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  • SKA team completes design for world’s most powerful supercomputer

    Australia’s CSIRO, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) are part of an international consortium that has completed a five-year effort to design supercomputing infrastructure that will help process the masses of data generated by the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

  • New HPC facility launched at NZ’s NIWA

    Research, science and innovation minister Dr Megan Woods has officially opened New Zealand’s High Performance Computing Facility at NIWA’s campus in Wellington, 17 months after the government announced plans to invest in the facility.

  • NZ takes seven places in supercomputer list

    New Zealand has made a weighty impact in an international measure of the world’s fastest computers — thanks largely to Wellington’s Weta Digital.
    A list of the world’s 500 fastest computers — the TOP500 — has been released overnight at a computing conference in Hamburg, Germany. In all, seven New Zealand computers made the grade.
    Weta Digital, whose computers were used to make James Cameron’s Avatar, came in ranked at 279, 280, 281, 282, 283 and 413.
    The only other New Zealand entry was the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research, whose computer ranked 434th.
    Weta’s fastest computer is a Hewlett Packard Cluster Platform 3000BL which runs on Linux. Its speed is measured at 31527.8 GFlops, which is an acronym meaning "floating point operations per second".
    The chart topper on the TOP500 is the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States, where, among other things, virtual digital nuclear explosions are run in the computer. They do it on a Jaguar Cray XT5-HE computer, which runs on Linux, at speeds of the rather faster 1.759 petaFLOPS.
    One petaflop/s refers to one quadrillion calculations per second.
    The University of Mannheim, Germany, which compiles the list, says statistics on high-performance computers are of major interest to manufacturers, users, and potential users
    "These people wish to know not only the number of systems installed, but also the location of the various supercomputers within the high-performance computing community and the applications for which a computer system is being used" the university says.
    Weta Digital, formed in 1993 by a group of young New Zealand filmmakers including Sir Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor, used its computers in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong.
    It says it has also generated digital effects for box office hits such as I, Robot, X-Men: The Last Stand, Eragon, Bridge to Terabithia, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Water Horse, Jumper, The Day the Earth Stood Still, District 9 and The Lovely Bones.
    IBM and Hewlett-Packard continue to sell the bulk of systems at all performance levels of the TOP500.

  • China aims for petaflop computer in 2010

    China has stepped up investment in its homegrown Godson microprocessor and hopes to build its first petaflop-class supercomputer using the chip in 2010, one of the country's senior engineers said on Tuesday.

  • Cultures clash as ICT takes on supercomputers

    The rapid expansion of high-performance computing (HPC) installations within government agencies, universities and the private sector is bringing more of the systems under the control of ICT departments in an effort to improve how they’re managed and reduce costs.

  • NZ at animation forefront: IBM visitor

    Bruce D’Amora, senior technical staff member in the emerging systems software group at IBM’s TJ Watson Research Centre in New York, says New Zealand is well-placed to stay at the leading edge of the animation sector.

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