New App to energise future

A new CSIRO App will gather vital information about the way households consume, generate and interact with energy, and help inform future energy decisions and solutions.

CSIRO is calling on all Australians to be ‘citizen scientists’ and contribute to a better understanding of energy use and needs, simply by using the new CSIRO Energise app.

By using the app, citizens will help to paint a clearer picture with solid data that can help overcome information gaps around households energy costs, what is driving these costs, and how to reduce them in the future.

The app is a key component of CSIRO’s Energy Use Data Model project, which is collating, centralising and enhancing various streams of energy data.

Until now, this information has never been brought together, and the resulting platform will benefit researchers, government and industry.

Over time, users of CSIRO Energise will receive a range of ‘micro-surveys’ covering general household characteristics, tariffs and power costs, energy-usage patterns, appliances, uptake of renewables, and more.

Above: CSIRO is calling on all Australians to be ‘citizen scientists’ and contribute to a better understanding of energy use and needs, simply by using the new CSIRO Energise app.

The app will follow users’ responses over time and ask questions in response to specific events, like how air conditioning is used on hot days, and how that can then improve understanding and management of peak energy consumption.

CSIRO Energise is intended as a two-way communication channel, with users receiving insights including tips for energy efficiency in the home, cutting-edge research updates, and short videos from scientists.

Data collected through the app remains on Australian servers, features data encryption and is only accessible to authorised users.

CSIRO Energy Director Dr Tim Finnigan said that by taking part, households across the country will provide valuable data to support the science that will ultimately improve our national energy systems.

“We know the way Australians use energy is changing, but it’s important for us to know how quickly, and what’s driving that change,” Dr Finnigan said.

CSIRO Energise will help fill missing pieces of the puzzle with robust, objective data in areas where our knowledge is lacking. This will ensure that CSIRO can continue to drive the innovation that guides an affordable, sustainable and reliable energy system.”

Australians are invited to make a valuable contribution to this work by completing these short surveys over time, telling us more about their energy world.

To join the CSIRO Energise team, you can download the app from your favourite store today.

Project update – June/July

The community planting days and associated activities were the major focus at CSIRO Ginninderra in May/June. Over the course of two days, we were delighted to see more than 100 community volunteers including local residents, families and Cub Scouts turn out to help deliver this important initiative.

A big thank you to all planters, the Ginninderra Catchment Group, and our community partners for making these events such a success. The combined efforts in regenerating a shrub layer in the Box Gum Woodlands and Dry Forests at Ginninderra is most appreciated.

A special thanks also goes to Ngunnawal Custodian Wally Bell, who led the Welcome to Country and indigenous heritage interpretation at the May 27 planting day, held concurrently with National Reconciliation week.

As our effort to find a development partner continues, our project and science teams are working hard on CSIRO’s science contribution and all elements for consideration in a sustainable urban development.

We are looking forward to engaging further with various community groups and the broader community over the coming months.

Supercharging science with supercomputers

Computers have come a long way since we created Australia’s first digital computer in 1949. These days we utilise high-performance supercomputers to supercharge science across a wide range of disciplines.

CSIRAC was the name of Australia’s first digital computer created by a CSIRO team almost 70 years ago.  CSIRAC was an incredibly powerful machine at its time –the fifth such machine to be built anywhere in the world.

Above: One of CSIRAC’s creators Trevor Pearcey, working with the computer in 1952.

How things have changed since. A regulation smartphone now has about seven million times the processing power of the original CSIRAC. One thing that hasn’t changed is the tremendous supercomputing support for science, and CSIRO’s ongoing role as a big player in this space.

Through key collaborations, we host or contribute to Australia’s two peak high-performance supercomputing facilities: the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, at our Kensington site in Western Australia; and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) at the Australian National University, in Canberra.

Above: World-class supercomputing at the Pawsey Centre. ©Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre is hosting new supercomputing facilities and expertise to support astronomy (the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) pathfinder research), geoscience, ocean movements, health and other areas of high-end science. The Centre is a joint venture between CSIRO and four partner universities, and is supported by the Western Australian and Federal Governments.

Each year, Pawsey is used by 1500 researchers who use the supercomputers to speed up or make possible new scientific outcomes. For example, one medical researcher carrying out genetic analysis can use Pawsey’s current systems to do about a year’s worth of work, in five hours.

Based at the ANU, NCI is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s fastest supercomputer, high-performance research cloud, fast filesystems and Australia’s largest research data repository.

Above: Raijin, NCI’s peak high-performance computing system in Canberra. ©National Computational Infrastructure.

NCI’s priority areas are climate science, earth systems, and national water management. NCI is playing an active and increasing role in gene-sequencing work (genomics) and next-generation approaches to medical research.

NCI operates as a formal collaboration between the ANU, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia, together with partnerships with a number of research-intensive universities, supported by the Australian Research Council. It is supported by the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

Supercomputers are making new and deeper science possible and raising the ambition, impact, and outcomes of Australian research.