Powerful boost to UCs high-tech computing facilities

02 June 2011

The University of Canterbury has signed a contract with IBM that increases our BlueFern High Performance Computing (HPC) capacity by 10 times...

Powerful boost to UCs high-tech computing facilities

(back row from left) Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Town, BlueFern HPC Unit Director Professor Tim David, (front) Client Executive for IBM Christchurch Ray Stanion, UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr and IBM New Zealand General Manager of Sales Phill Patton sign a contract to deliver bigger and better computing services to the country's research community.

The University of Canterbury has signed a contract with IBM that increases our BlueFern High Performance Computing (HPC) capacity by 10 times. In February the government announced it was making a $27.4 million investment in National eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) over the next four years with $21 million in co-investment coming from a consortium including four key partners - UC, the University of Auckland, NIWA and AgResearch. Last week UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Town and Director of UC's BlueFern HPC Unit Professor Tim David met with IBM representatives Ray Stanion, Client Executive for IBM Christchurch, and Phill Patton, General Manager of Sales IBM New Zealand, to sign the contract for the exciting upgrade. Dr Carr said the University of Canterbury's pledge to contribute $8 million over the next four years, building on previous significant investment in high performance computing, showed its commitment to investing in infrastructure that provides a world-class learning environment for students and researchers. "As the major university investor and a lead HPC provider for New Zealand we look forward to collaborating with our CRI and university partners locally and internationally to deliver top quality science and technology outcomes." Dr Carr said the government's matched funding "enables us to have access to something we never could have afforded on our own" and would be "a real drawcard" for UC. Professor David said there were two parts to the BlueFern computer architecture upgrade. An upgrade to a new Power7 system, which increases by 10 times the capacity of the previous model, and the new Blue Gene P will go live by the end of September. "We have been providing a national service for some time but now we are able to provide that service in a formal government-matched way. It is great for UC and for New Zealand in terms of the economic benefits the research will bring," said Professor David. Mr Patton said the signing with UC "extends an ongoing partnership that is truly delivering to the University and New Zealand a new level of research."
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