The Turnbull Government is investing $70 million to replace Australia’s highest-powered supercomputer.

The replacement was identified as vital and urgent by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, under the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) Roadmap.

Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, said this investment, which is being provided as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2017-18, secured one of Australia’s key pieces of research infrastructure.

“Replacing the NCI’s supercomputer, headquartered at the Australian National University in Canberra, ensures the facility can continue its critical support for researchers across many disciplines.

“The Turnbull Government’s $70 million investment means the new supercomputer will be online before the current capabilities are decommissioned at the end of 2018,” he said.

It is expected to be fully operational by 2019.

The supercomputer, named Raijin, was inaugurated in 2012 and upgraded through a 2015-16 emergency government ‘Agility Fund.’ The computer will continue to be powered by Fujitsu until the end of 2018, before being relaunched in 2019.

The system currently comprises 8 Petabytes of high-performance operational storage capacity and has 300 Terabytes of main memory.

Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Michaelia Cash, said the NCI had been a critical part of Australia’s research infrastructure, and the investment was key to strengthening Australia’s world-leading research.

“From the Bureau of Meteorology to NASA, the NCI supports more than 4,000 researchers involved in nearly 500 projects, spanning 35 Australian universities, science agencies and medical research institutes as well as researchers overseas.

“As we work through the recommendations of Dr Finkel’s National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, the Turnbull Government’s investment in the NCI clearly highlights our commitment to Australian researchers and their work,” she said.

Cash also said the Turnbull Government is delivering an additional $2.3 billion over 10 years to support national scale infrastructure.

“I look forward to hearing more stories about the NCI’s successes and breakthroughs,” she said.