The National Computational Infrastructure(NCI) based at The Australian National University will receive a $70 million funding boost to replace its ageing supercomputer, Raijin.\nThe funding, set out today in the government\u2019s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, will be provided through existing resources from the Department of Education and Training.\n \nRaijin is Australia\u2019s highest performance research supercomputer and currently comes in at number 70 on theLINPACK Benchmark Top500 ranking, with a performance of 1.67 Petaflops \u2013 comparable to about 40,000 desktop computers working simultaneously. \nWhen it debuted in 2012, Raijin was placed at 24. The current ranking is only thanks to an upgrade last year \u2013 paid for by an emergency government \u2018Agility Fund\u2019 \u2013 which helped Raijin rise from 121st place in 2016. However, the supercomputer is fast approaching the end of its service life\n \nThe NCI anticipates the replacement supercomputer will be ranked in the top 25 internationally when it is commissioned in 2019.\n\u201cThis announcement is very welcome. NCI plays a pivotal role in the national research landscape, and the supercomputer is the centrepiece of NCI\u2019s renowned and tightly integrated, high-performance computing and data environment,\u201d said chair of the NCI board, Emeritus Professor Michael Barber.\n\u201cThe Government\u2019s announcement is incredibly important for the national research endeavour. It means NCI can continue to provide Australian researchers with a world-class advanced computing environment that is a fusion of powerful computing, high-performance \u2018big data\u2019, and world-leading expertise that enables cutting-edge Australian research and innovation,\u201d he added.\nThe NCIsupports the work of more than 5,000 researchers across more than 500 projects being undertaken in 35 universities, five national science agencies (including CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, and Geoscience Australia), three medical research institutes and industry.Itis also a national hub for national and international satellite earth observation collections (through the Australian Geoscience Data Cube) used in the earth, marine and environmental sciences, and agriculture.\n\u201cThe NCI supercomputer is one of the most important pieces of research infrastructure in Australia. It is critical to the competitiveness of Australian research and development in every field of scientific and technological endeavour, spanning the national science and research priorities,\u201d Barber added.\nIn May, Australia\u2019s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel released the 2016National Research Infrastructure Roadmap. In it, he noted the \u201ccritical importance\u201d of supercomputing resources and said the government needed to \u201curgently address\u201d the HPC situation.\n \n\u201cThroughout our consultations to develop theRoadmapthe critical importance of Australia\u2019s two high performance computers was manifestly clear,\u201d Finkel said in a statement today.\n\u201cOur scientific community will be overwhelmingly delighted by the Australian Government\u2019s decision today to support the modernisation of the NCI computer hosted at ANU,\u201d he added.\n\nIn July, the NCI appointed world renowned computational chemist and nanomaterials scientist Professor Sean Smith as its next director.Smith takes up the role inJanuary.