Two hundred high-performance computing, data science and artificial intelligence researchers from more than 40 organisations and 6 countries came together in Canberra last month to share their experience in computational and data science.

Taking place from 14 to 16 June, the Australasian Leadership Computing Symposium (ALCS) 2023, co‑organised by NCI Australia, the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre and the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure, was a significant gathering of research communities to share knowledge and discuss big questions about future technology and scientific advancement.

Attendees heard from a diverse group of plenary speakers about:

  • The future of high-performance computing (HPC) – Prof Rick Stevens (Argonne National Laboratories)
  • Rocket design and development – Dr Seiji Tsutsumi (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)
  • Cancer care and precision medicine – Prof David Thomas (OMICO)
  • Large telescope astronomy – Prof Lisa Kewley (Center for Astrophysics|Harvard & Smithsonian)
  • Quantum computing and HPC – Prof Lloyd Hollenberg (The University of Melbourne)
  • Fine-scale ocean simulations – Dr Adele Morrison (The Australian National University)
  • Climate change risk analysis – Asst Prof Simon Scheidegger (The University of Lausanne)
  • Diversity and inclusion in tech – Prof Karin Verspoor (RMIT) and Dr Emily Kahl (The University of Queensland)
  • The future of supercomputing in Singapore – A/Prof Tan Tin Wee (National Supercomputing Centre Singapore)
  • High-resolution earthquake physics – A/Prof Alice Gabriel (UC San Diego)
Wide view of a full, beautiful auditorium with wooden desks and carpeted floor, with a woman speaking under a big projector screen saying "Welcome to ALCS2023".

One highlight of the conference was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between NCI, Pawsey and the Australian Research Data Commons. Together, the three facilities agreed to manage, continue to develop and maintain the Digital Research Skills Australasia national training registry. This online registry of training events, materials and trainers helps scientists find courses and develop their skills in digital research methods.

As well as the plenary presentations, ALCS featured five scientific streams for attendees to take part in: Earth System Science; Molecular Simulation and Bioinformatics; Astronomy; CFD, Engineering and Physics; and Arts and Social Science. The five streams featured more than 70 presentations from a wide range of scientists, including Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and recipients of NCI’s HPC-AI Talent Program scholarships. These allowed researchers within the disciplines to hear from other experts within their field about the latest technology and science developments.

Poster presenters featured in a lively Lightning Talks session on Day 2 in which they introduced their posters and scientific background. These talks spurred great discussions and were a wonderful showcase of the ECRs around our region pursuing exciting and novel research.

ALCS wrapped up with an invitation for attendees to reconnect at the Supercomputing Asia 2024 (SCA24) conference taking place next year in Sydney from 19 to 22 February. Held outside of Singapore for the first time and hosted by NCI alongside organising partners from across the South-East Asian region, SCA24 will be an exciting and groundbreaking gathering of the Asian HPC community in Australia.

ALCS2023 was a showcase of the best of the Australian and New Zealand HPC, AI and Data Science community, enabling important discussions, building collaborations and furthering dialogues about the future directions of our science and technology. We look forward to all the science to come from this event.