Intersect News #55 April 2013

15 Mar 2013

University of Canberra joins Intersect

The University of Canberra has joined Intersect, becoming our fourteenth member. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research of the University of Canberra Professor Frances Shannon said “in joining Intersect, the University of Canberra is looking to strengthen its eResearch capability and leverage Intersect’s extensive network of expertise. We look forward to deepening our collaborations with NSW universities, many of which we already work with closely”.

Intersect CEO Ian Gibson welcomed the new member, noting that the University of Canberra hosts a number of important Research Centres. He commented, “the University’s strategic focus to grow its research activities would be well supported by the services and infrastructure Intersect provides. Our growing membership also confers benefits on all our members, with the prospect of future collaborations and partnerships. The broader our membership base, the greater our representative voice.” 

The Characterisation Virtual Laboratory: Exploring Inner Space

Intersect is working as part of a large distributed team on a platform which will expand the capability of scientists exploring the nexus between structure, chemistry, function & properties. The Characterisation Virtual Laboratory (CVL) will connect Australia’s imaging equipment, integrated with specialised HPC capabilities provided by MASSIVE and NCI and with data collections provided by RDSI nodes, and a common desktop environment for analysis and collaboration, the Characterisation VL Desktop.

The CVL will be a managed scientific desktop. It will gather and integrate existing tools and techniques and will run across the NeCTAR Cloud, specialised systems such as MASSIVE and other computing and data storage facilities, providing easier access to HPC and large data collections.

The Characterisation 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.  The CVL is co-funded by participant institutions AMMRF, ANSTO, Australian Synchrotron, NIF, ANU, University of Sydney, University of Queensland and Monash University. Monash University leads the overall project and University of Sydney’s AMMRF leads the Atom Probe component. More here

Orange Set Go!

Intersect’s new super computer Orange is currently in acceptance testing and is due to be fully commissioned by early March. The new SGI ICE_X_CGI High Performance Computer will provide a 25-fold increase in compute power over its predecessor while using only twice the power. System testing commenced on January 23. SGI has completed the initial 4 node HPC Challenge test and the average performance is 23 per cent better than initial estimates. The HPC Challenge will also be run across all nodes. When these tests are complete a mix of jobs from selected users will run to approximate a typical 100 per cent allocated queuing load. McLaren is due to be decommissioned in the first week of March.

Orange is supported under Australian Research Council’s Linkage Infrastructure Equipment Facilities funding scheme (project number LE110100143). More on Orange here

HPC Training

The following training sessions are due to take place soon:

  • 4-5 March: “Introduction to Unix and HPC (HPC for Wimps)” at UNE
  • 7 March: “Introduction to Google Refine” at UNE

More on training here

CSU Showcase 12 March

Charles Sturt University is hosting an eResearch Showcase on the Wagga campus, 11am – 2.30pm, 12 March 2013. All researchers and research support staff are welcome. A light lunch will be served. Please RSVP by 7 March to Showcase program here

Annual Report

Intersect’s Annual Report 2011 – 2012 is back from the printers and in the mail. If you would like a hard copy, please email

A soft copy is here

Resource Allocations

HPC Resource allocations have been announced for the entirety of 2013. They can be viewed here

New staff

Dr Derek Van Dyk has joined Intersect to work on Strategic Development.

Dr Jeff Christiansen is our new eResearch Analyst for UTS.

David Angot, is a Junior System Administrator working on the Characterisation Virtual Laboratory.

Vincent Tran, Casual Tester is a second year student of Bachelor of Software Engineering at UNSW.

Gehendra Acharya our new System Administrator has a Bachelor of IT in network security from Charles Sturt University.

Stanley Hon is a third year student of Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) at UNSW.

NeCTAR workshop

NeCTAR project managers and staff are invited to a project communications and reporting workshop  in Sydney on Thursday 7 March 2013, 11am-1pm at the Intersect Board Room, Level 12 309 Kent St, Sydney. The sessions will focus on how to use the NeCTAR reporting portal and how to maximise communications opportunities.

Register/ more info here:

eResearch survey report

The aggregated results from all respondents in round two of the eResearch Practices and Requirements Survey are now available at in PDF and xls formats.

This is the first longitudinal survey into eResearch practices and attitudes in the Australian higher education sector. It first opened in 2009 and was run again in late 2011. More than 1800 participants have now taken part across ten NSW universities.

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