The National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) is pleased to announce the ten successful recipients of the inaugural HPC-AI Talent Program Scholarships. Ten PhD students from Australia and New Zealand were selected from a pool of 96 trans-Tasman applicants. They will receive significant financial and computing resources from NCI in 2023 to support them in the early stages of their high-performance computing and artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) research careers.

The HPC-AI Talent Program is a new annual initiative from NCI to support promising early career researchers with grants of 100,000 units of computing time – approximately equivalent to 50,000 hours on the Gadi supercomputer – and $10,000. This scholarship program will help grow the technical expertise of young scientists at a time when computing skills are in huge demand around the country. 

With PhD projects covering diverse themes such as the application of AI techniques to chemistry and bioinformatics, and HPC applications in computational fluid dynamics, these students are expanding our understanding of nationally significant research disciplines and the growing areas of HPC and AI. Through NCI’s HPC-AI Talent Program, they are developing critical computational and data analytics skills for the broader benefit of Australian research, society and economics. 

NCI Director Professor Sean Smith said, “Young researchers represent the future of Australian science, and NCI is extremely pleased to be able to offer these scholarships to support their development and their exciting science projects.” 

“The research they conduct this year and the skills they learn along the way will put them in a prime position to succeed in their career. This will get them ready for the explosive growth of supercomputers and the Exascale era together with the HPC-AI world of science in coming years.”

NCI is home to one of Australia’s peak supercomputers, stores more than 100 Petabytes of research data and caters to more than 5,500 researchers from universities, government agencies, national science agencies and medical research institutes every year. NCI facilitates Extreme Computing and Data Analytics (ECDA) by providing integrated infrastructure, a powerful software ecosystem, expert user support and skills training. The HPC-AI Talent Program will give recipients access to NCI’s world-class high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and data science capabilities. 

One of the scholarship recipients, Fiona Yu from The Australian National University, said, “I was thrilled to learn of my selection for this scholarship and am extremely grateful for the support NCI has provided me. Our goal is to exploit the massive parallelism of modern supercomputers for applications in computational chemistry and enable accurate characterisation of molecular systems of unprecedented size. This scholarship will fast track this goal, and I am looking forward to using these resources NCI has generously provided to further the widespread application of highly accurate characterisation of large molecular systems.”

All applications to the HPC-AI Talent Program are assessed by an independent Review Committee which recommends meritorious recipients to NCI. The Review Committee features a diverse mix of scientists from around Australia, bringing a range of scientific backgrounds and HPC-AI experience to the application reviews.

The 2023 recipients of the HPC-AI Talent Program are: 

  • Radhika Achikanath Chirakkara (Astronomy and Astrophysics, The Australian National University)
  • Zachary Cooper-Baldock (Engineering, Flinders University)
  • Ke Ding (Bioinformatics, The Australian National University)
  • Hannah Kessenich (Atmosphere and Climate, University of Otago)
  • YieChang Lin (Bioinformatics, The Australian National University)
  • Tanvir Saurav (Mathematics & Statistics, University of New South Wales)
  • Brenda Vara Almirall (Mechanical Engineering, RMIT University)
  • Ella Xi Wang (Astronomy and Astrophysics, The Australian National University)
  • Tong Xie (Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering, University of New South Wales)
  • Fiona Yu (Computational Chemistry, The Australian National University)