New supercomputer sheds light on historical geographic data


 Senator Carr and ANU Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young.

Senator Carr and ANU Vice-Chancellor
Professor Ian Young AO at the official
launch of the NCI high performance
computing centre at the ANU.

Australia's highest performance supercomputer was officially booted up at today's opening of the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) high performance computing centre at the Australian National University (ANU).

The highly sophisticated analysis made possible by the facility has already enabled Geoscience Australia to process over 133 000 archived satellite images of the Australian Continent. Using new calibration methods, Geoscience Australia is piecing the images together through time, to produce unique maps of Australia. The time lapsed images provide a never seen before insight into Australia's land and water landscape and shed new light on flood risk assessment and ecosystem management.

This new high tech computer facility is ranked number 24 of the most powerful computers in the world and will provide new capabilities to the Australian Government and research community for computationally-based research. With a focus on the environment and earth system science, the new supercomputer will enable researchers to process huge amounts of data that would otherwise take years to complete or not be possible at all using computers with smaller capabilities.

"As the data custodians of Australia's geological and geographic history we have decades of historical data, and by using the NCI facility we are beginning to realise the benefits that high powered computing can provide," Dr Chris Pigram, CEO of Geoscience Australia said.

A $50 million grant by the Australian Government's Super Science Initiative has supported the opening of the facility which is already being utilised through a formal collaboration between the ANU, Geoscience Australia, the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology to deliver on a range of Government initiatives.

Senator the Honourable Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research opened the centre and was joined by ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young, Geoscience Australia CEO Dr Chris Pigram, Bureau of Meteorology CEO Dr Rob Vertessy and Director of the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science Professor Andy Pitman.

Link to the NCI media release