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NZ’s newest $23m supercomputer facility now open

07 Nov 18

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Megan Woods today officially opened New Zealand’s High Performance Computing Facility at NIWA’s campus in Wellington.

The High Performance Computing Facility comprises three new interconnected supercomputers - two based in Wellington and one in Auckland - that will meet the needs of New Zealand researchers to investigate scientific issues of national significance.

Woods’ comments on the benefits that this development will bring to the country.

This marks a step change for science in New Zealand and a further advancement towards an innovative, future-focused society.

The supercomputers are a significant upgrade with 10 times the computing capability of its predecessor. This will have a whole range of benefits for scientific research, including better understanding issues around climate change, genomics, the management of New Zealand’s freshwater assets and resilience to natural hazards.

One of its key uses will be to advance weather forecasting, enabling more precise forecasts and helping to refine forecasting of climate extremes and hazardous events.

Improved weather forecasts will enhance the ability of critical services, such as Fire and Emergency New Zealand, to both identify and manage hazards. It will also help farmers and environmental managers make more informed decisions using the best information available.

This facility has the ability to carry out data-intensive research at a vast scale, through to specialised software to underpin research on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

This investment of $23 million represents some of the world’s most advanced supercomputing power and has been made possible by a strong collaborative initiative between NIWA and NeSI, the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure.

The capabilities and potential have extended enormously since NIWA received country’s first supercomputer almost 20 years ago.

I am proud to launch this facility that is at the leading edge of international science. This is a crucial resource for New Zealand science that will assist our researchers to seek solutions to some of today’s most urgent problems.