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What is ALCS?

The 2019 Australasian Leadership Computing Symposium (ALCS) will be a unique event for the Australasian computational science community.

Taking place from the 6th to the 8th of November at the Australian Academy of Science - Shine Dome - and The Australian National University in Canberra, ALCS 2019 will be Australasia’s research supercomputing users’ forum, as well as a flagship promotion of high-performance computing (HPC) and high-performance data (HPD) in Australasia.

ALCS 2019 aims to bring together scientists from five key computational science disciplines in Australasia. ALCS aims to share knowledge about HPC and HPD in practice within and across these powerful research communities:

  • astronomy,
  • genomics,
  • geosciences,
  • climate and weather, and
  • materials science.

ALCS 2019 will provide an opportunity for researchers to extend their networks, share leading practice, learn from their peers and build their understanding of the role of HPC and HPD in their current and future work.


Register online through Eventbrite.

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Master of Ceremonies

Dr Sophie Calabretto

Dr Sophie Calabretto is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics and Head of Discipline for Applied Mathematics at Macquarie University. Her research in fluid dynamics seeks to understand and predict the behaviour of rotating boundary layers and transition to turbulence, exploring fundamental questions in fluid physics, with the potential to impact fields as diverse as aerodynamics, climate science, health, and industry. Calabretto, whose research is largely computational in nature, is an ex NeSI user, and current user of NCI’s Raijin, along with mid-tier facilities in the UK.

She is also a passionate advocate for mathematics and was recognised in ABC RN’s Top 5 Under 40 in 2017, providing her with a platform to demystify mathematics to a mass audience. With a particular focus on demonstrating to young women the pervasiveness of mathematical modelling, and its relevance to every facet of life, technology and the world around them.

Her favourite fluids are blood and gin.

Photo credit - Lauren Trompp/Careers with STEM

Invited Plenary Speakers

More speaker details coming soon!

Professor Peter B. Littlewood

Littlewood holds a BA and PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge. He was member of technical staff, and later head, of the theoretical physics research group at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. He moved to Cambridge in 1997 as head of the Theory of Condensed Matter group, and later became head of the Cavendish Laboratory and Department of Physics. He came to UChicago in 2011 as Associate Lab Director and then Lab Director, at Argonne National Lab, returning full time to the University in 2017. He serves on the advisory boards of several institutes, including the Faraday Institution, the Simons Foundation, the Paul Scherer Institute, the Carnegie Institute for Science, and the Max Planck Institutes at Halle and Hamburg.

Littlewood’s research interests include superconductivity and superfluids, strongly correlated electronic materials, collective dynamics of glasses, density waves in solids, neuroscience, and applications of materials for energy and sustainability. Particular areas of current focus include: connectomics –measuring and modelling the connectivity of every neuron in a brain; non-equilibrium phase transitions in strongly coupled light-matter systems; and materials, technologies, and policy for energy.

Dr Amanda Barnard

Dr Amanda Barnard is a Chief Research Scientist in Data61 at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). She received her Ph.D. (Physics) in from RMIT in 2003, followed by a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory (USA), and the prestigious senior research position as Violette & Samuel Glasstone Fellow at the University of Oxford (UK) with an Extraordinary Research Fellowship at The Queen’s College.

She joined CSIRO as an Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Fellow in 2009, and now leads research developing structure/property relationships using computational physics and chemistry, machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI). She is an advocate and champion for computational research in Australia.

Dr Barnard is current Chair of the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee and a NeSI Board Member. 

Professor Andy Pitman AO

Andy Pitman is a Professor in climate science at the University of New South Wales. He is the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes. He has broad interests extending across climate modeling, climate change, climate extremes and land cover change. He has worked extensively on how land cover change and increasing greenhouse gases change the probability of extremes. He has been a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and on the Copenhagen Diagnosis. He is a member of the advisory board of Risk Frontiers.

Pitman won the Priestley Medal in 2004, the AMOS Medal in 2009, the NSW Climate Scientist of the Year in 2010 and was elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2016 and is a Fellow of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. He has served on multiple federal government reviews. He was awarded an Order of Australia (AO) in 2019.

Rosie Hicks

Rosie Hicks is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC). The ARDC is a transformational, sector-wide initiative enabled by NCRIS, that works with researchers from universities, government and industry partners to build a coherent national and collaborative research data commons.


Rosie has expertise and extensive knowledge of the Australian research infrastructure sector, and leadership experience as the former CEO of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF). Her career, spanning Japan, UK and Australia, includes every aspect of scientific instrumentation from product development and technical marketing to the management of multi-user facilities working in environments that cross academic and industry domains.

Dr Cathy Foley

Dr Cathy Foley is Chief Scientist of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency and innovation catalyst. CSIRO solves the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. It is one of the world’s largest mission-driven multidisciplinary science and research organisations, collaborating with industry, government, academia and the community to unlock a better future for everyone.

Dr Foley has made significant contributions to the understanding of superconducting materials and to the development of devices using superconductors to detect magnetic fields and locate valuable deposits of minerals.

She was awarded the `Woman of the Year’ by the NSW Government in 2013 and the International IEEE Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions to Applied Superconductivity 2014. In 2015 was awarded the Clunies Ross Medal of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering and in 2016 the Australian Institute of Physics Medal for Outstanding Service to Physics.

Dr Foley has a passion for advancing scientific research and has held various roles as a member of Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council; President of National Executive for Australian Institute of Physics; President of Science and Technology Australia; Editor-in-Chief for Superconductor Science and Technology journal; and Council Member for Questacon.

Dr Foley is a strong advocate for women in STEM and is committed to tackling gender equality. As a leader in CSIRO, she is working to enhance collaboration across the sector and turn more world-class research into benefits for the nation.



Professor Mark Parsons

Professor Mark Parsons holds a Personal Chair in High Performance Computing at the University of Edinburgh. He is the Director of EPCC, the University of Edinburgh’s supercomputing centre, a position he has held since 2016. He is also the Associate Dean for e-Research in the College of Science and Engineering, a role he has held since 2010. Professor Parsons joined EPCC following his PhD at CERN in 1994 to work as a software developer.

Professor Lisa Kewley

Professor Lisa Kewley became interested in astronomy after her parents in South Australia encouraged engagement with the sciences and she was influenced by a high school physics teachers and participation in school stargazing camp.

While in the US, Lisa  received the 2006 Annie Jump Cannon Award and the  2008 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for outstanding  achievement in observational astronomical research,  and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for  her work.

Lisa returned to ANU and Mt Stromlo in 2011 as a Professor and ARC Future Fellow for the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. She was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2014 and gained an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2015.

Dr Wolfgang Hayek

Dr Wolfgang Hayek is an HPC Research Software Engineer at New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) and manager of the scientific programming group at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), based at NIWA’s Greta Point campus in Wellington, New Zealand.

He obtained his PhD in astrophysics from ANU’s Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra and has many years of experience in scientific computing and high-performance computing in science and industry.

Wolfgang supports scientists across New Zealand with using HPC effectively for their research through consultancy and training, with particular focus on NIWA’s efforts in weather forecasting and climate simulation with the Unified Model.

Anna-Maria Arabia

Anna-Maria has over 20 years’ experience in the science sector and is an experienced Chief Executive currently leading the Australian Academy of Science, an independent not for profit organisation that provides authoritative and influential scientific advice, represents Australia on key international scientific bodies, builds public awareness and understanding of science, and champions and supports excellence in Australian science. 

In this role Anna-Maria has led significant reform in global science engagement, in science policy matters; and in addressing gender equity in science.

Starting her career as a neuroscientist, Anna-Maria undertook medical research in Australia and abroad, before applying her skills to policy development both in the Australian public service and in politics where she has provided policy advice across many social and economic portfolios.

She has held several senior executive positions in the science sector as CEO of Science  and Technology Australia and Deputy Director at Questacon. In these roles, Anna-Maria has worked extensively with parliamentarians, the business and community sectors, and the media.

She is a strategic and dispassionate advocate for science, social justice, diversity and inclusion.


Dr Thomas Keane

Thomas Keane is the team leader for the European Genome Phenome Archive (EGA) and the European Variation Archive (EVA) at EMBL-EBI. He is responsible for strategic planning for EGA and EVA, is a member of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) steering committee, and co-leads the Large-scale Genomics workstream. Before joining EMBL-EBI as Team Leader in 2016, Thomas led the Sequence Variation Infrastructure group in the Computational Genomics programme at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. His research interests are in using genomic technologies to understand biological processes, with a particular focus on rodent models for human disease. He is the scientific lead for the Mouse Genomes Project, a collaboration with the Wellcome Sanger Institute. He also holds an honoarary professorship at the University of Nottingham.


All About Data - All-Female Plenary Session

Dr Devika Kamath

Dr Devika Kamath is an astrophysicist and lecturer in astronomy & astrophysics at Macquarie University. She is internationally recognised for her work on observational studies of dying stars and their implications on the origin of elements in the Universe. Her research intertwines observational astronomy and theoretical astrophysics. She has produced over 50 scientific publications and won competitive access to telescopes around the world, for an in-kind value of more than a million AUD.

Dr. Kamath has recently been awarded a prestigious fellowship, the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), by the Australian Research Council (ARC) to further develop her research.

In acknowledgement of her contributions to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, she has recently been appointed as a 2019 Superstar of STEM, by Science and Technology, Australia (STA).


Dr Ann McCartney

Ann Mc Cartney is a Genomics Aotearoa postdoctoral fellow at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research. After completing her Genetics and Cell Biology degree here at DCU in 2012 where she graduated top of her class, she won IRCSET funding to complete her PhD in the Bioinformatics and Molecular Evolution under the supervision of Dr. Mary O’Connell (now in Nottingham University) in 2018. During her PhD, Ann identified and characterised fusion genes with a specific focus on primate genomes, producing a thesis entitled "Novel gene genesis by gene fusion: a network based approach".

Since moving to Auckland in New Zealand in 2018, she has worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher for the Genomics Aotearoa’s High Quality Genomes Project under Assistant Professor Thomas Buckley creating protocols for the sequencing and assembly of endemic New Zealand species including stick insects such as Clitarchus hookeri, fungi from the Herecium, venturia and pithomyces clades, birds such as the Hihi and Kakapo and honey suckle trees such as the rewarewa.


Dr Claire Krause

Claire Krause is the Assistant Director of Product Development in Digital Earth Australia; Geoscience Australia’s satellite imagery program. She is responsible for working with stakeholders to develop ideas and workflows for using our wealth of satellite information to better inform decision makers on Australia’s natural resources, with a particular focus on water.

Claire loves her job, and spends her days solving problems, writing Python code and learning about the Australian landscape.

Claire has a PhD in palaeoclimatology (the study of past climate) from ANU, where she studied the dynamics of the Indo-Australian monsoon over the last 40,000 years using stalagmites from caves, and palaeoclimate modelling. Her undergraduate degree is in meteorology, climatology and oceanography.

Dr Linden Ashcroft

Dr Linden Ashcroft is a lecturer in climate science and science communication at The University of Melbourne. Originally from country Victoria, Linden’s career has spanned the academic, government and non-for-profit sectors, working in climate science communication, citizen science and historical weather data rescue.

Her career highlights so far include presenting climate videos with the Bureau of Meteorology, working with farmers, librarians and volunteers to recover 19th century weather observations across the country, and being part of the winning team of the 2014 Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Research.

Linden is the Editor in Chief of Geoscience Data Journal, an international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to sharing scientific data. She is also an award-winning science communicator, and a regular on community radio in Melbourne. Linden is part of the 2019–2020 Science and Technology Australia Superstars of STEM program aimed at smashing society's gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM.

Dr Krista Steenbergen

Dr Krista Steenbergen is a Physics Lecturer in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). She completed her PhD under the supervision of Associate Professor Nicola Gaston, working on discovery and characterisation of nanoscale material properties. Her research focuses on materials modelling primarily at the first-principles (density functional theory, DFT) level of theory.

She is particularly interested in how material properties change - often in intriguing and counter-intuitive ways - when dimensionality is reduced.


Accommodation Options

Information on discount rates for accommodation during ALCS are available here.




Contact Information

E: nci.communications@anu.edu.au

P: +61 2 6125 4389




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