Intersect News #63 December 2013

5 Dec 2013

Intersect app using government data wins national plaudit

Intersect’s Dr Cameron Maxwell (second from left) with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Nick Hudson from RICS, third from right.

A partnership involving Intersect and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (amongst others) earned national recognition at the 2013 CitySwitch Green Office Awards for leadership in energy-efficiency.

The new award for national partnership was won by the group for the innovative mobile ‘Leasa’ app. Intersect developed the winning app which uses government data to assist commercial office tenants decide on the most energy-efficient space to lease.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore presented the awards at a ceremony at Sydney Town Hall.

RDSI  in full production

Our RDSI node is now in full production. There are now 48 approved collections and 1300 Tbs of storage allocated.

Our “Proof of Concept” project for the provision of NoDe storage directly to members is progressing and should be completed by the end of next month.

Grants news

LIEF Grant to tackle grand challenge research successful

The Intersect led consortium of 11 universities was successful with an ARC LIEF grant for funding commencing in 2014 entitled “Renewing Intersect’s share of the National Computational Infrastructure’s peak facility”.  An amount of $1,025,000 was awarded to fund our merit share of the NCI facility for the next three to four years.  The lead CI for this proposal was A/Prof Evatt Hawkes with UNSW the administering organisation.  This is the third successful ARC LIEF grant in a row to fund High Performance facilities for NSW researchers.  This represents a leverage of 1.9 for a co-investment of $540,000 by members.

FAIMS project success

Intersect services were included in another successful ARC LIEF grant.  The ARC supported the Federated Archeology Information Management Project with $400,000.  This builds on a successful NeCTAR proposal and is led by Dr Shawn Ross with UNSW as administering organisation.

Help with grant applications

A successful trial was recently undertaken at UNE to help researchers applying for ARC funding to articulate good data management practices in their proposals. We will be contacting Research Offices in the near future to discuss how Intersect can add value to existing grant development programs with other members. Please contact your local eResearch Analyst for more information.


Asia Pacific Media tour

Last week an international delegation of journalists visited Sydney to learn about the Intersect RDSI node, the $2M cloud data platform that supports data intensive research and collaboration. 17 journalists travelled from 8 countries to learn about this Australian initiative, seen as a best practice implementation of big data storage and access.

The Intersect RDSI node is hosted in Macquarie Telecom’s Intellicentre 2 data centre and powered by technology from Hitachi Data Systems. Its purpose is to provide free cloud storage for nationally significant data sets, enabling researchers to secure, access and collaborate on these collections using fast, robust storage. More at 

Open Data Forum

In November Intersect partnered with the NSW Government Department of Finance and Services and the Sax Institute to host an Open Data forum, workshop on data linkage, and subsequent panel discussion, as part of the NSW Government Open Data and ICT policies.

The forum featured addresses by the Minister for Finance and Services, the Hon Andrew Constance; Director General NSW Department of Finance and Services, Laurie Glanfield; Australian Information Commissioner, Professor John McMillan AO; and NSW Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Coombs.

Announcements included:

Open Data Workshop

As part of the forum, Intersect and the Sax institute hosted a workshop titled “Innovating with Open Data – Data Linkage”. This followed from a previous forum hosted with the Department of Finance in Services in April 2013 (

HPC News

NOTICE: Raijin extended downtime 1 – 16 January 2014

NCI is planning an extended downtime for Raijin and data centre services commencing Wednesday 1 January 2014 for preventative maintenance and replacement of Infiniband cable infrastructure.  More information at

Test SGI UV on loan to Intersect

Intersect is testing a large memory system on loan from SGI. In our current systems, Orange and Raijin, memory of single nodes is limited to 256GB. Going beyond that decreases the overall speed of a node. Some projects from genomics, finance, turbulence, combustion, and fluid dynamics benefit from much more memory.

We have identified a few projects from the fields above, but if you are interested in joining this test and have a suitable model for this architecture ready to go contact and briefly explain your plan.

The technical specification is:

  • Intel Sandy Bridge processors (8 core, 2.4GHz, 95W). Total 112 cores and 1.7TB memory
  • 2 nVidia K5000 GPU cards.
  • RedHat 6.4
  • Currently with nVidia drivers, Cuda software, and SGI management software.

Are you being served?

To better respond to user requests Intersect is developing a service desk to support infrastructure (HPC, RDSI and NeCTAR node) and infrastructure users. This will also provide an interface for monitoring, alerting, change, asset, configuration and other aspects of infrastructure management.

We have now selected a vendor and are completing final negotiations with the aim of having the new system in production shortly.

Call for NeCTAR Research Cloud addresses

We are still looking for IPv4 address space and would be very interested in discussing this further with any of our members who may be able to help.

Research Adviser (AeRO ICT user support) underway

Engaging institutional help desks, increasing the number of available services and enhancing the knowledge base will be the focus of Stage Two of the AeRO ICT User Support. Research Adviser is one part of the framework that comprises a Generic Tier 1 Support Package containing service protocols, templates, knowledge bases, and training material (available on the AeRO Wiki website
AeRO is seeking opportunities to further engage with institutional help desks and we invite you to be part of this exciting project to help increase your service effectiveness.
Subscribe to the IT User Support list at
See or contact


The following training courses will occur in the near future:


Kelly Lennon joined us as a marketing consultant.
Rowan Brownlee will work on ANDS projects.

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