Professor Melanie Johnston-Hollitt is an internationally prominent radio astronomer known for her work on the design, construction and governance of large-scale, international radio telescopes. She is currently Director of the 60 million dollar Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope which is operated by a consortium of 21 institutions spanning 6 countries and involving 270 individual researchers.
Previously she chaired the international MWA Board and was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation Ltd., which is tasked with building the world’s largest 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 SKA which will be hosted in both Australia and South Africa. These instruments produce massive quantities of data, 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 works with teams across the world investigating how best to meet the science challenges of these next generation instruments in the big data era.