SGI wins over “Athena.”

Australia’s Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has announced that SGI (now a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company) has been awarded the tender of the Advanced Technology Cluster (ATC) system, which has now been named “Athena.”

Athena is a state-of-the-art next generation high-performance computing system. It will provide Pawsey researchers with access to cutting edge technologies, and facilitate the evaluation of these technologies.

“Pawsey is looking to the future, to try and explore novel ways to satisfy the endless thirst of Australian researchers for high-performance compute resources. Through this new platform, we can ensure that Australian science is supported by cutting-edge technology,” said David Schibeci, Head of Supercomputing at Pawsey.

Athena will ensure that Pawsey researchers are well equipped to engage in emerging computational techniques such as deep machine learning.

The tender process was led by the Pawsey Uptake Strategy Group, consisting of members of the Australian computational research community. Based on the responses to this call from Pawsey users, two technologies were identified: Intel Xeon Phi many-core processors, and NVIDIA Pascal GPU accelerators.

A competitive procurement process through CSIRO and AusTender resulted in SGI being selected as the successful vendor.

“There are a number of reasons why SGI were chosen,” said Mr Schibeci. “They provided the best technical solution within the budget allocated for the procurement, which ensured the best value for money. This was driven by SGI’s long-standing relationship with Pawsey, demonstrating their deep understanding on the challenges that we face in the near future. SGI has demonstrated their understanding of the HPC space around Australia and Pawsey is pleased to continue to leverage that experience and knowledge.”

Athena will complement existing Pawsey systems and infrastructure benefitting Australian researchers and scientists who have access to the Centre’s world-class facilities.

The procurement of Athena was made possible through the funding of the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and will enable Pawsey to continue delivering Big Science outcomes for the advancement of Australia.

Athena’s specifications will consist of:

  • Eighty C2112-4KNL nodes with Intel Xeon Phi 7210 processors
  • Eleven C1102-GP8 nodes with four NVIDIA Tesla P100 SXM2 GPUs

Athena is expected to arrive at the Pawsey Centre in mid-2017.