While the Supercomputer Facility was created with the principal objective of supporting work centred on the supercomputers, its mission now encompasses support and participation in all aspects of advanced computational science in general, including visualization, massive data storage, parallel computing and computational science and engineering education. As a result, the structure of the Facility has changed over the years to reflect this
The Facility's staff include Academic Consultants, support, systems and visualization programmers and an administrator, plus a number of scientific and programming staff engaged on externally funded projects.
The primary responsibility of the Academic Consultants of ANUSF is in the applications area and in establishing an appropriate environment for advanced computing-based research. Contacts with researchers on campus may take a variety of forms, from short consultancies addressing particular questions from users, to extended collaborations in which an Academic Consultant may spend several months as part of a research team implementing an application on the supercomputer.
In addition, there is a Visualization Programmer whose role is to support researchers in the increasingly important area of interpreting the output of large-scale computations and simulations and data from other sources such as remote sensors and experiments.
There is also a Programmer who provides general programming support to the Facility as well as taking on many of the roles of the Academic Consultants and two Systems Programmers responsible for the operating systems of the supercomputer services, the mass storage system, visualization systems and associated workstations. In 1996, an additional Systems Support Programmer with applications skills was employed as part of the ARC supported Australian Cooperative Supercomputer Facility.
The Supercomputer Facility also has major collaborative projects in place with Fujitsu Limited, Japan. One of these projects, based largely in computational chemistry, employs over three dedicated posts within the Facility and a postdoctoral fellow in JCSMR (on offer). The Facility also manages and participates in a joint research and development project with Fujitsu in which mathematical algorithms and software for parallel-vector processors are being developed. As well as several ANUSF staff who are partially supported, this project employs three research fellows located in the School of Mathematical Sciences and the Computer Science Laboratory, RSISE. These projects are described in more detail elsewhere in this report.
The Supercomputer Facility is one of the independent arms of Information Technology Services, under the Director of Information Technology Services and the High Performance Computing Advisory Committee (HPCAC).
The HPCAC is established by the Vice-Chancellor. The Committee advises the Vice-Chancellor, via the Information Technology Strategy Committee, on all aspects of high performance computing in the research and advanced teaching work of the University and on the development and promotion of computational science disciplines.
As well as advising on the HPC service provision, the Committee also has responsibility for developing and recommending on academic initiatives in the computational sciences which fall outside of existing academic structures, particularly those of an interdisciplinary character involving the Academic Consultants in the Supercomputer Facility and appropriate groups on campus
With the advice of the HPCAC, the Head, Academic Services is responsible for setting goals and developing policy in HPC for the University as well as management of the Facility, its services and internal and external collaborative programs
Professor B Kennett, ProVC
Professor R Dewar, RSPhysSE
Professor W Levick, JCSMR, (Chair of Supercomputer Time Allocation Committee) replaced by Professor D Evans, RSC in September
Dr J Gready, JCSMR (from September)
Dr M Cardew-Hall, FEIT
Dr T O'Neill, SMS
Mr D Rasmussen, RSC, replaced in June by Peter Bailey, FEIT
Dr R Erskine, Director, Information Technology Services
Dr R Gingold Head, Academic Services, ANU Supercomputer Facility (Ex Officio)
The HPCAC met three times in 1996.
Most of the resources offered by ANUSF are subject to allocation by the Supercomputer Time Allocation Committee. Details of the Committee and its activities in 1996 are presented in a separate section of this Report
Additional administrative responsibilities were given to the Facility as part of the reorganisation of IT Services. As a result of RSPhysSE's reduced level of usage following the creation of RSISE and budgetary pressures, the support given towards the salary costs of the Academic Consultants from that School was reduced in 1996. This is causing continuing budgetary difficulties for the Facility