Big Data Week 2017 was launched by Professor Peter Klinken, Chief Scientist of Western Australia on Monday 8 May at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Kensington. Attendees of the launch included special Guest of Honour, the Honourable David Kelly MLA, Minister for Water; Fisheries; Forestry; Innovation and ICT; and Science.
Perth Big Data Week is a local series of events that aims to raise awareness of data science and big data analytics in Western Australia. Perth Big Data Week has been running annually since 2013. The theme for 2017 was Connecting the Dots – discussing the importance of data, its use and applications in society including science and research, medicine, business and human engagement.
These events are independently run by a diverse range of organisations which showcase the breadth of data science being undertaken in Perth.
The week of events began on Monday with Social Media Data Analysis: TrISMA at Edith Cowan University (ECU), Mt. Lawley.
Social Media Data Analysis: TrISMA at ECU
The event focused on tracking infrastructure for TrISMA – a Tracking Infrastructure for Social Media Analysis tool, which is a joint project between the University of Queensland, Curtin University, Deakin University, Swinburne University, the University of Sydney and the National Library of Australia.
TrISMA establishes a powerful framework for tracking, storing and processing the public social media communication activities of Australian users at very large scales and in close-to-real time. By drawing on TrISMA’s ground breaking infrastructure, researchers are able to engage with big data from leading social media platforms in unprecedented details, and to respond immediately to emerging phenomena in social media usage.
Dr. Donell Holloway, TrISMA project leader, and Dr. Duncan McKay, Data Analytics Tool Developer, presented on the multi-layered structure of data in social media and how TrISMA tracks public communications in Australia for data analysis.
As part of Big Data week, experts reported on the wide utilisation of TrISMA to investigate their areas of interest such as politics, journalism, public health, counterterrorism and more.
Launch discussion: The role of big data in Western Australia (panel discussion)
The Social Media Data Analysis event was followed by a panel discussion at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre on the role of big data in Western Australia.
The panel included a number of Western Australia’s leaders in big data across government, industry and academia:
- Tamryn Barker – CEO, CORE Innovation Hub
- Jonathan Fievez – CTO, Carnegie Corporation
- Stuart Gibbon – ED Strategy & Delivery, OGCIO
The panel discussion centred around the role of big data in Western Australia – its importance in being able to demonstrate practical, real value information to address business concerns. The more you can see business being built around data, the more you can see business traction and growth. If you are not looking at big data you’re missing a whole range of strategic opportunities.
Big Data: from the Ground to the Heavens (Mega Data Cluster)
Monday evening showcased the Perth Mega Data Cluster – an initiative encouraging cross cluster learning and exchanges on matters relating to big data in Western Australia.
The event, which was sponsored and held at KPMG hosted two speakers – Dr. Penny Stewart, Managing Director & Principal at PETRA Data Science; and Kevin Vinsen, Research Associate Professor at ICRAR – the International Centre for Radio Astronomy.
Dr. Steward discussed how trans-disciplinary data science allows fledging start-ups to engage with billion dollar resource companies that produce petabytes to zettabytes of data per year! This data includes hyperspectral rock core images to the tens of thousands of processing plant IoT signals.
Penny discussed PETRA’s success stemmed from their transdisciplinary approach to data science, which enabled their big data to deliver real opportunity, not just in the resources sector, but potentially other sectors too.
Kevin Vinsen the Research Associate Professor with ICRAR is working to help solve the extraordinary computational challenges facing the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Kevin is a computational astronomy polymath – expert in numerous coding languages, artificial intelligence, genetic algorithms, high performance computing, data intensive astronomy, data mining, business analysis, games development, and command and control systems.
Kevin described the astronomical data requirements for the SKA project – when complete, the data flowing from the SKA project antennae will be measured in Exabytes per day! To put in perspective, just one Exabyte contains as much information as two million Blu-ray disks, which would stack up to 12 kilometres high!
DAFWA Land & Water Big Data Forum
On Tuesday morning, a Land and Water Data Forum was held after a buffet breakfast at the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) in South Perth. The event provided an overview of the land and water data that has been collected during the last 50 years, and the current access to them via new platforms for public viewing and downloads.
Presenters took the stage and spoke to the capacity-filled room on DAFWA and big data. Speakers and topics included: Richard George, who presented on Data feeding WA’s growing agriculture; Dennis Van Gool, on Making DAFWA land information useful and accessible; Fiona Evans spoke on Connecting the Dots between diverse datasets to support growers; and Angela Stuart-Street discussed Turning data into information for land use planning.
The presentations were followed by a robust Q & A with the engaged audience in a lively discussion on big data.
Data Powering Entrepreneurship (CORE, Flux, Spacecubed)
Tuesday night saw CORE, FLUX and Spacecubed host a joint event exploring what Big Data looks like to entrepreneurs. Guest panel speakers were innovators at the cutting edge of big data across a range of sectors:
- Jasmine Ward (moderator) – Co founder, Cribber and Ventures Analyst, Navitas Ventures
- Sean Barry – Product Manager – Growth, HealthEngine
- Damien Pontifex – Senior Software & Machine Learning Engineer, Boundlss
- Gavin Strack – Co-Founder/Director, Convergio
- David Newman – Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder, Ovass
The panel explored the use of big data in business and how vast data streams can be used to recognise patterns and occurrences to streamline efficiencies in making business decisions. “Big Data allows business to convert data to information, information to insight, insight to Intelligence and intelligence into value”, said David Newman, CEO and Co-founder of Ovass.
Without a doubt, panel members all agreed on the importance of data and its extensive influence on advances in technology, business and society.
The event and panel discussion can be viewed here.
A Date with Data (Scitech)
On Wednesday night, four industry leaders went on a Date with Data, hosted by Scitech and the Educational Computing Association of Western Australia (ECAWA). They came together to discuss how everything we do leaves a digital trace, how the subsequent analysis of this data changes the world in which we live and the future of data in relation to education, research, security and careers.
The four industry leaders, discussed their perspectives on how this data influences the world:
- Steven Payne, Stand Out Education discussed how teachers and school leaders can use their school’s data to identify trends and make informed decisions for student outcomes. He also discussed the importance of educating students on how to engage with big data, track their e-footprint and correctly use and interpret their data.
- Dr John Morgan, ICRAR shared his insight on radio telescope research, its challenges and the thrill of large amounts of data.
- Matt Schneider, Optika Solutions addressed the key future challenges around data security, the types of digital jobs available in the future and ultimately what role Artificial Intelligence will play in our world.
- Rachael Whitney-Smith, MAWA shared her resources to enhance subject teaching and links to the curriculums available.
Bright Cluster 8 Capabilities on Machine Learning, Ceph, Hadoop and High Performance Computing (Dell EMC)
Dell EMC have teamed up with Bright Computing to build the Dynamic Data Centre, and enable customers to rapidly deploy different tools as needed to ingest, manage and analyse big data no matter it’s form. Matt Wallis from Dell EMC presented on Bright Cluster Manager 8 and it’s capabilities on Machine Learning, Ceph, Hadoop, and HPC.
Analytics for a Better Perth (AECOM)
The Thursday night Perth Big Data panel event discussed how predictive and prescriptive analytics make Perth a better place to live and work. This event is part of an ongoing series of events for the “WA Operations Research Practitioner Forum”.
Sam Birmingham from Startup Perth facilitated the panel discussion with mathematics, statistics and analytics leaders in Western Australia:
- Dr John Henstridge – Managing Director, Data Analysis Australia and Vice President, the Statistical Society of Australia
- Gaurav Singh – Optimisation Lead, BHP Billiton
- James Marshall – Director – Analytics & Simulation ANZ, AECOM
Launch event: Pawsey Cloud Service “Nimbus”
Friday morning saw the official launch of Nimbus – the new cloud system available to Australian researchers, which will provide them new facilities for data intensive science, data analytics, machine learning and scientific workflows.
- Highly integrated data services and applications platform
- Access to fast storage
- Easy provisioning of data-intensive application clusters (Hadoop or Spark)
- Supporting scientific data analytics and data workflow integration
- Available for researchers, industry and government across Australia
- Dedicated support team
- Guaranteed services until August 2019
Nimbus will be open for general use from July 1, 2017. There will also be an early adopters program being implemented according to the following dates:
- June 1, 2017 – Early Adopters applications open
- June 8, 2017 – “Getting started with Nimbus” training
- July 31, 2017 – Nimbus open for general use
Big Data from Space: Update (Landgate)
Copernicus Australia is a regional hub supporting Copernicus, Europe’s most ambitious Earth observation programme to date, providing free and open access to data from Europe’s Sentinel satellite missions for the South-East Asia and South Pacific region.
Following on from last year’s successful Big Data from Space event, Landgate presented an update on the Copernicus Data Science Hub in Australia:
- Progress on the Data Science Hub
- How the State Government plans to use the Copernicus satellite data
- What data is available; what format the data is in, what tools are available and how and where to access the data.
Introduction to CISCO IoE Innovation Centre at Curtin University
The last event of Perth Big Data week showcased the Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre – a newly established industry and research collaboration centre at Curtin University, established by Cisco with foundation partners Curtin University and Woodside Energy.
With over 80 researchers and links to advanced facilities and a global industry network, the Centre brings together start-ups, industry experts, developers and researchers in an open environment to create ground-breaking and innovative solutions that foster growth, provide jobs and help build sustainable economies.
Guest speakers for the event were:
Tom Goerke, Centre Director, Cisco – Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre
David Gibson, Director Learning Futures, Curtin Learning and Teaching (CLT), Curtin University – Education Analytics
Cara Kreck, CIIC Analytics Specialist, Cisco IoE Innovation Centre – Data scientists aren’t magicians – How do you make data useful?
David Youens, Research Associate, School of Public Health, Curtin University – Use of big data in health research – challenges and opportunities
Andrew Malcom, Vice President of Strategy and Commercial Development, Austal – Big Data Challenges