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Melanie Johnston-Hollitt    

Prominent Radio Astronomer, Director of the Murchison Widefield Array Radio Telescope

Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt is an internationally prominent radio astronomer working in the space between astrophysics, computer science, and big data. She is Director of the Curtin Institute for Computation, a cross-disciplinary research accelerator based on the use of high-performance computing, and Director of the 65 million dollar Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope. In her 20-year career, Prof. Johnston-Hollitt has been involved in design, construction and operation of several major radio telescopes including the Low Frequency Array in the Netherlands, the MWA in Australia and the billion-dollar Square Kilometre Array (SKA) which will be hosted in both Australia and South Africa. These instruments produce massive quantities of data, in the case of the SKA it will be in the realms of exabytes per day requiring new and disruptive technologies to allow value to be extracted from the data deluge. As a result, Prof. Johnston-Hollitt’s recent interests span the intersection between radio astronomy, signal processing, and big data analytics and she leads two multi-discipline teams in Perth, Australia investigating how best to meet the science challenges of these next generation instruments in the big data era.

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