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CSIRO computer critical to National Robotics Strategy

Manufacturing News

CSIRO has worked with Dell Technologies to build a high-performance computer (HPC) system which will speed up scientific discoveries and help grow Australia’s industry and economy.

Named Virga, the HPC system is built on Dell PowerEdge XE9640 servers and is the first deployment of its kind in Australia, designed to optimise artificial intelligence (AI) workflows while also being power-efficient using direct liquid cooling.

CSIRO’s Digital, National Facilities and Collections Executive Director Professor Elanor Huntington said Virga would provide critical computing infrastructure needed for machine learning and AI to grow Australia’s industry and economy.

Professor Huntington said: “AI is used in practically all fields of research at CSIRO, such as developing world-leading flexible printed solar panels, predicting fires, measuring wheat crops and developing vaccines, just to name a few.

“High-performance computing systems like Virga also play an important role in CSIRO’s robotics and sensing work and are crucial to the recently launched National Robotics Strategy to drive competitiveness, and productivity of Australian industry.”

The HPC cluster, which is housed at CDC’s Hume Data Centre in Canberra, is named Virga after the meteorological effect of rain that evaporates before it reaches the ground.

Dr Jason Dowling from CSIRO’s Australian e-Health Research Centre said the increase in medical imaging data coupled with the growing complexity of diagnostic techniques had led to an urgent need for advanced computational power and data processing for medical image analysis.

Dr Dowling said: “The new HPC facilities will allow researchers in our Australian e-Health Research Centre to train and validate new computational models, which will help us develop translational software in medical image analysis for image classification, segmentation, reconstruction, registration, synthesis, and automated radiology reporting.

“One collaborative project with the Queensland Children’s Hospital that will benefit from the new cluster is the training of artificial intelligence (AI) models to diagnose pathology from MRI scans of the lungs in children with cystic fibrosis.”

Picture: Professor Elanor Huntington

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