Autumn 2022 Pawsey update
Wajarri art decorates Australia’s newest supercomputer
We’re glad to be back in MRO News, and now with a regular update – thanks for the invitation! You might be aware that the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre is named for Australian scientist Dr Joseph Pawsey, known as a pioneer in Australian radio astronomy.
Dr Pawsey’s work underpins the development of the SKA telescopes – just one of many advanced scientific projects supported by our Centre that carries his name.
Since our last update, the first phase of our new $48 million supercomputer known as Setonix – the scientific name for WA’s cheerful marsupial, the quokka – now stands next to its supercomputer cousins, Magnus and Galaxy.
When complete, Setonix will be the fastest public research supercomputer in the Southern Hemisphere, with the equivalent power of more than 150,000 laptops working in parallel. That’s more than 30 times the power of our current system, Magnus!
Our supercomputers process data for SKA precursors ASKAP and the MWA, both based at the MRO on Wajarri country. We’re glad to reinforce that connection by continuing the theme of Indigenous art on our supercomputers with Setonix.
Wajarri visual artist Margaret Whitehurst produced the ‘Meteorites’ artwork that adorns Setonix, inspired by the night sky that shines over her country in the Murchison. We were pleased to host Margaret at the Centre recently, when she had the opportunity to see her art displayed on both Magnus and Setonix. We now even have her autograph finishing off the cabinets! Margaret’s art is a beautiful representation of Wajarri astronomy knowledge that dates back tens of thousands of years.
Setonix will process vast amounts of radio telescope data from SKA-related projects as well as hundreds of other projects of national and international significance.
Mark Stickells, Executive Director, Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre