Page content

MASSIVE supercomputer unveiled

The Australian article by Tom Joyner on Wednesday 3 March 2016.

Monash University on Monday unveiled its $5.7 million ­super­computer, which is touted to empower scientists in turning complex sets of data into graphic visualisations.

Dubbed M3, the supercomputer is part of the MASSIVE program (Multi-modal Australian ScienceS Imaging and Visualisation Environment), the product of a collaboration between Monash, CSIRO and the Australian Synchrotron.

It is the third MASSIVE project, following M1 and M2.

Australia's Chief Scientist and former Monash chancellor Alan Finkel, who was present at the unveiling, said the supercomputer would allow scientists to visualise complex structures "at a glance. You cannot understand what you cannot see."

Marta Garrido, a neuroscientist at the University of Queensland, said vast amounts of data were used to understand the brain's pathways through imaging techniques: "The brain is wired in an extremely complex way … We use mathematical modelling to decipher this data — these analyses require a lot of computing power and so access to supercomputers like M1, M2 and now M3 is critical."

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function, where Dr Garrido works, has signed on to join the MASSIVE program as an affiliate.

"The research done in my lab focuses on understanding what we can learn about brain activity patterns to try and understand which brain pathways are engaged when something unexpected happens," she said.

The lion's share of funding for the MASSIVE project since 2014 has come from Monash University's faculty of medicine, nursing and health sciences.