WA's iVEC tosses up supercomputing grants

Western Australia's Interactive Virtual Environment Centre (iVEC) will contribute up to $200,000 in cash and resources to help promote the uptake of high-performance computing among industry and government.

Dr Stuart Midgley, the Industry Uptake Program director, said the aim of the scheme is to assist companies get into the high-performance computing market to see if it is something they want to invest in.

"It's an expensive market to get into," Midgley said. "We have already had a large amount of interest from government agencies, satellite feeding groups, computational companies in mining industries, and research groups."

The centre is aiming to increase the industry uptake of HPC and is seeking applications from organizations interested in high-performance computing and visualization that want to undertake an innovation project or research and development.

Midgley said the centre is happy to work with companies in financial services or manufacturing which are already "well served" in computing, but would be interested in data mining and processing projects.

The number of grants to be awarded is likely to be between two and four, with each project receiving a maximum of $100,000 from iVEC, but Midgley said smaller projects are also welcome. The centre anticipates the participants will contribute variable amounts between $20,000 and $50,000, which iVEC will match.

"Some will involve application development, and some pure research," he said. "It's also for organizations interested in hooking into the APAC grid and getting access to cycles around the country. Over the summer break we had students looking at grid computing projects."

The centre which is funded by a consortium of WA educational institutions and the state government, has budgeted for the grants.

"The maximum investment is $100,000 in cash and $100,000 in staff time and resources," Midgley said. "The money could be used to employ someone and the other half to access supercomputer and storage equipment. That will depend on the project."

Projects will start in July and be completed within a year. Applications close Friday, May 5, 2006. More information at http://www.ivec.org/pages/tiki-index.php?page=contact.

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