Over the past decade I've given numerous invited and contributed conference talks, seminars, and workshops, throughout the US, Europe, and Australia. The majority of these have focussed on astronomy research and building tech savvy research communities.

I also love talking about future technologies and the next generation ground and space–based astronomy facilities. The power of interactive story telling using historical datasets, and grassroots initiatives such as .Astronomy (pronounced "dot astronomy"), and Random Hacks of Kindness. 

During the past year, I had the pleasure of speaking at Future Assembly 2016 (Melbourne), .Astronomy8 (Oxford)  and ADASS XXVI (Trieste). This November I will be speaking at  .Astronomy9 in Cape Town, South Africa. The talk will be on  Web Technologies for Data-Driven Astronomy. Selected talks are available on Speaker Deck.

"My pick for talks today – How will AI shape the Future of Education, Data–Driven Discovery and the Most Ambitious Telescopes Ever Built, and The Future of Everything''

– Xavier Ho, Data-driven Design Engineer (CSIRO)
Future Assembly 2016

Feel free to contact me if you would like me to speak at a conference, a local event, meet-up group, or colloquium.


Data-Driven Discovery & The Most Ambitious Telescopes Ever Built

Launching in 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be the premier space observatory, replacing the Hubble Space Telescope and inspiring a new generation. High up in the foothills of the Andes, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will image the entire night sky, every few days, for an entire decade. In Australia and South Africa, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) — the ultimate big-data project — will be be largest and most technologically challenging radio-telescope ever constructed. The dishes of the SKA will produce 10 times the global internet traffic, will use enough optical fibre to wrap twice around the Earth!, and will be so sensitive that it will be able to detect an airport radar on a planet tens of light years away! In this talk l show you how these "time machines" enable to astronomers to study the dynamic universe in unprecedented detail, and allow us see all the way back to where it began.
Audiences will also gain insight into some of the mammoth technological and computational challenges faced by engineers, instrument scientists, data wranglers, that need to be solved first. 

This talk is tailored to academics, tech communities and general audiences.

When Academia Meets Tech: The Power of Savvy Research Communities

The rise of data science in the technology industry and its prevalence in academia is creating a new generation of tech savvy astronomers, eager to explore new approaches and embrace new techniques and tools and to manipulate, explore, analyse, and interpret complex datasets.

Through tech-focussed astronomy conferences, researchers now have a broader range of research, programming and software development skills in their arsenal than traditionally needed for everyday astronomy research and data analysis. The result is highly skilled network of tech-savvy astronomers, that have the ability to contribute to the growth of data-intensive capability, for example better-handing of SKA, LSST and JWST data processing and products, data analysis and web–based tools to maximise early science discoveries and societal impact. 

Tech savvy researcher communities also serve as a conduit to the tech industry. Each year the Astro Hack Week and  .Astronomy (pronounced "dot astro"), conferences bring together astronomers, researchers, software developers, technologists, science communicators and educators to discuss issues around scientific computing and astronomy on the web. They provide a forum for engaging with tech companies – engagement includes Google, GitHub & Microsoft Research, and in some cases kickstarting ongoing grassroots collaboration. They also help facilitate career transition from academia into data science and other tech roles within industry.

This talk is tailored to tech communities interested in engaging with scientists, and academic research groups interested in building tech skills

Storytelling with Data: Interactive Visualisation of the Apollo Missions

NASA's Apollo program ran from 1961 to 1975 and included both manned and unmanned space missions. These missions culminated with the series of first manned Moon landings between 1969 and 1972. There exists a rich historical dataset around these missions, including photographic images, news articles and data on the various rocket technologies. 

Interactive data visualisations using the D3.js libraries, and TimelineJS, enable us to recreate some of these fantastic stories, and bring the drama back to life for a new generation. 

This talk is tailored to storytellers, science communicators, data visualisation enthusiasts, and general audiences

Freelance Work

I take on small bespoke projects where there is an underlying problem to be solved, and where I know I can create something of high value, that results in a significant impact.

I've worked on diverse range of projects that include;

  • Identifying gaps in scientific computing capability
  • Developing working group & consultation papers
  • Researching best practise & strategies around gender equity
  • Reviewing business processes & technical needs
  • Providing tech mentoring to social enterprises & small businesses 
  • UX/UI research
  • Research and copy writing for the web
  • Writing grant applications
  • Designing presentations & pitches
  • Designing & developing academic research websites
  • Designing & developing websites for small business

In addition to my paid freelance work, I also serve on two advisory committees for Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL), that provide advice and recommendations for big-data and virtual laboratory projects, address scientific computing requirements for the broader astronomical community, and contribute to the long-term strategy for the Astronomy Data & Computing Services (ADACS) initiative. I am also a member of the Melbourne Organising Committee for Random Hack of Kindness (RHoK) Australia.

If you are interested in my work and would like to chat, please don't hesitate to get in touch.