Setonix caps a year of big milestones for Pawsey

It was a year that started with the Pawsey Centre awarding contracts to procure multi-tier storage facilities and ends with our first ever P’Con event, while acceptance testing continues for our new world-class supercomputer, Setonix.  

Every way you look at it, it has been a momentous year for Pawsey, as our timeline of achievements and milestones below shows. 

After several COVID-19 related delays, Setonix and our new storage systems finally arrived in the second half of the year, and these systems are being installed and tested.  

Pawsey is now putting the finishing touches to its inaugural P’Con conference event, which has been built around the theme of ‘Setting the pace for exascale’. 

P’Con will feature international experts from AMD, HPE Cray, Fluid Numerics, Oak Ridge National Labs, CSCS, Pelagos Consulting, Appentra and HPCnow!, delivering seminars, trainings, Q&A sessions and hackathons.  

Setonix in the white space 

Setonix needs little introduction. Phase 1 of our 50 petaFLOP supercomputer is being embedded in its new home, and once it is handed over to the Pawsey staff early next year, the transition from Magnus will begin. 

Importantly, Setonix will be 10 times more energy efficient than our existing systems, enabling us to better support impactful research that solves complex problems and makes a daily difference in people’s lives, all on a smaller footprint. 

Acacia is the new online storage system that provides over 60 petabytes of object storage. One zone within the system is designed for data that needs to be accessed faster, while the other is for energy efficient storage. 

The new offline storage system, Banksia, provide an expandable platform to build on and leverage the investment in object storage. Banksia reuses existing tape libraries and uses a new 5 petabytes cache to take full advantage of the new 100 gigabit ethernet network infrastructure. 

PaCER makes the headlines 

It is not just hardware that has had a large impact at Pawsey this year. The research we support accelerates discovery, and we were thrilled in August when Future PaCER’s PhD student Liam Scarlett was named ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year. 

Liam’s work focused on the development of a theory and a suite of computer programs capable of producing the most detailed database of electron-molecule reaction probabilities to date. Liam’s work was used by scientists working on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. 

The PaCER (Pawsey Center for Extreme-scale Readiness) program itself was nominated for an HPCwire Reader’s Choice award. And in September, PaCER’s Principal Investigator of the EXESS project, Dr Giuseppe Barca, and his team set a new world record for quantum chemical calculations. 

This new chemical modelling technology will be used on supercomputers worldwide, leading to new technological leaps in renewable energy, medicine, and advanced manufacturing. 

Pawsey in 2022 

2022 is set to be another big year for Pawsey as we welcome Phase 2 of Setonix, which positions Pawsey as the lead Tier 1 research facility in Australia. 

In the second quarter of 2022, Pawsey will prepare for the arrival of Setonix Phase 2, an exciting milestone will allow researchers to access:   

  • Up to 50 petaFLOPs raw compute power 
  • 250,000 AMD CPUs 
  • 750 AMD GPUs 
  • 548 terabytes of memory 


This growth in capacity will enable more universities, institutions, scientists, and data researchers — as well as industry and business — to access next-generation computing speed and data analysis.