NCI to boost supercomputer capacity by 30%

National Computational Infrastructure receives government funding injection

National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) will spend $14 million boosting its supercomputer capability and throughput thanks to a new injection of funding.

The funding includes $7 million in government funding delivered via the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Agility Fund and matching funds from NCI’s partners.

The government’s education and training minister, Senator Simon Birmingham, announced the funding today, along with funding for nine other research projects.

National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) also received $508,000 in funding to augment the Australian BioSciences Cloud by incorporating the Australian Ecosystems Science Cloud and the Australian Marine Sciences Cloud.

NCI’s Fujitsu PRIMERGY supercomputer cluster, Raijin, launched with peak performance of 1.2 petaflops, offering 500 million compute hours per year.

The NCRIS funding will add 150 million compute hours, which NCI says will alleviate “severe supply shortages and enabling more impactful research” until Raijin can be replaced.

“Researcher demand is currently outstripping NCI’s current HPC system, which was installed in 2012,” said NCI Associate Director, Allan Williams. “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.”

Last year NCI announced it had boosted the storage capacity of its HPC system from 33 petabytes to 44PB.

The government’s ‘innovation agenda’, unveiled in December, earmarked $1.5 billion for NCRIS, building on a $300 million commitment in the 2015-16 budget.

Earlier in 2015 the NCRIS’s future was in doubt after the government linked funding for the project to unsuccessful changes to higher education. Uncertainty over funding for facilities relying on NCRIS led to universities issuing an open letter to then prime minister Tony Abbott pleading for government support for the program and warning of impending closures of research facilities.

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