New supercomputer puts Australia on Par

Australia's most powerful supercomputer facility with the capacity to boost Australia's computational research capability into world ranking has been launched by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Hon Kim Carr at The Australian National University.

The new facility is part of a joint procurement by ANU and the Bureau of Meteorology to provide two state-of-the-art systems capable of modelling the dynamics of climate change and extreme weather events. The computer is a Sun Constellation and has the equivalent processing speed of 6,000 PCs.

The facility is operated by National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), an initiative jointly funded by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, and Research through its NCRIS Program, and through the co-investment of a number of partner organisations, including ANU and CSIRO.

NCI Director, Professor Lindsay Botten said that the new facility will lift Australia's computational capability into the international league and will provide a comprehensive digital laboratory for cutting edge research across a range of fields.

"This next generation research supercomputer will boost Australia's computational research capacity into world ranking, providing 12 times the performance of its predecessor and placing it within the world's top 30-40 supercomputers," Professor Botten said.

"Australia's researchers will now have access to a world class supercomputer system that will enable them to rise to the solution of global challenges across fields such as nanotechnology, astrophysics, computational biology and chemistry, medicine, engineering, physics and photonics, and climate and environmental science."

Dr Alex Zelinsky, Group Executive (Information Sciences), CSIRO said that the partnership between CSIRO, ANU and the Bureau of Meteorology will help Australian researchers work together to increase the scope and impact of their research.

"With essential support from the Commonwealth Government, Australia again has a world-class high end computing system that will enable the development of a national digital laboratory for climate science research," Dr Zelinsky said.

"The new facility will strengthen Australia's capacity to understand and respond to changes in the global climate system, as well as showcase the strength of Australia's top scientific research institutions".

With the installation of this facility nearly complete, NCI has already begun planning for its next generation computer system — the funding for which was announced in the 2009 Commonwealth Budget.

Media assistance:

  • Penny Cox, ANU Media, 02 6125 3549 / 0424 016 978
  • Jo Finlay, CSIRO ICT Centre, 02 9372 4309 / 0447 639 688