The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), federal government’s agency for scientific research has signed an AU$1.5 million supercomputing contract with Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s subsidiary SGI.

As a part of the deal, Silicon Graphics Pty Ltd (SGI) will be responsible for setting up and maintaining a new Advanced Technology Cluster (ATC) in place of the decommissioned Fornax system. The replacement will be done at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth, a national supercomputing joint venture between the CSIRO, Murdoch University, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, and the University of Western Australia.

The facility is utilized by the radio astronomy research community, coupled with  high-end researchers in other arenas of computational science such as biotechnology and nanotechnology. It currently oversees four systems – Fornax, Epic, Galaxy and Magnus.

The contract, published on 3 March, includes software licensing, maintenance and support requirements, installation, commissioning costs. It had commenced in January 16 this year and is expected to run till mid-January 2020.

CSIRO has been looking for a technology partner to replace the existing BRAGG supercomputer with one petaflop advanced accelerator compute cluster worth $4 million. In the procurement documents published in November 2016, the agency had mentioned that the new system will come in place of BRAGG, located within its Information Management and Technology (IMT) Canberra data centre facility.


According to the tender documents, the proposed ATC consists of two technology components. The compute nodes in the first component of the system needs to include at least one Xeon Phi processor. Whereas, the other component of the system should consist of at least two GPUs with a Pascal architecture, and at least two host processors with either a Power or an Intel x86 64 bit architecture.

SGI, specifically works on high performance solutions for compute, data analysis and data management. It was taken over by HPE in August last year for $275 million.

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