‘Thunder God’ officially unleashed!










In September last year we announced that Fujitsu had been selected to supply Australia’s most powerful computer to the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) located at the Australian National University (ANU). The computer – named ‘Raijin’, which translates to ‘Thunder God’ in Japanese, was officially launched today at the opening of the NCI high performance computing centre.

The 1.2 Petaflop Fujitsu PRIMERGY cluster is one of the most powerful  in the world and now provides high-end computational services to the Australian research community.
With peak performance speeds of 1.2 PetaFlops – 1,200,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second, the new computer has the power of 56,000 computers working in parallel, and the disk storage equivalent of 20,000 computers but working much faster. It can perform the same number of calculations in one hour that every one of the 7 billion humans on Earth, armed with calculators, could perform in 20 years – or 170,000 calculations per second, per person on Earth.
You may recall that Fujitsu and ANU commissioned a time lapse video of the supercomputer being built – click here to watch the video.
The NCI is supported by a $50 million grant under the Australian Government’s Super Science Initiative. Raijin’s speed is taking the Australia’s research capacity to new levels with Commonwealth agencies such as the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia to run complex weather and climate modelling, and research in computational chemistry, particle physics, astronomy, material science, microbiology, nanotechnology and photonics.
Raijin is the largest x86 HPC installation of any brand in the southern hemisphere and the largest Fujitsu PRIMERGY deployment worldwide. The innovative design of Raijin, which utilises industry standard hardware, saw it delivered and commissioned as budgeted. 

In the press release issued by Fujitsu Professor Lindsay Botten, Director of the NCI said “Advanced computational methods form an increasingly essential component of high-impact research, in many cases underpinning discoveries that cannot be achieved by other means, as well as the platform with which to sustain innovation at an internationally competitive level. NCI welcomes the opportunity to continue to build a substantive collaborative relationship with Fujitsu, the peak system vendor, with a focus particularly on the optimisation of Australia’s primary modelling suite.” 

Important Statistics

  • Fujitsu PRIMERGY x86 High Performance Computing (HPC) technology is based on commodity hardware, which delivers improved price/performance; access to a greater range of ISV applications; and simplified the migration process from existing x86 applications.
  • Processor cores: 57,472 (Intel Xeon Sandy Bridge, 2.6 GHz)
    Main Memory: 160 TBytes
    Disk Storage: 10 PBytes
    Peak Performance: 1195 TFlops
    Available Resource: 503M core hours per annum
  • Raijin is capable of peak performance speeds of 1.2 PetaFlops – 1,200,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second.
  • The installation of Raijin was undertaken by Fujitsu’s combined supercomputing expertise from Australia and Japan with support from Fujitsu Australia engineering teams and project partners.
  • The NCI is supported by a $50 million grant under the Australian Government’s Super Science Initiative. Its operation is sustained through co-investment by a number of partner organisations including the ANU, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), Geoscience Australia and other research-intensive universities supported by the Australian Research Council. Researcher access to NCI facilities and services is also supported by the ARC and a number of Australia’s research intensive universities.


See Australia’s fastest supercomputer being built

Earlier this year we announced that the Australian National University (ANU) has selected Fujitsu to supply and install a High Performance Computer (HPC) for the National Computing Infrastructure (NCI) project.

The Fujitsu Primergy cluster high-performance supercomputer was constructed at the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) in late 2012. This machine debuted at number 24 on the World Top 500 Supercomputer ranking. This means it is ranked as the 24th most powerful computer in the World, and also the fastest computer in Australia. The NCI computer uses technology developed for Japan’s ‘K’ Computer, which was until recently the world’s fastest computer.

Australia's fastest computer being builtIf you are interested in seeing Australia’s fastest supercomputer being built, click here to see our time-lapse video of the computer coming together from an empty data centre through to a fully functioning supercomputer. The video compresses almost three months of installation activity into approximately one minute of video.

To express the power and scope of this machine in terms we all understand, here are a few key statistics:

  • It has 57,000 cores, which is the equivalent of approximately 15,000 home PC’s
  • 160 terabytes of RAM = approximately 40,000 home PC’s
  • 10 petabytes of hard disc = 10,000 PC hard drives
  • 1,200 teraflops of peak computational performance = 5 months worth of calculations by 1 billion people armed with calculators, in just 1 second.
  • 9 terabyes of network = 9 million home internet bandwidth connections

At the NCI, we can be assured that this computer will be put to good use in support of a wide range of research initiatives across the region. NCI’s advanced computing infrastructure is funded through programs of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, while its operations are sustained through the substantial co-investment by a number of partner organisations including ANU, CSIRO, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, a number of Australia’s research-intensive universities, and the Australian Research Council.

For ICT companies such as Fujitsu, development of supercomputing technology can be likened to the development of Formula One cars by the large car companies. Concepts proven in this field can be adapted to more mainstream applications that benefit the general public. For Fujitsu the K-computer in Tokyo, which is a joint project between RIKEN and Fujitsu, has laid the foundations for much of Fujitsu’s future commercial endeavours.

Mr Yamada, Head of Fujitsu’s Supercomputing business describes the advancements well when he describes the processing power of the K-Computer in this video. Until recently the K Computer was the world’s fastest computer.

Imagine a football stadium filled with 50,000 people. They all have a calculator in their hand and start a calculation together doing one operation per second. What would take this group 6,340 years would take the K Computer only one second.

While it is easy to be consumed by discussions about processing power it is far more interesting to look at what this means in terms of its impact on the world. In medical science for example, it has for a long time been possible to create a simulation of the human heart for research purposes. Today’s supercomputing power enables us to take this one step further – rather than modelling a generic heart we can now quickly process a person’s vital signs and create a model of the individual heart. This means that we can now model the effects of an operation on the individual’s heart to simulate its reactions to an operation before we operate! Essentially the gain is in being able to process, model and simulate in a matter of days, not months or years – making the technology available on a wider scale. Similar examples can be found in a number of other fields including mineral exploration and predicting the effects of natual disasters such as tsunamis.