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Defence unveils supercomputing capability

Defence has opened its advanced supercomputing capability at the DSTG site at the Edinburgh Defence Precinct in South Australia. Defence’s supercomputing capability will play a vital role in the design, development and analysis of sovereign weapon systems and national security systems and will be critical in supporting key AUKUS priorities including nuclear-powered submarines, quantum technologies and artificial intelligence.

The first of its kind in Australia, the high performance computing capability is up to a million times faster than a standard computer and will enable Defence scientists to analyse large data sets and rapidly perform complex calculations to tackle some of Defence’s most challenging scientific and engineering problems.

It is expected that the high performance computing capability will drive the development of disruptive solutions, and the department is actively recruiting to increase the workforce supporting the capability.

“This is a game changer,” said Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro. “If we want to accelerate the timelines in which we deliver capability for the Australian Defence Force, we need to be able to take these complex platforms and put them inside the computer.

“So we can refine, develop, and essentially skip generations of testing and experimentation that would otherwise have taken years, and condense them down into weeks and days.

“The computer that we have launched today will be one of the 50 most powerful computers in the world,” said Minister for Defence and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. “But most significantly, it will operate at the level of Secret, which enables it to engage with classified research and classified science, which is the space that needs to be engaged in order for us to advance our science and technology within Defence.”

“Defence acknowledges the assistance provided by representatives of the US Department of Defense’s High Performance Computing Modernization Program who willingly shared their 30 years of knowledge and experience to support Australia’s work to establish this world-class capability,” he added.

The new computing infrastructure is known as ‘Taingiwilta’, which means ‘powerful’ in the language of the Kaurna people, and is housed in a purpose-built secure facility called ‘Mukarntu’, meaning ‘computer’.

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