Much of RMIT’s significant research is underpinned by advanced computation – an area in which RMIT eResearch has been providing strategic advice and contract management to the DVCR and down-to-earth assistance to the research community. With changes in government funding for computational infrastructure over the past few years a number of compute resources have been decommissioned: VPAC/V3, VLSCI Blue Gene and more recently the Melbourne Bioinformatics cluster. All of these included complex partnerships or multi-university governance structures and large-scale engagements with skills and services around high-performance computational assets.
This year, 2017, saw a further consolidation of these assets and partnerships for RMIT. We now have a single contractual framework with NCI and have become one of the larger users of NCI compute cycles, which remain co-funded under the Commonwealth NCRIS program as a Tier-1 facility, significantly.
Furthermore, our relationship with Monash University, where RMIT has co-invested into NeCTAR cloud hardware, has been strengthened and continues as a contractually agreed partnership entitling RMIT national cloud users. Also, eResearch has been involved with a pilot of the Amazon cloud-based research self-provisioning platform, called RONIN, in collaboration with, and under direction of, RMIT’s ITS.
The RMIT eResearch Office, in collaboration with the Monash eResearch Centre, are developing an experimental dashboard for the NeCTAR research cloud that allows users at an institution to query and graphically visualise project usage of the Nectar cloud resources, and also to link these data back to institutional information about researcher profiles. In addition, these linkages allow administrators and research centre directors to measure resource costs against researcher impact.