DUG plans Geraldton supercomputer

25/05/2021 - 15:30

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A huge supercomputer is planned in Geraldton by ASX-listed DUG Technology, with an intended capacity of 200 petaflops and adding to the pipeline of new compute power in WA.

DUG plans Geraldton supercomputer
DUG founder Matt Lamont with a supercomputer in Kings Park. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

A huge supercomputer is planned in Geraldton by ASX-listed DUG Technology, with an intended capacity of 200 petaflops and adding to the pipeline of new compute power in WA.

Construction could start in the September quarter of this year, with commissioning before June 2022, DUG told markets today, and $5 million has been budgeted.

It will enter operation at roughly the same time as the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre's new installation, which will be 50 petaflops.

Last year, Business News reported DUG was considering a large scale supercomputer in the Mid West, and the company today said it would lease about 45 hectares of land near Geraldton.

A 200 petaflop computer would be able to undertake 200 quadrillion floating point operations every second, which compares to about 23 petaflops at its Bruce computer near Kings Park.

Over time, the facility may be scaled up further to an exaflop, equal to 1000 petaflops.

The company said the new computer would be powered by renewables with a potential hydrogen battery system, and would use immersion cooling to reduce energy use, all of which would make the computer emissions free.

“Geraldton would become the largest of DUG’s global network of data centres building on expertise gained with the design and construction of the company’s innovative Houston facility at Skybox,” the company said. 

“The Houston centre received global recognition as a winner in the 2019 Data Center Design Awards. 

“The planned new campus turbocharges research and big data science for DUG’s diverse client base across the global technology, tertiary education and resource sectors which includes Curtin University and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.

“Its location is ideal to play a key role in Australia’s involvement in the Square Kilometre Array project, one of the largest international scientific research projects in history. 

“The company plans to design and operate the facility to meet requirements for the provision of services to all levels of the public sector.

“DUG chose the Mid West town of Geraldton as it is rapidly becoming one of the world’s premier renewable energy regions.

“It has an ideal climate for both wind and solar, which complement each other to enable round-the-clock power supply. 

“With respect to connectivity a commercial high-speed fibre is available and the site is close to the Mid West TAFE which has an Australian Academic and Research Network large fibre connection. 

“There is a latency of only 3.5 milliseconds from Geraldton to Perth – which makes it as good as a CBD location.”

Shares in DUG were up 1.4 per cent to $1.09 each at the close today.

Pawsey

Also today, government-owned Pawsey said it had launched the new Australian Space Data Analysis Facility, which it will operate with the Western Australian Data Science Innovation Hub and assisted by the Curtin Institute for Computation.

The facility will help small and medium sized businesses to access and analyse space data, which Pawsey said had been out of reach for businesses.

The state government chipped in $750,000 for the centre, while the federal government supported it through the $19.5 million Space Infrastructure Fund.

“The use of space data and Earth-observation technologies is growing every day,” Pawsey executive director Mark Stickells said.

“There is significant opportunity for business to use this data, whether it is looking at human land use, physical changes in the landscape, soil moisture or atmospheric conditions.

“We are seeking expressions of interest now. If you are an SME, in any sector, and you think your business could capitalise on data collected from space, make an application.”

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