National Computational Infrastructure

NCI

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Ever-expanding NCI data services

You will be aware that NCI manages Australia’s largest supercomputer, but did you know that we also play a vital role managing data from the environment, water and geophysics research communities? NCI provides researchers access to an ever-expanding national repository of earth systems, observations, climate and weather, and geophysical reference data (see https://datacatalogue.nci.org.au/). These include the latest Landsat and Sentinel satellite imagery and Geoscience Australia’s geophysical data products, which are now available to access and analyse at NCI. More significant data collections from the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia and international datasets are coming online in the next few months.

Brown and yellow islands seen from above, with dark water around them.

Lake Mackay is the largest of hundreds of ephemeral salt lakes scattered throughout Western Australia and the Northern Territory (NASA, Terra satellite).

NCI has made this data available for users through a number of methods using NCI’s National Environmental Research Data Interoperability Platform.  This service allows users to access the data from the Raijin supercomputer through interactive desktops using NCI’s Virtual Desktop Infrastructure service, or remotely through data services.  These provide users with a range of ways to access and analyse the data. This infrastructure is a key outcome of NCI’s commitment under the NCRIS RDS project.

The services are already being used by the Nectar Science Clouds and Virtual Laboratories programs, as well as other NCI collaborations. Examples include the Marine Cloud, Ecosystem Cloud, Climate and Weather Science Lab (CWSLab), AuScope Virtual Geophysics laboratory, and the Australian Geoscience Data Cube. NCI’s open and accessible data collections are a significant component of the national infrastructure being provided, with wide-ranging impacts on agriculture, transport, energy and the environment. Industry groups and government departments are already making extensive use of the data.

NCI began running data-intensive training courses in 2016, with more sessions planned for 2017. As a result of the training courses so far, many researchers are now discovering the virtual environments, laboratories and range of tools they can use to work with our nationally significant data collections. We would like to encourage users to keep an eye out for upcoming training sessions. These will be advertised in NCI’s monthly newsletters and with dedicated email campaigns.

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