Victoria, Australia takes action to support its researchers

The Premier of Victoria John Brumby today announced a significant collaboration with IBM to build the world’s most powerful supercomputer dedicated to life sciences research in Melbourne.

Mr Brumby said the supercomputer, to be based at Melbourne University in Parkville would further boost Victoria’s reputation as a global centre for excellence in life sciences research.

“The Victorian Life Sciences Computational Initiative (VLSCI) will provide Victoria’s researchers with the necessary tools to solve some of the biggest challenges facing our health system and impacting our quality of life,” Mr Brumby said.

“The Victorian Government is taking action to support our world-class researchers and to invest in innovative projects that secure the state’s economy.

“That is why we have contributed $50 million towards the $100 million VLCSI with the University of Melbourne and IBM.

“The University of Melbourne’s supercomputer partnership with IBM will enable researchers to process genes to identify risk of cancer and treatment, model brain functions to treat brain disorders and disease, and model and predict the threats of infectious disease.

“The project will also create 30 new high-value jobs in Parkville.”

The supercomputer will be established in stages, with the aim of building to a system of over 800 Teraflops by 2012 – one Teraflop capacity enables a computer to make one trillion calculations per second.

Mr Brumby said that by today’s standards the supercomputer would rank in the top six supercomputers world wide.

“It will be more powerful than the supercomputer currently used by NASA in California,” he said.

Vice President of IBM Research Tilak Agerwala said as the largest IBM collaboration in life science, the VLSC holds great potential for driving new breakthroughs in the understanding of human disease and translating that knowledge into improved medical care.  

“It gives IBM Research the opportunity to expand the impact of our Computational Biology Center,” Mr Agerwala said.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the University’s link with IBM in the partnership would further raise Victoria and Australia’s profile on the international map as a life sciences precinct equal to the best in the world.

“The outcome of this partnership will strengthen the research capabilities of Victoria’s life sciences researchers and expand of their capacity to carry out world-class life sciences research right here in Melbourne,” Professor Davis said.

For information about the partnership between UoM and IBM visit http://www.ibm.com/research
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