Streamlining Collaboration for the Murchison Widefield Array Telescope Project with the Australian Access Federation and eduGAIN

Greg Sleap1, Alison Lynton3, John Scullen4, Scott Koranda5, Randall Wayth1, Adam Beardsley2, Benjamin Oshrin5, Heather Flanagan5

1Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy,

2Arizona State University,  

3Curtin University,  

4Australian Access Federation,   

5Spherical Cow Group, New York, NY,  


The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a low-frequency radio telescope operating between 80 and 300 MHz. It is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, the planned site of the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) lowband telescope, and is one of three telescopes designated as a Precursor for the SKA. Initially developed by an international collaboration including partners from Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and the United States, and led by the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), today the MWA includes partners from more than 20 institutions around the world including China and Japan.

To streamline collaboration and facilitate access to data and resources, MWA staff deployed an identity management infrastructure built on the foundation of federated identity. By leveraging the existing investment Curtin University had made in federated identity infrastructure and the Australian Access Federation (AAF), MWA published its federated services into the worldwide eduGAIN interfederation and enabled single sign-on (SSO) access using home organization credentials for collaborators throughout the world.

This presentation discusses the issues encountered, processes engaged, and challenges faced when implementing the MWA eduGAIN solution from four unique perspectives:

  1. The MWA data manager and project scientist charged with enabling secure and scalable access to a growing collaboration with partners throughout the world.
  2. The Senior Systems Engineer at Curtin University tasked with facilitating access to AAF services including eduGAIN for MWA resources.
  3. AAF staff enabling subscribers to connect internationally with eduGAIN.
  4. Consultants providing technical input on scalable and sustainable federated identity architecture in support of international collaboration.


Scott Koranda specializes on identity management architectures that streamline and enhance collaboration for research organizations.

Greg Sleap has been the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) Data Manager since mid-2016, planning, developing and supporting the systems which allow astronomers around the world to utilise the MWA’s extensive data archive.

Alison Lynton has worked for Curtin University as a Senior Systems Engineer since 2001, specialising in Unix. She has a passion for advocating for researchers needs within her organisation.

John Scullen joined AAF in February 2016 to lead the development of new processes and tools in the Next Generation AAF project. His role has since expanded to oversee the AAF’s project portfolio.

Recent Comments