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The University of Queensland acquires the new ‘Bunya’ supercomputer

June 22, 2022 — The University of Queensland has acquired a new supercomputer that is faster, more versatile and more efficient than its current high-performance computers (HPCs).

The HPC, named ‘Bunya’ after the tree native to southeast Queensland, was purchased from Dell Technologies and is expected to be operational in July this year.

The homonymous tree of the supercomputer, the Bunya. The name was chosen in part because of the native Queensland tree’s structural similarities to a supercomputer.

Bunya Technical Specifications

Bunya’s High Performance Computer:

  • Be supplied by Dell EMC Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
  • Features ~6000 AMD EPYC Milan series cores, 96 physical cores per node
  • Features 2 terabytes of memory per node on a standard compute node
  • Has 4 terabytes of memory per node on each of the three high memory capacity nodes
  • Features a blocking topology Infiniband HDR cluster interconnect, operating at a native throughput of 200 Gbps per port, per node
  • Includes three early access exploratory/edge systems servers featuring AMD Instinct MI2xx series GPU accelerators.
  • Run a current generation RHEL-like Linux distribution.

Professor David Abramson, director of the Research Computing Center (RCC) at UQ, said Bunya can perform work in a wide range of research fields, from science to humanities.

“Bunya will strengthen UQ’s position as a Tier 2 supercomputing capability,” Professor Abramson said.

Jake Carroll, CTO of RCC, said Bunya will help maintain UQ’s competitive edge.

“Applications that require a lot of communication or move a lot of data as part of their workflow could run much faster on Bunya, compared to our previous platforms, which would significantly shorten the time needed to reach research findings,” Carroll said.

“As scientific instruments produce more and more, as models develop and as in silico exploration techniques develop, the resources to support them must also increase.

“Bunya is more energy efficient than our current HPCs and will allow us to minimize our environmental impact.”

Bunya will replace three of UQ’s former HPCs, Awoonga, Flash Lite and Tinaroohaving served the University for almost seven years.

Awoonga was decommissioned in March, FlashLite will be shut down mid-year, and Tinaroo later in 2022.

ViennaUQ’s four-year-old, image-intensive, GPU-enhanced supercomputer will continue to operate.

UQ has allocated funds to expand Bunya’s capabilities and capacity over the next few years, so the single system should be a sufficient replacement for all three HPCs.

“RCC will be able to provide a better and more efficient long-term experience in this new model consolidated with an HPC. Over time, the need for and validity of differentiated supercomputers has diminished,” Carroll said.

Carroll said that Bunya users may see significantly higher performance than previous UQ RCC supercomputers, depending on the software users are running and how it is compiled, as well as optimization steps. performed to make the most of Bunya’s new hardware technologies.

“Bunya’s internal network is about four times faster than FlashLite or Tinaroo, and about twice Wiener’s. You can transfer an entire 23 gigabyte Blu-Ray movie to a node on FlashLite or Tinaroo in about 3.28 seconds; Bunya can complete the same transfer in 0.92 seconds,” Carroll said.

“A practical example of the difference that high-speed internal interconnects can make to research might be a machine learning researcher working on a dataset of around 280 GB. To situate this in memory on FlashLite, it would have taken 40 seconds just to get the data into the node before training on the model could begin. On Bunya, this transfer time could be reduced to around 11 seconds.

The name “Bunya” was chosen in part because of the native tree’s structural similarities to a supercomputer.

“The fruit of the Bunya is a tightly packed superstructure of individual segments forming a cohesive whole, much like supercomputers have nodes interconnected to form a powerful whole,” Carroll said.

Bunya will be available to UQ researchers and some Member of QCIF researchers.

The new CHP was funded by UQ with contributions from Molecular Bioscience Institute (IMB), the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), and QCIF.

Bunya is optimized for local users and campus infrastructure. It will start as a traditional central processing unit (CPU)-based supercomputer with a number of high-memory nodes for special uses.

Future Bunya upgrades will likely add different types of nodes, such as high-performance accelerators, including GPUs.

CHP will use new methods of software deployment and management to provide flexibility and ease of use to researchers.

Metropolitan CCR Data Caching Infrastructure (MediCI) Data Fabric will enable seamless access to research data collections through all CHPs at UQ, including Bunya.

Bunya is currently installed in the Polaris data center in Springfield, Queensland, where Tinaroo and FlashLite are hosted.

Online seminar

A introduction to the Bunya webinar will be held on Wednesday, June 29, 12 p.m.-1 p.m. (AEST) – All welcome.

Jake Carroll will discuss what was built and why, how Bunya works, why it’s special, and why researchers will greatly benefit from using it.


Source: University of Queensland

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