CSIRO Computing History, Chapter 8

By October 28th, 2019

These pages attempt to give some of the history of CSIRO’s use of computing in its research, focussing mainly on the large shared systems and services.

Chapter 8. CSIRO HPSC

This page/post is under construction.
Last updated: 28 Oct 2019.
Robert C. Bell

In 2002-3, CSIRO reviewed its High Performance Computing services, and concluded that CSIRO was under-spending, that CSIRO needed to diversify its major computing systems beyond the NEC vector SX series, and that more support was needed.  A new group, CSIRO High Performance Scientific Computing was formed, with Dr Rhys Francis as Director.  Staff expanded to 12.


An SGI Altix system was acquired in 2004 to host the Data Store in the new location, and this system was expanded to provide a system with large shared memory for parallel processing and large-scale data analysis.


IBM Bladecenter Cluster systems were acquired to provide a new range of services.  One system was dedicated to a particular research project: development of the Relocatable Ocean and Atmospheric Model, ROAM, for the RAN.


CSIRO collaborated more closely with APAC and partners, to undertake computational tools and techniques development, and to provide GRID services.  CSIRO purchased time on the APAC National Facility, and also made an investment of $0.5M into iVEC, to provide local facilities for WA users.


In July 2006, CSIRO HPSC was absorbed into CSIRO IM&T.

Here are concluding comments from a retrospective written in August 2007.


CSIRO has continued to ride Moore’s law in terms of the processing power available to its scientists through its peak facilities.  A graph is available.


Over the 50 years, it has tried nearly every model of computing services delivery, with mixed success.


Support is crucial to the successful usage of the facilities, and this support has been widely appreciated.


Storage facilities continue to grow in necessity to match the increased computing power available.

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