Niwa supercomputer ready to rock

The most powerful computer in New Zealand, Niwa's (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) Silicon Graphics/Cray T3E, will be officially 'opened' on June 24. The T3E massively parallel processing system, which Niwa says is among the top 100 super-computers globally, is now undergoing assessment testing.

The most powerful computer in New Zealand, Niwa's (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) Silicon Graphics/Cray T3E, will be officially "opened" on June 24.

Maurice Williamson, Minister for Information Technology, and Simon Upton, Minister for Crown Research Institutes, have been invited by Niwa to the ceremony for the multimillion-dollar super computer.

The T3E massively parallel processing system, which Niwa says is among the top 100 super-computers globally, is undergoing assessment testing. It will be used for numerical modelling of climate and oceanographic prediction, the prediction of tides, currents and pollution flow, and fisheries biomass modelling for predicting fish stocks and calculating quotas.

Predictions 50 years ahead will be possible, claims institute corporate IT manager Anthony Cole. With 128 600MHz Alpha CPUs, eight with 512Mb of memory and the remainder with 128Mb, the system has a total storage capacity of 19.5Gb. Peak performance will be 153 gigaflops and the configuration can be expanded to over 2000 processors. Few institutions internationally have comparable modelling capacity, so NIWA is likely to undertake international research.

The system was assembled in Australia, shipped to Auckland and carried by truck to the Institute's Greta Point facility in Evans Bay, Wellington in May. The various parts, including workstations, heat exchange unit and disk drives, had to be hoisted by crane through a dismantled window.

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