The $14 million investment will provide a valuable 30% uplift in NCI's supercomputer capability and throughput to provide better access, accelerate results for researchers using the supercomputer, and ensure ongoing service robustness for nationally significant research data across a range of disciplines, including the earth and environmental sciences, medical research, astronomy and materials science.
These upgrades are made possible by an injection of $7 million, as part of $16 million made available through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Agility Fund, announced by Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham.
This is a wonderful outcome for Australian research, and an expression of the value of, and confidence in, the advanced computational and data services provided by NCI", stated Professor Lindsay Botten, NCI Director, in acknowledging the importance of the allocation announced by Minister Birmingham.
The $14 million injection will see the expansion of NCI's supercomputer capability and its extremely high-performance filesystem that are tightly coupled with what is already Australia's most highly-integrated research computing environment, comprising its highest performance filesystems, a private Cloud and the supercomputer.
"Raijin, NCI's current supercomputer, has a peak performance of 1.2 Petaflops, completing 1,200 trillion calculations per second and delivering more than 500 million compute hours per year", stated NCI Associate Director, Allan Williams.
The expansion provided by this co-investment will see an extra 150 million compute hours become available, alleviating severe supply shortages and enabling more impactful research until the replacement of Raijin can be put in place.
"Researcher demand is currently outstripping NCI's current HPC system, which was installed in 2012. This expansion is a most welcome boost as demand for high-performance computing is increasing in every area of research and in every research organisation", stated Mr. Williams.
"Researchers will not only see a 30% boost in supercomputer throughput, but will have access to cutting-edge technology, and will benefit from a 10% increase in overall storage capability, growing by 3 petabytes with the replacement of the earliest Lustre filesystem, which was the fastest in the Southern Hemisphere at the time it was commissioned."
This new storage capacity will be underpinned by NCI's existing high-speed InfiniBand interconnect, linking high-performance computing and storage systems together at speeds of 50-120 gigabytes per second.
"At 50 gigabytes per second, you could write a DVD in one-tenth of a second", explained Mr. Williams.
NCI supports the full gamut of Australian science, engineering and medical research. The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO are developing next-generation weather and climate models and an enhanced seasonal prediction capability for agriculture, while Geoscience Australia is unveiling Australia's evolving environmental profile derived from decades of satellite imagery.
Professor Chris Goodnow, Deputy Director of NCI's Collaborating Partner, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, says the increase in NCI's capacity will facilitate the next big step forward in cancer research.
He stated: "There are over 70 bioinformaticians working on genomic data at Garvan, and we are generating mind-bogglingly large amounts of genomic information.
Each genome requires 5,000 hours of compute time and 1 terabyte (1000 gigabytes) of storage, but at NCI, Garvan can process hundreds of genomes simultaneously.
NCI provides an academically accessible but secure computational environment, so it's an ideal repository for the large-scale genomic datasets that Garvan is producing."
This research will ultimately lead to personalised medicine in Australia, reduced costs for treatments and improved outcomes for patients.
"This is not just about Garvan and NCI - this is doing something good for all Australia."