veski delivers Deakin double act

20 October

veski innovation fellow, Tiffany Walsh and her husband Matthew Hodges have not stopped since returning to Victoria in early 2012 - and neither show any signs of slowing down.

The modern day chemist, who uses high-speed computers to research new materials, was recently promoted to a full professorship at Deakin University in the Institute of Frontier Materials.

In September, Tiffany was appointed to the Australian Research Council's College of Experts, which is a highly prestigious award that recognises the impact and contributions of its members, who are experts of international standing drawn from the Australian research community.

Tiffany has also welcomed her husband, Matthew, to the Deakin University campus at Geelong, and is enjoying having him closer to home. The new job follows his previous move to the Victorian Life Sciences Computational Initiative; slowly getting closer to his wife’s lab!

And when Tiffany is not taking advantage of Victoria’s super-speed computers for her research or enjoying the coastal lifestyle with Matthew, she can be found conducting interviews for radio, television and newspapers on a cutting-edge project she is collaborating on with the US Air Force.

Her latest piece has been a contribution to The Conversation, in which her work drew comparison to Harry Potter.

Recently, veski spent five minutes with Tiffany and Matthew to find out more about their Deakin double act.

Matthew, tell us about your new role at Deakin and what it involves?

My new role is as a Systems Administrator in the e-Solutions department at Deakin. I am a member of a team that manages IT infrastructure across all the university campuses, and also provides user support. A lot of the work is behind the scenes, and it is a significant challenge to keep a wide range of services running smoothly from the end-user point of view.

Tiffany, what are the opportunities for collaboration or sharing/talking about your work with your husband?

There are great opportunities for collaboration, via our shared interests in high-performance computing (HPC). Matt's expertise and experience in HPC environments (such as the VLSCI, where he worked previously) could bring enormous benefit to the e-Research division at e-Solutions, particularly with Deakin's roll-out this year of a Collaboration Agreement with the National Computing Infrastructure (NCI). This link with NCI will benefit many researchers across Deakin. Also, Matt's continuing connections with key staff at the VLSCI helps to maintain good links between Deakin and this extremely important research infrastructure.

Matthew, what are you looking forward to/enjoying about working closer to home and at Deakin?

Apart from the obvious benefits of spending less time commuting, I'm looking forward to having more time to spend in and around Torquay, and taking up some new pursuits - for example, I'm currently working towards getting certification for open water scuba diving.

Deakin is at the forefront of taking on the challenges of a rapidly-evolving digital future - the Digital Disruption, if you like - and I'm looking forward to working in a team that will meet the needs of future generations of students, and academic and other members of staff at Deakin.

Tiffany, what’s the best part about having Matt working closer to home?

The alarm clock is not set for such an early time in the mornings any more!! I think the best thing about Matt's reduction in commute time is his enhanced well-being, and seeing his clear pleasure in enjoying his new-found free time.

Matt, you’re both very accomplished professionals in your own rights, what have been your key achievements to date in your career?

I worked in the UK providing Grid computing resources for physicists using the Large Hadron Collider (the so-called Big Bang Machine). So, in a sense, I played a small part in the discovery of the Higgs boson!

Matt, what have been your highlights of your time since you’ve returned to Victoria?

Well, for me this wasn't a return to Victoria, unless you count the few weeks I had spent here on holiday prior to migrating from the UK!

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