Australia, and will enable researchers to process vast volumes of data that would otherwise take years to complete, and simply not be possible using desktop computers.

“Advanced computational methods form an increasingly essential component of high-impact research, in many cases underpinning discoveries that cannot be achieved by other means, as well as underpinning the platform with which to sustain innovation at an internationally competitive level,” said Professor Lindsay Botten, Director of the NCI.

Capable of running at 1.2 petaflops (a measure of speed) when performing at its peak, Raijin can complete 170,000 calculations for every human on the face of the Earth, every second.

The computer’s speed enables researchers to run complex models. They might, for example, seek to understand the forces that bind the building blocks of our universe, to ‘supercharge’ the photosynthesis of virtual crops or to understand the dynamics of the world’s oceans and their impact on the climate.

I want one.

I wonder what games they’ve got installed on that bad boy.

What’s Your opinion?


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23 Responses to
Australia’s most powerful super computer unveiled
Ghettosmurf87 11:59 am 01 Aug 13

dungfungus said :

I think there are similar size computers already in Canberra that for reasons of national security (which is hopefully better than border security) there are no public hoopla announcements about.

What you really said…

dungfungus said :

Insert unverifiable speculation not worth it’s weight in dung.

Grimm 11:51 am 01 Aug 13

Australias most powerful super computer? No.

dungfungus 9:39 am 01 Aug 13

I think there are similar size computers already in Canberra that for reasons of national security (which is hopefully better than border security) there are no public hoopla announcements about.

screaming banshee 7:03 am 01 Aug 13

johnboy said :

From talking to people who run these things the size of the computer needed is inversely proportional to the skill of the algorithm writers.

Worth thinking about.

That has always been the case, as computers got more powerful programmers got lazier so the software is less efficient in a computational sense.

I’d be more concerned with all those APC badges over everything they will probably be told that the whole thing will fall over in 4 years time and that they should ‘trade-ups’ to a new (identical) unit

c_c™ 10:36 pm 31 Jul 13

johnboy said :

From talking to people who run these things the size of the computer needed is inversely proportional to the skill of the algorithm writers.

Worth thinking about.

I was thinking more along the lines of power consumption –

Raijin does 1.2 PFlops peak and draws just over 5MW peak
Titan does just under 18 PFlops typical and draws 8.2MW peak

So Raijin cost about half as much to build as Titan, draws about 60% of the power but only offers 8% of the performance.

Can’t claim to be an expert in this stuff, but doesn’t seem like good value, either in up front expenditure of the ongoing costs to power it.

switch 10:04 pm 31 Jul 13

bigfeet said :

I, for one, welcome our new silicone based overlords.

You would.

johnboy 10:04 pm 31 Jul 13

From talking to people who run these things the size of the computer needed is inversely proportional to the skill of the algorithm writers.

Worth thinking about.

c_c™ 9:53 pm 31 Jul 13

Interesting that it’s an entirely Xeon based computer, I thought a lot of super computers these days were using a mix of general purpose processors and GPU cores.

The #2 supercomputer in the world for example uses a blend of AMD Opterons and nVidia Tesla chips.

Sandman 7:37 pm 31 Jul 13

Mr Evil said :

And I wonder how many students will use it to download either porn, games or movies????

What else would you use it for?

ANU students already have fast access for all that stuff. I lived on ressies in 1999 and our download speeds in our rooms back then were still quicker than you get on Transacts best plan today. Mp3’s downloaded quicker than you could click to download the next one.

Pork Hunt 6:56 pm 31 Jul 13

With a bit of luck this technology won’t be sold off overseas due to it not being easy to move.
I did notice Fujitsu logos on the TV news story so one wonders what corporate arrangements are in place.

bigfeet 6:19 pm 31 Jul 13

I, for one, welcome our new silicone based overlords.

johnboy 5:20 pm 31 Jul 13

Mr Evil said :

And I wonder how many students will use it to download either porn, games or movies????

Seeing is it would be utterly useless in that role compared to their phones.. I’m guessing very few.

Mr Evil 5:12 pm 31 Jul 13

And I wonder how many students will use it to download either porn, games or movies????

gazket 4:44 pm 31 Jul 13

computer says no

switch 4:08 pm 31 Jul 13

“I wonder what games they’ve got installed on that bad boy.”

Colossal Cave. All the supercomputers I’ve used were best approached via a command line text interface.

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