Supercomputer needs support
The National Computational Infrastructure (NCI)’s Raijin supercomputer has been ranked Australia’s fastest.
The International Supercomputing Conference has released a new Top500 list, ranking of the most powerful supercomputers in the world.
Raijin’s 85,000 cores, 300 Terabytes of main memory and 50 Petabytes of high-performance data storage provide a peak measured performance comparable to about 40,000 desktop computers working simultaneously.
Currently, the fastest supercomputer in the world is the Chinese National Supercomputing Centre in Wuxi, with a 93 petaFLOPS capacity.
When it debuted in 2012, Raijin reached 24th in the global TOP500 list, before slipping to 121st in 2016.
This year’s return to the top 100 is the result of a boost from the Australian Government’s NCRIS Agility Fund in the second half of 2016, which allowed NCI to purchase an expansion to the original Raijin supercomputer.
However, despite this upgrade, NCI’s core computer is fast approaching the end of its serviceable life and requires urgent replacement.
If NCI’s supercomputer is not upgraded soon, Australia’s research capability could be compromised.
Without a replacement for NCI’s current computer, experts say the competitiveness of Australia’s research will suffer.
This need for re-investment in NCI’s infrastructure is recognised in the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, which explicitly recommends the urgent replacement of ageing supercomputers used for priority Australian research.