Swinburne Gets a New Out of This World Supercomputer

Swinburne Gets a New Out of This World Supercomputer
The supercomputer will have a processing capacity that is millions of times beyond that of a regular computer. Image: Carl Knox, OzGrav/Swinburne.

Swinburne University of Technology is getting a chunky upgrade to its supercomputer, touting the new space-focused machine as the largest one of its kind readily available to Victorian researchers.

While currently unnamed, Swinburne will work with Wurundjeri community to give the supercomputer a Woi Wurrung name and design on its façade that reflects local Aboriginal knowledges about the Southern night sky.

Swinburne said that in partnership with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, its new supercomputer will also develop new educational partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and communities, starting in Victoria.

The machine itself is expected to boast a processing capacity that is millions of times beyond that of a regular computer, supporting the massive amounts of data generated in fields such as astronomy, medical technology, economics and environmental modelling.swinburne supercomputer

Swinburne will use the supercomputer to support the development of new space technologies and improving understanding of gravitational waves, black holes and galaxy formation. It will also use the upgraded kit to progress work on understanding how the brain operates through analysis of brain data by neuroscientists and neuroimaging experts and to gain a better understanding of our planet including research into bushfire detection and natural disaster planning and response.

“This supercomputer will allow Victoria to remain at the forefront of Swinburne’s world-leading research areas, including space, sustainability, medical technology and more,” Swinburne chief scientist Professor Virginia Kilborn said.

“By bringing researchers and industry together with cutting-edge technology, the supercomputer will support new discoveries and ways of thinking that can help create a better world.”

The new supercomputer will replace the OzSTAR machine, which has been in operation since 2017. OzSTAR has supported Swinburne research across a number of fields and the uni said it has been a de facto national facility for astrophysics computation in Australia, helping define the nature of black holes through gravitational waves.

Funding for the new supercomputer was supported by a $5.2 million grant from the Victorian government’s Higher Education State Investment Fund.