Pawsey supercomputer secures AU$21.6m in funding until 2021

While Western Australia looks to secure IT savings across government, it has kicked in AU$21.6 million of funding for the Pawsey supercomputer.

The Western Australian government has announced AU$21.6 million in funding over five years for the Perth-based Pawsey Supercomputer Centre, a joint venture between the CSIRO, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and The University of Western Australia.

Operating in his capacity as Science Minister, WA premier Colin Barnett said the funding would help the state attract and retain the staff needed to run the facility, and to train data scientists.

"Continued funding support for the Pawsey Centre is necessary if WA is to maximise the benefits of its participation in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, one of the world's largest and most significant scientific projects," Barnett said.

"Western Australia will benefit enormously from the technological and computational requirements of the SKA project, which will drive new innovations that can readily be applied to all sectors of the economy to produce efficiencies and result in savings."

The WA government said that it had given the centre AU$30 million in funding to date. At the same time, the Australian federal government has funded the centre to the tune of AU$80 million.

Just last week in its 2015-16 state budget, WA allocated AU$13 million over three years for the supercomputing centre.

Also in the budget, Western Australia outlined its plans to reduce the state's spending on IT, with a number of departments affected.

The Education department will be reducing its spending by approximately AU$11 million annually over the next three years, the Attorney-General's department will each year cut back funding in the range of AU$2.5 million until the end of financial year 2017-18, Finance will reduce IT spending by AU$1.4 million each year, and WA Police will chop between AU$7.1 million and AU$7.5 million each year.

The WA Public Transport Authority noted it had already saved AU$3.4 million over the past twelve months.