National Computational Infrastructure

NCI

History

11NCI can trace its lineage back through three stages of the evolution of high-end computing services in Australia.

These are:

  • The Early Years: The initiation of high-performance computing services through the Australian National University Supercomputing Facility (ANUSF) from 1987;
  • The APAC Years: Its extension to a national role under the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (APAC), hosted by ANU from 2000– 07, during which national HPC service was provided from ANUSF, a national partnership was formed, services were broadened to include a range of outreach activities to build uptake, and a national grid program, and nascent data services were established.
  • The NCI Years: The current stage of advanced computing services that have been developed from 2007 onwards under the badge of NCI, again hosted by ANU, which are characterised by the broadening and integration of services, the evolution of a strong sustaining partnership, and the transition from high-terascale to petascale computational and data infrastructure to support Australian science.

Before describing this evolution under the relevant headings below, it is interesting to characterise this growth in capacity and capability in a single figure (below) which displays the evolution in HPC capacity over 25 years in Australia.

Graph

Summary of the Growth of Capability of HPC Systems at NCI (and antecedents) from 1987

System (name)

Processor

Memory

Storage

Peak Perf.

Sustained Perf. (SPEC)

Initial
Top500
Rank

1987–92
Fujitsu VP100
Vector 64 MByte 0.15 GFlops
1992–96
Fujitsu VP2200
Vector 512 MByte 27 GByte 1.25 GFlops
1996–2001
Fujitsu VPP
Vector/
Scalar
14 GByte 28 GFlops

59

SGI Power Challenge XL 20
MIPS R10000
2 GByte 77 GByte 6.4 GFlops
2001–05
Compaq/HP Alphaserver
(sc)
512
DEC Alpha
0.5 TByte 12TByte 1 TFlop 2,000

31

2005–09
SGI Altix 3700
(ac)
1920
Intel Itanium
5.5 TByte 100 TByte 14 TFlop 21,000

26

2009–13
SGI Altix XE
(xe)
1248
Intel Xeon (Nehalem)
2.5 TByte 90 TByte 14 TFlop 12,000

2009–13
Sun/Oracle Constellation (Vayu)
11,936
Intel Xeon
(Nehalem)
37 TByte 800 TByte 140 TFlop 240,000

35

2013–
Fujitsu Primergy (Raijin)
57,472
Intel Xeon (Sandy Bridge)
160 TByte 12.5 PByte 1195 TFlop 1,600,000

24

 

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