Melanie Johnston-Hollitt is an internationally prominent radio astronomer, the director of astronomy and astrophysics at Victoria University of Wellington, and CEO of Peripety Scientific Ltd., an astrophysics and data analytics research company based in Wellington, New Zealand. Melanie serves as chair of the board of the $60 million Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope and is 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 nearly 20-year career, she 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, Melanie’s recent interests span the intersection between radio astronomy, signal processing, and big data analytics. She leads a multidisciplinary team in Wellington that is investigating how best to meet the science challenges of these next-generation instruments in the big data era.
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