Queensland universities supercomputer consortium receives $8.5 million
A Queensland Universities consortium will receive $8.5 million in State Government funding for super computers to boost research projects ranging from breast cancer detection and boat design to the digital reconstruction of an Egyptian Mummy. Industry Minister Desley Boyle made the announcement today and said the work of the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF) was vital and an example of collaboration at its best.
(Media-Newswire.com) - A Queensland Universities consortium will receive $8.5 million in State Government funding for super computers to boost research projects ranging from breast cancer detection and boat design to the digital reconstruction of an Egyptian Mummy.
Industry Minister Desley Boyle made the announcement today and said the work of the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation ( QCIF ) was vital and an example of collaboration at its best.
“The QCIF was set up in 2001 to increase Queensland’s innovative capacity using supercomputers, high-capacity data archives, visualisation and networking,” Ms Boyle said.
“Its members are James Cook University ( JCU ), Central Queensland University, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology ( QUT ), the University of Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland.
“The infrastructure and eResearch staff of the QCIF supports research and development being undertaken in those member universities. The Foundation also works to encourage the uptake of advanced ICT capabilities by industry.”
Ms Boyle said that the new funding followed on from a previous State Government investment of $16 million in the QCIF from 2002-2007.
She added that the $8.5 million would leverage at least $5.1 million of funding under the Australian Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy ( NCRIS ) and a further $16 million cash and in-kind support from the QCIF’s member universities.
“It’s money well spent. Since 2002, the QCIF has supported around 60 research projects involving 340 researchers across the six universities,” Ms Boyle said.
“Those projects cut across areas like nanotechnology, drug design, security, biosecurity, mining and environmental engineering and medical imaging.
“At JCU’s ARC Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies in Townsville, for example, Doctor Sean Connolly is leading a team in a study of biodiversity on coral reefs.
“Coral reefs are extremely complex ecosystems with thousands of species interacting. They are extremely difficult to study yet worldwide, coral reefs are a veritable goldmine when it comes to the sustenance and economic growth of communities living near them.
“Our Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s largest coral reef, brings in over $6 billion in revenue to the nation as a whole, principally in tourism, and over 60,000 people depend on it for their income.
“Dr Connolly is making extensive use of a QCIF-funded High Performance Computing capability in order to tackle the challenges facing coral reefs.”
Ms Boyle said JCU also operated an Automatic Weather Station at Davies Reef, offshore from Townsville, with the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
“A trial sensors network has been set up at Davies Reef to measure water temperature, solar radiation, salinity and pollution levels to help understand intricate marine biological processes and predict future coral bleaching events,” she said.
“Sensor networks reduce the need for field deployments of boats which saves time and money but also lessens the environmental impact.”
Ms Boyle said one of the many other interesting QCIF-supported research projects included the computer reconstruction of an Egyptian Mummy using medical imaging.
“This amazing project is the work of Doctor Stephen Hughes at QUT. In the past, mummies have unfortunately often been destroyed during study because of the removal of bandages, detailed death masks and artwork,” Ms Boyle said.
“Doctor Hughes has shown that it is possible to use common medical imaging techniques to examine mummies without even opening the coffin.”
The new QCIF funding will go towards upgrading advanced computer infrastructure, expanding its Industry Outreach Program, creating a program to tackle infrastructure challenges like urban congestion and water management, and supporting NCRIS research.
16 September 2008
Media contact: 3224 2007 or 3225 1005
Professor Bernard Pailthorpe, Chief Executive Officer of QCIF: 3365 6131
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