Australia’s national science organisation is looking to spend AUS$4m on a new supercomputer.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) wants to replace its existing system with a computer it said would provide “petaFLOPs of processing power”.

The winning bidder will be expected to deliver and support the system for three years, and the system is expected to be operational by the first half of 2017.

Supercomputers are needed in modern science to process and analyse the vast quantities of complicated data researchers are producing.

“The cluster will power a new generation of ground-breaking scientific research, including data analysis, modelling, and simulation in a variety of science domains,” said CSIRO.

It said the computer would work in areas includng “biophysics, material science, molecular modelling, marine science, geochemical modelling, computational fluid dynamics, and more recently, artificial intelligence and data analytics using deep learning”.

The tender process will be conducted through Australia’s online platform AusTender, and it is for a “heterogeneous” computer system that combines traditional processors with secondary coprocessors improve the machine’s power and energy efficiency.

CSIRO is the federal government agency for scientific research in Australia, and is already home to one of the world’s top 500 most powerful supercomputers, named Bragg after the country’s first Nobel Prize winner.

Bragg itself was novel when it was built because of its use of graphics processors to increase its ability to multi-task.

CSIRO said its new computer would be significantly faster than Bragg.