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Basin GENESIS Hub launched

NCI is the provider of high-performance computing resources for the $5.4M ARC Research Hub for Basin Geodynamics and Evolution of Sedimentary Systems (GENESIS), which was launched on 19 August 2015.

The Basin GENESIS Hub will use computer modelling to fine-tune our understanding of the nation’s sedimentary basins, which hold many of the natural resources we use in day-to-day life.

The research will be of fundamental importance to the geo-software industry used by exploration and mining companies, explains Hub Director Professor Dietmar Müller from the University of Sydney.

basin simulation

Simulation of a sedimentary basin created with NCI’s Raijin supercomputer.

“Sedimentary basins are of interest to us and to industry because they have the potential to provide a range of resources,” he says.

“The spaces between the grains of sand within porous sedimentary rocks can contain water or natural gas and could be used for carbon storage.”

The Basin Genesis Hub was conceived as a five-year project to develop and refine radical new geoscience software and workflows suited to the needs of industry.

The modelling involved will span entire basins hundreds of kilometres wide down to the individual sediment grain level, going back tens of millions of years.

Only the recent rise in high-performance computing hardware and software capability has made this type of basin modelling possible,” says Deputy Hub Director Associate Professor Rey.

“The software we need to perform this type of modelling can only be run on highly parallelised computing systems,” he says.

“That’s where NCI comes in; without a computing platform like Raijin, we couldn’t execute these models.”

As is the case for all the Industry Transformation Hubs, the Basin GENESIS Hub is set up so the ARC funding is balanced with industry contributions.

“We are working directly with international companies such as Chevron and Statoil, as well as local companies 3D-GEO, Oil Search and Intrepid Geophysics to design specific research programs for their basins of interest,” Professor Müller says.

Key focus areas are the North-West shelf of Australia – one of the country’s richest natural gas resources, Papua New Guinea, and the Atlantic Ocean continental margins.

The Hub has also attracted funding from the New South Wales Government to research the Sydney Basin.

“The Sydney Basin is a good example of where there are competing interests because it provides us with water as well as energy resources,” explains Professor Moresi who leads the Melbourne University node of the Hub.

“This complicates the exploration and management of these resources, and calls for advanced integrated basin modelling solutions that provide improved insights into basin dynamics.”

NCI Director Professor Lindsay Botten said NCI’s role in the Hub highlighted the importance of high-performance computing in industry-relevant research.

“NCI is delighted to support this high-profile ARC Industry Transformation Hub, led by Professor Müller,” Professor Botten said. 

“Projects of this excellence, and particularly through the Hub’s impact and emphasis on industry, are a focal point for NCI in demonstrating the importance to Australia of a national high-performance computing strategy that meets the requirements of research in universities, the national science agencies, and industry.” 

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