RMIT to be first Australian university to implement AWS supercomputing facility

The facility aims to help the institution boost its research capabilities and will use tech from Intel too

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) is set to implement a dedicated cloud supercomputing facility on AWS to help boost its research capabilities, with the institution claiming it's the first Australian university to do so.

RMIT will also collaborate with Intel, with the chipmaker's advanced technology set to process, optimise, store, and move large, complicated data sets. It will also work with AARNet, a telecommunications provider, which will supply the university with high-speed internet and communication services.

The cloud supercomputing facility will use AWS to provide elastic, secure, and scalable cloud infrastructure for researchers and students within its industry hubs, including Industry 4.0, advanced manufacturing, and fintech, to run high-performance computing (HPC) applications.

“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,” said professor Aleksandar Subic, RMIT deputy vice-chancellor (STEM College) and vice president of Digital Innovation.

The university said that HPC on AWS provides “virtually unlimited compute capacity” that will be able to meet the infrastructure requirements of almost any application. This will allow researchers to process huge volumes of data to help solve complex challenges in less time, from disease prevention to extreme weather forecasting.

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RMIT will use AWS Direct Connect to have a low latency, secure, and private connection to AWS for workloads that require higher speed or lower latency than the internet.

“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,” added Subic.

The facility is supported by the AUD $350 million (£185 million) Victorian Government Higher Education Investment Fund, which was developed in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Victorian universities.

In April, HPE was awarded a $40 million SGD (£22 million) contract to build a new supercomputer for the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore which is set to be operational by early 2022. The new system will reportedly be 8x faster than the institution’s existing pool of HPC resources and will be used to unlock scientific discoveries across medicine, diseases, climate, and more.

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