An open letter from RCC’s new Director

14 Mar 2024

Dear colleagues,

I hope the new year finds you well. For our first newsletter of the year, I wanted to take the opportunity to write an open letter to you, our vibrant and growing UQ research computing community.

Before we get too far into the year, I wanted to extend my thanks and appreciation to our clients, partners, collaborators and supporters. We are driven by your work; we deeply care about your research outcomes and success. Your achievements give the team and I a deep sense of purpose. It is an absolute pleasure and privilege to enable and work alongside you.

With that, I would like to put some perspective on where we have been, where we are going and give you an outline of the year to come.

Over the last ten years under the leadership of former RCC Director Professor David Abramson, research and advanced computing changed dramatically at UQ. RCC grew from a niche, specialised facility liaising with a smaller subset of our research community to something much broader and far reaching.

Due to the growing demand for eResearch infrastructure and great support from UQ, RCC has become a vibrant, organisation-wide suite of infrastructure, services, people, capabilities and skills. Something we can all be incredibly proud of.

As I move from being RCC’s Chief Technology Officer, a role I held for five years, and take the RCC Director seat to continue the great things David, the team and I built, I have had some time for reflection and to think about where we head next.

I want to make sure we meet the demands of a whole new generation of eResearch. I want to make sure platforms are fit for purpose and delivering researchers cutting-edge capabilities that provide true competitive advantage.

Further, I believe it is important to remain collaborative, consultative and a part of the research community conversation. You should feel very comfortable in being able to communicate your research needs, considerations, concerns and aspirations to myself and the RCC team.

The big picture for technology? We are going to bring more cutting-edge capabilities and platforms to you, delivering technology that will be in many cases first in sector, first in country and in some cases, unique globally.

This will include new phases of the now well-established and successful Bunya supercomputer and a raft of new storage technology upgrades to continually improve upon the research data storage experience at UQ. The University is in a fortunate position in this regard, and we are well supported to do this. UQ leadership understands the criticality and importance of institutional Tier 2 HPC facility investment — and UQ researchers are reaping the rewards and outcomes as a result.

We hope to bring more services online that meet specific research community and domain needs as well.

Along with this, we are putting a focus on usability, accessibility and flexibility to complement and align with the higher-level goals of the UQ-wide technology master plan. This will result in a suite of services that enable supercomputing performance but have a lower IT expertise barrier to entry for researchers.

It is going to be an exciting year for research computing at UQ and I am very pleased to be able to share it with you. The team and I at RCC look forward to working with you as we accelerate science and discovery together.

Best regards,
Jake Carroll
Director, UQ Research Computing Centre