WA Government funding pushes supercomputing to new heights

The Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre has welcomed the news that it will receive more than $22.4 million in funding from the Western Australian Government over five years, to support the positioning of WA as an international leader in high-performance computing (HPC).

The announcement was made hours after Setonix, Pawsey’s new supercomputer was recognised as one of the greenest supercomputers in the world, after ranking at the top5 on the globally recognised Green500 list.

Setonix was also named the most powerful public research supercomputer in the Southern Hemisphere, ranking 15 in the global Top500 list.

The funding, announced today by Deputy Premier and Minister for Science, the Hon Roger Cook, will allow Pawsey to continue its work enabling science and accelerating discovery through the provision of supercomputing services, big data solutions and advanced data storage.

It will also see WA Government agencies gain access to Pawsey’s leading research supercomputing facilities, including its new supercomputer Setonix, ranked today the fastest supercomputer in the southern hemisphere.

Pawsey Executive Director Mark Stickells said the funding commitment confirmed the importance of Pawsey within WA’s digital infrastructure landscape and would support the delivery of HPC expertise to a wide range of agencies, organisations, researchers and communities.

“The WA Government’s support continues the State’s strategic investment in the technologies and expertise essential to tackle complex challenges such as climate change, food security, and energy transition,” he said.

“As more industries and sectors are digitally transformed, it is in both the State and national interest to maintain and grow our HPC infrastructure, capability and talent.”

Pawsey is an unincorporated joint venture of Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and Western Australia’s four public universities. It supports more than 40 Australian organisations and 1,600 researchers in delivering high-impact research, in domains such as radio astronomy, energy and resources, engineering, bioinformatics and health sciences.

Recent projects delivered by Pawsey include the development of real-time predictive models that improve the care of traumatic brain-injured patients, the installation of a world-first room-temperature quantum accelerator, and mapping Mars to identify the source of meteorites.

The Centre is also advancing our understanding of the Universe by processing data collected by cutting-edge radio telescopes in WA that are precursors to the international SKA projects.

Pawsey Chair Tim Shanahan said the funding would help Western Australia attract and retain highly skilled HPC professionals, build research ties internationally and support innovation in the WA economy.

“Australia benefits from having national HPC leadership and capacity in Western Australia, with a public asset that drives Australian innovation and technology, and which is engaged on a world stage with partnerships in our region and beyond,” Mr Shanahan said.

“The continued support of the WA Government, along with the investment of the Australian Government in our major technology refresh, ensures Australia remains at the frontier of science, technology and digital innovation.”

The funding is expected to enable expanded outreach and education programs for schools and underrepresented communities, supporting the development of digital literacy and data skills needed for future jobs.

It will also allow for greater engagement with industry, including small and medium businesses.

With the installation of Setonix, 30 times more powerful and ten times more energy efficient than Pawsey’s previous supercomputers, the centre will have additional supercomputing capacity that can be used for a wider range of research opportunities.

“WA has always been known as innovative and resourceful through its advantages of geology and geography,” Mr Stickells said.

“This commitment helps support the future of WA innovation by leveraging Pawsey’s digital assets, HPC expertise and new technologies to deliver social and economic benefits and create opportunity for the State.”

Minister Cook’s media statement is available here


Deputy Premier Hon Minister Cook while visiting the Centre, in front of Setonix, while Stacy Tyson, our project manager, explained the supercomputer innovative cooling system

Stacy Tyson, Pawsey's Project Manager explaining Hon Minister Cook the innovative direct liquid cooling of all system components used on Setonix, Australia's greenest supercomputer

Tim Shanahan, Pawsey Chair