ITLS Research Team awarded $336,000 worth of supercomputer use

08 / 07 / 2016

Original post by The University of Sydney

The Business School’s internationally respected Institute of Transport and Logistic Studies (ITLS) has been given privileged access to a cutting edge ‘supercomputer’ to better evaluate transport, infrastructure and land use policies and projects. The ITLS has been awarded $336,000 worth of access to the University’s supercomputer, “Artemis”, to create a fully integrated transport and land-use planning tool, MetroScan-TI, as part of the Artemis Grand Challenge Scheme.

“There is a recognised need within government and industry for having a capability to undertake a quick scan of a large number of candidate transport, infrastructure, and land-use projects and policies and prioritise them based on passenger and freight demand forecasts, benefit-costs ratios and economy-wide outcomes,” said Research Fellow, Dr Richard Ellison.

The MetroScan-TI project aims to provide this capability to governments and industries by applying High Performance Computing techniques to “deliver vital demand forecasts and a detailed assessment in a very short time frame”, according to Dr Ellison. “The project also aims to provide a framework in which new models being developed by researchers at The University can be tested and applied”.

The ITLS has been allocated a quarter of the system’s expanded power for four years by the scheme to develop the project. Artemis is a High Performance Computing system that allows an immense number of calculations to occur simultaneously and is generally booked in advance by university research groups, but The Artemis Grand Challenge Scheme awards dedicated usage time to successful leading research applicants from the university.

“MetroScan-TI has a significant potential to provide a transformational impact on a wide-range of policy decisions, both in Sydney and elsewhere, by providing a method for evaluating many possible initiatives on a range of measures,” said Dr Ellison, who later added “this will ensure that the public receive value for money for their governments’ investments”.

The research team includes ITLS Director, Professor David Hensher, Research Fellow Richard Ellison, Research Fellow Chinh Ho, ITLS Professor Michiel Bliemer, Senior Research Analyst Wen Liu and PhD Candidate Collins Teye. “This grant recognizes our research excellence within the University and positions ITLS and the Business School at the forefront of advancements in applied research computing and analytics. It also demonstrates and further strengthens our engagement with government and industry in order to tackle challenging real-world problems,” concluded Dr Ellison.