June 12, 2013

Australia Buys Cray Supercomputer to Model New Submarine

Alex Woodie

A Cray supercomputer will help with the design of Australia’s next-generation submarine platform. The government’s Department of Defence is expected to take delivery on the new system in July.

The new system, which cost the government $2.2 million AUD (about $2.07 USD), will run fluid dynamic workloads associated with the development of the Australian government’s Future Submarine program at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in Melbourne, according to a story in The Sydney Morning Herald.

The new DSTO cluster is expected to be a “CPU-only” computer that integrates with existing network-attached storage using QDR Infiniband switches that provide up to 40 Gbps of bandwidth.

DSTO issued a tender for HPC system and associated software in January, according to CIO Australia. The new system was expected to use the OpenFOAM-based solvers and ANSYS Fluent/CFX software packages to execute computational fluid dynamic equations. This was expected to boost DSTO’s understanding of how existing and future submarine designs effect maneuvering and water flow around the hull, propellers, and appendages.

According to The Herald, the new supercomputer will be a modular system delivered in a modified shipping container. As such, it will be one of the first modular HPC systems in the country, the newspaper says. 

While the new supercomputer is expected to participate in the Top 500 rankings, it’s not expected to be near the top. A Fujitsu Primergy system running at the National Computational Infrastructure National Facility at the Australian National University is currently number 24 on the list. The country also boasts the number 33 spot with Avoca, which resides at the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative.

Australia’s government announced the Future Submarine program in September 12. The government established the Future Submarine Systems Centre on the country’s southern shore in Adelaide, and wants to assemble the subs in South Australia territory.


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