A University of Otago investment in cutting-edge IBM
supercomputing will open new opportunities for its
researchers, deputy vice-chancellor, research and enterprise,
Prof Richard Blaikie says.
Otago University and the University of Auckland co-funded the
purchase of the IBM system, which is based at Auckland's
Centre for eResearch and forms part of a new collaboration
called the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI).
The investment adds about 3000 processing cores - equivalent
to about 750 times the number of cores in a modern laptop
computer - to the centre's supercomputing capacity.
Prof Blaikie said while the cores were the same as those
found in everyday computers, getting them working together
was what made the system special.
''Rather than having an orchestra of 100 musicians each doing
their own thing and not being that particularly well
co-ordinated, it's really orchestrating them so that they are
all working in concert.''
Having access to the supercomputing power, which was a step
up from what the university previously could offer, would
open new opportunities for its researchers, he said.
It also put the university in a ''strong position'' to
co-operate with other institutions with access to superior or
''You have got to be in the game to be participating in some
of the larger international programmes in these areas.''
Research areas at Otago where the new investment would be
helpful included looking into the prospects of tidal energy,
as the new system could model large marine environments;
research into ''gravitational cosmology'' through the
modelling of clouds of stars and galactic entities; and the
discovery of new drugs.
Prof Blaikie said the university had spent a ''significant
amount'' of money on the project, but that the exact figure
was ''commercially sensitive''.