29 June 2012

A $50 million Federal Government project that aims to transform the storage of research data has revealed the location of its first five nodes — in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Hobart.

The University of Queensland (UQ) is leading the program on behalf of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE).

Dr Nick Tate, RDSI Project Director who is based at UQ, said each of the five nodes would receive funding under the Research Data Storage Infrastructure scheme. He announced that:

Intersect will establish a primary node in Sydney

Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF) will establish a primary node in Brisbane

Australian National University will establish a primary node in Canberra

eResearch SA (eRSA) will establish a primary node in Adelaide

The University of Tasmania will establish an additional node in Hobart

The department funds the program from the Education Investment Fund under the Super Science (Future Industries) initiative.

Professor Max Lu, UQ’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said further nodes would be announced in the near future.

“The project will be a significant boost for researchers around Australia who are capturing and processing of enormous data sets,” Professor Lu said.

“The powerful potential of ‘big data’, combined with the significant computing capability that the Government is also investing in, will transform research in many areas, including astronomy, genomics, physics and environmental studies.

“The recent announcement of Australia’s involvement in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an example of this rapidly growing area. SKA’s dishes will produce data each day equal to about 10 times the current global internet traffic.”

Dr Tate said the RDSI project’s storage capacity was expected to grow to 100 petabytes.

“This is many times the size of existing systems,” he said.

The RDSI project aimed to develop a national network of distributed data stores where research data could be readily accessed, analysed and re-used and to support the retention and integration of nationally significant data assets.

It aims to:

• Identify, strengthen and develop research data centres, or nodes, that can hold and process high data volumes

• Identify research data holdings of lasting value and importance and contribute funding to their development at the most appropriate nodes

• Provide the widest possible range of general data sharing and movement infrastructure suitable for data-intensive research activities.

“The project's goal is to develop a coherent and integrated national research data environment, building on the strengths of different providers,” Dr Tate said.

“It aims to ensure a co-ordinated and collaborative use of these resources. This will support enhanced research outcomes through greater access to, and sharing of, research data.”

Dr Tate said consultations with the sector were held during 2010 and 2011, and the project office was established at UQ in 2011.

“Feedback revealed a preference for a distributed model for the RDSI in which services would be developed on the basis of existing local strengths, and the decisions on the location of the first five nodes reflect this,” Dr Tate said.
Media: Dr Nick Tate, RDSI project director, ph +61 412 674 010, or +61 7 3365 2019, n.tate@rdsi.uq.edu.au