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NeCTAR is announcing, with mixed feelings, the departure of Nigel Ward, our Deputy Director for Research Software Infrastructure.


The NeCTAR Research Cloud provides a secure, reliable platform for epidemiology and public health research.

New tools, data sources, and collaborations are making it possible for Australian health researchers, clinicians, and policy-makers to better understand the national health picture and influence prevention, treatments, and patient outcomes for a wide variety of conditions.

“I went on the website and tried out the Research Cloud, and I thought, well this is our solution."


eucalyptus plantThe NeCTAR Research Cloud is helping the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology (PEB) discover better ways to feed and fuel the planet by understanding more about how plants use energy.

Photo courtesy the Plant Energy Biology CoE.


huni logoA partnership among 13 public institutions, HuNI combines information from 30 of Australia’s most significant cultural datasets, with the potential to incorporate more in future. HuNI allows researchers to create, save, and publish selections of data, analyse and assert relationships among data, share findings, and export the data for use in external environments.


The Genomics Virtual Laboratory (GVL) funded through NeCTAR, is taking the information technology out of bioinformatics, providing biologists with easy access to a suite of genomics tools and resources.


endoVL logoendoVL, the endocrine genomics virtual laboratory funded through NeCTAR, is helping endocrinologists gain statistical power to improve clinical research into endocrine disorders.

Endocrine disorders include diabetes, thyroid disorders, and severe obesity, in addition to more rare conditions such as adrenal tumours and disorders of sex development.


MARVL, the Marine Virtual Laboratory funded through NeCTAR, is helping marine scientists make better use of ocean observations to improve forecasting and planning for marine and coastal environments.


In late June 2014 NeCTAR brought together over 50 attendees of its Virtual Laboratory and eResearch Tool projects with infrastructure providers to reflect on NeCTAR’s current research software investments, and to guide implementation of future research software investments described in the NeCTAR NCRIS 2013 Final Project Plan.


Human communication scientists can now study speech, language, text, and music on a larger scale, thanks to Alveo, a virtual laboratory funded through NeCTAR.  Alveo was officially launched in June 2014 and brings together data collections, analysis tools, and workflow in a common environment.


NeCTAR welcomes National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) to the NeCTAR Research Cloud, and congratulates the NCI team on commissioning their public cloud node of 3200 new high-performance CPU cores in early April 2014 to join the exising capability provided by the University of Melbourne, Monash University, the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation, and eResearch South Australia.


The Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory (TAO) empowers astronomers to build complex customised views of the Universe, all from the comfort of their own computer. 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.”


In today’s globalized economy, goods and services can pass through complex supply chains before reaching final consumers. A car may use iron ore from Western Australia, electronic parts from China, be assembled in Japan and involve thousands of inputs. The Australian-first NeCTAR funded Industrial Ecology Virtual Laboratory is unravelling supply chain mysteries and helping reduce Australia's carbon footprint.


The nearly 100 particle physicists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP) in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, are working with collaborators around the globe to understand what the universe is made of and how it started. CoEPP scientists face the challenge of keeping up with the growing demands for storage and high throughput computing. The NeCTAR Research Cloud together with RDSI funded storage and the new AARNet 4 backbone network are helping to provide the solution.


The NeCTAR Research Cloud expects a large expansion in 2014 with capacity trebling to around 30,000 CPU cores thanks to more research cloud nodes joining the federated effort and existing cloud nodes expanding their offerings.


NeCTAR welcomes eResearch South Australia (eRSA) to the NeCTAR Research Cloud and congratulates the eRSA team on commisioning 1700 new CPU cores in February 2014 to join the existing capabiity provided by the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF).


Across Australia, extensive networks and communities of medical researchers have studied endocrine disorders, yet previously, there was no common software infrastructure to connect them. The NeCTAR funded Endocrine Genomics Virtual Laboratory (endoVL) uses the NeCTAR Research Cloud to empower clinicians to securely and easily access bioinformatics data. It is now used by 45 cancer centres globally.


When University of Melbourne’s e-Research Director Professor Richard Sinnott tasked his first ever Cluster and Cloud computing group of 50 students to use the NeCTAR Research Cloud to analyse real-time Twitter data around Australia - no-one dreamed Adelaide’s tweeters were the biggest fans of pop group One Direction or certain areas of Brisbane would tweet the most swear words.


Dr Roger Proctor, Director of the IMOS eMarine Information Infrastructure, says the NeCTAR Research Cloud is providing IMOS with new abilities to access data worldwide, in real time and with interoperability. “The scale of the NeCTAR Research Cloud means we are not constrained by resources. This is an entirely different way of working and thinking."


NeCTAR sponsored a larger booth at this year's eResearch Australasia 2013 conference, Brisbane October 20-25 enabling NeCTAR software tool and virtual laboratory projects to give brief demonstrations as to research impacts and all the new apps and software for researchers. Check out the photos. Do you recognise anyone?


NeCTAR is building eResearch infrastructure for Australian researchers in four areas: Virtual Laboratories; eResearch Tools; Research Cloud and secure and robust hosting service (National Servers Program). If you have a great software idea why not host it on the NeCTAR Research Cloud? Collaborate with your research communities and software support experts to see what is possible.


NeCTAR is proud to announce the full release of the new Virtual Geophysics Laboratory (VGL). For geophysicist Dr Carina Kemp it is a game changer. “The speed at which we can now carry out our geophysical inversions was not possible before... using the VGL, it does the cropping and any pre-processing, like re-projecting the data, on the fly and we can complete our work in a matter of hours, instead of months."


The NeCTAR Research Cloud is located at eight different organisations around Australia, yet operates as one cloud system.


Researcher Lauren Gawne has just completed a linguistics PhD thesis. She is not necessarily a technical person, yet has embraced the technologies of the NeCTAR cloud and by doing so, says it has created many online benefits, cost savings, efficiencies and collaborations.


The Australian Synchrotron, in Melbourne, is the largest and most sophisticated facility of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. Recent NeCTAR funding has updated software of the Synchrotron's beamlines, leading to world-first discoveries and real time advantage.


Oceanographer Dr Erik Van Sebille is using the NeCTAR cloud to host his software tool which tracks plastic rubbish in the ocean. He says: “The plastic joins other rubbish ... and is eaten by thousands of sea animals, birds and fish who mistake it for food.


Can the Research Cloud support high-end computation? That’s the question recently discussed by around 30 members of the NeCTAR Community during a workshop hosted on 22 April 2013 by the CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics Division in North Ryde, Sydney.


On April 14, 2013, the world celebrated the 10th anniversary of the United States led Human Genome Project researching the estimated 20-25,000 human genes that make up human DNA. Australia is also active in genomics research, and the NeCTAR funded Genomics Virtual Laboratory is connecting Australian Genome researchers with computational infrastructure.


The NeCTAR funded project Quadrant recently released their new cloud-based eResearch tool. Free to use until June 2014 Quadrant is built especially to create efficiencies for participant-based researchers in the disciplines of health, humanities, social science, politics, marketing and so forth.


During March, the NeCTAR directorate travelled to meet face-to-face the NeCTAR funded projects around Australia. Uplifiting and inspiring, The purpose of the trip was to assist projects with their reporting and communications, and ultimately their project success. Read more.



Lucy Guest takes us on a journey exploring the amazing features of the revolutionary NeCTAR supported e-Research tool called Drishti, empowering us to view the unseeable, such as explore the intricate internal components of ancient fossils or the human body.


Dr Tu Nguyen is from the Department of Pathology at The University of Melbourne. She is using NeCTAR's Research Cloud to investigate and sequence breast cancer susceptibility genes. Her discoveries could significantly improve cancer diagnostics and add years to patients’ lives. New video released by Dr Steven Manos, head of University of Melbourne, ITS Research.


There are currently 1504 people using NeCTAR's Research Cloud and 409 have Virtual Machines in the cloud. Users of NeCTAR's Research Cloud have been filmed around Australia and made into short videos. These stories are growing in number. To view the vox pops go to: