Collaborative high-performance computing grant set to boost sequencing workflows

Associate Professor Oliver Hofmann, Head of Bioinformatics, and Professor Louis Moresi, Chair of Earth Sciences (Geophysics), of the University of Melbourne, have been named Co-Chief Investigators on a $4.32 million collaborative grant for a project enabling access to a high-performance computing facility.

The collaboration of eight Australian universities, led by the Australian National University, received matched funding from the Australian Research Council’s first 2019 Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) round.

The collaboration will provide researchers from the University of Melbourne with merit-based access to existing and new high-performance computing (HPC) environments at Australia's National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), through the national computational merit allocation scheme (NCMAS).

A/Prof Oliver Hofmann's Genomics Platform Group

Associate Professor Hofmann’s Genomics Platform Group, in the University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research (UMCCR) and Department of Clinical Pathology, is working to improve the scalability and reliability of sequencing workflows, better detect changes in cancer genomes, and make tumour data accessible in real time.

Associate Professor Hofmann (pictured bottom left) said: “Access to the facility will empower University of Melbourne researchers to tackle previously intractable computational problems.

“Joining the NCMAS will also improve collaboration and data exchange both within and across partner universities due to a shared computational environment, access to unified software, and better support to handle the large-scale data sets required for modern research.

“This collaborative grant will allow us at the University of Melbourne to more easily share projects and access world-class facilities to undertake and manage our large-scale sequencing research.”

HPC environments and effective storage solutions are a requirement for modern scientific research driven by big data, including rapid analysis of whole genome sequencing data. Large-scale, national HPC systems enable internationally competitive research that would not be possible on more limited local computational systems.

Based at the Australian National University, NCI Australia's highly integrated HPC environment provides world-class services to government, industry, and researchers. The NCI team manage its supercomputer, research cloud and large research data repository facilities, enabling high-impact research and innovation.