A new super-computing facility opened today will enable scientists to better understand everything from earthquakes to climate change.

Niwa's new High Performance Computing Facility comprises three new interconnected supercomputers – two based in Wellington and one in Auckland – that will meet the needs of New Zealand researchers to investigate scientific issues of national significance.

Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, who formally opened the facility this morning, described the new facility as a "step change" for science in New Zealand.

"The supercomputers are a significant upgrade with 10 times the computing capability of its predecessor," she said.


"This will have a whole range of benefits for scientific research, including better understanding issues around climate change, genomics, the management of New Zealand's freshwater assets and resilience to natural hazards."

One of its key uses will be to advance weather forecasting, enabling more precise forecasts and helping to refine forecasting of climate extremes and hazardous events.

"Improved weather forecasts will enhance the ability of critical services, such as Fire and Emergency New Zealand, to both identify and manage hazards," Woods said.

"It will also help farmers and environmental managers make more informed decisions using the best information available."

The facility had the ability to carry out data-intensive research at a vast scale, through to specialised software to underpin research on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

"This investment of $23 million represents some of the world's most advanced supercomputing power and has been made possible by a strong collaborative initiative between Niwa and NeSI, the New Zealand eScience Infrastructure," Woods said.

"The capabilities and potential have extended enormously since Niwa received country's first supercomputer almost 20 years ago."