Melanie Johnston-Hollitt – Chair Murchison Widefield Array Board, member SKA Organisation Board of Directors & Leader Astrophysics Group. Senior Lecturer – Physics. School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington.








Presentation at Computing for SKA workshop

Extracting Value from Big Data

Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, VUW


The SKA project has repeatedly been described at the largest computing project in the world, capable of generating massive amounts of data which all need to be processed efficiently in order to extract scientific value. Part of the challenge to extract value from the SKA will be in developing automated processes that can shift through the data and order and classify it into digestible pieces. The pipelines needed to deal with this ‘big data’ problem are the subject of part of the SKA design study. I will present an overview of this channel and discuss some of the specifics of the problem for the SKA and how these aspects might be further generalized to other ‘big data’ areas.



Dr Johnston-Hollitt holds a PhD in radio astronomy gained under the supervision of Professor Ron Ekers at the CSIRO in Australia. She has spent more than a decade working on large international radio telescope projects including the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Having working in the Netherlands & Australia she is currently the leader of the Astrophysics Group at Victoria University of Wellington and Chair of the Board of the Murchison Widefield Array – an SKA Precursor telescope for which she is also the NZ Principal Investigator. She has been involved in the SKA project since 2003 and was one of the authors of the SKA science case in 2004. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the SKA Organisation, co-chair of one of the SKA Science Working Groups responsible for ensuring science outcomes from the telescope and a task leader in the Science Data Processor (SDP) consortium for the data analysis pipelines that will deliver scientific value from the telescope.


webpage Victoria University of Wellington