QCIF partners with AURIN to benefit Queensland urban development AURIN logo

QCIF has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN), establishing QCIF as AURIN’s representative in Queensland. 
AURIN is an NCRIS-funded national collaboration providing e-research infrastructure to deliver better data and enable better decision-making in research and government for Australia’s urban settlements and their future development.
QCIF Outreach and Engineering Manager Gavin Kennedy is leading the ‘AURIN at QCIF’ initiative and is developing a program to:
  • expand the AURIN data portfolio in areas of interest to Queensland, such as transport, energy, property and socio-economics
  • establish and educate AURIN research champions and super-users
  • embed AURIN into significant collaborative projects with QCIF's members, Queensland Government, local government agencies and Queensland industry. 
If you would like to participate in this initiative and make use of AURIN's powerful spatial analytics workbench please contact Gavin:

QRIScloud's Help Desk adds phone support 

QRIScloud’s Help Desk now provides business hours phone support. You can rphoneeach the Help Desk by calling 07 3346 4202.

The primary channel for accessing help is still by emailing:

Visit the QRIScloud 'Getting support' webpage for further options and information.

Are you backing up your volume storage?

On Wednesday, 20 January a series of minor incidents combined to form a perfect storm situation resulting in QRIScloud disabling one of its compute cloud volume storage clusters to avoid its complete failure. 
During the repair some data may have been lost for a single user who is aware of the problem. 
This is a timely reminder to volume storage users that, unlike QRISdata file storage where all stored data is replicated twice, it is a user responsibility to backup any of the data they have stored on volume storage. See QRISguide section 2.1 (under ‘Computational Storage’) for more information.
QRIScloud does not automatically backup volume storage: users should take care to regularly copy data stored there to other storage options, such as a QRIScloud collection.
The Wednesday, 20 January outage lasted about 70 hours, while the storage was brought back into operation. 29 NeCTAR projects that had VM instances with volume storage attached were suspended for the outage duration to prevent them from writing to their volumes and risking file corruption. Once the storage cluster was returned to service, the affected VM instances were unsuspended and resumed operation.
QRIScloud’s Help Desk kept affected users informed throughout the outage.
To discuss storage options suitable for backing up your volume, please contact the QRIScloud Help Desk:

Two relevant FAQs on this topic are: 

Light-speed microscope image processing 

Researchers are able to view high-resolution microscopy data in a fraction of the previous time, thanks to smart application stacks and repurposing of available technology. This means more research impact and more efficient use of cutting-edge research instruments.
“QBI’s microscopy facilities have the ability to generate terabytes of data per day," said Jake Carroll, UQ Queensland Brain Institute’s Senior IT Manager, Research. “This data needs uploading to permanent storage for curation, cloud-based analysis and research collaboration.”
Storage supplier SGI together with UQ’s RCC and QRIScloud reconfigured existing storage to form a fast Ceph volume storage utility capable of accelerating QBI image upload to four times the previous speed. 
Combined with the OMERO platform commissioned by QBI, this enabled the automated and structured storage and manipulation of biological microscopy data enabling centralised handling of microscopy images in a secure repository running on QCIF’s research cloud platform, QRIScloud.
“As a bonus, the image and microscopy hardware/software metadata is automatically uploaded and captured in OMERO eliminating a time-consuming and error-prone manual process,” said Mr Carroll.
The benefits are spreading: More UQ institutions have started using the OMERO platform and other universities are interested in collaborating using the national infrastructure.
If you would like to know more about OMERO and Ceph storage or any other QRIScloud service, please contact QCIF at

QBI's Jake Carroll
Jake Carroll, QBI's Senior IT Manager (Research), says their microscopes can generate terabytes of data per day. (Photo by Nick Valmas, QBI.)

USQ and CQU adopt QRIScloud as a trusted service provider USQ logo  CQU logo

QRIScloud has become an accepted, trusted and integrated part of the portfolio of information infrastructure services offered by the University of Southern Queensland and CQ University to their research teams. 
Other Queensland universities are part way through an agreed endorsement procedure that acknowledges the service quality, reliability, security and privacy demonstrated by QRIScloud. This involves a formal process of evaluation and acceptance. 
Researchers at CQU and USQ can take advantage of the leading edge QRIScloud research methods, compute cloud and data collection storage and access with confidence. QCIF looks forward to significant increases in their usage and uptake as a result..
QCIF CEO Rob Cook said the endorsements are "testament to QCIF's solid work over the years as a provider of high performance and cloud computing services and infrastructure for Queensland, coupled with robust support, to achieve excellence in collaborative research."  

Situation vacant: QRIScloud Systems Engineer

QRIScloud is looking for a junior cloud systems engineer to assist with operating and maintaining QRIScloud services.
The position involves working with an expert team that keeps QRIScloud operating at peak performance and delivering excellent service to its research users. This includes development work to add new services, improve existing ones and improve customer interaction. 
QRIScloud is a large production research cloud including thousands of cores (operating under OpenStack) and petabytes of data storage, interlinked with the national research infrastructure and to high performance computers.
Become a key member of a small, innovative and agile team. The appointee will be guided and mentored by experts, with the opportunity to develop and broaden their technical skills as they work with a wide range of cutting-edge technologies.
See the QRIScloud website for more information. 

ReDBox Lite webinar 

When: Wednesday, 9 March 2016, 10-11am AEST 
Where: Online. Register.
Description: ReDBox is Australia’s most popular data management solution for managing, describing, publishing and sharing research data collections. The newest member of the ReDBox family is ReDBox Lite. Join this webinar to hear all about ReDBox Lite and how it might be the solution for your institution as well as see a live ReDBox Lite demonstration. 
ReDBox logo

Brisbane's first ResBaz becomes ResBuzz 

The success of the inaugural Brisbane Research Bazaar earlier this month took even its organisers by surprise.
The Research Bazaar — usually shortened to ResBaz — quickly turned into ResBuzz as its 180 attendees embraced everything this research festival had to offer. The event hashtag #resbazbris even trended on Twitter.
Held at QUT’s Gardens Point campus, the event (1–3 February) offered Software Carpentry workshops in Python and R, a Library Carpentry session, key stories, lightning talks, a digital poster session and a Knowledge Bazaar where people exchanged information about tools and skills. 
There were stalls from ANDS, AOASG, ODI Queensland, AURIN, and libraries from QUT, UQ, USQ and Griffith University.
Most attendees were RHD students and came from as far afield as Darwin and Lismore.
UQ key story speakers Associate Professor Lachlan Coin (who said ResBaz was “an amazing event to be a part of”) talked about open peer review while Dr Maggie Hardy spoke about using social media for research communication.
QCIF offered three Raspberry Pi's as prizes for the event’s DNA-based icebreaker game. The winners were UQ’s Paloma Corvalan and Griffith’s Nicholas Jackson and Zainul Abdin.
To see photos and tweets about all the events at Brisbane ResBaz, visit Storify

QCIF Pi winner Paloma Corvalan
ResBaz QCIF prize winner Paloma Corvalan receiving her Raspberry Pi from Gavin Kennedy, QCIF Outreach and Engineering Manager .

ResBaz Brisbane
ResBaz Brisbane attendees at the digital poster session. (Photos by Belinda Weaver, QCIF.)

Software and Data Carpentry for next generation researcher training

With computation becoming a vital part of almost all research, the question of how researchers acquire coding and data analysis skills is becoming increasingly important.
The Next Generation Researcher Training Models seminar at UQ on 8 February explored a range of different models for skills acquisition. It attracted more than 160 researchers from a wide range of disciplines and Queensland universities.
Jonah Duckles, Executive Director, Software Carpentry Foundation, and a key figure in the worldwide movement, outlined the Software Carpentry model. Carpentry is very much peer to peer and grounded in educational theory and is taking off in venues, like ResBaz (see above), around the world.
Dr Nick Hamilton, the self-styled ‘friendly face of bio-maths’, discussed the UQ Winter School and his own drop-in bioinformatics consulting clinics.
QCIF's Belinda Weaver summarised ResBaz’s strengths for building skills and community while Heidi Perrett and Amanda Miotto from Griffith University talked about the success of their regular Hacky Hour sessions at different campuses.
The seminar's formal part was followed by a lively exchange of needs and ideas chaired by Linda O’Brien, PVC (Information Systems), Griffith University.

Next Generation Researcher Training Models Seminar
Attendees of the Next Generation Researcher Training Models seminar. (Photo by Dr Nick Hamilton, QCIF.)

ELIXIR Director calls for closer collaboration between Australia and Europe Dr Niklas Blomberg 

The Director of ELIXIR, sustainable European infrastructure for biological information, called for a path towards Australian membership in ELIXIR in his report delivered following his recent Australia tour.
Dr Niklas Blomberg (pictured) visited Australia in late 2015 as a guest of VLSCI and EMBL Australia, with funding support from Bioplatforms Australia.
During his tour, Dr Blomberg delivered an RCC, EMBL Australia and QCIF co-sponsored seminar at UQ about ELIXIR and life sciences data across public and private sectors.
After his tour, Dr Blomberg reported: “I took home that Australia in general and those institutes I visited are well placed to serve the bioinformatics needs of local users. Furthermore, there exist many parallels with European data infrastructure efforts that could be leveraged for mutual benefit. Closer collaboration with ELIXIR should be encouraged with the long-term goal of membership in ELIXIR by Australia the most effective way of achieving this global cooperation.”
Read Dr Blomberg’s full report with an EMBL Australia introduction.

QCIF helps mint 20 potential Software Carpentry instructors for Australia

QCIF organised and hosted the inaugural Brisbane Software Carpentry/Data Carpentry instructor training workshop across 18–19 January at UQ, graduating 20 people qualified to become instructors.
Dr Aleksandra Pawlik, Training Lead at the UK’s Software Sustainability Institute, conducted the workshop with sessions and challenges ranging from the theoretical — of how and why people learn (or fail to learn) — to the practical with individuals teaching-to-camera, followed by an assessment of what did and didn’t work.
QCIF eResearch Analysts Dr Francis Gacenga (USQ) and Jason Bell (CQU) attended, as did Jay van Schyndel from QRIScloud at JCU. Five people attended from Sydney, two from Canberra, and the other 10 came from UQ, QUT, JCU and Griffith University.
Attendees will need to teach a workshop within the next six months to become an accredited instructor.

Software Carpentry Instructor Training at UQ, 18–19 January 2016
Dr Aleksandra Pawlik (standing) leading the final session of Brisbane's Software Carpentry/Data Carpentry instructor training on 19 January. (Photo by Belinda Weaver, QCIF.)

QRIScloud is funded by the Australian Government, the Queensland State Government and the QCIF member universities. The Australian Government directs funds through the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) Project (led by The University of Melbourne), and the Research Data Storage Infrastructure Project, completed in 2015, and the Research Data Services (RDS) Project (both data projects led by The University of Queensland) using the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and Education Investment Fund (EIF). The Queensland Government directs funds through the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) and its Co-investment Fund.

       USQ logo


      RDS logo
February 2016


Upcoming Events

* 23 Feb, UQ Hacky Hour, St Lucia

* 4 March, Open Data Day, ODI Queensland, Spring Hill

* 9 March, ReDBox Lite webinar, online

* 16 March, Sharing Health-y Data: Challenges and Solutions, TRI, Brisbane

Sharing scientific data: Astronomy as a case study for a change in paradigm

Featured video

RCC seminar series: UQ's Research Computing Centre has posted the videos from its 2015 seminar series on its new YouTube channel. View videos on talks by Prof Tony Hey, Prof Jack Dongarra and Prof Chris Johnson (all from the U.S.), as well as other world leaders in their field. Watch

Featured Article

7 January 2014—'Best Practices for Scientific Computing', PLOS Biology

climate change

Featured Collection

BCCVL: The Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory (BCCVL) is enabling researchers to tackle data modelling without needing technical skills. More

Milestones and Metrics

QRIScloud is now storing 185 data collections, with an additional 10 collections in the process of being approved.

QRIScloud has approved 9 PB of storage for collections, with 4.7 PB currently ingested.
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