The NeCTAR funded Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory (TAO) empowers astronomers to build complex customised views of the Universe, all from the comfort of their own computer. Swinburne Associate Professor Darren Croton, said: “TAO makes it easy and efficient for any astronomer to create these virtual universes. It's the culmination of years of effort that is now at the fingertips of scientists around the world... using TAO it might take a few minutes to create a mock catalogue of galaxies, versus months or even years of development previously.”
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Computing and computer power has long been an important part of an Australian researcher’s way of working. NeCTAR is partnering with Australian research institutions to create, for the first time, a national research cloud for Australian researchers. It is available to be used now. The University of Melbourne commissioned the first node on January 31, 2012.
The Australian research community was invited in September 2011 to submit project proposals to build the first stage of NeCTAR. More than 75 project proposals were received. The NeCTAR Project Board and NeCTAR expert panels, recommended one third, worth $23 million, for funding by NeCTAR.