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, University of Melbourne, until 31 December 2017
  • Arna Karick, Swinburne University of Technology, 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
  • Lindsay Botten, NCI Director (ex-officio)
  • Jarrod Hurley, Swinburne University of Technology Supercomputer Manager (ex-officio)
  • Jenni Harrison, Pawsey Director of Strategic Projects, Communication and Engagement (ex-officio)
  • Astronomy Australia Ltd Board representative (TBC)



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