Melbourne’s RMIT has unveiled a plan to be Australia’s first university to launch a cloud supercomputing facility to boost its research capacity, with the cloud hosted by Amazon Web Services.
It is hoped that the supercomputing facility will innovate the university’s research in manufacturing, space, fintech and digital health by minimising the university’s “time-to-science”.
Specifically, RMIT hopes that the new offering will provide scalable and secure services to promote ongoing research in the fields of autonomous vehicles, genomic sequencing and atmospheric measuring – areas of study that are unable to be conducted on older servers due to the overwhelming data requirements.
The university will be partnering with telecommunications company AARNet to achieve the feat, which will provide support with improved internet and communications capabilities.
Deputy vice-chancellor and vice president digital innovation at RMIT Professor Aleksandar Subic welcomed the opportunity to improve the university’s research capabilities, acknowledging assistance from the Victorian government.
“Our collaboration with AWS, Intel, and AARNET to establish Australia’s first cloud supercomputing facility represents a step change in how universities and industries access HPC capabilities for advanced data processing and computing,” Subic said.
“By leveraging AWS Direct Connect, RMIT is set to access tremendous HPC processing power using a unique service model that provides seamless access to all our staff, researchers, and students.
“Our industry partners will also have access to the new cloud supercomputing facility through joint projects and programs.
“The facility will be operated by our researchers and students in another example that shows how industry engagement and work integrated learning are in our DNA.”
AWS director and country leader for worldwide public sector in Australia and New Zealand Iain Rouse commented that the new capability will improve the university’s output by speeding up the amount of data that the university can analyse.
“With access to the broadest and deepest portfolio of cloud services, RMIT can innovate beyond the limitations of on-premises computing, and keep up with scientific advances worldwide,” Rouse said.
“We are proud to support ground-breaking research initiatives in collaboration with RMIT, which is set to enable researchers, students, and industry across a broad range of sectors to design solutions and bring them to market sooner, all of which wouldn’t be possible at the speed and scale without the elasticity of the cloud.”
Chief executive of AARNet Chris Hancock welcomed the opportunity to partner with RMIT to expand the university’s capabilities.
“We’ve also been connecting researchers to the cloud for many years, but nothing on this scale,” Hancock said.
“We’re excited to be partnering with RMIT on this project that uses our ultra-fast network to remove the barrier of geography and distance for research across Australia and beyond.”