DUG digs deep to solve supercomputing disruptions

Stuart Mason

Perth-based company DUG was on the hunt for a way to make its supercomputers more environmentally-friendly and efficient.

The company had designed and operated a network of some of the largest supercomputing installations in the world, but these were using a lot of power and were not environmentally-friendly.

Data centres for supercomputers generate a large amount of heat, and cooling them is not particularly energy efficient or environmentally-friendly.

(L-R) DUG founding partner and managing director Dr Matthew Lamont and founding partner Dr Troy Thompson

DUG first tried to address this issue by using a commercial off-the-shelf immersion cooling product for its data centres. But a highly complicated installation process led to a number of failures, creating significant disruptions and operating costs.

These sorts of disruptions are unacceptable for a company operating supercomputers, so DUG decided to develop its own solution instead.

DUG’s solution is based on an advanced, flexible and modular dielectric cooling solution which can greatly reduce energy usage and cost, and increase the life and efficiency of the hardware.

After implementing its own innovative solution, DUG now saves 50 percent of its power bill operating its supercomputers around the world.

DUG is a finalist in the InnovationAus 2023 Awards for Excellence in the Energy and Renewables category. You can secure your tickets to the Black-Tie event here.

DUG operates one of the largest supercomputer networks in the world, with data centres in Perth, Houston, London and Kuala Lumpur. Traditionally air conditioners would be used to cool these centres, but this is inefficient, expensive and not environmentally-friendly.

DUG’s solution greatly reduces energy usage and costs, and also increases the life of the hardware.

It works by fully submerging standard, high-performance computing services into specially designed tanks filled with polyalphaolefin dielectric fluid, which is non-toxic, non-flammable and has low viscosity, meaning it won’t conduct electricity.

Data centre companies can typically pay up to half of their revenue on running the computer centres, with energy usage being a significant expense. Using DUG’s technology, power consumption can be reduced by 20 percent and total energy savings can be up to 50 percent.

The Western Australia-based company is now building one of the world’s first climate-positive high-performance computing campuses in Geraldton after landing a $5 million grant through the Western Australian government’s Investment Attraction Fund.

It also recently finalised its first sale of the DUG Cool system to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence group at the University of California, paving the way to export the platform to the world.

The InnovationAus 2023 Awards for Excellence are proudly supported by Investment NSW, AusIndustry, Australian Computer Society, Technology Council of Australia, Agile Digital, CSIRO, TechnologyOne, IP Australia, METS Ignited and Q-CTRL. You can book your seat – or book a table – for these awards right here.

The finalists for the all of the InnovationAus Awards for Excellence are an incredible set of companies. Have your say in which of these innovators becomes the People’s Choice.

Protecting your great ideas with intellectual property (IP) rights can lead to lasting benefits for your growing business. IP refers to creations of the mind, such as a brand, logo, invention, design or artistic work. Head to the IP Australia website to find out more about IP, and how it might help your business.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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