Preparing for a data intensive HPC future

Mr Mark Stickells1

1Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, Kensington, Australia



Australia’s HPC future will see the focus of Australia’s two Tier 1 supercomputing facilities, Pawsey and NCI, move from being computational services supporting experimental research (“data from science”), to the development and support of technologies that enable “science from data”. As an example, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is expected to require supercomputers and data ingest functions far in excess of current platform and network technology capability. Pawsey is playing an important role in developing the data solutions for the SKA and is collaborating with NCI on strategies to meet the needs of Australia’s data intensive HPC future.


To continue to meet the growing demands for HPC-powered science from data across Australia, each Centre is undertaking a Capital Refresh which will lead to increased computing power and speed, expanded data storage capacity, and more efficient HPC services.

To fully realise the benefits of this new infrastructure, workforce planning and stakeholder engagement activities have commenced to streamline and improve the user experience and develop skills/expand diversity across HPC in Australia.

This work is the start of a collaborative plan between the Centres which aims to ensure Australian HPC is on path to exascale performance within the decade.


The Australian HPC capability already provides a coordinated delivery of supercomputing and data services with both Centres being vital for national scientific effort and R&D. By planning for a data intensive future, Pawsey and NCI will be in a strong position to continue its support of Australian research using HPC.


Mark leads the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, one of two Tier 1 High Performance Computing facilities in Australia. Mark is a research executive with more than 20 years’ experience working at a senior level in innovative research and business development roles in complex, multi-stakeholder environments – with a particular focus on industry, university and government joint-ventures.

Mark currently leads a $70m capital refresh program and a team of 50 HPC, data and visualisation experts at Pawsey and is deeply committed to diversity, inclusion and innovation.


AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.