The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre



The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre was established as iVEC in June 2000 as an unincorporated joint venture among Central TAFE, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Curtin University and The University of Western Australia (UWA). The Government of Western Australian was a major supporter of the venture, contributing $2 million cash that leveraged $1 million of Commonwealth funding through the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre becoming a partner in the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (APAC). The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre partners also contributed $1 million. Following two years of preparation and early stage activities, the Premier of Western Australia officially opened the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in May 2002.

A bid for a further three years of funding was submitted to the State Government in early 2005, with the joint venture partnership expanded to include Murdoch University. The Premier of Western Australia announced in July 2005 that $3.1 million of State Government funds had been allocated to continue funding the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, in addition to almost $1.3 million from the partners and $1.2 million from APAC. This large commitment was used to leverage $2.4 million of additional cash from the Australian Research Council (ARC), UWA and CSIRO, which was all spent on supercomputing hardware.

In May 2006, the State Treasurer, The Hon. Eric Ripper, announced that the WA Government had set aside $1.95 million per year over the next four years for the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. The partners, with Edith Cowan University joining and Central TAFE withdrawing, agreed to contribute nearly $1.9 million over the same period. This put the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in an excellent position to leverage funding through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Platforms for Collaboration (PfC) capability. The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre is a Partner in the National Computing Infrastructure (NCI) and was a host for some Australian National Data Service (ANDS) staff, as well as being a partner in ARCS (Australian Research Collaboration Service).

As part of its Super Science Initiative announced in the May 2009 budget, the Commonwealth Government allocated $80 million over the financial years 2009/10 to 2012/13 to the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre to establish a petascale supercomputing facility (the Pawsey Centre) located at the Australian Resources Research Centre in Perth. These monies are from the Education Investment Fund and are available only for the creation or development of research infrastructure. The WA Government has subsequently agreed to fund the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre through its Research Facilities Program to 2015 at ~$4 million per annum, which will primarily pay the salaries of our expert staff. Finally, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre partners have agreed to fund the significant operational costs of running the petascale supercomputer and associated data storage and networking.

In December 2010, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre was declared a Centre of Expertise – High Performance Computing by the Australian Computer Society.

In December 2014, the decision was made to rebrand from iVEC into the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. This decision was made to better align the organisation to the strong international standing of the Pawsey Centre facility. The new brand was officially launched by the Hon. Donna Faragher MLC, representing the Western Australian Government.