NeSI 2021 Annual Review celebrates the work we do, the people we work with, and successes alongside learnings
We're pleased to share with you NeSI's Annual Review for 2021.
Looking back on 2021 offers an important opportunity to celebrate the work we do, the people we work with, and successes alongside what we're learning.
We’ve made formative investments into future-oriented cloud-native HPC platforms and collaborated with research communities to build digital capability and support nationally significant research. Not least, we've engaged in connections and hui with colleagues across the sector as we collectively look to inform the design of the future research system in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the eResearch infrastructure and capabilities to power and scale its successes.
Highlights from 2021 included:
- Developing national capabilities through collaboration
- Lifting capabilities across the research sector
- Responding to evolving research community needs
- Lowering barriers to access and supporting new approaches
Developing national capabilities through collaboration
Our collaborations in 2021 created important spaces for exploring new modes of work that reach across research institutions. Key examples from last year included:
- partnering with AgResearch on the co-design and build of the eResearch Platform infrastructure
- collaborating with the Rakeiora Pathfinder team as we jointly discover and build a clinical genomics research prototype that meets the needs of Māori community governance over their health and data
- co-developing with Genomics Aotearoa a national repository for taonga species that provides a secure place for the New Zealand research community to store and to share data within a Māori values context, following the principles of Māori Data Sovereignty.
Lifting capabilities across the research sector
Last year saw increased usage and reach across all NeSI services, demonstrating the continued growth and potential for growth of computational science across New Zealand’s research ecosystem. The number of organisations using NeSI continued to grow in 2021 with representation across the research sector (shown in the image above and the chart below).
This was buoyed in part by our joint approaches to computational skills training for researchers, our continued focus on skill transfer and capability development through our Consultancy activities, and new collaborations to support ongoing workforce development, such as working across the Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) in building Machine Learning capabilities.
Responding to evolving research community needs
Researchers are highlighting the importance of national shared connectivity and compute infrastructure, from supporting New Zealand’s COVID-19 response, to tackling national challenges like land use management or climate change response, to embracing tikanga Māori-informed approaches and operating in partnership with constituent communities.
Lowering barriers to access and supporting new approaches
There is growing recognition in the sector that NeSI offers a broad range of HPC environments, and supports a spectrum of users and needs through a range of ways to access and interact with NeSI’s platforms. In 2021, strategic investments were made across our platforms and services, including:
- an extension to the Mahuika HPC platform (pictured above) located within our Collaborator NIWA's Greta Point data centre. Mahuika's expansion (pictured above) will nearly double its capacity, enabling access to wider range of research communities and delivering specialised tools for supporting data-intensive research.
- a new cloud-native "Flexible HPC" platform (pictured below) located within our Collaborator University of Auckland's Tāmaki data centre. This new platform will be a flexible, scalable, future-focused environment to support current users, future partners, and new communities looking to leverage and contribute to lifting national capabilities in HPC and beyond.
NeSI has always focused on building out a healthy ecosystem of opportunity for research in direct partnership with researchers, research teams, and research institutions. The breadth of actions and impacts we are involved in across the science system speaks to our ambitious programme of work to lift national capabilities in HPC and eResearch.
Our Collaborators – the University of Auckland, NIWA, the University of Otago, and Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research – play an essential role in NeSI as a national platform by investing in NeSI’s shared infrastructure and employing NeSI team members at their institutions. Together with the the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) and team, NeSI and its Collaborators respond to research communities' evolving needs and empower them to investigate large, unique or complex projects with greater ease, accuracy, and improved time-to-science.
We welcome your thoughts on our mahi, and thank you for offering opportunities to work together side-by-side.
Ngā mihi nui,
Director / Manutaki