Connecting with research communities and colleagues across Australasia

From 16-20 October, members of the NeSI team attended the 2023 eResearch Australasia Conference to learn from peer experiences across the Australian sector as well as share insights from our collaborations within Aotearoa New Zealand.

It was inspiring to hear and talk about:

  • experiences and best practice around research data - locating it, measuring it, and managing it 

  • lessons learned and status updates on service management approaches to research products and infrastructures

  • building computational capability and skills through targeted as well as collaborative initiatives

  • sharing tactics around supporting users, engaging new domains, and sustinable community-building

  • the impacts of AI, quantum, and other tools & technologies driving change in the sector


Sharing experience from Aotearoa New Zealand

NeSI team members contributed to the eResearch Australasia conference programme across a range of streams during the week.

Links to our presentations or Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) outcomes can be found below.

Programme Stream: Foundational & Advancing Computation

NeSI’s Flexible HPC – A programmable infrastructure for advanced research solutions

The evolving eResearch landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand has highlighted needs for diverse solutions beyond a traditional HPC service offering. In this talk, Jun Huh shared how NeSI's Flexible HPC platform responds to those needs. He covered some of the motivations and early use-cases for the new platform, alongside a view of the value proposition, key partnerships, and patterns of use. You can view his eResAU presentation slides here and learn more about our Research Developer Cloud here

Building custom web portals for HPC and mid-tier computing

To overcome challenges associated with accessing and managing computing resources, customised web portals have emerged as a viable solution. Thomas Berger presented a talk on NeSI's approach to developing custom web portals for HPC and mid-tier computing environments, leveraging the power of Open OnDemand (OOD). You can view his presentation slides here

Programme Stream: Enabling Platforms & Services

An update on the NeSI AgResearch Partnership as the rubber hits the road

Georgina Rae, NeSI Science Engagement Manager, and Ben Taylor, AgResearch, shared a look at some of the early learnings from collaboratively building a future-focused eResearch platform. Key aspects include prioritising a user-driven approach, leveraging mutual support networks, building and blending organisational cultures, and supporting capability growth. You can view the slides from this talk here.​

Rakeiora Genomics Platform: Building a prototype for genomic medicine in Aotearoa

Rakeiora is a ‘pathfinder’ project to prototype how best to govern, acquire, protect, store and use genomic datasets for analysis to support primary and secondary health research in Aotearoa New Zealand. As the prototype phase concludes, this talk by NeSI Product Manager Claire Rye discussed the construction of the analytical environment – the Rakeiora Genomics Platform – and reflected on the journey thus far. Slides from her talk can be viewed here

Growing a Culture of Service Management at NeSI

NeSI partners and user communities come from a more diverse range of domains, bringing with them different needs and service level expectations. So, we are building our own culture of Service Management and taking an Agile, incremental approach, particularly given the significant ‘people’ aspect of the change for how we work at NeSI. In this talk, Georgina Rae, Science Engagement Manager at NeSI, shared some steps in this work, including: base-lining maturity against desired state; assessing whether tools are fit-for-purpose; and capturing and managing our processes. Slides from her talk can be viewed here.

Programme Stream: National Collaborative Endeavours

How do you keep the candle lit and not burn it from both ends (as a community & as a community member)

The Australasian Chapter of Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC+ AusNZ) hosts events and creates spaces where community members from all walks of life can feel welcome, connect with others, and contribute to discussions that support diversity & inclusion in HPC and eResearch. NeSI Communications Manager Jana Makar and fellow WHPC AusNZ Organising Committee members Aditi Subramanya (Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre) and Loretta Davis (Australasian eResearch Organisations - AeRO) hosted this Birds-of-a-Feather session to explore the balancing act that must be navigated behind the scenes of building, managing, and growing a community of interest. You can read a recap of the BoF discussion here


Programme Stream: Developing & Training for Now and the Future

Upskilling researchers in Machine Learning

In this Birds-of-a-Feather session, NeSI Data Science Engineer Maxime Rio and Dr Jens Brinkmann (Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland) led a discussion around ongoing efforts in Aotearoa New Zealand to introduce and train researchers in Machine Learning and Deep Learning. They covered topics from developing content and training materials, to challenges in teaching and facilitating these techniques, to providing support for learners and practitioners through compute and other services. You can view the slides from this session here.


Programme Stream: Applied AI

How AI is transforming science communication tools and tactics

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications roll out across social, professional, and academic realms, there is a need to better understand how AI tools are impacting the field of science communications. NeSI Communications Manager Jana Makar and Aditi Subramanya (Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre) led a Birds-of-a-Feather session that aimed to raise awareness of how AI tools can be applied in science communications activities and share experiences of colleagues experimenting in this space. You can view recap notes from the session here and context-setting slides from the session here.


Lightning Talks

Empowering Collaboration: An Insight into The Carpentries Executive Council

The Carpentries is a global organisation driven to support communities teaching foundational data and coding skills. Nisha Ghatak, NeSI Research Communities Advisor - Training Lead and a member of The Carpentries' Executive Council, gave this lightning talk to share an overview of the council’s role and responsibilities. You can view the slides from her talk here.


Building Effective and Efficient Research Security Practices

Through carefully applied policy and training research support teams can greatly improve their security posture without significant technology and tool investments. Michael Karich, Deputy CISO-Research at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland and NeSI, presented this lightning talk that shared tips for identifying and focusing on key areas that can help research teams and institutions build efficient and effective research security practices. You can view the slides from his talk here.


Let's keep the conversations going at eResearch NZ 2024

We look forward to continuing many of these discussions in a few months at eResearch NZ 2024, happening in Wellington, NZ from 7-9 February 2024. Registration is now open and a preliminary programme is expected to be released before the Christmas break.

For more information on eResearch NZ 2024, visit the conference website