"Terrific service – I would be lost without it." "I have nothing but praise for Gadi and all NCI staff who have supported me." "An amazing facility. It could be even better!"

These are just a few of the comments from NCI’s latest user survey.

NCI plays a central role in ensuring Australia remains at the forefront of high-performance computing, including big data. As part of our commitment to meet our users’ needs, we regularly conduct comprehensive surveys.

This year, we asked our user community about their research and careers, training needs and their assessment of our performance and reliability.

Most survey respondents are long-time NCI users who work for science agencies or the public service. We also had a strong response from postgraduate and PhD students and academics.

Users represent a broad spread of research fields, topped by Earth sciences. Then followed engineering, chemical science, physical science, computer science, biological science, and environmental science.

A technician working on the cabling in a pod of computer servers with green lights and complex cabling.

Increased use of NCI services

The most used services reported, accounting for 93% of respondents, were CPU and GPU nodes, the Australian Research Environment (ARE) and NCI’s data collections and services on Gadi, one of Australia's most powerful supercomputers.

Over 90% of participants have accessed the NCI user guides and documentation, and our helpdesk. Most have used the MyNCI management portal, training courses and online resources, and communication material.

Reflecting the high NCI usage, 91% of respondents rated their skills using CPU nodes on Gadi as moderate or better, with 68% rating equivalent proficiency using GPU nodes on Gadi.

A critical infrastructure

97% of respondents say that NCI makes a difference to their research; half would be unable to do their work without NCI. This represents an increase from 85% and 41%, respectively, in our 2021 survey. Over two-thirds of respondents say that access to NCI has facilitated collaboration.

Supporting diverse research

Research stemming from access to NCI is extensive and diverse. It includes assessing drug binding in proteins, artificial heart valve design, insights into wetlands, pastoral land reform, measurement of the impact of the Bureau of Meteorology observation network on numerical weather prediction, development of a high-resolution coastal aquaculture model, production of regional climate projections for Australia, and running ocean models at unprecedented resolution.

Training the next generation

NCI training courses cover beginner-level introductions to supercomputing and using NCI data services and more advanced discipline-specific skills. The training is highly regarded, with 81% of users reporting that it met their needs at least moderately well. The training courses that most appeal are parallel Python, parallel programming, introduction to GPU, programming skills (C, Python, R, Julia), how to run AI/ML applications on Gadi, and profiling and debugging.

70% of users would recommend NCI to colleagues and collaborators (an increase from 62% in 2021).

Stay in touch

NCI thanks all those who responded to our survey. We are always interested in hearing from you. Please send comments, suggestions and questions to help@nci.org.au.