ANU Media | 31 July 2013
Australia’s most powerful computer has been officially launched 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 reputedly the 27th largest in the world, 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.
Professor Lindsay Botten, Director of the NCI says of the capability the computer adds to Australian research:
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.
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.
The operation of the NCI is sustained through co-investment by a number of partner organisations including ANU, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), Geoscience Australia and other research-intensive universities supported by the Australian Research Council, the total of which amounts to a further $50 million over four years.