Vic Govt spends AU$6.65m to keep supercomputing facility

The Victorian government has forked out AU$6.65 million to hold on to the supercomputing facility that sits at the heart of its Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative, and is collocated with IBM's Research Collaboratory.

A grant of AU$6.65 million by the Victorian government will enable the state to hold onto the supercomputing facility that its Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI) shares with the IBM "Research Collaboratory" research centre.

According to the government, the new funding enables the VLSCI to continue its operations at its research hubs, which are currently located at the University of Melbourne's campus in Parkville, Monash University's Clayton campus, and LaTrobe University's Bundoora campus.

The IBM Research Collaboratory for Life Sciences in Melbourne has been collocated with the VLSCI since 2010, and is aimed at facilitating collaboration between 10,000 world-class life sciences and medical researchers in the area.

The IBM research centre sees researchers collaborate on structural biology, medical imaging, neuroscience, systems biology, and medical genomics.

The Victorian government calls it the "world's most powerful supercomputing facility dedicated to life sciences", and said that the new funding would enable the supercomputing facility to continue to operate within Victoria.

The state's Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said the new multimillion-dollar grant would see the facility "pursue a renewed focus on generating commercial opportunities and producing outcomes to grow Victoria's health and biotechnology industry, in close alignment with Victorian government priorities".

"Victoria's life sciences-related businesses will now have greater access to the world's most advanced life sciences research facilities, enabling them to tap into the expertise of our leading computational biologists to help grow and improve their businesses," he said.

The new funding comes as Rich-Phillips reveals that the Victorian government has secured a "further commitment" from the University of Melbourne to guarantee the continued operation of its Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) at Parkville.

"CEET was established in partnership between the Victorian government, the university, and Alcatel-Lucent in 2010, and has established itself as a world leader in research, supporting global efforts to improve the energy efficiency of telecommunications networks and the internet," said Rich-Phillips.

"It is a key part of Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs research and development powerhouse and is important in achieving the vision of our ICT Action Plan 2011, as set out in Victoria's Technology Plan for the Future," he said.

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