Interview with iVEC Director Paul Bourke

Uploaded by universitywa on 26.09.2012

I’m the Associate Professor Paul Bourke and I’m the Director of the iVEC facility
at The University of Western Australia.
Fornax is the name of a new supercomputer that we’ve installed at
the University of Western Australia.
Supercomputers like this provide computing power to researchers to enable them to perform
research that they would otherwise not be able to do.
Fornax is very special. It has been designed with two characteristics:
The first is instead of using just a normal CPU processor, it also has a large number
of GPUs – very specialized processors that allow highly parallel computing.
Another special feature of Fornax is a very high data throughput. In many areas of science
including astrophysics and geoscience the limitation is not necessarily the processing
power but how fast you can get data to and from the processor.
Another very important aspect of Fornax is that it provides software developers with
a test bed for developing highly parallel programs. This will be critical for researchers
in West Australia and the nation to fully utilise the Pawsey supercomputer.
The Pawsey supercomputer is an extremely exciting project to be built in Western Australia that
will be pivotal to processing of data from the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.
By having supercomputers we can run much larger, more accurate simulations, simulations that
you would not be able to do without these machines.