Intersect News #84 October 2015

6 Oct 2015

Foreword by Marc…

This bumper bulletin arrives just as we publish our 2014 Annual Report, reflecting on a year in which Intersect Australia executed some of its most ambitious projects and experienced its largest-ever revenues and employment. We delivered greater benefits to our members, customers and researchers than ever before, and for the first time ventured outside NSW borders by establishing ongoing member presence in the University of Canberra and in Melbourne in the Australian Catholic University.

My first 90 days as CEO have begun a time of change, re-engineering and re-imagination as we sharpen our focus on research productivity, diversity and longevity. Our talented team is reshaping our offerings as we respond to member consultation, customer demand, and market forces across Intersect’s four principal activities:

  • Energy, our human professional services including consultancy and advice on applying information technologies across the research lifecycle, research-focused software applications and eResearch training courses.

  • Space, our big data products for research data management and petabyte-scale digital storage solutions.

  • Time, our big compute products for research computing platforms, including high performance, cloud and web computing.

  • Data, our big analytics services and research platforms for data sciences, especially the national flagship medical research data platform.

Our people are keener than ever to be more flexible and engaged to help create Space, warp Time, save Energy and action Data. We’re working hard to be your null hypothesis for research technology partnership – the easiest, most natural, most effective way to augment your project to solve research technology challenges.

There has never been a better time to talk to your friendly local eResearch Analyst or any of our management team, so please get in touch to find out how we can accelerate your research.

2016 HPC.Time Grants

We are delighted to announce the 2016 Intersect HPC.Time Resource Allocation Round, a merit-based system through which researchers can gain fully-subsidised access to Intersect high performance computing (HPC) facilities. More than 32 million hours of HPC will be allocated in this round.
We encourage HPC users who are Intersect members with significant HPC requirements for 2016 (>200 kSU) to apply now to both the Intersect HPC Resource Allocation Round (RAR) and the federal NCMAS scheme in order to maximise chances of securing the compute time they need to support their research. Both schemes have been aligned to avoid duplication and streamline the application process.

Intersect 2016 HPC.Time Round Open

  • 1 Oct 2015:              Applications open
  • 31 Oct 2015:            Applications close
  • 28 Dec 2015:           Award notification

As a merit-based system, applications are reviewed by our HPC team (for technical complexity and track record) and by the Intersect Resource Allocation Committee (for research merit). Allocations are made for the entire 2016 period. Check this page for more information. 

NCI 2016 NCMAS Allocation Round open

Applications for the National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (NCMAS) for HPC time in 2016 are open and will close on 16 October, 5pm AEST. Apply on the website here.

Collaborative petascale data storage solutions for researchers

Are you a researcher who needs:

  • a storage solution to securely transfer, store, manage and share large amounts of active research data?
  • a low cost, long-term data storage solution for your completed datasets? 
  • your own “virtual lab” to put your research software next to your data in a secure hosted cloud environment?

Intersect is now provisioning new storage and compute solutions to help with your research: SpaceShuttle to store and share active data, DeepSpace to archive and preserve data assets and SpaceLab to create your own virtual lab. Learn more about our Space case studies, use cases and brochures here.

As a reminder, Space merit subsidies funded by RDSI have concluded and rebates will cease on 1 January 2016. Please get in touch about questions or information, and talk to us about securing bulk storage discounts.

Upgrade your eResearch skills this Spring

Intersect has delivered over 110 eResearch-based training courses to 1,000 researchers to date in 2015. We have also recently added new courses:
  • Powerful text searching and matching with Regexes – a 2-hour course to learn about how regular expressions can be used to search text in ways far more powerful than traditional “search” and “replace”.
  • Software Carpentry Workshop – an intensive 2-day hands-on workshop to learn to code in the Python programming language, automate repetitive tasks using the Unix shell, and safely store code and data under version control.

Book your place or learn more at

Focus on: Dr. Ghulam Murtaza, eResearch Analyst at the Australian Catholic University

The Australian Catholic University is the most recent of our members, having joined in 2014. Intersect eResearch Analyst Dr Ghulam Murtaza arrived at the ACU Melbourne campus in May 2015. Intersect’s involvement with the ACU has rapidly developed since, with Ghulam being closely involved with:  

  • Identifying potential HPC users and provisioning high performance computing HPC.Time. Read herehow Karen Caeyenberghs – Senior Research Fellow at the Faculty of Health Sciences at ACU – has been using HPC to help build the whole brain structural connectome.
  • Helping the ACU Research Office set up a new ACU eResearch website to help researchers across five States easily access eResearch support services.
  • Delivering presentations on eResearch to researchers at different institutes and faculties, to librarians, ACU Research Office and IT staff.
  • Helping the ACU Research Office gauge the demand for eResearch services and identify their needs and challenges, through an online survey.
  • Reviewing a Research Data Management Toolkit with the ACU Library that provides guidelines for Data Management Best Practices.
  • Organising training for ACU researchers.
  • Provisioning Intersect storage for ACU for both active and archival data storage purposes.

Great progress has been made with ACU in a short period of time, with a busy schedule of activities ahead. Contact your friendly local eResearch Analyst here to find how they can help you here.

Empowering Australian Health and Medical Research

Health data is special. Whether it’s clinical results, genomic sequencing, or medical scans, protecting the privacy of individuals is paramount when data derived from humans is used in health and medical research.
Intersect understands the complex issues involved, from research use case and security aspects, through to theoretical, political, legal, risk-assessment and community best practice perspectives. Intersect leads a growing consortium of over 47 research institutions in, a national project funded by the Australian Government NCRIS Research Data Services project. Together we’re creating the necessary secure infrastructure and services to underpin collaborative efforts across the Health and Medical research arena and help Australian researchers confidently navigate and work in this space.
Find out more and get involved at, or get in touch with Project Manager Dr. Jeff Christiansen.

2014 Annual Report

Our Annual Report for calendar 2014 is now available. This covers the work undertaken by the Intersect Australia team over the calendar year 2014 for its members and for the wider researcher community, as well as the independently audited 2013/14 financial statement.

1,000,000 Served

By the time you read this, we will have served our one millionth HPC job on a massive milestone for our team and our members. Today, we have 900 HPC users and 130 active projects running on Orange and Raijin. Find out about our high performance computing or contact us at

See you at eResearch Australasia 2015

Regional Services Manager Johan Boshoff has assembled a contingent of six Intersect personnel to attend the eResearch Australasia conference in Brisbane 19-23 October and will make an exciting joint announcement with AARNet. Our presence is partly made possible through generous sponsorship by the University of Queensland.

AeRO, the national association of eResearch organisations of which Intersect is a founding member, will also have its own booth at the conference and a program of activities.

Upcoming Courses

  • 7 Oct: “Cleaning and Exploring your Data with Open Refine” at UNEEnrol now
  • 7 Oct: “Data Visualisation with Google Fusion Tables” at UNE. Enrol now
  • 8-9 Oct: “Introduction to Unix for HPC” at UNEEnrol now
  • 9 Oct: “Cleaning and Exploring your Data with Open Refine” at USYD – WestmeadEnrol now
  • 9 Oct: “Introduction to Regular Expressions” at USYD – WestmeadEnrol now
  • 12 Oct: “Excel Fu: Excel For Researchers” at USYD – St LeonardsEnrol now
  • 13 Oct 2015: “Excel Fu: Excel For Researchers” at WSU – CampbelltownEnrol now
  • 14 Oct: “Excel Fu: Excel For Researchers” at UNEContact your UNE eResearch Analyst
  • 19 Oct: “Excel Fu: Excel for Researchers” at ACU – BrisbaneEnrol now
  • 20 Oct: “Research Data Management” at WSU – ParramattaEnrol now
  • 20 Oct: “Research Data Management” at WSU – ParramattaEnrol now
  • 22 Oct: “Introduction to Regular Expressions” at USYD – CumberlandEnrol
  • 22 Oct: “Cleaning and Exploring your Data with Open Refine” at USYD – Cumberland. Enrol now
  • 26 Oct: “Excel Fu: Excel For Researchers” at ACU – Strathfield. Enrol now


Dr Ines Hessler is the new Australian National Data Service Data Consultant based at Intersect. Ines has a research background in Geosciences, mainly paleoclimatology, paleoceanography and paleoecology. Previously, Ines was Project Manager, Data Analyst and Communication Officer at TERN’s eMAST.
Ines will be working with the University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney, Western Sydney University, Australian Catholic University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Canberra.

We are recruiting new Trainers for the University of Newcastle, Australian Catholic University and Charles Sturt University so please check our current vacancies if this is the job for you.

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