The petascale supercomputer Magnus, from the Latin for ‘Great’, is a latest-generation Cray XC40 system hosting high-end supercomputing projects across the entire range of scientific fields supported by iVEC.

Magnus comprises eight compute cabinets, each holding 48 blades, with four nodes per blade. Each compute node hosts two 12-core, Intel Xeon E5-2690V3 “Haswell” processors running at 2.6 GHz, for a total of 35,712 cores, delivering in excess of 1 PetaFLOP of computing power. The compute nodes communicate amongst themselves over Cray’s high-speed, low-latency Aries interconnect.

Local storage (also known as the scratch file system) is provided by a three-cabinet Cray Sonexion 1600 Lustre appliance, with a usable capacity of 3PB and a sustained read/write performance of 70 GB/sec.

In the November 2014 Top500 list, Magnus debuted at #41, achieving 1,097 TeraFLOPS (1 PetaFLOP+). At the time of writing, this makes Magnus the most advanced scientific supercomputer in the Southern Hemisphere.



Vital statistics

Manufacturer: Cray Inc. (USA)
Model: XC40 Series Supercomputer
Compute Processors: Intel Xeon E5-2690V3 “Haswell” processors (12-core, 2.6 GHz)
Computing Power: 1,097 TeraFLOPS (1 PetaFLOP+).
Memory: 93 Terabytes (64 GB of DDR4-2133 per compute node).
Interconnect: Cray Aries interconnect, at 72 gigabits/sec per node
Network Topology: Cray Dragonfly – 56% populated
Weight: 1.7 tonnes/cabinet
Power consumption: circa. 50 kWatts/cabinet
Local storage: Sonexion 1600 Data Storage System, 3 Petabytes, w/ 70 GB/sec sustained r/w performance

Interesting facts

  • The XC40 is the first Cray series to feature Intel Xeon processors.
  • Aggregate internode communications are over 100,000 gigabits per second – which is over a million times better than the best home connection on the NBN.
  • Magnus is more than three orders of magnitude more powerful than iVEC’s first terascale supercomputer, named Cognac, which began production in 2005.
  • Approximately 4km of optical and copper cables link Magnus’s processors together, in a Dragonfly topology, for capability-scale computations.
  • The cabinet artwork on Magnus, ‘SKA Satellites on the Murchison’ by Margaret Whitehurst, is an homage to the Centre’s close connection to the north-west of Western Australia. It has been designed to reflect ‘the ground below’, in reference to geoscience, one of the areas of science iVEC supports most closely. For more information on the artwork, please click here.