La Trobe University gears up for high-performance computing


High-performance computing takes centre stage at Melbourne’s top-ranking La Trobe University under a new 11-member consortium partnership.  

La Trobe University is weighing in behind high-performance computing under an alliance that galvanises an 11-member consortium across key states. This alliance leverages high-performance computing (HPC) work that is being pioneered at the eResearch consortium, Intersect Australia.   

Peter Nikoletatos, La Trobe’s chief information officer and executive director, said Intersect Australia is a pivotal part of Australia’s research infrastructure. 

Nikoletatos, also a speaker at the FST Government Victoria conference being held 20th July in Melbourne, said this alliance will further support world-class research. “It also offers storage and analysis platforms, software engineering, expert consultancy and training programs to thousands of researchers every year.”

The HPC alliance incorporates the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney, University of Newcastle, Southern Cross University, University of New England, Western Sydney University, Charles Sturt University, the University of Canberra, the Australian Catholic University and La Trobe University.

Digital research services

This March, La Trobe’s supercomputing users transitioned to Intersect HPC facilities. They are now working with Intersect to introduce new digital research services. “Our researchers will be able to participate in digital research training courses,” noted Nikoletatos. 

This participation incorporates software and data carpentry, managing research data, data visualisation, as well as high-performance computing. “Best practice research underpins our research performance,” Nikoletatos said. “We welcome the move to work with Intersect to grow our digital research capabilities.”

La Trobe has 30,000 students including about 7,600 international students at eight campuses in Victoria and NSW. It is rated in the top ten universities in Australia and top three in Victoria, according to the latest Government Excellence in Research for Australia.  

Among the projects, member institutions will fast-track HPC for advanced studies. This is especially in the fields of molecular modelling, computational chemistry, as well as software training and data storage. High-performance computing aggregates processing power with better performance and throughput. This runs faster than the capacity built into standard desktops or workstations.

Additional computing grunt helps solve large or complex problems across science, engineering, or business. The latest partnership aligns with La Trobe’s Digital Research Strategy. This supports a world-class digital research environment, while enabling and accelerating new research. Under the initiative, researchers are more readily engaged with advanced and emerging information and computing technologies.

The HPC strategy is being delivered through collaboration between La Trobe’s Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), the Information Communications Technology Division and the University Library.