The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology will use a dedicated supercomputer within Amazon Web Services.

The university will work with telco AARNet for connectivity, and Intel for optimizing how it uses the company's hardware.

RMIT will use AWS Direct Connect to link to the cloud facility, a dedicated private connection between the customer's premises and the nearest AWS data center.

AWS Logo
– Sebastian Moss

The partnership is the first time that an Australian university has implemented a dedicated cloud supercomputing facility. The uni plans to use the facility to research areas such as advanced manufacturing, space, fintech, digital health, and creative technologies.

“Our collaboration with AWS, Intel, and AARNET to establish Australia’s first cloud supercomputing facility represents a step change in how universities and industries access HPC capabilities for advanced data processing and computing,” said Irofessor Aleksandar Subic, RMIT deputy vice-chancellor (STEM College) and vice president of Digital Innovation.

“Our industry partners will also have access to the new cloud supercomputing facility through joint projects and programs.

AARNet CEO Chris Hancock said that the company had "been connecting researchers to the cloud for many years, but nothing on this scale."

He added: “We’re excited to be partnering with RMIT on this project that uses our ultra-fast network to remove the barrier of geography and distance for research across Australia and beyond.” 

Cloud companies are increasingly competing for high-performance computing contracts that would have traditionally gone to systems integrators like Atos and Cray.

Notably, this year the UK's weather agency awarded a £1.2bn supercomputing contract to Microsoft Azure, despite protests by Atos.

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