Pawsey Friday: Internship outcomes and rock art revelations

February saw the Pawsey Summer Internship program come to an end with 20 students presenting posters on their research, experiences and learnings at the Centre.

Every year, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre runs an intensive 10-week internship program. In November 2018, a group of students were selected to join the program to delve deeper into their scientific areas through high-performance computing, data analytics and visualisation.

Among the internship project showcased as part of the session was a research to Visualise Aboriginal cultural features in Australia. The project was led by Prof Jo McDonald, an archeologist from UWA. Prof McDonald presented at our Pawsey Friday event, which preceded the poster presentations, attendees at Pawsey learned of the Dampier Archipelago, its rock art and landscapes from the first inhabitants of the land some 50,000 years ago.

Pawsey Friday with Jo McDonald

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming is an ARC Linkage project which has been investigating the age of the rock art and landscapes across the archipelago; exploring when people first started using these landscapes and investigating how their use of the outer islands changed with the changing environment.

Jo McDonald is the Director of CRAR+M at UWA. She has been recording rock art in Australia for over 35 years.  Since coming to UWA in 2012, she has developed and led a culture of collaborative partnerships with the Aboriginal community and Industry, particularly in the Pilbara.

In recent news from the ABC, Archaeologists working in the region, including Prof McDonald, discovered engravings left by American whaling crews in the 1840s.

“Our first impression was that the inscriptions had been crossed out afterwards by an Aboriginal person … but what we discovered was that the writing was made with a metal implement over the top of the older grid pattern, which had been made with a stone implement,” Jo said.

“So it shows this incredible progression through time of different people coming along and marking the rock and telling things about themselves, and wanting to leave a record they were at a place.”

If you would like to watch Jo’s presentation, visit Pawsey’s YouTube channel, where it will be published.

Poster Presentations and Winners

Other projects from the intern presentations covered condition monitoring of assets in the resources industry, particle simulation code, atomic and molecular simulation, next-generation sequencing, eDNA analysis, image processing analysis, Malaria, Dengue and Zika disease control; renewable wave energy, machine learning, genetic signatures of complex diseases and quantum combinatorial optimisation.

Based on their posters the students competed to win two Raspberry Pi 3 and complete starter kits. They were judged by a panel of four staff from the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and ICRAR, and through the People’s Choice Award vote.

The panel winner was Kyle Newman from UWA who worked on AutoML vs Human ML (Machine Learning = ML) with Shiv Meka of Curtin University. The project, in collaboration with the Curtin Institute of Computation (CIC) and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, focused on the cost-benefit analysis on comparing automated machine learning architectures and human engineered machine learning architectures for various classes of machine-learning problems. The whole project will be converted to an advanced level machine learning course that would be offered jointly by CIC and Pawsey in the near future.

Alexander Rohl won the People’s Choice Awards with his project on Implementing Stellard Feedback in a Galaxy Evolution Model. The ICRAR project focused on why simulating galaxies and the universe are so important. This project explored semi-analytic models, which are constructed by extracting a “merger tree” from an N-body simulation and treating the evolution of baryons as a post-processing step.

All of the student posters can be viewed here.

What is the Pawsey Summer Internship?

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre Summer Internship program is designed to enable undergraduate students to develop skills in computational science by giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves in advanced computing research projects. Interns are supervised by leading researchers and undertake challenging research projects utilising the resources provided by the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.

Pawsey provides access to high-performance computing, visualization facilities, large-scale data storage and high-speed communications along with expert help to make the best use of technology. The internship program includes an intensive induction week to help students grasp the basics of supercomputing, data management and scientific visualisation and understand their impact on research now and in the future.

If this interests you or someone you know, register to become a Pawsey Friend for updates and project application details.


2018 Interns presenting their research posters

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming


2018 Interns presenting their research posters


Alexander Rohl, winner of the People's Choice Award

Kyle Newman Winner

Kyle Newman, judged winner of the student poster competition