High Performance Computing Transforms Research

High Performance Computing Transforms Research
29 October 2012: Melbourne

New super-fast high-performance computing (HPC) being installed by Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing (VPAC Ltd), La Trobe University and RMIT University will revolutionise the computational modelling and simulation technologies available to researchers, and their ultimate understanding of a number of social and medical complexities.

The new system, named ‘Trifid’, compresses the calculations a human would need over 1 million years to complete into a single second, enabling researchers to attack larger and more complex computational models and simulations.

RMIT’s Executive Director of IT Services, Mr. Brian Clark, said that “A key goal of the RMIT ICT plan is to support research by providing researchers with the tools that build productivity, and access to more and faster compute resources reduces time to their research results.”

According to RMIT’s eResearch Director, Professor Heinz Schmidt “Our significant investment in this joint HPC facility will provide our researchers with a ten-fold capability increase that enables them to better understand the nature of proteins and complex materials for next generation solar cells, more effectively model medical radiation used in cancer treatments, and support the breadth of engineering applications."

The competitive world of research demands access to world class resources such as high performance computers, and the difference in delivering results in days rather than weeks can mean the difference between making a globally significant discovery, or just verifying others’ outcomes.

Consequently at La Trobe University a growing number of leading researchers increasingly depend on high performance computing, especially in the life sciences, engineering, and computing.

“Research at La Trobe is aimed at making a difference in pressing global problems. Linking disciplines and strong researchers will be a key, but these cross-disciplinary approaches often require the latest in computational power to explore the solutions and find the best. So infrastructure like this is a vital component in the La Trobe strategy,” said La Trobe’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), Professor Tim Brown.

“La Trobe is delighted with this upgrade as it takes our researchers to a new level in their ability to address complex problems through sophisticated computational methods that hitherto would be impractical or impossible,” said Ged Doyle, CIO at La Trobe.

Trifid is housed and operated by VPAC Ltd, delivering 45.9 TFLOPS (trillions of calculations per second) of performance through 180 nodes of the latest Intel Sandy Bridge Enterprise processors, FDR Infiniband, and featuring a 165 TB DDN high performance storage array.

Dr. Ann Borda, CEO at VPAC, added that “VPAC was established to provide advanced computing services to Victoria’s universities and research institutions, and Trifid re-establishes VPAC as a leading high-end provider for our Victorian researchers. Trifid is one of the most capable high performance systems available in Australia, and it will be available to researchers from all of our Member institutions.”

For further information please contact:

Mark Pearce
Director, Media and Communications Unit
Marketing and Engagement Division
La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3086
Tel: +61 3 9479 5246 Mob: +61 423 783 756

David Glanz
Senior Manager, Communications Engagement
RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Tel. +61 3 9925 2807 Mob: +61 438 547 723

Philip Tannenbaum
Centre Manager
VPAC Ltd, PO Box 201, Carlton South, Victoria 3053
Tel: +61 3 9925 4733 Mob: +61 403 851 323