23rd April 2020

Largest compute grants in Australian history announced

NCI Australia has today announced the recipients of the inaugural Australasian Leadership Computing Grants (ALCG).

The Australian researchers receiving these highly competitive grants will tackle the biggest problems at the highest resolution, in the shortest time, thanks to record-breaking access to NCI’s supercomputer.

NCI Director Professor Sean Smith says the ALCG was designed to identify meritorious research projects with demonstrated ability to use HPC systems effectively at scale.

“The quality of applications received reflects both the diversity and immense talent that underpins the Australian research community”, said Professor Smith.

“These grants will supercharge Australian research that has the need and the capability to exploit the Gadi supercomputer, now one of the world’s fastest machines, at scale.”

Four projects have been awarded a total of almost 180 Million units of compute time, which is equivalent to one single computer doing constant calculations for 20,000 years.

The four recipients of the 2020 Australasian Leadership Computing Grants are:

  • Professor Evatt Hawkes, University of New South Wales Sydney
  • Dr Simon Marsland, CSIRO
  • Dr Richard Matear, CSIRO
  • Associate Professor Chris Power, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research - The University of Western Australia Node

Dr Richard Matear, Group Leader at CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre, said that the NCI Grant allocations were recognition of the excellent climate modelling work underway at CSIRO.

“The two successful CSIRO projects will apply world-leading computational techniques to generate climate information on the next year through to the end of the century,” Dr Matear said.

“The critical information will be readily exploited by climate scientists to provide novel and essential insights into the processes driving climate and help make Australia more climate-resilient.”

“These insights will have a lasting legacy on how Australian communities and industries adapt and mitigate the future impacts of climate variability and change.”

Professor Stephen Foster, Acting Dean of Engineering at UNSW Sydney, said “On behalf of UNSW Sydney, I would like to congratulate Professor Hawkes on receiving a 2020 Australasian Leadership Computing Grant. Professor Hawkes is a talented researcher and a leader in his field of computational fluid dynamics using high-performance computing, including low emissions energy technology. A computing grant of this size has never been possible in Australia before and I look forward to seeing the outcomes from his project on low-emissions gas turbine systems.”

Professor Peter Quinn, Executive Director of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research has congratulated Professor Power and his team on being recipients in the first ever round of the Australasian Leadership Computing Grant.

“It’s great to see this kind of high-performance research in Australia for the first time using NCI infrastructure,” Professor Quinn said.  

"I look forward to seeing all four recipients' work, and particularly how the results will be used to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals through their planned education engagement.”

Research will take place on NCI’s Gadi supercomputer, commissioned in early 2020, and funded under the Federal Government NCRIS scheme. NCI Australia brings the Australian Government and the Australian research sector together through a collaboration involving CSIRO, The Australian National University, Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, universities, industry and the Australian Research Council.

Watch a video about the recipients and their research projects
Read more about the recipients and their research on the NCI website.

Research Project Details

Professor Evatt Hawkes
UNSW Sydney

Extreme scale simulations of combustion for low emissions gas turbines
Professor Hawkes’ project aims to improve basic understanding of turbulent combustion processes in a new kind of "axially-staged" gas-turbine combustion system. These new systems offer advantages of high efficiencies, the ability to rapidly change output levels in order to work in concert with renewable energy, and the ability to burn renewable hydrogen fuel. Combustion in these systems occurs in highly turbulent fluids, with length- and time-scales spanning an enormous dynamic range. The Gadi supercomputer will enable an unprecedented resolution to be achieved, allowing the project team to unravel the complex intertwined interactions of turbulence and combustion in gas turbines. Moreover, it will allow the development and validation of less computationally expensive combustion models that can be used in industry to improve the axially-staged combustion concept.

Dr Richard Matear – CSIRO
With Dr Terry O’Kane, Dr Vassili Kitsios and Dr Russ Fiedler - CSIRO
And the support of the Decadal Climate Forecasting Project and the Climate Science, Ocean and Atmosphere CSIRO

Global decadal climate forecasts
Dr Matear will run world-leading short-term climate predictions using CSIRO-designed code. Integrating observations of oceans, sea-ice and the atmosphere with a climate model, the researchers can predict outcomes multiple times and much more accurately combine those results together to get an ensemble forecast based on the cumulative results. Extremely computationally demanding, this work will position Australia in the forefront of international climate modelling activities and help us understand in exquisite detail the impacts of climate facing Australia and the world over a ten-year period.

Associate Professor Chris Power - International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research at The University of Western Australia Node
With Dr Stanislav Shabala and Mr Patrick Yates, University of Tasmania
Professor Martin Hardcastle and Dr Martin Krause, University of Hertfordshire

Modelling Supermassive Black Hole Jets in Galaxy Formation Simulations
This research will deliver a suite of state-of-the-art simulations of jets produced by supermassive black holes and highlight the role these play in the formation of galaxies. These simulations will provide a new global benchmark in how we model jets in realistic astrophysical environments and reveal important powerful details about how jets can shape galaxies. They will help to build the theoretical understanding that the international astronomical community will need when analysing observations from the forthcoming Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.

­­­­­­­­­­­­Dr Simon Marsland - CSIRO
Mr Martin Dix, Dr Matt Woodhouse, Dr Tilo Ziehn - CSIRO

Global climate modelling with ACCESS
This project aims to use three different configurations of Australia’s national climate and weather model, ACCESS, to investigate multiple facets of long-term climate change and its impact on Australia. These simulations will significantly enhance the Australian contribution to international climate modelling efforts, and will underpin a generation of policy-relevant climate science. This project builds on more than a decade of code development and climate science from NCI, CSIRO, Australian Universities and the Bureau of Meteorology. The multiple simulations provide more robust data and cover novel science to help us understand with more certainty the Earth’s sensitivity to climate change under a range of future scenarios.

Media enquiries: