Intersect News #54 March 2013

10 Apr 2013

Orange computer launched by NSW Chief Scientist

Intersect’s new supercomputer Orange has been launched by NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane. Assembled by SGI and hosted at IC2, Orange will support world-class research from the universities of NSW.

“Intersect has become an absolutely pivotal part of the State’s research infrastructure and of the State’s research”, Professor O’Kane said. “All sorts of new research has happened, as researchers in the humanities, creative arts, medical areas see what you can do with eResearch and eResearch platforms”.

“People think of Intersect as the servant of research, providing the high computing power but I’ve seen Intersect lead people into new research areas by showing them things they can do, by somebody seeing one platform could move across to another field. So it’s actually been a creator for enabling and leading the excellence of research in NSW. It’s wonderful that this computer gives us so much increased power for eResearch in this state”, Professor O’Kane said.

Orange is funded through the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme. The LIEF grant, led by the University of Sydney’s Professor Leo Radom is supplemented by investments from other university members.

“I think its great that its been called Orange, (and not Apple etc). The Orange campus of CSU, before CSU moved there in 2005 was a University of Sydney campus, before that it was connected to UNE and it had been the Orange Agricultural College. It’s been connected with many of the partners in this grant”.

Latest NeCTAR Virtual Lab kicks off

Intersect has begun work on the Human Communication Science (HCS) Virtual Laboratory, a University of Western Sydney led project that will connect HCS researchers with a range of tools by which they can analyse corpora previously spread across various sites with varying degrees of accessibility.

HCS research encompasses areas such as speech science, computer science, behavioural science, linguistics, music cognition, musicology, sonics and acoustics. The cross-disciplinary nature of the tools and corpora in HCS vLab promises to facilitate research that will provide new insights into old problems, and involve novel combinations of old ideas to approach new problems.

The lab is designed to make use of national infrastructure – including data storage, discovery and research computing services. It incorporates existing eResearch tools, adapted to work on shared infrastructure, with a data-discovery interface to connect researchers with data sets, orchestrated by a workflow engine with both web and command line interfaces to allow use by technical and non-technical researchers, via a Web interface. Read more and check the project website for progress.

The Human Communication Science (HCS) Virtual Laboratory acknowledges funding from the NeCTAR project, an Australian Government project conducted as part of the Super Science initiative and financed by the Education Investment Fund, as well as co-funding from participant institutions.

eResearch Showcase

Opening the recent eResearch Showcase at Charles Sturt University, DVC-R Professor Sue Thomas said “we can’t do a lot on our own, but through the use of our Intersect partnership we can access structures and research data and tools”. She then challenged the researchers present by asking “…what might you now tackle?”

Organised by a partnership of CSU’s Research Office, Division of Information Technology and Intersect Australia Ltd, the Showcase was attended by 40 researchers from the University’s four campuses. Presentations addressed the significance of eResearch initiatives, implementing eResearch to benefit researcher and university outcomes, instances of current eResearch collaborations and case studies of data collection tools and data collaboration projects.

If you’re interested in hosting an eResearch showcase on your campus, contact your eResearch Analyst.

Research-Government Data Sharing forum

Intersect and the NSW State Government are organising an invitation-only forum with the purpose of identifying how opening NSW Government data to university research can provide value, both to NSW State agencies as well as for university research.  The forum aims to:

  • identify and prioritise high value data sets of interest to research
  • investigate value the research sector can bring to use of government data
  • assist in data release and use initiatives, and
  • identify mechanisms to enable closer research – government collaboration. For more information, see here

See a full list of events at

Intersect training

The following training courses will occur in the near future:

eResearch Australia conference CfP open

Call for Participation is now open: share your expertise and findings. Practitioners, researchers, and educators from diverse disciplines are invited to participate in eResearch Australasia 2013, 20 – 25 October, Brisbane

Call for presentations, BoFs and workshops close on 9 June 2013. More details here

New staff

Sean Xiong has joined Intersect as a software engineer. He holds a Masters of IT from the University of New South Wales.

David Clarke, our newest senior software engineer has worked at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the UK Astronomy Technology Centre and holds a BSc in Computer Science Edinburgh University and a MSc in Financial Mathematics.

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