The National Computational Infrastructure, Australia’s leading supercomputing and big data facility, is working with The Australian National University (ANU) to offer no-cost computing and data storage to the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG).

NCIG is a one-of-a-kind institution, an Indigenous-led research centre entrusted with thousands of DNA samples from Indigenous people collected from the 1960s to the 1990s. With close involvement of the donor communities at every stage of the process, NCIG is starting to sequence and analyse the valuable genomic data with the aim of bringing the benefits of genomic medicine to Indigenous people.

In 2019, NCI recognised the original scientists of the Canberra region and named its new peak supercomputer Gadi, a Ngunnawal word meaning ‘to search for’. To go further and support Indigenous research, NCI is now partnering with ANU to take away the uncertainty of compute and data storage allocations from NCIG’s workflows.

Together, NCI and ANU are covering the costs of 10 million units of computing time per year and 500 Terabytes of data storage, $186,000 of equivalent value. This covers NCIG’s computing and data needs, and provides NCIG a reliable foundation on which to keep developing its nationally significant genomic resources.

NCI Director Professor Sean Smith says, “We are thrilled to be able to extend our commitment to reconciliation by offering the Indigenous community that which only we can: these computing and data resources will underpin life-changing science.”

NCI thus also extends a long-term relationship through which we have been providing computing resources, data storage and technical support over the previous five years. We recently reached a major milestone in support for NCIG’s unique donor-centred data management framework.

A woman in a black dress, Azure Hermes, stands with her arms crossed smiling at the camera. She is standing in front of a wall of computer servers with flashing lights and cables, with the NCI Australia logo visible.
NCIG Deputy Director Azure Hermes standing in front of the Gadi supercomputer at NCI. Image from Karleen Minney, The Canberra Times.

NCIG Deputy Director Azure Hermes, a proud Gimuy Walubara Yidinji woman, says, “It is wonderful for the ANU and NCI to combine to support NCIG and its critical mission in this way. We are excited to keep working with the donor communities to bring them the benefits of the genomic data they have entrusted us with.”

NCI is proud to be able to build on our relationship with NCIG and contribute to the ANU Reconciliation Action Plan themes of Respect, Relationships and Outcomes. We look forward to working together in coming years to advance this important agenda.

Read this story in the Canberra Times – National Centre for Indigenous Genomics get ongoing supercomputer support.

For more information about NCI’s collaboration with NCIG, see:
•    NCI and NCIG are building the foundation for long-term dynamic consent for genome research
•    A long-term project for improving the health of Indigenous Australians

The National Centre for Indigenous Genomics:
The National Computational Infrastructure: