National Computational Infrastructure

NCI

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Working together to build national datasets

NCI is the platform of collaboration between our fellow NCRIS facilities the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) and the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN). Working together, we are building national datasets housed at NCILake_Eyre_NASA_IMOS_TERN

IMOS Remote Sensing Facility Leader Dr Edward King, who is based at CSIRO, says having access to NCI allows his team to easily collaborate with TERN and undertake work that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

“One of my roles is to organise large satellite image datasets, spanning more than ten years, thousands of images and tens of terabytes of data,” he says.

“NCI lets us organise these large datasets and collaborate with other institutions, agencies and organisations in a way we can’t easily do inside our own organisations.”

Acquisition of satellite data has boomed over the past decade and projections for the future are reaching the tens of petabytes range, presenting a complex computational challenge.

“The growth in satellite data was stretching our compute capabilities at the time TERN and IMOS were coming into being,” explains Dr King.

“The high capacity and performance of the NCI were more than equal to the task and made it a natural choice as a platform on which to build our national data collections.

“Even more importantly, TERN and IMOS are multi-institutional endeavours founded on cooperation. In contrast to many of our participating institutions, which have enterprise firewalls with security policies tied to organisation membership, the NCI is set up as a collaborative environment.”

The collaboration saves both time and money, leading to more efficient and effective outcomes, adds Dr King.

“There’s a massive national efficiency that’s gained through this work because we can have a single dataset, instead of one dataset for each agency.

“Furthermore, we can make that single dataset comprehensive, meeting the needs of both terrestrial and marine users, whereas previously different institutions would likely have held overlapping subsets of the whole.

“The ability to share resources between not just institutions, but also domains strengthens links within the Australian research sector and enables more integrative science, bringing together complementary expertise to address more complex challenges.”

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