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Swinburne becomes home to Victoria’s largest supercomputer


Swinburne University of Technology has secured Victoria’s largest supercomputer, with the capacity to analyse and process data a million times faster than standard computers. 

“This supercomputer will ensure Victoria remains at the forefront of research into space, sustainability, medical technology and other disciplines – supporting new discoveries and ways of thinking to create a better world,” Swinburne University vice chancellor and president, Professor Pascale Quester said. 

The $18.5 million supercomputer will be located at the Hawthorn campus and named by Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Traditional Owners, in acknowledgement of local Aboriginal knowledge of astrophysical phenomena. 

“This supercomputer will provide more study and job opportunities right here in Hawthorn – and right around Australia – as a key tool for some of the nation’s most important research projects,” member for Hawthorn John Kennedy said. 

Using information generated from space- and earth-facing satellites, the supercomputer will allow astronomers to monitor space in unprecedented detail. It will also assist researchers in bushfire detection, natural disaster planning and response, neuroscience, cancer detection and defence. 

The new technology builds on Swinburne’s existing supercomputer, which was installed in 2017 and is one of Australia’s fastest computers. It has been used for astronomy, oceanography, agriculture, medicine, molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry. 

The project will create 65 jobs across data, research and software and 20 PhD positions. There will also be opportunities for 250 students from primary to university level through STEM outreach programs, as well as partnership opportunities with industry and start-ups. 

The Victorian state government has invested $5.2 million alongside funding from the Commonwealth government, Swinburne University and its partners. It was one of many pitches from universities to the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund, which was developed in response to the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector. 

“We’re continuing to back our local universities to ensure Victoria remains at the forefront of innovation and to help the sector emerge strongly from the pandemic,” minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said. 

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