Director appointed for New Zealand eScience Infrastructure

1 September 2011

Mr Nick Jones from The University of Auckland has been appointed Director of the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI), a nation-wide supercomputer network designed to support cutting-edge research.

High-performance computing has become indispensable to scientists around the world as they tackle increasingly complex and data-intensive research questions. NeSI will provide New Zealand researchers with the computing capability, data storage and expert technical support they require to continue competing on the world stage.

“NeSI will support computational research across the New Zealand science sector, whether it's quantum chemistry, radio astronomy, drug discovery or modelling of fluid flows,” says Mr Jones. “It’s very exciting to begin building an infrastructure and services that New Zealand researchers will be able to depend on over the long term.”

“We’re now well underway with the procurement of new high-performance computing equipment, and our ambition is to begin offering access to the initial computing sites later this year. Already the work is having impacts, such as senior researchers accepting new appointments based on the availability of the infrastructure.”

Launched by Minister of Science and Innovation The Hon Wayne Mapp at The University of Auckland in June, NeSI will be built over the next three years with $48 million co-invested by the Government and partner research organisations.

NeSI brings together new and existing supercomputer hubs at The University of Auckland, Canterbury University, the University of Otago, NIWA and Landcare Research. It will be open to researchers around the country, and uses the Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network (KAREN) to connect researchers from all institutions to its national data and computing infrastructure

"The establishment of NeSI with the collaboration of a number of our scientific institutions and the support for it from Government are truly game-changing in the further development of New Zealand’s science capability,” says Chair of the Board Mr Rick Christie. “Nick's appointment is a key element in the implementation of the project, and he brings considerable experience to the role from his involvement in the establishment stage."

Mr Jones, co-Director of the Centre for eResearch at The University of Auckland, led the successful bid to establish NeSI along with colleagues from each of the partner institutions. He has now been seconded from the Centre, one of the partners in NeSI, to lead the establishment of the national infrastructure. He comes to the role with extensive experience in e-research, network design, e-learning, and software research and development, as well as governance of collaborative projects across the New Zealand research sector

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