Astrophysicist Melanie Johnston-Hollitt To Keynote WWW2017

Will Explain How Exploring The Night Sky Is Helping Make Sense Out Of Big Data

Melanie Johnston-Hollitt

Melanie Johnston-Hollitt

The organisers of the 26th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2017) today announced that Square Kilometre Array radio astronomer Melanie Johnston-Hollitt will be the third keynote speaker at the event, which will take place in Perth, Australia from 3-7 April 2017, as part of Perth’s inaugural Festival of the Web.

Working at the intersection of astrophysics, computer science and big data, Melanie Johnston-Hollitt is Director of Astrophysics at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), CEO of Peripety Scientific Ltd, Chair of the Board of the 60 million dollar Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope in Australia, and founding member of the Board of Directors of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation, which is tasked with building the world’s largest radio telescope at locations in Western Australia and South Africa.

In her nearly 20 year career, Melanie has been involved in the design, construction and operation of several major radio telescopes including the Low Frequency Array in the Netherlands in addition to the MWA and the SKA. These instruments produce massive quantities of data, in the case of the SKA somewhere in the realm of 160 petabytes per day, requiring new and disruptive technologies to allow value to be extracted from the data deluge.

At WWW2017, Melanie will talk about the impact of Big Data research methodologies on her work with the Square Kilometre Array, and her quest to develop new algorithms that are helping make sense not only of the night sky (an object of fascination since she was a child) but also to solve the challenge of turning huge amounts of data into workable knowledge.

Melanie joins head of Yahoo Research Yoelle Maarek and futurist Mark Pesce as keynote speakers at WWW2017, where she will additionally take part in a panel discussion on Big Data with representatives from the CSIRO and Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.