May newsletter

Issue No. 29
May 2016

NeSI’s National Platforms Framework - Consolidation & Refresh

Improving our infrastructure for the future

NeSI exists to grow the computing capability of New Zealand researchers. One of the key ways we do this is providing state-of-the-art and fit-for-purpose computing infrastructure. We maintain a National Platforms Framework which outlines the nature of NeSI’s investments into platform infrastructure. The framework is reviewed annually ensuring that we are making strategically-driven investments which will benefit the New Zealand research community as it grows and its needs diversify.

During the last 6 months NeSI has consulted with our key research end user communities and many of the institutions they sit within, to explore their future eScience needs. We are now presenting the 2015 revision of the Framework to the sector, and are interested in discussing our directions. Read more...

NeSI celebrates 100 million core hours on Pan

On Friday May 6, 2016, NeSI celebrated a major milestone in the NeSI High Performance Computing service offered to New Zealand’s research community. Since its inception in 2012, the NeSI Pan cluster has now delivered over 100 million core hours of research computing.

To put this into perspective, if we went back around 10,000 years in time to the beginning of the Neolithic period, into the freshly founded city of Jericho just as pottery and agriculture were becoming more widespread, and started a single core computer and left it running through the ages at full capacity, it would have achieved the same amount of 'compute' by today as the cluster has in these last four years. Read more...

Introducing our Operations Manager

Robin Bensley joined NeSI as the Operations Manager in March 2016.
Robin completed a Bachelor of Horticulture at Massey University before joining the Crown Research Institute Hort Research as a research associate. He then joined the science programme at the New Zealand Apple and Pear Board, setting up a national programme building forecasting tools to predict regional harvesting dates.

Read more about Robin's background.

Case study - Molecular Fingerprinting

"Access to the increased computing capacity of the NeSI supercomputers facilitated Dr Sibaev's research by speeding up the rate at which he was able to generate the data required for his project."

Infrared spectroscopy is often referred to as ‘molecular fingerprinting’, enabling molecules to be identified by their unique vibrational signature. It is the main technique used for identifying contraband substances such as narcotics, explosives and illegal pharmaceuticals. However, as with standard human fingerprinting, the ‘culprit’ can only be identified by comparison with a database of known substances. If the substance isn’t in the database, then no identification can be made.

Developing the theoretical and computational tools required to do this has been the focus of Dr Marat Sibaev’s PhD project (Department of Chemistry, the University of Canterbury). Read more...

First conference for Research Software Engineers

The RSE Conference 2016 in Manchester, England, is the first conference to focus exclusively on the issues that affect people who write and use software in research. Organisers are looking for submissions to the workshops and talks programmes that will investigate and communicate ideas and expertise from the Research Software Engineers community.

This is not a standard academic conference! RSE 2016 welcomes researchers, but also wants to hear from people who may not typically attend conferences. It’s a community conference: get involved and help build the RSE Community. Read more...

In other news...

Recent research outputs

We are always interested in hearing about research outputs generated with the help of NeSI. To notify NeSI of upcoming publications, please email If you would like to be kept up to date with research outputs as NeSI includes them, please join our Mendeley Group.

Have a question?

If you would like to ask anything, please email us