June 1, 2020 — The Ngunnawal people of the Canberra region have for thousands of years been learning about the world and searching for knowledge in the sky, water, stars and earth all around them.
In celebration of National Reconciliation Week, Australia’s largest supercomputing facility, NCI, housed on campus at The Australian National University, has unveiled the name and feature artwork on its newest research supercomputer, built on Ngunnawal country.
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages to raise awareness of the crucial role indigenous languages play in people’s daily lives and culture. It was during this year that NCI’s new supercomputer was purchased.
In consultation with the United Ngunnawal Elders Council, the new machine was christened ‘Gadi’ [Gar-dee], a word of the Ngunnawal people meaning to search for. It perfectly encompasses NCI’s mission of scientific research and high-performance computing: to search for knowledge that can make the world a better place through enabling innovative world-class research.
In addition to the name that will carry the national supercomputer forward over the coming years, Gadi will also be adorned with its own artwork, hand-painted by renowned Ngunnawal artist Lynnice Church.
Gadi’s artwork visually represents the coming together of western and Indigenous knowledge systems, guided by the Ngunnawal Elders over many generations. Mrs Church says, “The art symbolises the gathering of knowledge from different places and sources, and the bringing together of an even greater collective knowledge system.”
The bold shapes of the Elders stand in contrast to the fine detail of the knowledge rings. The many sources of knowledge flow and come together in the centre to represent the combination of knowledge systems. Both important and complementary, the two knowledge systems inherent in the world of Australian science are proudly displayed on the Gadi supercomputer.
NCI Director Professor Sean Smith says, “We are proud to be able to make this connection between the traditional owners of the Canberra region and its newest tool of scientific discovery. It is a great honour for the computational research community to have such a perfectly suited name and artwork as the face of Australia’s new supercomputer.”
NCI is proud to acknowledge and celebrate the ongoing contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to Australian science and discovery. This new supercomputer sits on land cared for by generations of scientists and discoverers. We hope to see it continue that tradition in the years to come.
About the Artist
Artist: Lynnice Letty Church.
Tribes: Ngunnawal, Wiradjuri & Kamilaroi (ACT and NSW).
Gadi – “to search for” in Ngunnawal language, January 2020 for NCI Gadi Supercomputer.
See the artwork here.
NCI Australia is the nation’s most highly-integrated, high-performance research computing environment. Based at The Australian National University, it brings together the Australian Government, universities, national science agencies and industry. Key collaborating organisations include ANU, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia. The Gadi supercomputer has been funded with a $70M Australian Government NCRIS investment and delivered by Fujitsu Australia.