The next breakthrough in the study of diseases such as cancer may come from a digital mind, with the University of Melbourne and the Victorian government planning to invest AU$100 million (US$94.2 million) in a supercomputer devoted to the life sciences.
Victorian Premier Steve Brumby announced the project this week, pledging AU$50 million (US$47.1 million) from the state government. The remaining AU$50 million (US$47.1 million) will come from Melbourne University.
Brumby said the supercomputer will have "hundreds" of teraflops of computing power, making it the world's largest supercomputer devoted to the life sciences.
"[The supercomputer] will accelerate ground-breaking research in key areas such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurological disease, chronic inflammatory diseases, bone diseases, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases," Brumby said in a statement.
Theo Theophanous, Victorian minister for ICT said that technology had a key role to play in curing diseases, with cancer and preventable chronic disease listed as key priorities.
The supercomputer will be installed at Melbourne University's Parkville Precinct, with major installations planned for 2009 and 2011.