Andrew Merdith


PhD Candidate

Room 414, Madsen Building F09
Phone: +61 2 9351 8093

Supervisor: Professor Dietmar Müller
Associate Supervisors: Dr. Stephen Hardy (NICTA)
Dr. Simon Williams


IEF project: Big Data Knowledge Discovery

The School of Geosciences EarthByte Group teamed with NICTA, SIRCA and Macquarie University in 2013 to unearth ‘big data’ insights for the natural sciences. This $12M, three-year research and innovation project will advance fundamental mathematics and statistics to provide a framework, methodologies and tools for data-enabled scientific insight and discovery. It is supported by $4M from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) and $8M from the research collaborators over the life of a three-year research project. It will combine NICTA’s world-class machine learning capabilities and SIRCA’s expertise in big data software engineering with three areas of physical science research including "Geosciences and Earth dynamics and tectonics".

How do we distinguish underlying trends in datasets from random variations - or ‘noise’ - and extract the meaningful information? Can we find out what Australia looked like 1.5 billion years ago when it consisted of 5 continents surrounded by rings of fire generating some of the world’s richest metal deposits? These are the sorts of questions the project will address. More details on the geoscience part of the project can be found here.


  • Merdith A.S., Landgrebe, T., Dutkiewicz, A. and Müller, R.D., 2013, Towards a predictive model for opal exploration using a spatio-temporal data mining approach. Australian Journal of Earth Science. 60 (2) pp. 217-229
  • Landgrebe, T., Merdith, A.S., Dutkiewicz, A and Müller, R.D., 2013, Relationships between palaeogeography and opal occurrence in Australia: A data-mining approach. Computers & Geoscience. 56, pp. 76-82


  • Merdith, A.S., 2011, The Formation of Australian Sedimentary Opal: New Insights from Data Mining and Opal Geochemistry [Bachelor of Education (Secondary Science)/Bachelor of Science (Hons): University of Sydney, 106 p


  • Merdith A.S., Landgrebe, T., Dutkiewicz, A. and Rey, P., Opal Formation and Exploration: Data Mining to Determine Patterns and Correlations of Opal Deposits, 7th National Opal Symposium, Lightning Ridge, 2011