Jul 29

New $8.75 million research resource launched

TPAC Cloud Launch

Tasmania continues a 20-year tradition at the crest of the nation’s research computing capacity with the launch today of the Tasmanian eResearch Cloud.

The cloud will store important scientific data collections and also allow researchers to access enormous computing power from a standard desktop PC.

The $8.75 million project is the result of a collaboration between the University of Tasmania, CSRIO and Australian Antarctic Division. It is supported by both State and Federal governments.

It includes the Tasmanian node of the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources Project (NeCTAR) research cloud, which will be one of eight nationally, federally funded by the Education Investment Fund.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen said the cloud was important in many ways, including its demonstration of the power of partnerships.

“None of the partners in this collaboration could have achieved this in isolation, but together we have accomplished something quite remarkable,” Professor Rathjen said.

“Infrastructure such as this is central to the University’s mission of being a research intensive institution and one of global significance.”

Professor Nathan Bindoff is a leading academic at the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. He is Director for the Tasmanian Partnership for Advanced Computing and led the development of the research cloud proposal.

The NeCTAR cloud comprises thousands of processors, each of which can run data analysis and simulations in parallel.

“Simulations and analysis of big data can take a long time,” Professor Bindoff said.

“Using the NeCTAR cloud, if you want to analyse something in 100 different ways, you can do that simultaneously.

“This will allow a significant acceleration in the amount of research we can conduct and the time it will take to do it.”

Investment in the Tasmanian node of NeCTAR was about $1 million which is, coincidentally, about the purchase price for a supercomputer the University bought in collaboration with the CSRIO in 1995.

At the time of purchase that computer was ranked in the world’s top 500, with 12 processors delivering 1.2 gigaflops (as measure of the speed at which the computer operates). Those specifications pale in comparison to the Tasmanian node, which has 2688 processors capable of more than 13,000 gigaflops.

“The facility allows researchers scale their analysis up as required, all on the fly.  That’s the dynamic world we have entered with the research cloud,” Professor Bindoff said.

“What it means whether we are talking chemical science, or climate work or oceanography, we have the capacity to be competitive.”

NeCTAR is an Australian Government project established as part of the Super Science initiative by the Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Education and financed by the Education Investment Fund.

Apr 28

TPAC hosts Climate Futures for the Alps

The Climate Futures Project, supported by the NERP Landscapes and Policy hub (http://www.nerplandscapes.edu.au/), has developed fine-scale regional climate projections for the Australian Alps (Climate Futures for the Alps, or CFA). These unique regional climate projections will help researchers and land managers with the conservation of biodiversity.

The projections have been generated on TPAC’s high performance computing facilities and are now available TPAC’s data service facilities at the University of Tasmania’s data centre, with the support of RDSI. For access to the CFA data you can go to the CFA data access service here.

In consultation with land managers and hub researchers, Climate Futures Project have generated ecological indices that can be used with multi-model projections of future climate in the Australian Alps. Using the new climate projections, researchers, planners and managers will have a greater capacity to explore the likely implications of climate change on priority species, communities and threatening processes.

Professor Nathan Bindoff leads the Climate Futures team and key contributors are Dr Bec Harris (Climate Research Fellow), Dr Greg Lee (Climate Modeller) and Paul Fox-Hughes (Bushfire Weather Analyst), as well as Matt Cracknell, Stuart Corney, Chris White, Thomas Remenyi.

For more information about the Climate Futures of the Alps data please contact Professor Nathan Bindoff (n.bindoff@utas.edu.au)

Mar 28

TPAC Supports Weather@Home Project

Any Australian with a home computer and an internet connection can now power up a climate model and help scientists find the causes of record high temperatures and drought that hit Australia and New Zealand in 2013.

The online climate experiment, Weather@Home has been created by a group of scientists from the University of Melbourne, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, University of Oxford, the UK Met Office, the University of Tasmania, and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in NZ.

By signing up to Weather@Home, computer users can create climate model simulations that produce 3D representations of weather for 2013. They can watch these evolve in real time or let them run quietly in the background.

TPAC is currently hosting the services that home computers communicate with; It will provide new data for thousands of home users for processing, as well as provide services to store the resulting simulations from home computers.

TPAC with funding provided by Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) will store the processed simulations for use by the research community and could be used to assess the possible role of climate change in Australia’s Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, the record rain events in New Zealand in 2011 and the record rain events in eastern Australia in 2010 and 2011.

Find out more:


Join the weather@home experiment:


For more information:

Prof David Karoly     dkaroly@unimelb.edu.au

Mitchell Black           mitchell.black@unimelb.edu.au

Jan 29


A video explaining the Marine Virtual Laboratory Information System (MARVLIS), and how it brings together a variety of data into one simple informative web portal.

Need more information about MARVLIS? marvlis.blogspot.com.au

Would you like to use MARVLIS? marvlis.aodn.org.au/marvlis/

Jun 18

MARVLIS Software Release v1.0

MARVLISMARVLIS (Marine Virtual Laboratory Information System) has now been completed. MARVLIS is an “add-on” or a value added software package that provides a number of tools that can be used by the Marine Research Community.

If you would like to learn more about MARVLIS, then please visit the MARVLIS blog. MARVLIS has been produced with help from ANDS (Australian National Data Service), and the CSIRO.

Mar 01

TPAC writes first byte to RDSI storage.

RDSI StorageAfter recently switching on the new TPAC RDSI Node, we would like to announce that we have written the first byte of data and we are now pushing to move as much data as we can to this new resource.

“RDSI provides researchers with greater access to their data, at much faster speeds and with greater reliability. With the new associated services we are bringing online later in the year researchers will have more variety than every before in how they can access data.

Coupled with the NeCTAR Research Cloud due for release in September Local and interstate researchers will have access to unprecedented storage and compute.”

Nov 19

RDSI Storage Arrives!

Construction of a 1PB storage node at UTAS is well under way with UTAS taking delivery of 5 pallets or 2.3 tonnes of infrastructure storage equipment.

TPAC staff have been eagerly awaiting its arrival with plans to have it installed and operational as soon as possible.

The general consensus is it’s “All very exciting…”

The first stage of the storage network will see the creation of five nodes (data stores). Four primary nodes are to be established in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide, with the additional node allocated to Tasmania. UTAS will work with CSIRO, the Australian Antarctic Division and the State Government in establishing the Tasmanian node.

Click here to find out more about RDSI and the plans for data storage and collaboration infrastructure throughout Australia.

Nov 16

eResearch 2012

Recently TPAC attended the eResearch Australasia 2012 Conference, throughout the week TPAC had the opportunity to discuss its current facilities and projects with researchers, service providers and developers.

TPAC aims to ensure its services meet the expectations of its users, and understands the importance of engaging with the research community.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to come and see us at eResearch 2012.


Sep 11

Research cloud and virtual laboratories – welcome to the future!

The University of Tasmania is set to play a significant role in the next-stage development of Australia’s digital research infrastructure. UTAS has been awarded two projects worth more than $2 million to establish new computing and modelling facilities that will revolutionise the capability of scientists to undertake computational studies.

Through a $47 million Federal Government initiative called NeCTAR (National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources), UTAS will be allocated up to $900,000 to establish a Tasmanian Research Cloud Node, and $1.3 million for a Marine Virtual Laboratory.

UTAS will work with CSIRO, the Australian Antarctic Division and the State Government, along with a range of national and international partners, in establishing these facilities.

“This is a fantastic vote of confidence in our research capability,” the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Paddy Nixon, said today.

Read more in the press release here: Digital-research-funding-release-Cloud-MARVL

Jul 04

UTAS to help underpin national storage cloud

The University of Tasmania is to play a significant role in the development of Australia’s 100-petabyte storage cloud.

A $50 million Federal Government project, part of the Super Science initiatives announced in the May Budget, the Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) project is intended to transform the way in which research data collections are stored and accessed nationally.

The first stage of the storage network will see the creation of five nodes (data stores). Four primary nodes are to be established in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide, with the additional node allocated to Tasmania. UTAS will work with CSIRO, the Australian Antarctic Division and the State Government in establishing the Tasmanian node.

It is expected that the national storage network will by 2014 will offer Australian researchers access to around 100 petabytes of data (a petabyte is equivalent to 1000 terabytes or one quadrillion bytes).

Read More in the press release: UTAS-to-help-underpin-national-storage-cloud