Watch out, NASA. There’s a new kid on the block. Australia’s Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre in Perth is ready to churn out some incredible photos of space. Using data from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s (CSIRO) Australian SKA Pathfinder Telescope (ASKAP), the center’s new, $70 million Setonix supercomputer has created quite the detailed image of a supernova remnant.
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About Australia’s new Setonix supercomputer
The Setonix supercomputer is named after the country’s so-called favorite animal, the adorable Setonix brachyurus, also called the quokka. The computer is part of the Pawsey Centre’s $70 million upgrade, and is being installed in two stages; it is currently in stage one, with stage two on track to be executed later in the year.
The Setonix supercomputer’s arrival will increase Pawsey’s computing power by 45%, according to Dr. Pascal Elahi, one of the center’s supercomputing applications specialists. This makes it more powerful than the previous Galaxy and Magnus systems combined.
According to Dr. Wasin Raja, a researcher on CSIRO’s ASKAP team, the supernova dataset was used to test Setonix processing software because it is a complex object.
“The speed at which we reproduced our current workflows is a good sign as we look to improve and optimize them to fully exploit Setonix’s capabilities. Setonix’s large, shared memory will allow us to use more of our software features and further enhance the quality of our images. This means we will be able to unearth more from the ASKAP data.”
Going forward, the Setonix supercomputer will be used to process data from ASKAP—itself in the final stages of testing.