Intersect News #70 July 2014

3 Jul 2014

GovHack is back 11-13 July 2014

Again this year, there is an opportunity for universities, students, and researchers to be involved.

Intersect will sponsor a prize to encourage research sector involvement and use of research data: up to two prizes of $1000 each for the best hacks that contribute to the research endeavour.

GovHack 2014 is an Australian Federal Government led initiative to promote open government and data. It seeks to unlock the potential of data, innovation and entrepreneurism. Participants will have access to freshly released data to create apps, data visualisations, mashups and more.

Ways to participate In GovHack 2014:

  • Register as an individual or as a team at the University of Sydney (Charles Perkins Centre), one of the most IT-advanced buildings in the country
  • Register as a Mentor
  • Register and participate remotely if you are at a regional campus
  • Sponsor a Prize: Contact Anthony Sceresini, email:,
  • Make your data available (please contact your local  eResearch Analyst now!)

New project start: CSIRO TAPPAS

CSIRO’s Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre has engaged Intersect to develop TAPPAS, a web-based Tool for Assessing Pest and Pathogen Aerial Spread.

CSIRO is pursuing an integrated biosecurity strategy comprising technologies and social approaches.

The prototype of the Tool for Assessing Pest and Pathogen Airborne Spread (TAPPAS) was developed by CSIRO IT services, who are no longer able to continue the development work. Development of TAPPAS will be conducted by Intersect through a series of intensive sprints alternating with extensive user testing and consolidation work.

The aim is that TAPPAS V1.0 will have the basic functionality of dispersion modelling, ability to view previously run models and visualisation of those modelled runs. TAPPAS will allow end-users (State & Federal Governments and industry partners) to appreciate new biosecurity threats posed by wind dispersal to guide surveillance, preparedness, incursion response, and resource prioritisation.

TAPPAS is being developed by CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture.

Research Data Storage Architecture Forum

Intersect recently held the first of what will become a series of forums around Research Data Storage Architecture. The Research Data Storage Architecture Forum drew a full house from our infrastructure-oriented customer base.

The theme of the day was petabyte-scale research data stores. Guest speakers were Colin Blythe, Manager, Servers and Storage in eSolutions Monash University, and Paul Jardine, Research Infrastructure Manager, Griffith University.

Participants unanimously requested another of these next quarter, so the forum will meet again to discuss access layers. If you work on data storage in the research sector and would like to attend or join the online discussion group, contact

 NeCTAR continues support

NeCTAR held a workshop and developer roundtable to guide ongoing operation of NeCTAR’s research software infrastructure. The Research Software Projects workshop ran in Melbourne from 25 – 27 June.  The focus was on provisioning services to enhance the NeCTAR Virtual Labs.  NB: There will be no open call for proposals and no new Research Tools and Virtual Labs funded.  Full agenda here:

Infrastructure Progress Report


We have now approved 62 collections totaling 5.3 PB of storage and ingested over 740 TB of research data.

Applications are still being accepted for ReDS funded storage. Contact your eResearch Analyst.

Dataset update: e-MAST

A rich dataset, which significantly improves modelling future climate scenarios and primary production, is now hosted on the Intersect research data node.  The Ecosystem Modelling and Scaling Infrastructure Facility (e-MAST) assembles data sets and software to integrate data into modeling applications. The foundation data are high-resolution estimates of the key climate variables: temperature, precipitation and vapour pressure.

Users of the collection will include ecosystem, climate and ecological scientists within Australia and internationally. Intersect members involved include those from UNSW, MQ, UTS, UWS, CSIRO, and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

The dataset is expected to facilitate ecosystem modelers to perform comparative analyses of model performance; build new connections between Australia and overseas, and between different research communities in Australia; and accelerate the development, testing and optimisation of terrestrial ecosystem models. Working with international collaborators from NEON and NCAR; e-MAST is developing Australia’s capacity for making models utilise these information rich collections.


Q3 has started and with it a new allocation period for Raijin and Orange.

New versions of the Gnu compilers (4.9) as well as the latest version of R (3.1) have been installed on Orange.

Follow us on Twitter

Are you using Intersect provided HPC, VMs or storage? To inform you faster we have opened a new twitter channel: @IntersectOps. Follow @IntersectOps for status updates on our systems and services including outages, security updates and maintenance.

For news and updates of general interest to our members, follow @IntersectAust.


Webinar: Joining the dots: connecting publications with grants, data, and other scholarly outputs.
17 July, 12:00 – 13:00
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
More at

ANDS Webinar: Can sharing research data raise your research profile?
7 August, 12:30 – 13:30
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
More at

Recordings of other ANDS webinars:

ANDS/Intersect roundtable on data curation
15 August
Participants are encouraged to bring questions and challenges they face for the group to talk through.
RSVP to:
More at:


The following sessions are scheduled to take place in the near future:


Professor Johanna Westbrook has been awarded the NSW iAwards ICT Professional of the Year. Intersect has worked closely with Professor Westbrook on the Android and web applications projects including WOMBAT The Work Observation Method by Activity Timing, which measures clinicians’ complex patterns of work and communication, and POSSUM, Precise Observational System for the Safe Use of Medications.

Prof Westbrook is now in the running (as the NSW nominee) for the Australian iAward ICT professional of the year award. The iAwards are hosted by the Australian Computer Society, the Australian Information Industry Association and the Pearcey Foundation.  More at

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