The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has used the recent award-winning success of Australian National University (ANU) researchers to highlight the need for investment in innovation in the IT industry.
ANU students designed and built a Beowulf-style supercomputer named Bunyip, which was awarded the Gordon Bell Prize for price/performance at the SC2000 Supercomputing conference held in the US. Bunyip features 192 Intel Pentium III processors running Linux open source software, with an enormous 36 gigabytes of Random Access Memory (RAM). The project was sponsored by an equipment grant from the university, various research organisations and Linuxcare Australia.
Australian Computer Society president John Ridge jumped at the opportunity to highlight the potential of Australian innovators when sponsored by research and development assistance.
"Not only has the ANU created a supercomputer that is superior to all others in terms of its price/performance, but it has demonstrated that Australians can achieve extraordinary results in a field which has considerable commercial potential," he said. "Once again, this result highlights the need for both the public and private sectors to invest more heavily in Australian R&D innovation."
In an address to the 2000 Information Outlook conference in Canberra, Ridge challenged the Government to follow the lead of other progressive nations by investing a significant amount of Government revenue in IT&T development. He compared the static growth of Government research and development investment in Australia with the 7 per cent increase in the US' current budget, singling out bureaucratic red tape as the most prohibitive factor in stifling Australian innovation.