Highlights of 2019: Technology, Expertise and Collaboration

Another year has come and gone at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. 2019 was full of collaboration, achievements, challenges and new beginnings – a testament to the Centre’s skills, capabilities and services.

Pawsey is a Tier-1 supercomputing facility in Australia. Its aim – delivering cutting-edge supercomputing and data services for the benefit of society, industry and the environment. The Centre achieves this through its technology, expertise and collaboration, that enable and accelerate scientific discovery.

In this light, what did 2019 hold for the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre?


Pawsey Capital Refresh

In early 2018, Pawsey received $70 million in funding from the Federal government to refresh its infrastructure, further driving the Centre’s ability to accelerate scientific discovery. 2019 saw a range of achievements with the Capital Refresh Project, including:

More updates are available on the Pawsey Capital Refresh update page and the Pawsey Capital Refresh Podcast.


In late 2019, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre announced the arrival of Topaz, a new commodity Linux cluster that complements the Zeus SGI Linux cluster. The system will be in full production in January 2020 after undergoing final configuration and testing with invited Pawsey researchers.

The new cluster is made up of 42 nodes, 20 for remote visualisation with the state-of-the-art Quadro NVIDIA GPUs and 22 for general-purpose computing with dual NVIDIA V100 GPUs. Topaz will provide users with enhanced GPU capabilities, particularly in AI, computational work, machine learning workflows and data analytics.



Pawsey strive to directly engage with our stakeholders via our outreach and training activities, which encompass conferences, tours, open days and regular training sessions offered in several cities around Australia. Its trainers deliver a range of unix, supercomputing and cloud training to a range of groups across Australia. The structure of training is to maximise researcher benefits of supercomputers, possibilities and applications of powerful tools. Pawsey training will continue in 2020.

To gain feedback from researchers, Pawsey held User Forums during training weeks. This helps the Centre to understand areas of improvement on its expertise, systems and services. Pawsey User Forums will continue in 2020 and include updates on the Pawsey Capital Refresh.

Pawsey Uptake Projects

In the latter half of 2019, Pawsey called for research groups to work on collaborative projects with Pawsey uptake staff. The goal being to improve researcher software and workflows at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. Over the course of the period, Pawsey staff assisted four projects at 0.25 FTE with the focus of improving application performance that use or potentially use Pawsey compute resources.

GPU Hackathon

In March 2019, Pawsey brought five teams together from academia and industry for a GPU mentored 5-day workshop. The GPU Hackathon, is a collaborative effort between the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and tech designers NVIDIA.

The GPU experts mentoring the teams draw together experience spanning six countries and organisations including the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, National Supercomputing Centre Singapore, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, NVIDIA, the University of Melbourne, and Swinburne University of Technology.

Combining advanced computing technologies with world-leading mentors and researchers who want to learn and accelerate their code will deliver exciting results and raise awareness of the power of GPUs and supercomputing in Australia.


Every year, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre runs an intensive 10-week internship program. November 2018 hosted a group of students delve deeper into their scientific areas through high-performance computing, data analytics and visualisation.

The 2018 internships came to an end in February 2019 with 20 students presenting posters on their research, experiences and learnings at the Centre.

November 2019 started a new round of internships, with twelve students kicking off their summer at Pawsey. Projects range from geophysical use of HPC, atomic and molecular photon collisions and carbon molecular dynamic simulations, quantum statistical algorithms, genomic mapping, sampling and genetic analyses, automatic seismic interpretation and critical infrastructure monitoring using deep learning and martian impact crater detection.

Collaboration & Engagement

Pawsey has continued collaboration with National Computational Infrastructure, Australia’s other Tier-1 HPC Centre. This continues to grow the sustained support from the Australian Government for two national centres. Pawsey also exist in a very connected national and international environment, and have growing collaborations in this space.



This highlight is just a taste of the technology, expertise and collaborative nature of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. Pawsey’s ongoing engagement with the local, national and international communities will continue in 2020, which is looking more exciting than ever!

We encourage you to keep watching our space as a Pawsey Friend or on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

2019 - Highlights of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

2019 - Highlights of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

Pawsey Capital Refresh Infographic

Infographic for the Pawsey Capital Refresh

Container Training

A full house at the Pawsey Containers in HPC training at SC19

2019 Interns during their training week at the Centre

Tiles at the Murchison Widefield Array

Tiles at the Murchison Widefield Array

Left to right; Jimi Green from CSIRO CASS, Lister Staveley-Smith. Science DIrector, ICRAR, Pawsey Family, Brad Evan from Pawsey and MWA's Greg Sleap

Pawsey @ eResearch 2019

Pawsey @ eResearch 2019


The Pawsey team at SC-Asia 19

Pawsey space as part of C3DIS in Canberra


Pawsey ED Mark Stickells, Opening the 2019 Perth GPU Hackathon