High Performance Computing

High Performance Computing (HPC) uses specialist systems with large amounts of cores (CPU/GPU), lots of memory, fast interconnects and fast storage. They are mainly designed for intensive parallel processing workloads.

The Research Technology Services group provides access to, and support for, a range of HPC systems including the UNSW shares of National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) and local shared cluster Katana.
UNSW Researchers have used HPC in fields from across the research spectrum, eg. blood turbulence in stents

If you have never used HPC before, we provide training and access to a local system called Katana - see more below.

If you are a more experienced user, we provide access to and support for nationally funded HPC systems across the country. Note that access to all of these systems require users to apply for access the year before - talk to us for help with your applications.

The National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (NCMAS) provides government-funded access to the biggest HPC systems in the country: Gadi at the National Computational Infrastructure, Magnus at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre,  MASSIVE at the Monash eResearch Centre and FlashLite at the University of Queensland.

In 2019 UNSW applicant’s received over 100 Million SU (“Service Unit” or compute core hours) - more resources than ever before, and more than any other higher education institute in Australia.


UNSW Systems

Katana is our shared system and provides 35 Million SU per year. It is free to use by UNSW researchers and also has a buy-in model where additional compute and storage can be purchased by research groups and faculties.

Katana has a number of purposes:

  • Providing UNSW researchers with free HPC access

  • Providing a platform to train the next generation of scientists how to use HPC

  • Centralising purchasing and management of large compute within UNSW

  • Improved security through managed and timely user management and software update deployment


Research Cloud

Cloud Computing is a broad category of computing capabilities which can be combined in many different ways depending on the task. Like Lego blocks applications, websites, databases, storage and compute can be created and linked together as needed.

The Research Technology group is piloting a capability in 2018 for supporting research projects with access to and funding for the use of commercial cloud providers and the National eResearch Cloud.

Frequently Asked Questions

We are providing UNSW researchers for 2019 with about 100M SU (compute core hours) on Raijin@NCI and to a small part of Magnus@Pawsey. Different schemes are available. Which should you use?

  1. Big HPC users (>400 kSU/year) are encouraged to apply under NCMAS and supplement with one or more of the other schemes.
  2. Normal HPC users should normally use the UNSW scheme.
  3. Users who apply outside the normal application period should apply under the UNSW or Intersect scheme.
  4. Users who need access to other machines other than Raijin (Magnus or Massive) should apply via NCMAS.

Are there attribution policies that I should be aware of when I use any of these systems?

  1. Intersect - http://intersect.org.au/attribution-policy.

  2. NCI - http://nci.org.au/users/nci-terms-and-conditions-access

  3. UNSW Scheme - Any papers should have the following citation added "I acknowledge Research Technology Services at UNSW Sydney for supporting this project with [compute, storage, consulting] resources".

  4. Katana - Any papers should have the following citation added "This paper includes results produced on the computational cluster Katana at UNSW Sydney".