Integrated Characterisation of the Australian Plate for Mineral Potential Assessment

Karol Czarnota1

1Geoscience Australia

Sustainable development and transition to a cleaner high-tech economy is placing ever-increasing demands on global supplies of minerals. Alarmingly, this demand is outstripping the present rate of discovery of new mineral deposits. In order to address this shortfall, and position Australia in the global market, the Australian geoscience community has united around the UNCOVER initiative, which seeks to unlock the subsurface search space for deposits. The challenge is enormous, with many turning to new technology for a solution. The task is to fuse modern computational geoscience with traditional observation based approaches. By aiming for quantitative integrated characterisation of the Australian plate, Geoscience Australia has emerged as a global leader in this field. This success is underpinned by recent unprecedented levels of geoscience data collection, advances in data management, development of new algorithms and targeted application. Here I will showcase how integration of traditional insights and process understanding with big data analytics is generating a step change in our ability to advise industry and government on Australia’s under cover mineral potential.

Biography: To be confirmed

Galaxy Australia: technologies for federated omic-based analyses and training using distributed compute and data infrastructure

Andrew Lonie1

1Australian BioCommons, University of Melbourne


Galaxy is a mature, widely adopted workflow platform for bioinformatics. Although a user can deploy and manage their own Galaxy instance, it is complex, and research infrastructure providers worldwide are moving to provide Galaxy as a managed service to their communities. As part of the NCRIS supported Genomics Virtual Lab program, we have established a national Galaxy service ‘Galaxy Australia’, which employs a number of sophisticated technical approaches to federate nationally and internationally distributed compute and data resources into a seamless user experience. Galaxy Australia is one of three ‘global nodes’ all aspiring to a single look and feel (,, Further, consolidation across the tools and reference datasets has allowed the hosts of the the (duplicate) three services to form a single critical mass community, who now manage and sustain the underlying tool and data resources as a strong / cohesive community group. The consistent behaviour of the three global services also promotes development and delivery of common training materials and workflows, and provides an attractive platform for tool developers to deploy on.

In this talk we will explore the technical architecture of Galaxy Australia, and discuss how we as a national service relate to the equivalent US and EU-based Galaxy services at the technical and community levels. We will address the evolution of Galaxy into a global infrastructure defined by common tool and data registries and speculate on how Galaxy is likely to develop into the future.

The Australian Bioinformatics Commons as an exemplar of international engagement in research infrastructure

Sarah Nesbit1, Andrew Lonie2

1Senior Manager: Platforms and Engagement, Bioplatforms Australia

2Australian BioCommons, University of Melbourne


As for many other disciplines, rapid advances in digital technologies and methods are proving transformational in life sciences research. Internationally, major infrastructure initiatives are increasingly defining global scale data infrastructures for the life sciences; in particular, the US-based National Institutes of Health through their Data Commons program, and the EU-based ELIXIR program. These initiatives can be compared in some ways to the global research infrastructures (Hubble, LIGO, LHC) driving astronomy and physics, and it is clear that world-class bioscience research in Australia will increasingly depend on digital methods and data resources that are globally sourced and supported.

Understanding discipline requirements and describing them in appropriate language to digital resource providers is something that some disciplines do well, and those disciplines often do correspondingly well in resourcing digital research. However, finding consensus on what digital research infrastructure to invest in at national scale, and how it relates to international initiatives, is challenging for such a large and diverse research community as life sciences. Therefore, sponsored by Bioplatforms Australia, the ARDC and AARNeT, we have developed a research infrastructure program called the Australian BioCommons that strongly engages the research community, international infrastructure initiatives, and national digital resource providers, recognising that Australia must understand, participate in and contribute to global life science-enabling endeavours as a first class partner, and presenting this as a clear vision of implementable requirements to national providers.

In this talk we discuss the Australian BioCommons, how it is informed by close engagement with, and participation in, international programs, and how we will develop the national capability we will need to provide Australian researchers with access to global research infrastructure in which we are first order contributors.


PULSE@Parkes, is an innovative CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science program that gives high school students the opportunity to control the famous 64m Parkes radio telescope, “The Dish” remotely in real time to observe pulsars. These rapidly spinning super dense remnants of massive stars are some of the most extreme objects in the Universe. In a session students learn about radio astronomy, interact with professional astronomers and university science students, control a major telescope then analyse their data.

In this session we’ll demonstrate the setup for PULSE@Parkes, discuss the systems involved then let participants control the Dish to observe a variety of pulsars. We will demonstrate the online data feeds and the student module then discuss future possibilities and planned developments for the program.

AURIN and the Sustainable Development Goals

Xavier Goldie



Humanities, Arts and Social Science researchers will get access to cutting-edge online tools and services thanks to $1.1 million in new funds for a collaborative virtual laboratory project. The Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Data Enhanced Virtual Lab (DEVL) will bring together fragmented data, tools and services into a shared workspace.

Key outcomes from the project will be:

  • Lowering barriers to entry for HASS infrastructure
  • Increased interoperability between existing HASS platforms
  • More joined up data landscape
  • Data curation for better reuse, reproduction, and publishing of research data sets
  • Game-changing skills and training activities

The project will receive $625,000 from ANDS, Nectar and RDS through their joint DEVL/RDC program. That funding will be boosted by another $475,000 in co-investment by project partners, taking the project’s total investment to $1.1 million.

Partner organisations include:

  • eResearch SA Limited (University of South Australia, University of Adelaide and Flinders University)
  • Australian Data Archive (Australian National University)
  • Alveo (Macquarie University)
  • University of Melbourne
  • Griffith University
  • AARNet

AI ML Developments and Use Cases

Chris Clarkson



The idea of AI is not new, but why the recent acceleration and interest? This talk will consider

  • What is AI – definitions, frameworks and building blocks
  • Where AI investments are being made
  • What is driving AI development
  • AI Use Cases and Industry Applicability
  • Benefit Values and Scenarios for AI
  • Activities by the major players in the sector

Building a community of practice: HASS perspective

Sarah Nisbet



How do you engage a national research community? The Cultures and Community project cultivated a broad national community around the project, including strong international links, and was instrumental in securing the current funding we have for the HASS DEVL today, so we can continue to support for humanities research in 2018.

The Cultures and Community project is a great example of how to build a community of practice our and engagement activities have demonstrated extraordinary benefits for the HASS research sector. Over 9 months with a project team of six we were able to deliver a strong community engagement program that resulted in:

  • Six Digital Humanities Pathways events in 6 capital cities
  • More than 400 registrants
  • 79 speakers
  • 670 on our newsletter list


The development of technical advisory boards, consultation on API development, promotion of the Open API, and community engagement activities have demonstrated extraordinary benefits for the HASS research sector.

A series of DH Pathways events bringing HASS researchers together with the GLAM sector and those providing research support turned into opportunities for productive discussion, informing future project proposals from the C&C team.

Stimulated by a showcase of digital humanities projects, demonstration of the API and discussion of best practice, as well as panel discussions about relevant activities, the community gathered at these events were able to articulate ideas for further research infrastructure support in this sector that were useful without being restrictive.

A software carpentry style workshop delivered around the API (31 August 2017, University of Melbourne Digital Studio), bringing together researchers, archivists and developers, and discussing utility of metadata standards and improvements on existing digital research tools.

Materials from that workshop have been published online as part of our emerging Digital Humanities User Support site. This portal provides links to other online platforms supported through research infrastructure programs, including AustLII, Alveo, HuNI, and Austage, and boosts discoverability of data delivered through those platforms.


Communication and engagement opportunities associated with the development and delivery of the Open API have contributed to community building in the HASS research sector, and have helped align this large and disparate community’s interest to a point that future needs can be identified and discussed.

Approximately 350 researchers and collaborators have participated in Pathways events and workshops to date, with two further Pathways events schedule before the end of 2017.

Technical and Advisory bodies that worked on developing the API have brought together representatives of the following organisations:

·         eRSA

·         Intersect

·         AARNet

·         Australian Data Archive

·         AURIN

·         Alveo

·         Griffith University

·         University of Melbourne

·         Flinders University

·         Edith Cowan University

·         University of Tasmania

·         Deakin University

·         QCIF

·         Museum Victoria

·         Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

·         Queensland State Archive

·         Public Record Office Victoria

·         Australian Academy of the Humanities

·         Atlas of Living Australia

·         PARADISEC

·         AustLII

·         Trove


The combination of input from project partners as well as the considerable portion of the community that have participated in Pathways events and workshops, has provided C&C with a rich and useful picture of the needs and nature of the HASS research community in Australia. This project has been a unifying opportunity, that has provided scope for discussion and community building beyond what was initially anticipated.

Immersive Visualisation of Honey Bee Flight Behaviour

Florence Wang


The Global Initiative for Honey bee Health (GIHH) aims to have a global impact on the ecosystem and sustainable development by studying honey bee behaviors, potential threats to their health and the decline in their numbers

Miniaturised RFID tags are attached to the honey bees to track and study their behavior in a natural habitat. These tags are detected and recorded by readers installed at the entry to beehives and feeder stations, thus providing event data for the bees’ activity.

These experiments are then remodelled in an immersive visualisation to set up a near realistic environment of bee foraging behavior.

Since tracking insects flying in their natural habitat is still an unsolved challenge, the honey bee flight paths used within our system have been simulated using the Swarm Sensing Model, a python-based computational model which can be used to simulate, analyse and visualise honey bee flight paths within a three-dimensional foraging environment.

We designed and implemented the immersive visualisation system, I-Flight, for head mounted virtual reality headsets. We represent the 3D terrain of the foraging environment as a surface with variable elevation based on land surface height data obtained from the Swarm Sensing Model.

To realistically represent the geographical location, a high resolution satellite image is used as a texture map. Bee hives and feeder stations are placed in realistic locations obtained from respective experiments. Flight paths are visualised as continuous, coloured trajectories in 3D space with data points from the model being linearly interpolated.

Exploring the Next-Era of the Human Machine Partnership

Andrew Underwood



In 2030 humans’ reliance on technology will evolve into a true partnership with humans, bringing skills such as creativity, passion and an entrepreneurial mindset. This will align with the machines’ ability to bring speed, automation and efficiencies, and the resulting productivity will allow for new opportunities within industries and roles, and it’s already having an impact of science and innovation today, thanks to an increase in compute-power, data growth, and machine learning techniques.

There is no such thing as non-production

Sven Dowideit


A short trip down the memory lane of “Cloud” – how the infrastructure we need to build, ship, and run applications needs to change.

We’re racing towards redundant arrays of inexpensive services – with operator tooling to ensure availability when the service is needed.



AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.

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