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$100 million supercomputing program boosts Australian medical research capacity

Under a new Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative, The University of Melbourne in Melbourne Australia will host a $100 million supercomputing program and facility dedicated to life sciences.

The initiative will develop the most powerful supercomputer and leading computational biology facility dedicated to life sciences research in the world.

Funding of $50 million has been provided by the Victorian State Government, as announced by the Victorian Premier John Brumby at Bio2008 in San Diego, USA overnight.

The Hon. Theo Theophanous, Victorian Minister for Industry and Trade, Information and Communication Technology, and Major Projects detailed the State Government's vision for the project at a special media announcement at the University of Melbourne today.

Vice Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis explained how Australia's first life sciences dedicated supercomputer will impact Victorian researchers and where the program will be located at the University of Melbourne.

"As part of the initiative, the University of Melbourne will develop a Life Sciences Computation Centre to undertake the peak computing operations and provide computational biology expertise to the institutions throughout the Melbourne Parkville Precinct," said Professor Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.

Professor Davis says researchers from the Parkville Precinct, Monash University and other leading Victorian research institutions will have access to the peak computing facility, encouraging a collaborative approach to medical research.

"We are tremendously excited about the potential for this initiative to expand dramatically the State's and the University's capacity in bioinformatics, computational biology and advanced biomedical image analysis."

"The far reaching vision and scale of this initiative will combine Victoria's already globally competitive biomedical research capability with computational infrastructure specially designed for the life sciences, equal to the best in the world" said Professor Davis.

"Life sciences research is being transformed by the application of rapid advances in computational biology, powered by innovations in very high performance computers and data management, "said Professor James Angus, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

"This will lead to major improvements in public health outcomes - particularly in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular and neurological disease, chronic inflammatory diseases, bone diseases and diabetes."

The University of Melbourne intends to call for expressions of interest for the Life Sciences Computation Centre and peak computing facility (PCF) in 2008, with the major PCF installations planned for 2009 and 2011.


Contact: Rebecca Scott
University of Melbourne

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