Remarks to launch Defence's High Performance Computing capability

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The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

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02 6277 7800

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12 August 2022

Thank you for a wonderful Welcome to Country and can I pay my respects to elders past and present. It is a real honour to be here today. Can I thank Aunty Buster, Corey and Naysha for the incredible work that we've been able to unveil today. And it really does grace this extraordinary building, as it will forever. It speaks to what this place is about, and actually that graphic up there right now, I was saying to Tanya, it almost captures a lot of the flow dynamics that the supercomputer will be looking at, so it couldn't be a more apt painting for this place.

Can I acknowledge Tanya Monro, who described herself this morning has been a very excited Chief Defence Scientist. In fact, I got to know Tanya a fair bit. Tanya is always very excited, which is one of the great things about Tanya Monro. Curiosity is as fundamental to the human condition as the need for food, water, and shelter. It is about (inaudible). It's why science, as we're about to enter Science Week next week, is so natural for people to be a part of and why we need to value it so much more. An enthusiastic curiosity is at the heart of every great scientist, and whenever I see Tanya, with the excitement she brings, she has that enthusiastic curiosity, which absolutely befits a great scientist and someone who does such a great job in being our Chief Defence Scientist. And so we really thank you for all your work.

It is an honour for me to be here today, to launch Defence's High Performance Computing capability (inaudible). It's great that we have for it an Indigenous painting, and in doing so speak to its connection with this place. Sometimes we think about Defence for conflict, as a contest of force, and of brute force. And yet, so much of it is actually a contest of intellect. It's a contest of brains, of science, of technology. And it's more so now than it has ever been. Tanya described what we need to be in this space as being asymmetric and see acceleration, and that's absolutely right. And it's a great advantage, especially for a little science country like Australia. That is what we need to be the way in the way in which we engage in our science, in the way in which we need to engage in terms of building the most potent Defence Force that we can. We are unlikely to build the kind of Defence Force, with huge numbers of people and huge numbers of platforms. We need to compete on the basis of our science, on the basis of technology, and on the basis of our clever platforms. Which is why it's so important that we do Defence science well, and which is why it's so important that we have the capability that we are launching today. Because what a high performance computing capability will do, is turbocharge the science that we are engaging in Defence as an Australia (inaudible). You look at the graphics up there around flow dynamics as an example, and you can see modelling that, complex models which we can do on high performance computing, enables us to get answers to questions which in the past might have taken months and years, we're able to do that in a fraction of the time.

This will be one of the top 50 computers in the world. It will be one of the biggest computers in our country. But what's unique about it is it will operate at the Secret level. And will be, in that sense, attuned to the Defence environment. And in the process is going to be able to work with partners, both abroad but within our defence industry, to tackle the most difficult problems that we face, which will enable us to turbocharge that research to be asymmetric and to accelerate what we do in a way which makes our Defence Force so much more potent. Right now, that is more important than it has ever been.

I want to congratulate all of those in the room who have put in tireless effort over the years. This is an exercise in vision, it's an exercise in thinking through problems, it's an engineering exercise, it's an infrastructure exercise, when you think about it, is building on what needs to be dealt with in order to house the facility that we have just over there. So I really want to congratulate and thank you for the incredible work that they've done up until now.

But most of all, and finally what I really want to do is thank all of those who will be working on it. The work that you do will change our nation. The work that you do will make our Defence Force more potent. The work that you do will help protect Australians in what is an increasingly uncertain future, and doing that you will make all of us and our families and Australia much safer.


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