High Performance Computing (HPC) and related eScience infrastructure are by now indispensable components of modern science. New Zealand relies on research into some of the world’s most complex problems to support its fundamental industries. The need for a step-change in our ability to address these problems computationally is widespread, encompassing every university and Crown Research Institute.
NeSI enables our scientists across a wide range of communities and disciplines to access and utilise vastly superior computing power, achieving this through better, more efficient coordination and cooperation across the research sector.
This investment includes both high performance computers and the development and operation of ‘eScience services’ that will help New Zealand’s research community leverage the infrastructure effectively.
Read the Investment Case that provides the framing and background for the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure.
An independent review of NeSI.2’s achievements to date was recently undertaken. Reviews and evaluations are a standard part of MBIE funding agreements and this review was specified in MBIE’s funding agreement with NeSI. These reviews allow MBIE and the providers to review progress, identify any strategic issues and suggest some actions to improve delivery of the overall programme.
The evaluation found that NeSI has contributed to positive outcomes for researchers and research institutions, and has largely met expectations around effectiveness, relevance, impact and value for money. The financial sustainability of the programme and the business model employed could be improved, in particular by developing strategies to attract more investment.
You can read the NeSI Evaluation Summary Report here.
The report highlights some areas that NeSI could consider in the future to improve the uptake of high performance supercomputing and related services for researchers. MBIE has indicated that they support the overall report findings including any changes to the programme that may result in a more effective delivery of high performance supercomputing for New Zealand’s research sector.
The findings will be particularly useful in guiding future investment decisions and planning. NeSI is currently considering how best to incorporate any changes to its future programme, including using the findings to develop its annual plan and refine its work programme through into next year.
In the short-term to provide time to develop these strategies, NeSI’s current contract has been extended and is now scheduled to end in June 2019. NeSI is developing a business case for MBIE to consider for funding beyond mid-2019.