Astronomy eResearch Advisory Committee (AeRAC)

Terms of Reference

The Astronomy eResearch Advisory Committee is a committee of Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL). The purpose of AeRAC is to assist AAL by executing the following:

  • Consider the astronomy services provided by Australia's national high performance computing facilities;
  • Monitor and assess the performance of high performance computing facilities and eResearch projects funded by AAL;
  • Keep the AAL Board apprised of developments or gaps in astronomy's eResearch access, and of any emerging opportunities, and provide it with strategic advice accordingly;
  • Advise AAL on how to progress the federation of national astronomy datasets vision.


  • Members of AeRAC are appointed by the AAL Board for a fixed term, with the possibility of renewal.


  • Chris Power, University of Western Australia, until 31 December 2018 (Chair)
  • Greg Poole, Swinburne University of Technology, until 31 December 2017
  • Arna Karick, Freelance Astronomy&Scientific Consultant, until 31 December 2017
  • Alex Heger, Monash University, until 31 December 2017
  • Andreas Wicenec, University of Western Australia, until 31 December 2018
  • Katrina Sealey, AAO, until 31 December 2018
  • Mark Krumholz, Australian National University, until 31 December 2018
  • Matthew Whiting, CSIRO, until 31 December 2018
  • Ben Evans, NCI (ex-officio)
  • Jarrod Hurley, Swinburne University of Technology Supercomputer Manager (ex-officio)
  • Jenni Harrison, Pawsey Director of Strategic Projects, Communication and Engagement (ex-officio)
  • Chris Tinney, Astronomy Australia Ltd Board representative (ex-officio)



Computing Infrastructure Planning Working Group (CIPWG)

Terms of Reference

This working group comprises AeRAC members and several external experts, and was established by AAL in October 2015 with a one year term. The purpose of CIPWG is to advise AAL on appropriate investments over the 5-year period beginning 1/7/2016, in order to achieve the computational and software goals in the Australian Astronomy Decadal Plan 2016-2025. Taking into account the broader context of “eResearch” funding and facilities in Australia, the working group was asked to:

  • Assess the Australian astronomy community’s computing and software infrastructure requirements over the next 5 years, including:
    • Access to astronomy datasets. The working group should define the: types of datasets that should be supported, modes of access and storage, options for federation of datasets, and software requirements;
    • Access to computational infrastructure. The working group should define the technical specifications, and minimum level of access, for computational infrastructure that would meet the community’s needs for the next 5 years;
  • Identify expected gaps in astronomy's computing and software infrastructure over the next 5 years;
  • Recommend investments in computing and software infrastructure for astronomy over the next 5 years, taking into account expected levels of funding through AAL and the broader context of eResearch funding and facilities in Australia;
  • Recommend strategies and investments to provide support and training to the astronomy community to maximise the effective use of computing resources;
  • Identify and report on international examples of successful implementations of collaborative computing and software infrastructure for astronomers, and/or successful local/international examples in other disciplines.


CIPWG comprises all members of AeRAC, plus:

  • Orsola De Marco, Macquarie University
  • Chris Power, University of Western Australia
  • Andreas Wicenec, University of Western Australia

 Final Report 

 Computing Infrastructure Planning Working Group Report