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NIWA'S Super Computer A Triumph

Media Release Hon Simon Upton 24 June 1999

NIWA'S Super Computer A Triumph For New Zealand Science - Upton

The Minister for Crown Research Institutes, Simon Upton, welcomed the launch of NIWA's High Performance Computing Facility (HPCF) as an "extremely exciting investment for New Zealand science".

"The acquisition of the most powerful super computer in the Southern Hemisphere will help NIWA take its place at the leading edge of international atmospheric and marine science research," he said.

"The fact that NIWA has been able to make this investment speaks volumes for the strengthening of New Zealand's science system that has occurred since the science reforms earlier in the decade," Mr Upton said.

"It was with this kind of forward investment in mind that the Crown Research Institutes were set up. NIWA is operating as a successful and well performing company with sufficient financial strength and retained earnings to invest heavily in the future."

"We simply wouldn't have seen this kind of investment in capital investment in the old days when science was tied solely to annual government funding".

The HPCF will lead to improved weather forecasts and warnings, both short term and long term. NIWA climate scientists will be able to provide high quality information to those affected by El Nino and other climate variations. Their work will also feed into global research on the impacts of climate change. The computer will enable NIWA to continue to make substantial contributions to the world's understanding of recent trends in greenhouse gases such as methane.

Improved satellite observation methods, combined with the new computational resources, will greatly enhance our understanding of New Zealand's surrounding oceans, which is critical for the sustainable management of our environment.

"This investment will provide a real boost to science in this country. The HPCF is expected to attract and retain high calibre scientists, making NIWA one of the most prestigious research institutes in the Southern Hemisphere for atmospheric and marine science," Mr Upton concluded.


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