NCI was established in June 2007 under an agreement between the Australian National University (ANU) and the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Department of Innovation) to:
- provide high-end, capability computational services, to the Australian research community,
- advise the Department of Innovation on further investments in the national computing fabric for specialised systems that can support high-end computing requirements in particular application areas,
- operate a community based merit allocation scheme that grants access to NCRIS-funded resources,
- provide advisory and support expertise to research communities benefiting from NCRIS computational infrastructure investments, and
- develop national strategy for the advancement of computational infrastructure in Australia.
In addition to the planning, access and outreach activities, these objectives highlight the three operational functions of NCI:
- NCI National Facility, which provides the national peak computing system for capability computing,
- Specialised Facilities, that provide access to high-end computing resource that complement the National Facility in its support for particular research communities and their applications,
- Specialised Support, which provides specialised support for a small number of research communities and which also explores new computational paradigms and technologies.