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Australias peak supercomputer facility launched

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Australia’s most powerful supercomputer facility has been launched by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr at The Australian National University.

The new facility is part of a joint procurement by ANU and the Bureau of Meteorology to provide two systems capable of modelling the dynamics of climate change and extreme weather events. The computer is a Sun Constellation and has the equivalent processing speed of 6,000 PCs.

The facility is operated by National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), an initiative jointly funded by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, and Research through its NCRIS Program, and through the co-investment of a number of partner organisations, including ANU and CSIRO.

NCI Director, Professor Lindsay Botten said that the new facility will lift Australia’s computational capability into the international league, providing 12 times the performance of its predecessor and placing it within the world’s top 30-40 supercomputers.

“Australia’s researchers will now have access to a world class supercomputer system that will enable them to rise to the solution of global challenges across fields such as nanotechnology, astrophysics, computational biology and chemistry, medicine, engineering, physics and photonics, and climate and environmental science.”

With the installation of this facility nearly complete, NCI has already begun planning for its next generation computer systemfor which funding was announced in the 2009 Commonwealth Budget.

NCI is hosted by the ANU and is the successor to the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing Program (APAC) National Facility Program.