Australia’s Setonix supercomputer has been recognized as one of the world’s greenest on the globally recognized Green500 list.
The news was announced by the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Center, home of Setonix, after the list was unveiled at the SC22 International Supercomputing Conference in Texas. The ranking places Setonix alongside exascale supercomputers Frontier in the United States and LUMI in Finland, which share the same computing architecture.
Setonix has also been named the most powerful public research supercomputer in the southern hemisphere, ranking 15th in the world’s Top500 this week.
The Green500 is the global benchmark for efficient high performance computing. The ranking means that once fully available to researchers in early 2023, Setonix will enable high-impact research in areas such as radio astronomy, energy and resources, engineering, bioinformatics, life sciences health and climate science while reducing its environmental impact.
Since completing the first stage of the system earlier this year, researchers have already used Setonix to produce a highly detailed image of a supernova remnant captured using CSIRO’s ASKAP radio telescope over Australia’s Wajarri country. western.
At peak performance, Setonix will deliver massively parallel computing power equivalent to hundreds of thousands of standard computers working in unison for research, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Importantly, it will deliver peak performance at 56.98 GFlops/watt, delivering 30x more raw computing power than previous Magnus and Galaxy systems while only increasing power consumption by 50%.
Named after Western Australia’s favorite marsupial, the quokka (Setonix brachyurus), Setonix will provide enough computing power to perform a calculation in one second that would take a human 1.5 billion years. Part of a $70 million technology refresh program funded by the Australian government, Setonix is an eight-cabinet HPE Cray EX system that features 217,088 AMD compute cores, 768 graphics cores and 1,792 compute nodes in total .
The system was designed to deliver high performance computing while keeping power efficiency in mind. The supercomputer is a hybrid system of central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs). This heterogeneous architecture allows Setonix to achieve significantly more computing power and prepare for next-generation high-performance computing without significantly increasing power consumption.
The Top500 and Green500 rankings were established based on the maximum and maximum power of Setonix’s GPU scores.
Setonix’s power efficiency is made possible by adopting the latest AMD CPU and GPU technology as well as innovative direct liquid cooling of all system components. In addition to this, the system is cooled by a geothermal solution, developed by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, saving around 7 million liters of water each year that could otherwise be wasted, and powered by a panel system. 120 kW solar panels, which helps offset the centre’s carbon footprint.
The new supercomputer is installed in two stages. The first stage debuted at 314 on the Top500 in November 2021, delivering a peak performance of 2.57 petaFLOPS. The arrival of the final phase of the system and the new ranking in the Top500 and Green500 lists is an important step in Pawsey’s multi-year technology renewal, aimed at helping to elevate Australian research to a global level.
Other important elements of the technological renewal program already deployed are:
- A 130PB S3-compatible tiered storage system, including Ceph object storage and Versity-controlled tape storage.
- Moving from a monolithic single-core router to a spine-leaf architecture with a 400 gigabits per second (Gbps) backbone and 100 Gbps links to the nodes.
- Dedicated radio astronomy systems, including the Garrawarla GPU cluster and ingest nodes.
“To be named one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers and one of the greenest is a significant recognition of Australia’s investment in high-impact research enabled by high-performance computing,” said Mark Stickells, executive director of the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Center.
“Setonix will give Australian researchers the computing power and infrastructure, supported by our team of experts, to discover new galaxies, develop new drugs, create new battery technologies and better understand our universe. It will unlock the scientific knowledge needed to support Australia’s position in academia and commercial success.
“By delivering the full power of Setonix in an energy-efficient system, we can ensure researchers are able to do their jobs with sustainability in mind. This is a significant milestone for Pawsey and the wider Australian research community, and the culmination of over three years of the team’s effort to deliver world-class computing facilities from sustainable way,” Stickells said.
The Pawsey Capital Refresh project is supported by the Australian government with a $70 million grant. Pawsey is also supported by the Department of Education through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).
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