Series 2 – Talk to Professor Attila Mozer from the University of Wollongong
By Jianzhou Zhao & Anastasios Papaioannou
Since October 2021, Intersect Australia and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) have collaborated to deliver a comprehensive training program, which aims to upskill NCI HPC users on cutting edge digital technologies and tools, including Python, R, and Julia programming; machine learning; research computing; and parallel programming.
To date, this program has trained 675 full day attendees in 34 courses across 40+ institutions and organisations in Australia.
Following the first meeting with the researchers from Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, we also met Professor Attila Mozer from the University of Wollongong to seek his feedback on the impact of the NCI/Intersect training program. Professor Mozer is a chemical engineer, a physical chemist and a laser spectroscopist. He is currently a chief investigator at ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials and the project leader of Characterisation within the 3D Electromaterials theme.
Professor Mozer told us that the inaccessibility of the usual support from collaborators during the COVID was one of the reasons for attending this training program, where he could learn and utilise the tools and codes available through the courses. “You don’t need to be a developer to use it. You can just use it and it is very reliable to the level that I can actually find it useful”, Professor Mozer mentioned. He also highlighted that the first Intersect/NCI Collaborative Course on HPC and Data in Materials Design and Discovery in 2021 motivated him to explore more courses offered by Intersect and NCI and he later found this training program offering.
When asked about the difference to other training available and the reasons for returning to the training program, Professor Mozer emphasised on the course structure and the practicality of the knowledge acquired during the course.
“I kept coming back to this training program because the courses were nicely organised. I’ve done all the Python machine learning courses, because I’m very interested in that. I haven’t done any research yet, but I want to, so that was the motivation to try to understand clearly and practically how to do it, not theoretically. There was also a logical progression from one course to the other, so that’s why I didn’t want to miss any of it. The training is very accessible and I can learn some practical relevance to what I’m doing.”
Professor Mozer commented on how impactful the tools/technologies are in his research: “I think everybody should get some kind of training and understand what’s possible. The tools and technologies we learnt during the course as well as the NCI infrastructure have a massive impact in every material science.”
When speaking about the benefits of the hands-on, instructor-led training, as compared to the self-paced training, Profession Mozer further added that, “The practicality of the hands-on training is very important and so is troubleshooting. The instructors help with the errors on the spot whereas you could spend hours finding a little typo in the self-paced training”.
This interview and article are jointly prepared by NCI and Intersect.