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Scholarships for the Master of Engineering (ME) in Software Defined Networking

21 May 2015 - 19:48 in Research

The School of Engineering and Computer Science is offering two full-time Master scholarships (domestic tuition fees plus a 1-year stipend of NZ$20,000) to excellent candidates to work on the following topics:

  • "Performance Evaluation and Analytical Modelling of SDN and OpenFlow-based Networks and Systems". The successful candidate is expected to have a good foundation in theoretical performance analysis techniques, viz. and queuing theory. Knowledge of common network simulation platforms (e.g. OmNet++, QualNet, etc) would be advantageous. He/she will also have the opportunity to spend time in Kyoto University, Japan, to work with world leading experts in performance analysis.

  • "Traffic classification in Enterprise Networks using Software Defined Networking". The successful candidate is expected to have a good fundamental knowledge of networking and strong hands-on skills required to validate his/her research results on a real network testbed. Knowledge of traffic classification techniques for supporting quality of service in the Internet would be given preferential consideration.
Interested applicants, please contact Professor Winston Seah via email attaching your transcripts, publications list, and CV. If you are suitable, you will then be provided with the information on how to apply for admission into our ME degree programme. Contact: winston.seah@ecs.vuw.ac.nz.

Cochlea model reveals inner workings of the ear

18 May 2015 - 21:56 in Research

A model developed at Victoria University of Wellington has helped researchers conduct intricate experiments into the cochlea, which may lead to improved methods of treatment for hearing impairments.

PhD student Mohammad Ayat’s research involved developing a model of the cochlea, a snail-shaped chamber in the human ear, focused on the cochlear microphonic (CM)—an electrical signal generated inside the cochlea in response to sound.

The model—which includes electrical coupling of the cochlea—is the most detailed one-dimensional model developed to date, and allowed Mohammad to predict some characteristics of the cochlear microphonic.

“Some of these characteristics are different from what many researchers thought in the past, and may have clinical significance once further research is done,” says Mohammad.

Mohammad says the cochlear microphonic signal is a potential tool for diagnosing hearing impairments and investigating cochlear function.

“The CM can provide information about the health of particular sections of the cochlea, which may lead to faster and more accurate methods of adjusting the many settings of modern hearing aids to compensate for areas of weakness.

“The cochlea is hard to study because of where it is in the body and the complex processes at work. Modelling allowed us to bridge these gaps and gain useful information.”

Mohammad, who had no previous experience researching the cochlea, says it took him around eight months to learn its functionality.

“It’s a fascinatingly complex organ and there’s still mystery around how it works. Further modelling and signal processing experiments will lead to better methods of diagnosis, and improved methods of treatment for hearing impairments. It may also lead to the development of bionics-inspired speech recognition systems similar to the human cochlea.”

This study was conducted at Victoria University of Wellington, under the supervision of Dr Paul Teal from the School of Engineering and Computer Science and Professor Mark McGuinness from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research.

Mohammad graduated with a PhD in Electronic and Computer Systems Engineering on Wednesday 13 May 2015.

Research funding awarded

08 May 2015 - 17:24 in Achievement

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Professor Winston Seah, from the School of Engineering and Computer Science, has been awarded a $30,000 grant from InternetNZ to fund a Masters’ project that aims to address a key challenge for businesses dealing with exploding volumes of data.

More than ever before, says Professor Seah, businesses are reliant on data to function efficiently and effectively. As we continue to digitise information and increasingly rely on the internet for our conversations, moving information around, undertaking transactions and more, business are being faced with new problems in how to deal effectively with the data they gather and use.

The project for which Professor Seah has received funding addresses one of these newly emerged challenges—the scalability issues of traffic classification in enterprise network using software defined networking.

Putting it in layman’s terms, Professor Seah says the project is focused on how businesses understand and apply rules about the information they receive to support their businesses goals. For example, how can businesses ensure customer queries are prioritised over spam and that time-critical tasks are prioritised. “It all depends on how accurately the digital information about those transactions can be understood,” says Professor Seah.

This project has potential benefits for New Zealand companies and Professor Seah has already been approached by a New Zealand company which sees significant potential in this research.

First-year engineering project helps Samoan schools get better connected

05 May 2015 - 15:35 in Achievement

A first-year engineering project at Victoria University will see thousands of students in Samoa have faster, more reliable computer networks in the classroom.

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Engineering 101 students learn technical skills while upcycling the University's old network switches

Students from Victoria’s School of Engineering will be cleaning, checking and upgrading about 160 old network switches that are no longer used by the University.

The upcycled network switches would otherwise be sold as scrap metal.

The project is driven by the not-for-profit Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) based at the University of Oregon, which helps institutes like Victoria set up computer networks across 100 developing countries.

Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science Research Associate and NSRC contractor, Dean Pemberton says while the project allows the engineering students to gain hands-on technical experience in the classroom, the real benefit will be seen in Samoan tertiary institutes.

“A lot of the network switches in Samoa are completely unmanageable. These network switches, once cleaned up, will be faster and allow students to have a more reliable internet connection. They will also enable researchers at those universities to better collaborate with colleagues overseas,“ Dean says.

The Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship

03 Apr 2015 - 00:25 in Event

The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is open for applications with a deadline of 27th May 2015.

Anita Borg believed that technology affects all aspects of our economic, political, social and personal lives. In her life she fought tirelessly to ensure that technology’s impact would be a positive one. It was this vision that inspired Anita in 1997 to found the Institute for Women and Technology. Today this organization continues on her legacy and bears her name, The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

Dr. Anita Borg proposed the "50/50 by 2020" initiative, an effort to increase the percentage of women among graduates earning computing degrees to 50% by the year 2020. However, the percentage of Computer Science degrees earned by women is still far from 50% throughout the world.

Through the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship for Asia Pacific, Google aims to encourage women to excel in computing and technology, and become active role models and leaders in these fields.

To be eligible to apply, applicants must:

  • Be a female student enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate study in the 2016 academic year.
  • Be enrolled in a university in Asia Pacific. Citizens, permanent residents, and international students are eligible to apply.
  • Be majoring in computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related technical field.
  • Exemplify leadership and demonstrate passion for increasing the involvement of women in computer science.

For more information and application details please go to: http://www.google.com/anitaborg/apac/index.html

Masters Scholarships in Computer Networks

23 Mar 2015 - 16:50 in Research

Two full-time Masters scholarships are available for qualified candidates to undertake research studies leading to a Masters in computer networks at Victoria University of Wellington.

The successful candidates will be supervised by Dr. Qiang Fu and industry partners, and conduct research in one of the following areas:
  • Coordinated resource allocation / scheduling in 4G/5G mobile cellular networks
  • Content distribution in mobile / vehicular networks
  • Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV)
  • Software Defined Networking (SDN)
Value of award: $15,000 + tuition fees

Tenure: One year

Commencement date: Anytime in 2015/16 (tentative)

Essential criteria:

*Strong programming skills in C/C++ or Java.

*Strong motivation for developing practical networking solutions

Desirable criteria:

*ECEN or wireless communications background (mobile networks)

*SWEN / COMP or software development / virtualization background (SDN/NFV)

Contact person: Dr. Qiang Fu, qiang.fu@ecs.vuw.ac.nz

Launch of the TechHub CREST Challenge

06 Mar 2015 - 10:57 in Event

Year 10 students at St Mary's College were captivated by visiting speakers at a special assembly to launch the TechHub CREST Challenge to develop a phone app. St Mary’s students have started their journey into the arena of software development, highly motivated by words of encouragement from Tasha Sharp who is based at the Institute of IT Professionals, and four senior Victoria University students.

Elf Eldridge, a senior tutor from the School of Engineering and Computer Science, brought along four students who are studying either software engineering or networking. They provided an insight into the potential of pursuing a career in IT and also the opportunities for work at Google. Konnie and Kate who are Google ambassadors, and Bonnie and Ellie shared their passion for software development and programming.

Year 10 students reflected on the presentation:

Konnie and Kate made Google sound like a great work place, and a fun environment to be in. Bonnie and Ellie explained to us the sort of studies they do in university, and it sounded very interesting – Amelia.

Konnie and Kate taught me a lot about the Google lifestyle and environment, I absolutely agree that more women should be involved with technology as the world is beginning to have more and more technology – Kennedy.

Bonnie and Ellie talked about how they created programs and robots and cool things like that. They told us that even if you don't have a lot of knowledge about programming it’s alright because you will learn more and gain more knowledge. I think that doing this project will be fun and a lot of hard work and I'm also excited to see how it all works out at the end – Amour.

I'm looking forward to starting this project because it’s a new experience and seems like a fun challenge for me. I don't know what to expect because this is new to me but I’m keen for it and can’t wait to get stuck in – Lizzie.

There are a lot of apps on my phone so it would be really amazing to see how they are made. It is also very exciting because we will be working in groups so we will have to work together on this and use our skills to build an app – Sophie.

Thank you to Mrs Genevieve Herder, Digital Technologies, St Mary's College, for this article.

Lecture to highlight Alan Turing's genius

19 Feb 2015 - 14:23 in Event

The School of Engineering and Computer Science is hosting a lecture about the work of Alan Turing, often dubbed the father of modern computing and the subject of the film The Imitation Game.

Professor Rod Downey from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research at Victoria will deliver the public lecture in which he aims to give an accurate picture of Turing’s work and his place in history.

Professor Downey has spent the last 35 years researching in the area of the theory of computation and recently edited the book Turing’s Legacy: Developments from Turing’s Ideas in Logic.

Alan Turing was a mathematician and logician whose ideas led to the development of the modern computer and artificial intelligence. He has recently come to popular attention through The Imitation Game which focuses on his role in cracking intercepted coded messages in Britain during the Second World War.

Professor Downey says the film “horribly mangles” Turing’s contribution, and the nature of Bletchley Park, the central site of the United Kingdom’s Government Code and Cypher School which was a key hub for penetrating communications during the Second World War.

Professor Downey describes Turing as one of the geniuses of the twentieth century.

While Professor Downey will spend a small part of his lecture discussing things the film got wrong, most of his address will focus on mathematics, especially the development of computers and how cryptanalysis worked at Bletchley Park. He will pay particular attention to covering the range and variety of Turing’s work and the impact it has had.

“Turing was a prodigy, a brilliant and original man who was terribly treated for being gay. His story is a study in ideas and social commentary.”

In his lecture, Professor Downey will cover a brief history of ciphers, the work done by the cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park and how the Enigma machine works, all of which are portrayed in The Imitation Game.

Professor Downey will also discuss some of Turing’s less known work in areas including Biology.

What: Public Lecture: Alan Turing, Computing, Bletchley and Mathematics

When: Thursday 26 February, 5.30pm

Where: Government Buildings, Lecture Theatre 2

RSVP: Siyun.thompson@ecs.vuw.ac.nz

This public lecture is the first in a series of events being run by Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science with the aim of making science more accessible.

Rod Downey, FRSNZ, is a professor of mathematics at Victoria University of Wellington. His research is in the theory of computation and complexity theory. He is the only person in New Zealand who both is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the American Mathematical Society. During the Alan Turing year (2012 – centenary of Alan Turing’s birth) he was one of the foundation fellows at the Isaac Newton Institute at Cambridge for the Alan Turing Programme. He recently edited the volume Turing's Legacy for the Association for Symbolic Logic. He has won numerous awards for his work including a James Cook and Maclaurin Fellowship, the Shoenfield Prize from the ASL, and the Nerode Prize from the EATCS.

For more information contact Professor Rod Downey on 04-463 5067, or rod.downey@vuw.ac.nz

New Students' Orientation

13 Feb 2015 - 21:40 in Event

The School of Engineering and Computer Science welcomes all new students.

We recommend that you attend the new students’ orientation from the 23 - 27 February. For further details check out: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/students/new-students/orientation

On Thursday 26 February all new engineering and computer science students are invited to a welcome session in lecture theatre 101 in the Maclaurin building. Meet staff who teach in first-year courses and find out how to get the most out of your lectures, tutorial and labs.

Engineering students will also get to know their fellow students with a fun team exercise followed by a BBQ at 5pm.

Entertainment at your fingertips

03 Feb 2015 - 16:18 in Achievement

Home entertainment could soon be experienced in four dimensions as a result of upcoming research at Victoria University of Wellington.

The project, which involves a multi-disciplinary team from New Zealand and Korea, will investigate how computer graphics and emerging interactive technologies can be combined to create new, immersive, home entertainment experiences.

The New Zealand team, led by Dr Taehyun Rhee from Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, will be made up of researchers from across Victoria and the University of Canterbury.

“4D is already popular in cinemas in Korea. What we’re doing could bring that technology into people’s homes.” Says Dr Rhee who, prior to his role as a lecturer, worked in the Korean technology industry for 17 years.

Dr Rhee says at the end of the project, the team hopes to have a prototype which allows people to reach out to touch and manipulate what’s on the screen in front of them.

The user would need to attach a haptic feedback device to their fingers while wearing a head mounted virtual display such as an Oculus Rift. They would then be able to see their own hand as part of the action and reach out to touch what is happening in front of them.

Dr Rhee said it is too early to know how much can be achieved but it’s possible users will be able to feel texture as well as force.

Both the New Zealand and Korean teams plan to collaborate with potential industry partners with the potential to commercialise the prototype after the project is complete. Dr Rhee says once the technology at this end is developed, the entertainment will need to catch up.

“Movies with this kind of interactive technology are not out there yet. They will be a bit like a mix of a film and a computer game.”

The research is being made possible by a three-year grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The Korean team, from Korea University and Ewha Woman’s University, will be funded by the Korean government.

The funding of $150,000 per year will go towards supporting one PhD student and up to nine Master’s students to work on the project over the next three years. An important aim of the grant is to broaden New Zealand’s research base to enable sustainable partnerships with South Korea.

For more information contact Dr Taehyun Rhee on taehyun.rhee@ecs.vuw.ac.nz