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Intersect “Heartbleed” Status

5 May 2014

A major Internet security vulnerability referred to as "Heartbleed" was recently discovered. The vulnerability in the OpenSSL library affected many online services and made news around the world.

After the announcement Intersect moved immediately to assess and address the issue. Any affected machines were quickly patched and we also revoked and reissued some of our SSL certificates, in line with best practice being adopted by the technology community.

We have no reason to believe that any of our systems or data were compromised. As part of Intersect's commitment to our members and customers, we would like to assure you that we are not susceptible to Heartbleed and are continuously monitoring our systems to ensure continued secure access to our services.

A COO for Intersect

7 April 2014

Marc Bailey has signed on as Intersect’s Chief Operating Officer, joining us from his role as CIO at Macquarie University.

Intersect CEO Dr Ian Gibson said, “Intersect is extremely fortunate to have secured Marc's service as we take the organisation into its next stage of its development, and we look forward to working closely together”.

 “I am excited and privilged to team up with Intersect’s management team and distinguished Board in its mission to enable next generation research and innovation”, commented Bailey. “I very much look forward to bringing entrepreneurial passion and commitment to growing Intersect’s eResearch contribution and impact”, said Marc Bailey. 

Full story here

Infrastructure Update

3 April 2014

The latest statistics from our RDSI node are:

  • Total number of approved collections: 56
  • TBs approved: 5143
  • TBs provisioned: 740
  • TBs ingested: 321

Intersect's eResearch Analysts are the first point of contact for enquiries about our Research Data Storage node.

We are working to identify how to approve the data holdings of a large research centre, or the outputs of core facilities. We encourage the submission of more collections at this level.

Another key area is identifying collections for which the custodian is outside the membership of Intersect i.e.  to identify research data to which researchers want access. We encourage researchers who know of data that they would like to use, but for which they don’t have access, to make contact with their university eResearch Analyst. This specifically includes data which is owned by state and federal government departments.

The Aspera file transfer tool has been rolled out as part of the Science DMZ deployment and is now in production. This allows us to maximise the use of our internet link for ingesting RDSI data collections. We are working with individual collection owners to facilitate the transfer of large data sets.

Grant news

2 April 2014

Intersect has assisted with more than 45 grant applications in Q1. Researchers are invited to contact their local eResearch Analyst for assistance in development of Data Management Plans and committing Intersect services as in-kind contributions to proposals.

Intersect is currently coordinating a LIEF application for a large shared memory HPC cluster, led by Prof Marc Wilkins, UNSW. 

All Sky Virtual Laboratory takes off

24 March 2014

The Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory (TAO), has been launched by Swinburne University of Technology. Intersect worked closely with Swinburne on the project, designing the web interface amongst other things.
Funded by the Australian Government's NeCTAR project, TAO is a free online astronomy virtual laboratory that allows scientists to build complex customised views of the Universe, from their own computer.
“TAO lets researchers take the data from massive cosmological simulations and map it onto an observer’s viewpoint, to test theories of how galaxies and stars form and evolve,” TAO project scientist, Swinburne Associate Professor Darren Croton, said.

“TAO makes it easy and efficient for any astronomer to create these virtual universes. It's the culmination of years of effort that is now at the fingertips of scientists around the world. Using TAO it might take a few minutes to create a mock catalogue of galaxies, versus months or even years of development previously," he said. More on this story.
TAO acknowledges support from the NeCTAR project which is funded by the Australian Government through its Super Science initiative and financed by the Education Investment Fund.

Spatial scientists design nextgen visualisation tool

20 March 2014

Intersect hosted a week long hackfest which brought together national teams to work on storing and serving Australian gridded datasets. The group created a new open source tool, called the Spatially Explicit Data Discovery, Extraction and Evaluation Service (SPEDDEXES). 

The tool will allow web users (via a portal) to query, extract and visualise national spatial datasets. Participants included a mix of senior and developer representatives from TERN, the Bureau of Meteorology, National Computational Infrastructure, Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, IMOS, UNSW, University of Queensland, Macquarie University and Intersect.

The hackfest was coordinated by the Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (ACEAS) and led by Bradley Evans of Macquarie University and Siddeswara Guru from UQ. Staff from Intersect also assisted.
The resulting tools and websites will be hosted by NCI and will be publicly available.

More about the group's activities can be found on the ACEAS web siteRead more...

POSSUM project on the go

12 March 2014

Intersect has begun another great tablet based project in the health and medical research space. POSSUM stands for Precise Observational System for the Safe Use of Medications.
The POSSUM study aims to:

  • adapt and test an observational method for measuring medication administration errors suitable for use in Australian hospitals.
  • compare the type, rates and severity of medication administration error rates before and after various interventions.
  • assess whether interruptions and multi tasking impact on medication administration errors rates.

(POSSUM) is being developed for the Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW.

RDSI node progress report

1 February 2014

Intersect's RDSI node is in full production. The latest statistics:

  • Total number of approved collections: 56
  • TBs approved: 5143
  • TBs provisioned: 740
  • TBs ingested: 205
  • Number of collections ingesting data: 7
  • Number of collections provisioned but not yet ingesting: 19
  • Storage allocated: 1300 Tbs.

The next meeting of the Storage Allocation Committee is on the 27th February.

Grants news

22 January 2014

The ARC’s new instructions for Discovery & Laureate Fellowships now include requirements to plan for communicating research results and managing data via storage, access and re-use, â€ª 

Intersect and ANDS will be working in close collaboration to provide support to institutions and individual researchers to address these requirements. Training and exemplar data management plans will be forthcoming. The Discovery scheme will fund web development and software essential to the Project. Intersect is well positioned to do this development work. Any of Intersect services can be counted as an in-kind contribution to grants. Please contact your eRA for assistance.

New project work

20 January 2014

Intersect has begun work on a major AURIN project. The NSW Housing Demonstrator Data Hub will provide an initial test bed for the development of an integrated spatially referenced database of key housing data drawn from a variety of sources. The central aim is to build a fully spatially co-referenced set of interlinked data bases on the property record of all residential properties in NSW. A variety of spatially referenced data is being built up to facilitate a range of innovative analyses never before achieved.

The NSW Housing Demonstrator will combine online, offline and value-added datasets including those of Australian Property Monitors and the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure Housing datasets. External access to this system would be provided through AURIN, with technical work undertaken by Intersect. Intersect is providing business analysis, software development and software testing.

RDSI in full production

1 December 2013

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.

Intersect app using government data wins national plaudit

28 November 2013

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.


Asia Pacific media tour of Intersect RDSI node

29 November 2013

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

11 November 2013

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:
- The NSW Open Data Policy, see: Government Open Data Policy 1.0_3.pdf
- "NSW Globe"- A platform based on Google maps to view, explore and upload spatial data and imagery:
- Adoption by the NSW Government of the Open Access Licensing Scheme recommended by AUSGoal
- Commencement of a program to federate open data provided by NSW, SA, QLD and Federal Governments.
- Australia has joined the International Open Government Partnership which will require the development of a national action plan (for open data),
- An open source API originally developed by NY Times that is used to search NSW data may be of interest

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. See April Forum report here.

GRANT NEWS: LIEF grant to tackle grand challenge research successful

8 November 2013

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 successful LIEF

8 November 2013
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.

Test SGI UV on loan to Intersect

7 November 2013

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 already identified a few projects for testing, but if you are interested in joining this test and have a suitable model for this architecture ready to go, please contact and briefly explain your plan.

'Research Adviser' AeRO ICT user support underway

1 November 2013

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

Infrastructure Progress Report

1 November 2013
Research Data Storage: ready, set...
Our Research Data Storage node is ready for your data! Hitachi Data Systems has completed deployment of the equipment, acceptance testing will finish this week. Ingest strategies are being discussed with collection owners to expedite the transfer of data to the node. We will start provisioning storage for the collections that are ready to ingest data over the next couple of weeks.

Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank project complete

1 November 2013

Paul Rasser of the Schizophrenia Research Institute
Intersect has completed development work on the extensions to the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank, funded by NeCTAR. The Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank (ASRB) supports all scientists investigating schizophrenia across Australia and internationally. The ASRB is now utilised by over 21 national & international institutes and the impact of ASRB on schizophrenia research is considerable.
Intersect has had a long relationship with the Schizophrenia Research Institute (SRI). This is the second round of development on the ASRB Intersect has undertaken. Extensions/enhancements to the Australian Schizophrenic Research Bank were made to:
- add further participant tracking, making administration easier
- solve shortfalls in the 'Query Builder' implementation, allowing researchers to easily formulate queries and
- embed genetic single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data into the system, providing researchers with access to genetic SNP data of ASRB participants. This is the first time this has been done.
The ASRB project acknowledges funding from the NeCTAR project is an Australian Government project conducted as part of the Super Science initiative and financed by the Education Investment Fund.

THATCamp Sydney

30 October 2013

THATCamp Sydney participants on the steps of the State Library of NSW

Intersect and the State Library of NSW ran the first THATCamp Sydney on 30 – 31 October. Over 50 people attended THATCamp, attendees coming from Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong and Newcastle. THATCamp stands for 'The Humanities and Technology Camp'; it focuses on the application of information and communication technology to the practice of research in the humanities.

Discussions at THATCamp Sydney touched on a number of themes of widespread interest. One of these was concerned with what to do with social media, especially that in response historical events, such as commentary on elections. Archiving it presents not only technical challenges, but also questions about ownership and about what to keep and what to discard. Another theme was related to how councils, cultural institutions, and other holders of information of interest to historians, could more effectively deliver these valuable collections.
Another Sydney THATCamp is mooted for six months time.