C3DIS – 2018 Highlights


C3DIS – the Collaborative Conference on Computational and Data Intensive Science – aims to build a national community of practice of scientists, researchers, and computing, data and information management specialists and this year’s conference was a huge success.

Check out the highlights below and don’t forget to visit the official C3DIS conference website at www.c3dis.com.

Highlights included:

A stellar range of keynotes and presenters

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In fact, there were so many we can’t show them all here!

Excellent feedback

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Increased attendance and broader engagement


2018 was the first year we extended the C3DIS audience from CSIRO to include the other PFRAs with staff from Geoscience Australia, Defence Science and Technology Group and the Bureau of Meteorology helping construct the program, chair sessions, and give presentations. However it didn’t end there with over 60 organisations sending delegates!

Over a dozen workshops

Covering a range of areas – more information and photos on their way!

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Student and teacher engagement

2018 was also the first year that we incorporated outreach activities targeted for STEM teachers and students with a STEM Data Visualisation Competition for Year 10-12 Students, as well as Teacher Integrated STEM & Data Science Workshop.

Here’s the feedback from Eltham High School who had 15 Year 12 Biology students attend:

Students had the opportunity of seeing cutting-edge scientific discoveries and their real-world applications, in play. The consensus was that it was a pleasant surprise to see the advancements in, and focus on, artificial intelligence and machine learning by major tech companies. A number of students who are considering a career path in Science were able to meet leading scientists and learn first-hand about their career trajectories and passions. In particular, students were astounded by the presentation on AeroFarms (vertical farms) run by data scientists in New Jersey, USA, where each plant was treated as an individual data point. The possibilities, students realised, were endless.

The school is focusing on integrating general capabilities into the curriculum, and appreciated the link to intercultural capability presented in the Indigenous Astronomy session, which actually triggered conversations around the applications of Physics. The class was quite appreciative of the gender balance among the presenters, as too often, leading scientists and tech gurus portrayed in the media are male.

The students shared their impressions of the conference:

“It was great for young students like us who are currently exploring our future career paths, to be having conversations and seeing presentations by professionals and leaders in our fields of interest, as it provides us with new information and opens our minds to new possibilities.”

– Charlie, Year 12

“I was blown away by the applications of technology in various unexpected fields, such as the vertical and dairy farms. I had no idea artificial intelligence was such a priority for Google – it has made me think about my future career plans”.

– Liam, Year 12

 “I’m just happy to see that my passion for Science is justified by the wonderful work that is happening in various scientific domains. I’m so pumped now to finish year 12 and get to university where I can hone in on my interests”.

– Anna, Year 11

 “I’m from an Indigenous background, and to see a young female scientist from a similar background talk about Indigenous Astronomy was really eye-opening – I think I may have found my new interest!”

– Tovani, Year 12

Parkes Radio Telescope

Huge shoutout to the wonderful staff from the Parks Radio Telescope who kindly offered attendees the opportunity to control the telescope, and also to our wonderful panellists for our family-friendly public seminar – Data Intensive Science: from Astronomy to Zoology –  Chris Krishna-Pillay (MC), Dr Amanda Caples (Victorian Lead Scientist), Dr Alan Duffy (Swinburne University astrophysicist and Lead Scientist of Australia’s Science Channel), Dr Linda McIver (Executive Director, Australian Data Science Education Institute) and Dr Amy Heffernan (Analytical Chemist and Researcher, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health).

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We were also delighted to have an Indigenous Astronomy presentation by the wonderful Astro-Kirsten Banks!

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And nothing could hold back the excitement of our proud poster competition winner Katie Hannan!

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And a wonderful range of social networking events throughout the program!

And last – but definitely not least – a huge thank-you to my fellow C3DIS conference Organising Committee members – John Zic and Loretta Davis – with conference support by Conference Design:

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In summary – it was a wonderful program filled with world-class speakers, combined with exceptional networking opportunities throughout the week. Thank-you all for your enthusiastic participation throughout the conference!

Planning is now underway for C3DIS 2019 – please direct all queries or suggestions to the team at Conference Design (mail@conferencedesign.com.au).

Sam Moskwa
CEO, Australasian eResearch Organisations (AeRO)