NZ to spend $30m on three new supercomputers


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 13 June, 2017

NZ to spend $30m on three new supercomputers

The New Zealand Government has committed NZ$31.7 million ($30.3 million) towards upgrading the nation’s research supercomputing capabilities.

New Zealand eScience Infrastructure’s (NeSI) computing research service will receive new supercomputers with up to 10 times faster computing capability and more than four times the storage capacity of their two 10-year-old predecessors.

NeSI is a collaboration between New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Landcare and the Universities of Auckland and Otago.

The two new main supercomputers will be located at Fitzroy and Pan at NIWA in Wellington, with a smaller backup computer for NIWA housed at the University of Auckland’s Tamaki Data Centre.

Separately, the government has welcomed the hosting of the third round of the R9 Accelerator demo day, one of the world’s first large-scale GovTech accelerators.

The accelerator involved teams developing problems involved with dealing with government, exploring areas including how to simplify processes such as getting government grants for businesses, use data to personalise government services and put all information needed by start-ups in a central repository.

Communications Minister Simon Bridges has launched a Result Action Plan aimed at putting some of the ideas into practice as part of its stated goal of ensuring that businesses “gain value from easy and seamless dealing with government.”

Finally, Bridges welcomed the launch of an AI forum tasked with understanding the opportunities and challenges involved in AI in New Zealand.

The forum has been arranged by NZTech and aims to bring together technology companies and users, academia and government to explore using AI to drive positive social and economic outcomes for New Zealand.

Bridges said the forum is a good example of government and industry working together with a common goal.

“AI presents exciting opportunities for New Zealand and the world. I appreciate that some people may have some concerns about AI, which is why it’s critical that we collaborate with industry and across the sector to address the opportunities and challenges that AI brings,” he said.

“The government has a key role to play in ensuring that New Zealand can take advantage of what AI has to offer, including giving Kiwi businesses the confidence to engage with AI technologies, while balancing the risks. The Forum will be critical for helping us better understand AI and for informing the development of government policy.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ptyszku

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