Expertise accelerates user workflows

Pawsey Uptake Projects – making the most of HPC

Pawsey Uptake Projects are designed to improve the quality and capability of projects making use of Pawsey facilities.  As Pawsey services are shared but finite resources, using these services in the most efficient way enables HPC allocations to be stretched to benefit even more users.

In 2018 the scope of the uptake projects was increased to include the full range of Pawsey services in addition to the traditional HPC areas.  Thirteen projects from new and existing user groups had access to up to 45 days of Pawsey expertise each, with the activities supported ranging from helping potential users identify and access relevant services, to developing potential and existing users’ HPC skills to optimise computational workflows and speed up processing by orders of magnitude.

The 2018 Uptake Project included participants from Partner Institutions, a State government department, non-partner Australian universities and the Telethon Kids Institute.  Projects spanned particle physics, radio astronomy, bioinformatics, fluid mechanics, and medical research, and ranged across:

  • migrating code to languages more suitable for high-speed processing
  • benchmarking and optimising computational workflows
  • improving parallel performance
  • investigating GPU acceleration
  • improving performance by removing communication bottlenecks
  • improving usability by tailoring data outputs to common formats.

Work done to improve existing workflows increased both the scale and speed of our established users’ research. For example, one project targeted optimising the beam simulation code for the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in order to further improve the performance of the MWA data processing. The GPU-optimised version of the code is 200 times faster than the initial implementation enabling effectively researchers to tackle the large-scale nature of the problem much faster, which is especially important in the context of the future Square Kilometre Array telescope consisting of hundred thousand of antennas.

Another project made an existing user’s allocation more efficient, giving an eight per cent performance improvement.  Given the size of their existing HPC allocation, this improvement freed up over 100,000 core hours per year.

As a result of the 2018 Uptake Projects, three new groups are now making use of Pawsey HPC facilities via a Director share allocation, and one new group is making use of Pawsey’s cloud facilities.

Following feedback and consideration of the 2018 projects, new Uptake Projects will now be considered at any time and successful projects will be able to access 0.25 FTE from Pawsey staff for up to six months.

To apply for a project, download the Information for Applicants Pack which includes an application form and uptake program guidelines, containing assessment criteria, application process and eligibility rules. Applications can be submitted by emailing the completed application to

Eligible projects that are within Pawsey’s capabilities to support will be shortlisted and prioritised based on the feasibility and impact criteria.  As appropriate effort is available, projects will then be selected for in-depth review and Pawsey staff will then check the source code, workflows, and perform initial profiling and code analysis to ensure proposed projects are suitable and technically feasible.  After this suitability assessment, the project plan will be finalised in consultation with Pawsey staff.

Uptake Projects – accessing, upskilling, optimising – are another way Pawsey works to make HPC available to Australia’s research community.  The more efficiently we can use Pawsey services, the more projects can benefit from HPC.

For assistance with your application or for any other enquiries, please contact the Pawsey help desk via the User Support Portal or via email at