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Monash University and NVIDIA – an Australian first collaboration

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1 March 2016

Research collaboration

Monash University has demonstrated its commitment to take Australasian discoveries to the world.

After years of successful collaboration with NVIDIA, the relationship has been formalised with Monash University becoming the first spoke of the NVIDIA Technology Centre Asia Pacific - whose hub is in Singapore.

The NVIDIA Southeast Asia Technology Centre is based at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and has a core focus on deep learning research and development.

“Collaboration with multinationals is a step towards the Australian Government’s current agenda on the commercialisation of publicly funded research and provides broad benefits to the community at large,” Professor Ian Smith said.

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO recently said that innovation is a continuum starting with research and invention, which continues through to translation for economic and societal benefits. He also acknowledged that it is not up to government and chief scientists to make it happen, saying all they can do is advise and encourage.

“Collaboration is essential if Australia is to transition to a knowledge economy,” Dr Finkel said.

“Universities and industry with the determination to connect and encourage the development of science is where the real work will be done.”

A brilliant imagination and a brilliant piece of code lay behind most new computationally driven developments in science and technology. Monash University researchers have for years developed code to leverage ultra fast processing using the NVIDIA GPU accelerated computing platform, some of which will transform how robots see the world while others help us to understand, for example, protein function.

“To ‘teach’ robots how to see and understand our world we need to write algorithms that can process huge numbers of parameters at the same time. By parameters we mean that the robots need to understand structure, so they can ‘see’ the world in three dimensions, but they also need to ‘know’ what it is they are seeing and where they are in relation to these things,” said Professor Tom Drummond, Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Robotic Vision.

Associate Professor Hans Elmlund, Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, processes data from Australia’s most powerful electron microscope for biological applications.

“We develop code to understand the 3D structure and function of proteins. Using NVIDIA technology accelerates our code and we are moving closer and closer to the goal of real time image processing,” Professor Elmlund said.

“Running our algorithms on new generation microchips allow us to solve structures faster and with more precision. This gives medical researchers increased knowledge of fundamental biological phenomena and action. These insights are extremely useful in driving new drug development programs,” Hans concludes.

Steve Oberlin, Chief Technology Officer of NVIDIA’s Accelerated Computing, says that the

collaboration of this type is the only one in the world outside the Technology Centre Asia Pacific.

“We view this collaboration as an ideal opportunity to make big impacts,” Mr Oberlin said.

“By continuing to leverage GPU processing we hope to revolutionise the world by providing scientists with tools to develop insightful algorithms that will be used in fields as disparate as robotics and medicine. Imaging the dynamics of complex proteins supports the development of personalised medicines and enhancing computing power will allow robots to understand and navigate our four dimensional world.”