About the mega data initiative

Wordle3This initiative is being organised by just a few people who want to encourage cross cluster learning and exchange on matters relating to big data here in WA. We are more interested in the data management, interpretation and presentation than with the hardware needed to do this. That said  WA now has the opportunity to build a remarkable new big data capability surrounding the IVEC Supercomputing  facilities, and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) initiative.

Will we look back in 20 years and say “we made the most of the opportunities created by the SKA and the IVEC Supercomputing facilities” or will we wish we did more to leverage the opportunities created by having these world-class facilities on our doorstep? Can we develop a people skill set, located in WA, which is robust to changes in computer hardware innovation, in an environment that helps create innovation, as mega data management grows in importance?

Our current mega data usage strengths in the minerals and petroleum resources, food production, population health and astronomy clusters are all benefiting from mega data collection skills, management and interpretation when applied to real time interaction (esp remote operations), spatial informatics, genetic data analysis and radio astronomy. All these require similar skills and WA could easily become the world centre for mega data innovation if we leverage off what is happening within these focused clusters into a mega data cluster here.

Just having computer grunt will not be enough. There are many challenges associated with mega data set management – data security, input format, workflows, data delivery pipelines, presentation processes – and some of these will be unique to the data originator. But there are also many common elements, providing opportunities to share knowledge and experience across disciplines, collectively building value.

Our overall aim is to create a friendly, informal place for you to meet people who work with big data but who are not necessarily in your field. We will have several gatherings each year, varying in format; always aiming to be stimulating, and always allowing for networking.

What gets us really excited is the possibility that in a place like Perth maybe we can create a world-class hub for innovation across clusters for people working with big data. Perth is a great place to live and it is relatively easy to attract specialised technical people from all over the world. We are still small enough to get them talking to each other across their specialty areas.

Played right we might make our supercomputing and mega data capabilities something special on the world stage – problem solving and innovation through cross discipline conversations.

A few principles guide our group:

  • We will create the opportunity for interested people to talk to others from different skill clusters
  • We will protect your email addresses
  • We are not an advertising agency for things other than this purpose
  • We are not going to raise money
  • We will not charge a fee to be on our mailing list or come to an event
  • We are not a political lobby group
  • We are not aligned with any particular organisation
  • All people are welcome, whether from business, unis, government or just individuals

We look forward to people sharing, having fun, and creating something of value.

Erica Smyth: Non-executive Company Director and Chairman
Rob Freeth: Freeth Computing Consultants Pty Ltd