Friday, August 31, 2012

Supervising Research Students in the Real World

Greetings from the Australian National University, where I am attending a workshop on research supervision. One question which a participant raised was how to supervise a student in the virtual world. The panel of experienced supervisors asked for clarification of what was meant and the participant explained they were referring to distance students who are being supervised remotely usually via the Internet. The panel discussed techniques, such as use of video conferencing and the student attending local seminars, to avoid isolation. It occurred to me that rather than this being the student in a virtual world, the student is in the real world, that is the world outside the university.

A quick search found only 54 scholarly works on "on-line supervision of graduate students". About half are from the medical field.

Improving Service Delivery with Research

Greetings from National ICT Australia (NICTA) in Canberra, where James Gibson has organized a asked workshop on “Inventing the Future of Service Driven Enterprises" with the Service Science Society. One point to be clarified is that the "services" being discussed here are those such as: climate services, green services, financial services, health services and water management services. Some of these will be delivered via a computer server, but most will involve personnel and equipment, not just a web based "service".

I did a quick search and could only find 11 formal research papers on "Service Driven Enterprise", out of the 54,000 documents on-line on the topic. In my postgraduate course "ICT Sustainability", I have one weekly module on "Enterprise Architecture".

The services which interest me are education and research supervision. As with many other services, these have been delivered as a craft based on techniques developed by trial and error and could benefit by a systematic analysis of what the customer wants and needs and how this could be effectively delivered.

In his presentation Mr Peter Alexander, brought up the issue of the role of innovation in government. This sparked an interesting discussion of the role of the public and private sectors. Peter mentioned the book "Fast Second: How Smart Companies Bypass Radical Innovation to Enter and Dominate New Markets" by Costas Markides at the LSE. Perhaps these techniques could be applied to the public service. The ACT Government is currently sponsoring "Innovation ACT" to teach university students how to take an idea and make it a product.

Workshop:Inventing the Future of Service Driven Enterprises

Date: Friday, August 31, 9:00am – 5:15pm ...

Canberra

Workshop Description

The Service Science Society invites you to a workshop where we argue that current difficulties in large IT and modernisation projects are not solvable with continuous improvement. A transformative approach is required, driven by a vision to invent the future, created through action, and informed by directed research. We present some fundamental architectural concepts which we believe will contribute to this transformation, and which differentiate it from previous failed attempts. To achieve the transformation we need impact through capability building and directed research to support the transition to Service Driven Enterprises. The approach extends to the design and building of custom cloud execution engines, tools and methods. This requires a different business model and research approach than generally used in Australia. Finally, we argue that this change is coming, and a panel considers how we can act now in order to place Australia at the forefront of enabling Service Driven Enterprises.

Agenda

  • 9:00am – 9:15am Introduction - Prof Aditya Ghose, University of Wollongong
  • 9:15am – 9:45pm Necessity for major change - Prof Aditya Ghose, University of Wollongong
  • 9:45am – 10:15am Challenges in Delivery of Government Products and Services – Mr Peter Alexander, Treasury
  • 10:15am – 10:45am What Desirable Characteristics do we look for - Bridging the Creativity to Engineering Gap – Mr Chris Thorne, ATO
  • 10:45am – 11:15am Morning Tea (provided)
  • 11:15am – 11:45am What Desirable Characteristics do we look for - Enterprise Architecture - where are we now? - Dr Saul Caganoff - Sixtree
  • 12:45pm – 12:30pm Inventing the Service Driven Enterprise - Transformative Change Needed - Mr James Gibson*, ANU
  • 12:30pm – 1:10pm Lunch (provided)
  • 1:10pm – 2:10pm Discussion Session: Understanding the Service Driven Enterprise What is an SDE and what’s needed to build it? - Dr Liam O'Brien*
  • 2:10pm – 2:40pm Building Service Driven Enterprise Capability - Building the capability for timely innovation, engineering and capability development to support SDE client transitions - Dr Clive Boughton*, Software Improvements
  • 2:40pm – 3:10pm The Business Case for Change - Mr Pascal Rabbath, S-3 Consulting
  • 3:10pm – 3:40pm Services Research and Direction at CSIRO - Dr Darrell Williamson, CSIRO
  • 3:40pm – 4:00pm Afternoon Tea (provided)
  • 4:00pm – 5:10pm Panel - Achieving the Future - What practical actions should we take? What are the next steps? Chair: Dr Mike Sargent, M.A.Sargent & Associates Panellists: TBD (representatives from government, industry and academia)
  • 5:10pm – 5:15pm Workshop Wrap-up and Close - Prof Aditya Ghose, University of Wollongong

Registration Required

World Heritage Listing for Canberra

In the fourth Marion Mahony Griffin Lecture last night, Professor Sheridan Burke, President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) International Scientific Committee on Twentieth Century Heritage, detailed the process for listing the city of Canberra on the World Heritage register. The presentation was entitled "Celebrating the Griffins: contribution to Canberra as a modern planned capital city", at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

Professor Burke described Griffin's plan for Canberra as one of the great city plans of an idealist age, but asked what now. Canberra was designed for a a population of 25,000 and the city is now than more than 300,000.

Professor Burke recounted wife and fellow architect Marion's frustration with her husband Walter's delay in starting work on a submission for the design of Canberra. Once designed by Walter, the work had to be rendered by Marion and then transported from Chicago to Melbourne. The design was produced in 9 weeks, just in time to reach the judges in Australia and win the competition.

While designing the initial plan for Canberra, the implementation passed through and was modified by many hands, some in the Griffin's day and much to their frustration.

Griffin assumed he would be appointed to oversee the implementation of his plan for Canberra. However this took until 1913 and there was bureaucratic and political opposition. A revised plan was prepared in 1918 but Griffin resigned due to opposition in 1921.

John Suilman oversaw the second phase of Canberra's development, with detached suburbs, rather than denser terrace housing. As Sheridan explained, this made the provision of services difficult and remains an issue today.

The ANU was developed in 1946 next to Canberra's commercial centre ("Civic").

William Holford was the third architect to oversea Canberra, influenced by the design of Brazilla. Canberra main thoroughfares which had been intended for dense development and public transport were converted to parkways.

Canberra's new parliament house was located on, or in, Capital Hill, rather than down by the lake.

Professor Burke pointed out that with self government, Canberra now has two planning agencies: one of the ACT Government and one federal. The federal government released a "Griffin Legacy" plan, with building down to the lake shore from Civic. This plan did not envision high rise development. Sheridan suggested master-planning for Civic, similar to that at ANU (which has had several years of intensive building).

A national Heritage Listing Proposal for Canberra has been submitted to the Australian Government. A later step would be listing on the World Heritage list. Meetings of the committee are now streamed live on-line.

What Professor Burke did not make clear was what would be the benefits and costs of a listing. The Australian Institute of Architects May 2012 talk in Canberra featured designs for the Chinese city of Changchun, modelled on Canberra, but now growing rapidly upwards. Would World Heritage listing prevent such development happening in Canberra?

Sheridan pointed out that the processes for the heritage status of the Sydney Opera House and complex but work well in practice and so should be feasible for Canberra. It occurred to me that this might actually make resolving the ACT Government versus Federal planning issues less problematic by providing a better framework.

Sheridan expressed concern about a loss of staff resources to prepare a credible Would World Heritage proposal for Canberra and argued for the resources to do this. However, this seemed, perhaps appropriately, echo the difficulties which Griffin had in Canberra with public servants and politicians worrying about short term costs. I suggest that a grand vision therefore needs to be supported by a cost benefit analysis. The cost of the listing would be compared with the benefits ad preferably showing a net benefit.

One aspect of Canberra which is not sufficiently recognized is its role as a center for public administration. While the Parliament has prominence, the work of the public service implementing the machinery of democracy does not. Perhaps this aspect needs to be emphasized in any World Heritage listing.

Castlecrag section of the Landmarks

The presentation was preceded by a guided tour of the Castlecrag section of the Landmarks exhibition in the gallery, by curator Dr Daniel Oakmanwith. This features items from the Sydney suburb designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. The exhibition features a concrete tile-making machine used at Castlecrag, with a modular building system, patented by Griffin. The museum 3D laser scanned a number of the interlocking blocks and reproduced these in rubber for children to use as giant building blocks. I suggested to Dr Oakmanwith that a miniature set of the blocks would be a popular item in the gift shop. Also it would also be interesting to have engineers research the features of the knitlock system, to see if with modern materials and techniques it could be used for building in less developed countries.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

US Air Force Cyberspace Warfare Operations Capabilities

The US Air Force Materiel Command issued a presolicitation for "Cyberspace Warfare Operations Capabilities" (CWOC) for their Electronic Systems Center. The US Air Force is looking for technology demonstrators for Cyberspace Warfare Attack and Support. The presolicitation document uses a conventional air warfare metaphor, with terms such as position, maneuver and strike, but applied to "destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt, deceive, corrupt, or usurp the adversaries ability to use the cyberspace domain for his advantage".Link
1. Technical Description: The ESC/HSJG Program Office is an organization focused on the development and sustainment of Cyberspace Warfare Attack capabilities that directly support Cyberspace Warfare capabilities for the operational Air Force. This BAA solicits concept papers with the potential to enhance Air Force operations focused on Cyberspace Warfare capabilities access, position, maneuver, and strike within the adversary cyberspace domain in support of the Combatant Commanders (CCDR) and national objectives. CWO is the integrated planning and employment of military capabilities to achieve desired effects across the interconnected cyberspace domain.

CWO is conducted in the cyberspace domain through the dynamic combination of hardware, software, data, and human interaction. In many cases, CWO requires unique technologies, techniques, and capabilities to maneuver, operate and persist. The topics this BAA is interested in pursuing include, but are not limited to:

a. Cyberspace Warfare Attack. The employment of cyberspace capabilities to destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt, deceive, corrupt, or usurp the adversaries ability to use the cyberspace domain for his advantage.

b. Cyberspace Warfare Support. Actions tasked by or under direct control of an operational commander to search for, intercept, identify, and locate or localize sources of access and vulnerability for the purpose of immediate threat recognition, targeting, planning, and conduct of future operations in the cyberspace domain.

Cyberspace Warfare Support provides information required for immediate decisions involving CWO. Cyberspace Warfare Support data can be used to produce intelligence, or provide targeting for electronic or destructive attack.

c. Technologies/concepts for developing capabilities associated with Cyberspace Warfare Attack (i.e., to disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy or deceive an adversary’s ability to use the cyberspace domain to his advantage.) This should address, but not be limited to the following:

i. Mapping of networks (both data and voice)
ii. Access to cyberspace domain, information, networks, systems or devices
iii. Denial of service on cyberspace resources, current/future operating systems and network devices
iv. Data manipulation
v. Ability to control cyberspace effects at specified times and place
d. Technologies/concepts for developing and assessing cyberspace capabilities while disconnected from the operational cyberspace domain (the Internet or communication networks) including IO modeling, simulation and capability, and operational and performance assessments.
e. Situational awareness capabilities that give an operator near real-time effectiveness feedback in a form that is readily observed by the operator.
f. Technologies/concepts for developing capabilities to assess and visualize non-kinetic cyberspace domain effects.
g. Technologies/concepts for developing capabilities to support rapid implementation of effects-based cyberspace capabilities.
h. Cyberspace technologies/capabilities employing unique characteristics resulting in the adversary entering conflicts in a degraded state.
2. Proposed concept papers may also address new tactics, techniques, procedures, and mature technology applications that may affect Air Force IO doctrine and strategy. ...

From: Cyberspace Warfare Operations Capabilities (CWOC) TECHNOLOGY CONCEPT DEMONSTRATIONS, Electronic Systems Center, Air Force Material Command, Department of the Air Force, USA, 13 Feb 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Science of Diagramming for ICT

Greetings from the CSIRO Discovery Centre in Canberra, where Daniel Moody is presenting on "The Art and Science of Diagramming". Daniel argued that diagramming for ICT is more a science than an art and that many of the guidelines for diagramming are not supported by evidence. He gave the example of the rule that crossing lines should be avoided, which does not improve clarity.

Dr. Moody pointed out that most other professions produce diagrams for viewing within their profession, whereas ICT professionals expect non-experts to understand their diagrams. He pointed to cartographers as a group which makes diagrams for the general public.

There are numerous papers by Dr. Moody detailing the evidence based approach he has taken, to come up with principles for diagrams. There is an early version of the slides for Dr. Moody's presentation available on-line. Those who have some graphic design, accessible web design, user interface design, or document design training will be comfortable with Dr. Moody's approach to diagrams.

Dr. Moody's presentation is part of the Australian Computer Society's Education Across the Nation series. The presentation will be repeated across Australia, including: Melbourne 5 September, Macquarie Park NSW 10 September, Hobart 12 September, Perth 18 September, Bunbury 19 September.

EdXN Branch Forum:
The Art and Science of Diagramming -Communicating Effectively Using Diagrams

Diagrams form an integral part of the “language” of IT practice: they are used in all areas and all levels of IT practice from strategic planning (big picture thinking) to integrated circuit design (under the bonnet thinking). They are the basic tools of our trade, the lingua franca we use to communicate among ourselves and with our customers. For this reason, diagramming is one of the core skills of IT practice.
Despite this, IT practitioners typically receive no training in how to produce “good” diagrams. In the absence of this, they are forced to rely on their intuition and experience (which is often wrong), and make layout decisions that undermine communication.
As a result, most diagrams produced in IT practice today do not communicate effectively. Although they are often intended as a way of communicating with business users and senior management, they act as a barrier rather than an aid to communication.
This presentation describes a set of principles for producing cognitively effective diagrams: diagrams that are optimised for human communication and problem solving. These are summarised in the “fishbone” (Ishakawa or cause-effect) diagram below.

The "Fish of Cognitive Effectiveness”
Importantly, the principles are not based on common sense or experience (like those currently used in practice) but on scientific evidence drawn from a wide range of fields, including graphic design, diagrammatic reasoning, visual perception and cognitive psychology.
The aim of this presentation is to turn diagramming from an art (as it currently exists) into a science. It will change the way you think about diagrams, and more importantly, how you produce diagrams in the future. You will never look at a diagram in quite the same way again…

Biography:

Dr Daniel Moody
is Director of Ozemantics Pty Ltd, a Sydney-based information management consultancy firm and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Business at the University of Twente (The Netherlands).

He is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts in data modelling and data management and has an international reputation in these fields.
He holds a PhD in Information Systems from the University of Melbourne and has held senior positions in some of Australia’s leading corporations and consultancy firms.
He has conducted consulting assignments in 12 different countries, covering a broad range of industries. He has also published over 100 scientific papers, been a keynote speaker 9 times and chaired several national and international conferences.
He was the inaugural President of the Australian Data Management Association (DAMA), a former Vice-President on the DAMA International Board and is listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering.
He has lived and worked in 8 different countries, speaks fluent English and can say “hello”, “thank you” and “cheers” in at least 10 different languages.

Australia to Join European Emissions Trading System

The Australian Government and European Commission have agreed to link the Australian and European carbon emissions trading systems, by 1 July 2018. Australian and European businesses will be able to buy and sell carbon units on the Australian emissions trading scheme and the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

The linking will require the minimum price set for carbon in Australia to be removed to make it compatible with Europe. The lower price of carbon in the European system may cause some adjustment problems for Australia.

The linking also has implications for how, and if, Australia runs its own on-line system for carbon trading. The Australian Government was tendering for a carbon trading system. But it may be simpler to use the European system directly. There have been problems with the security of the European system, but these should be resolved by 2018.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Social Media for Society

At an Australian National University seminar today Roger Clarke, asked what social media for social purposes, rather than as a commercial product would look like. It occurred to me that as well as looking at the technical aspects of how to build social media tools it would be worth looking at what were the characteristics of successful off-line social groups. There are organizations which have commercial and social purposes, such as cooperatives and body corporates.

At its essence, social media is about supporting social groups. Part of the function of the software could be "social location", helping the individual find like minded people. Perhaps rather than pure social purposes, new social media software should concentrate on connecting groups of people who come together to achieve a common purpose. Examples are professionals who just to improve their profession, business people who need to cooperate to some extent while also competing and people who live in cluster housing and need to sort out common chores.

One natural place to start for university researchers to start would be at the university, which is an institution established to allow academics to come together to teach and research. The university works through social networking. Groups of teachers are brought together to explore how to improve their skills, students are brought together to learn from each other and groups of researchers form to do what they could not do alone. There is a minimum of formal structure for most of these activities, with the university providing the environment for collaboration.

There has been extensive research in pedagogy about how to foster and accelerate workable groups of students who will trust each other enough to learn together. There has also been research on "learning circles" and other mutual collaboration groups. There has also been some research on how research teams are formed. In recent years this research has had an impetus with the adoption of on-line education and the need to emulate or replace the face-to-face communication methods. On-line pedagogy now has a number of well establised techniques for accelerating the trust process between staff and studnts. Those for research collaboration are far less developed on-line.

Research supervision is an area where on-line techniques are still in development and so would be a useful area to investigate to use of social media for. In my studies for a postgraduate certificate in tertiary teaching I am looking at how existing on-line pedagogy for courses can help graduate research students.

In terms of a software implementation, Google sponsored the OpenSocial set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for social media applications to interface. This would allow a system to be built without one central server and have different user interfaces. There are also several open source distributed social network projects building social network services. Link

Fostering Graduate Research at University

Margaret HardingGreetings from the Australian National University, where Professor Margaret Harding, the new ANU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is talking about the synergies between research and teaching. Professor Harding pointed out that ANU has a unit for research into university education which also links to education of staff on teaching techniques.

It happens ABC Radio National Life Matters had a discussion of Open University today and I posed a comment about on-line learning. It strikes me that some of the major issues in universality education today are internationalization and on-line delivery and these are areas deserving of research. The ANU has a focus on research and so it would make sense for it to focus on research into how research is structured and supervised and leave conventional course based teaching to other universities which have education schools looking into that area.

Professor Harding mentioned how she established the UNSW Graduate Research School, with central support unit for graduate students. She speculated about how central support, particularly for administrative matters could be improved at ANU. It happens I am looking at this topic and how to apply techniques from vocational and on-line pedagogy to research supervision.

Strategic Update on Photovoltaic Solar

Arnold McKinley will give a "Strategic Update on Photovoltaic Solar" at the Australian National University in Canberra, 4pm 30 August 2012 in the Ian Ross Seminar Room.

Strategic Update on Photovoltaic Solar

Arnold McKinley (Research School of Engineering)

SOLAR SEMINAR SERIES

DATE: 2012-08-30
TIME: 16:00:00 - 17:00:00
LOCATION: Ian Ross Seminar Room
CONTACT: andrew.thomson@anu.edu.au

ABSTRACT:
Worldwide funding for Solar Research and Development, using private and public funds, grew from some US$.7B in 2006 to an estimated US$2.1B in 2011, a growth rate of about 22%/yr. This is extraordinary in years of economic recession, so the reasons for it must make sound, logical, good sense. This talk will explore some of the reasons why solar PV is considered a strong contender for the marketplace. We shall examine trends in selected technological, financial, and policy measures across the globe, particularly in the US, Australia and Europe.

Open University Discussion Radio National Life Matters

ABC Radio National Life Matters had a discussion of Open University today with Professor Simon Marginson, Centre for the Study of Higher Education at Melbourne University and Associate Professor David Glance, Director UWA Centre for Software Practice.
Mass open online courses, offered by American universities, are changing the university landscape. Australian students now have the opportunity to enrol in subjects prepared by Stanford or Harvard. So will this virtual campus reshape the offerings at Australian universities? Just how satisfying is the online learning experience compared to setting foot on a real-life university campus?
I posted this comment:

Tom Worthington :

28 Aug 2012 9:28:57am

Australian universities can compete to provide on-line courses. As well as courses for large number of students, there can be smaller ones, providing traditional small group tutorials for students.

Since 2009 I have been teaching "ICT Sustainability" on-line from the Australian National University in Canberra. The tutorial groups are small, with the students and staff getting to know each other and share experiences. Most students are on campus in Canberra, but others are around Australia and th world. They can share their work experience from their desk at work and use what they have learned immediately in the workplace.

An "Innovation in Education Showcase" will be held at the Australian National University in Canberra, 17 to 23 September 2012. As part of this I will be speaking on "A Green Computing Professional Education Course Online using eBooks", 12:30pm, 19 September 2012, in the Ethel Tory Centre: http://tomw.net.au/technology/it/green_computing_professional/


Monday, August 27, 2012

Pedal Powered Cinema in Sydney

Yesterday, Leichhardt Council held the third annual Footprints Eco Festival in Sydney's inner west. This was held in Whites Creek Valley Park near the new Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery. In addition to displays of native plant regeneration there was a Pedal Powered Cinema. I volunteered as one of the five people to pedal bicycles, each hooked up to a small generator which suppled the electricity to run the show. This was a useful educational tool on how much power consumer appliances use.

The pedal power generators used were similar to the setup for Bristol Bike Power. This had road bicycles (including a small one for the kids) on a stand with the back wheel against a shaft on a Pedal Power Generator. A One Farad Capacitor (normally used in a high performance car hi-fi system) was used to smooth the 12 volt power from the bicycles. The capacitor has a built in voltmeter, providing useful feedback. Power was then fed to an inverter to produce 240 volts for the projector and computer. The electrical components were mounted in a study steel cabinet (an army surplus ammunition box).

This demonstration system doesn't need a battery. For a more practical system a battery could be used to store a few minutes, or a few hours, power.

An alternative pre-built option would be an electric bicycle with regenerative braking might make a useful pedal generator. You would just need to apply the brakes while riding, to charge the battery for later use, or operate the bicycle stationary on a stand. An inverter could then be attached to the bicycle's battery to supply mains power.

ps: It would be tempting to equip the Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre's Gym with Exercise Bike Generators. But these would produce minimal power compared the 30kW micro turbines recently installed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

UN Pictograms for Humanitarian Software

The OCHA Humanitarian Icons are a set of 500 pictograms for humanitarian relief operations from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs (OCHA). These can be used as computer icons for communicating information about relief operations where language may otherwise be a barrier.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yahoo Web Researcher Speaking in Canberra

Professor Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Yahoo! Research, will speak on "The web: Wisdom of crowds and a long tail", 2pm, 5 September 2012, in the famous Room N101, CSIT Building, Australian National University, Canberra.
The web: Wisdom of crowds and a long tail

The Web continues to grow and evolve very fast, changing our daily lives.

This activity represents the collaborative work of the millions of institutions and people that contribute content to the Web as well as more than one billion people that use it. In this ocean of hyperlinked data there is explicit and implicit information and knowledge. But how is the Web? Web data mining is the main task to answer this question.

Web data comes in three main flavors: content (text, images, etc.), structure (hyperlinks) and usage (navigation, queries, etc.), implying different techniques such as text, grap other publications or log mining. Each case reflects the wisdom of some group of people that can be used to make the Web better. For example, user generated tags in Web 2.0 sites. One important phenomenon of this wisdom is the long tail of the special interests of people.

In this talk we cover all these concepts and give specific examples.

Ricardo Baeza-Yates is VP of Yahoo! Research for Europe, Middle East and Latin America, leading the labs at Barcelona, Spain and Santiago, Chile, as well as supervising the newer lab in Haifa, Israel. Until 2005 he was the director of the Center for Web Research at the Department of Computer Science of the Engineering School of the University of Chile; and ICREA Professor at the Department of Technology of the University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain.

He is co-author of the best-seller book Modern Information Retrieval, published in 1999 by Addison-Wesley with a second edition in 2011, as well as co-author of the 2nd edition of the Handbook of Algorithms and Data Structures in Pascal and C, Addison-Wesley, 1991; and co-editor of Information Retrieval: Data Structures and Algorithms, Prentice-Hall, 1992, among more than 200 other publications.

He has received the Organization of American States award for young researchers in exact sciences (1993) and several national awards in Chile. In 2003 he was the first computer scientist to be elected to the Chilean Academy of Sciences. During 2007 he was awarded the Graham Medal for innovation in computing, given by the University of Waterloo to distinguished ex-alumni. In 2009 he was awarded the Latin American distinction for contributions to CS in the region and became an ACM Fellow, followed in 2011 by an IEEE Fellowship.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Data Management Graduate Courses at ANU

The first ANU Data Management Interest Group meeting, Australian National University, Canberra, 9am 4 September 2012. I will be speaking on "Data Management Graduate Courses at ANU".

Service Driven Enterprises

James Gibson asked me to pass on an invitation from the Service Science Society to their workshop “Inventing the Future of Service Driven Enterprises in Canberra 31 August 2012.

Workshop:Inventing the Future of Service Driven Enterprises

Date: Friday, August 31, 9:00am – 5:15pm ...

Canberra

Workshop Description

The Service Science Society invites you to a workshop where we argue that current difficulties in large IT and modernisation projects are not solvable with continuous improvement. A transformative approach is required, driven by a vision to invent the future, created through action, and informed by directed research. We present some fundamental architectural concepts which we believe will contribute to this transformation, and which differentiate it from previous failed attempts. To achieve the transformation we need impact through capability building and directed research to support the transition to Service Driven Enterprises. The approach extends to the design and building of custom cloud execution engines, tools and methods. This requires a different business model and research approach than generally used in Australia. Finally, we argue that this change is coming, and a panel considers how we can act now in order to place Australia at the forefront of enabling Service Driven Enterprises.

Agenda

  • 9:00am – 9:15am Introduction - Prof Aditya Ghose, University of Wollongong
  • 9:15am – 9:45pm Necessity for major change - Prof Aditya Ghose, University of Wollongong
  • 9:45am – 10:15am Challenges in Delivery of Government Products and Services – Mr Peter Alexander, Treasury
  • 10:15am – 10:45am What Desirable Characteristics do we look for - Bridging the Creativity to Engineering Gap – Mr Chris Thorne, ATO
  • 10:45am – 11:15am Morning Tea (provided)
  • 11:15am – 11:45am What Desirable Characteristics do we look for - Enterprise Architecture - where are we now? - Dr Saul Caganoff - Sixtree
  • 12:45pm – 12:30pm Inventing the Service Driven Enterprise - Transformative Change Needed - Mr James Gibson*, ANU
  • 12:30pm – 1:10pm Lunch (provided)
  • 1:10pm – 2:10pm Discussion Session: Understanding the Service Driven Enterprise What is an SDE and what’s needed to build it? - Dr Liam O'Brien*
  • 2:10pm – 2:40pm Building Service Driven Enterprise Capability - Building the capability for timely innovation, engineering and capability development to support SDE client transitions - Dr Clive Boughton*, Software Improvements
  • 2:40pm – 3:10pm The Business Case for Change - Mr Pascal Rabbath, S-3 Consulting
  • 3:10pm – 3:40pm Services Research and Direction at CSIRO - Dr Darrell Williamson, CSIRO
  • 3:40pm – 4:00pm Afternoon Tea (provided)
  • 4:00pm – 5:10pm Panel - Achieving the Future - What practical actions should we take? What are the next steps? Chair: Dr Mike Sargent, M.A.Sargent & Associates Panellists: TBD (representatives from government, industry and academia)
  • 5:10pm – 5:15pm Workshop Wrap-up and Close - Prof Aditya Ghose, University of Wollongong

Registration Required

Cost of Supervising and Assessing Doctoral Degrees

Yesterday I attended a seminar on writing for research students by Catherine McLaughlin at the Australian Catholic University in Canberra. One point which Catherine made was that a thesis needs to be well written, because examiners get paid very little to read them. A recent topic on the EDUCAUSE Instructional Technologies Constituent Group (INSTTECH) has been "How can technology reduce or improve faculty workload now and long term?". It occurred to me that there seems to be little discussion of the costs involved in research supervision and the adequacy of examination, compared to coursework.

With a course, about 40% of the staff cost is for assessment. But the Universities Australia recommended fee for examining Higher Doctorates is only $425, where the thesis is more that 66% of the assessment. Assuming the thesis is 66% of the doctorate and there are three examiners, that would put the total cost of the assessment of a doctorate at $1,932. The international fees for a typical three year Doctor of Philosophy are $90,288. Even allowing for a 50% profit margin on the course and 50% staff cost, this indicates that the assessment is only 8% of the cost of the course. Some allowance would have to be made for the supervision component of the degree, which provides a form of ongoing assessment, but even so there would appear to be a lack of assessment in a research doctorate, as compared to coursework.

Costs of Instructional Design

Donald Clark has produced a very useful summary of "Estimating Costs and Time in Instructional Design". His estimates for on-line courses look reasonable. But I suggest the premium for on-line design can be reduced by omitting some of the flashy content, which does not actually help student learning.

At least for graduate students, my experience is that they are happy without the rich media integration, guest speakers and external web tools.

If you assume the author will be producing accessible materials, whatever the delivery method (as the law requires), then on-line is not such a big step.

If you dispense with Powerpoint type slides and pre-recorded "presentations" that takes a large load off the designer.

It is the interaction between students and with teachers which makes a good online course, not pretty slides and videos. A course becomes: read, try, discuss, do.

Also it is worth keeping in mind that about 40% of the cost of delivering a course is the assessment and it is how a course is assessed which students are most concerned with. Improvements made to streamlining the assessment design will pay large benefits later.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

e-Tabling Documents for Australian Parliament by 2013

In "e-Tabling Documents for Australian Parliament" (July 28, 2012), I proposed that the Australian Parliament change its procedures to allow the tabling of electronic, rather than paper, documents. Dr Andrew Leigh MP (my local member) has replied to say that a digital repository for the Parliamentary Papers Scheme is in development. It is planned to try it later this year, with full implementation in 2013, if all goes well.

The details are in:

  1. "Inquiry into the development of a digital repository and electronic distribution of the Parliamentary Papers Series", Joint Committee on Publications, Australian Parliament, 24 June 2010
  2. Presiding Officers' – further response, Joint Committee on Publications, Australian Parliament, June 2012 (PDF 46KB)
... The Parliamentary Papers Series (PPS) is 'a comprehensive collection of information that documents public policy formulation and administration of government since Federation'. 1

It includes all the documents of a substantial nature that have been tabled in either or both the Senate and the House of Representatives, such as parliamentary committee reports but also documents provided by the executive. Although the PPS includes papers prepared by and for the executive, it is administered by the Departments of the Senate and the House of Representatives. ...

Recommendation 1
The committee recommends that an electronic PPS be developed and implemented.

Agreed. The Presiding Officers agree that a basic electronic PPS be developed as soon as practical. In accordance with the business case, an easy to use web interface will follow and two additional stages investigated subsequently. The initial stage will result in access to the tabled documents through the APH website and will be ongoing from the date the series is implemented. The additional stages to be further investigated include digital access to other tabled papers and the back capturing of the documents which form the PPS to date.

Recommendation 2
The committee recommends that the parliamentary departments undertake a business case to examine issues relating to the maintenance of electronic records and long-term archival requirements that would be required in developing an electronic PPS.

The recommendation has been implemented.

Recommendation 3
The committee recommends that the parliamentary departments develop a digital repository for the PPS based in the Parliament.

Agreed. The Presiding Officers note that while the digital repository is to be based in the Parliament, the responsibility for providing the information in a timely manner resides with the author agencies. The Presiding Officers note the AGIMO requirement for departments and agencies to ensure that the on-line versions of documents tabled in Parliament are identical to those that are posted on their websites. This existing requirement provides surety of the content of the documents to be included in the ePPS.

Recommendation 4
The committee recommends that a business case, referred to in recommendation 2, also
include:

  • The scope for other tabled documents not in the PPS to be made available through the repository; and
  • The costs placed on the parliamentary departments to provide the repository.
The recommendation was implemented in the preparation of the business case.

Recommendation 5
The committee recommends that author departments and agencies be required to provide electronic copies of documents at the same time print copies are provided for tabling in the Parliament.

The Presiding Officers will ensure that electronic copies of documents prepared by either chamber department or the Department of Parliamentary Services, including parliamentary committees, are provided for inclusion in the ePPS.

It is noted that the government response to this recommendation indicates that the electronic documents will not be provided prior to tabling.

Recommendation 6
The committee recommends that a digital repository for the PPS be in production and accessible to users by early 2011, to coincide with the start of the 2011 PPS.

This recommendation could not be met.

Recommendation 7
The committee recommends that the chamber departments administer a digital repository for the PPS.

Agreed. The Presiding Officers support the administration of the digital repository for the ePPS by the Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives.

The Presiding Officers note that the parliamentary departments have jointly considered the most cost effective means to introduce the new format and that it will use IT services supported by the Department of Parliamentary Services. ...

From: Presiding Officers' – further response, Joint Committee on Publications, Australian Parliament, June 2012 (PDF 46KB)

On-line Supervision of Research Students

Greetings from the Australian Catholic University in Canberra, where I am attending a seminar on writing for research students by Catherine McLaughlin. I actually arrived for a workshop on supervising international students, but stayed on for the subsequent writing seminar, where Catherine is taking us on the journey of the PHD writing process. One thing which occurred to me on how graduate students gain skills is the role of teaching and supervision by the student. That is, to what extent should advanced students be encouraged, or required, to teach others and act as a tutor, or supervisor.

There are slides from a previous version of the writing seminar in "Effective Writing of Theses".

Catherine be speaking on supervising research students on-line at the Higher Education Reading Opportunities, 8.30am Tuesday, 4 September 2012, at the Australian National University.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Challenges for the USA in East Asia

Greetings from University House at the Australian National University in Canberra, where a panel of experts is discussing possible military conflict, as a result of the USA's ‘pivot’ to Asia. The panel is chaired by Andrew Carr.

The event announcement, somewhat provocatively, had a photo of a US Carrier strike group, the symbol of American power in the Pacific, on the event announcement. Coincidently in 1997, I visited the USS Blue Ridge, flagship of the 7th Fleet, when on exercise with Australian Defence Force.

The first speaker is Professor Anatol Lieven, Department of War Studies, King's College London and author of Anatol Lieven is author of Pakistan: A Hard Country. He started that even if Romney wins the US election, it will make little difference to US foreign policy. But Dr. Lieven asked if the PLAN would intervene in Indonesia in the event of unrest which threatened ethic Chinese. He also pointed out that Vietnam is likely to be allied with the USA in the future, due to its strategic location.

The second speaker Dr Benjamin Schreer asserted that Australia did not need to spend any time working out if it would support China or the USA in any hypothetical conflict, as Australia has already decided to back the USA.

Professor John Hart detailed the US presidential system, with its system of an electoral college. He argued that Obama is vulnerable due to a small margin in some states. He pointed out the Romney was "playing the China card", although this is likely just election rhetoric, with President Clinton's rhetoric on Chinese human rights disappearing after a week in office. Professor Hart described Paul Ryan as "a disastrous choice", as his policies will not be popular with Florida voters.

In my view, the "pivot" to Asia by the USA was dramatically announced by President Obama to the Australian Parliament, on 17 November 2011, a few km from where I am sitting. President Obama underlined his words by addressing US and Australian troops in Darwin. He emphasized that Australia had joined the USA in in every major conflict of the past hundred years. By doing so in Australia, there was tacit endorsement of the US pivot, by Australia and commitment to support the USA militarily in any conflict in Asia.

In supporting the USA in Asia, Australia needs to keep in mind the limits to US military power. The USA has 11 carrier strike groups. Of these only the U.S. Seventh Fleet is dedicated to the Western Pacific. The U.S. Fifth Fleet patrols the Persian Gulf and East Africa and might transit the Indian Ocean in an emergency. This was demonstrated in 1996, when the Nimitz battle group transited at speed from the Persian Gulf, to support Taiwan during the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. However, the USA has a relatively small number of groups to cover the globe. An determined enemy could exploit tension, or manufacture it, in several locations, to tie down US forces.

With the delivery of two Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships and Hobart class air warfare destroyers, Australia will have the nucleus of a carrier battle group. This would require the addition of the F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Australia has not ordered the F-35B, but a variation in the order for the F-35A would be relatively simple (the UK has demonstrated this by changing its F-35 variant order twice). Apart from future us with the F-35B there is no credible explanation for Australia ordering two ships equipped with ski-jump ramps for STOVL aircraft. The ramps severely reduce the effectiveness of the ships as helicopter carriers and could have been easily omitted during construction. The Air Warfare Destroyers would also need to be equipped with anti-ballistic missiles, which they are designed for, but which have not been ordered.

I asked the panel what effect the current arms race in Asia, with nationals purchaing submarines, aircraft carriers, blasitc missile systems. Dr Schreer pointed out that it will decades, if ever, before the PLAN have a credible aircraft carrier. He expressed concern about a lack of procedures for de-conflicting in the South China Sea, where tensions could escilate, simply because the forces involved do not have procedures for communication with each other in the event of an incident.

Dr Schreer asserted the US carrier strike groups will remain an effective tool and the USA would not tolerate one being sunk. However, it occurred to me that a determined enemy may instead target an allied aircraft carrier, or helicopter ship, of Japan, South Korea or Australia, to send a message to the USA.

Learning Objects Seminar

The Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is offering a free seminar for educators on how to download and use learning objects. The seminar will be via the Intenet using Blackboard Collaborate. I have attended these seminars before and as well as explaining learning objects well, they provide an excellent example of how to give a seminar on-line.
Webinar - Search and download FREE learning objects By Helen Lynch

Want to discover free, publicly funded, quality assured, custom designed VET learning resources? Come along to this National VET E-learning Strategy (Strategy) Webinar for a demonstration of how to search, find and deploy (in a Learning Management System) learning objects from the Strategy's Toolbox Learning Object Repository.

Understanding how to use this free repository will save you hours of search time and allow you to present quality VET resources to your students.

Following this session a face-to-face workshop will be held in September on ‘Cutomising, repackaging and deploying’ these learning objects. ...

30 August 2012 12:30 – 1:30pm AEST via Blackboard Collaborate

Littoral Combat Ship Mission Modules

The USA's two designs of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) look very different. The Freedom class is a monohull ship, whereas the Independence class. is a trimaran (designed by Australian shipbuilder Austral). The ships were in a competition from which one was to be selected, but the US Government decided to acquire both types. The Freedom is smaller and more suited to short missions, whereas the Independence is larger with longer range. The cost and complexity of acquiring two different ship types is lessened by using a common set of interchangeable Mission Modules.

The modules are shipping container sized units, with standard electrical, cooling and data interfaces, holding anti-submarine, mine warfare or other equipment. Also accommodation modules can be used for extra personnel. There is an "Interface Control Document" (ICD) defining the hardware interface between the ship and module (such as how much 440VAC 60Hz 3 phase electrical power is available) and a "Interface Design Specification" (IDS) defining the data communications interface (including use of CORBA).

In theory, much of the cost and complexity of the ships is thus in the modules. Also it would be possible to change the ships for different missions, but this is proving problematic in practice.

One interesting aspect of the mission modules is their use of Linux software. This opens the possibility of creating new modules with commercial off the shelf equipment. The modules could also be used in other ships, including civilian vessels pressed into service for military use. Rather than use the exact specification of the USA's LCS mission modules, a more flexible approach could be used with a blend of commercial and military interfaces. As an example, the same interfaces used for networking separate military platforms, such as ships, aircraft and vehicles, could be used to interface the mission modules. The fact that the modules where physically next to each other within a ship would not stop the use of the same networked interfaces as would be used if the modules where on independent ships, aircraft or vehicles. The ship would simply act as a way to house and transport the modules.

Australia has acquired and on order several amphibious transport ships with generous space for ISO sized modules. In his 2006 thesis for the US Naval Postgraduate School, Aykut Kertmen carried out an "EVALUATION OF THE LITTORAL COMBAT SHIP (LCS) POTENTIAL FOR THE TURKISH NAVY", including likening the mission modules to Lego.

The company Sea Bos, offer a "Mission Module Container", which is essentially a standard ISO shipping container modified for military use. In place of the usual double doors on the end of the container, it has two bi fold doors, making access easier on board ship. There is also a side door for personnel and an additional door opposite the cargo doors. The container has raceways in each top corner for cabling. The container is also fitted with insulated walls and air-conditioning. The walls, ceiling and floor are fitted with a rail system for installing equipment racks. Lastly teh container is painted standard military grey.

Integral refrigerated ("reefer") ISO containers have a standard power connection defined by ISO 1496-2 and can have a microprocessor for controlling temperature and communicate with the ship via a data sent over the power line using the ISO 10368 Standard. As these standards are in widespread civillain use, they may be of value for adoption for military modules.

On-line Tool for Skills Assessment

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) offers its members free use of an on-line tools to help self assess their current skills and identify areas for improvement. This might be a good model for universities, particularly for postgraduate students and especially those undertaking research, where the program offers little structure for career development.

The ACS tool is called MySFIA with the name derived from the UK based Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). However, the ACS should have chosen a name which does not tie it so closely to the one framework.

The MySFIA tool was produced by PSARN International. The tool guides the member through a series of steps:

  1. Self-Assessment
  2. Identify Competencies
  3. Documentary Evidence
  4. Submit for Assessment
  5. Certification and Resume

A status panel shows where the member their progress with the assessments, with the stages: Submitted for Assessment, Assessed, Self Assessments Complete and Suggested competencies completed.

At the end of the process the system helps the member identify courses to help with skills development and preparation of a resume.

MySFIA is a standalone system. For students undertaking study, it would be useful if this process was integrated with the e-portfolio system of their institution (ACS uses the Mahara e-Portfolio package). Integration with popular business social networking tools, particaurly LinkedIn would also be useful (LinkedIn has an on-line resume tool).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Talk on Possible US Military Conflict in Asia

A panel of experts will discuss possible military conflict, as a result of the USA's ‘pivot’ to Asia, at the Australian National University, 22 August 2012, in Canberra. The event "The 2012 US election and Asia: Pivot, concert or conflict?" is free and open to the public.


Public Lecture
The 2012 US election and Asia: Pivot, concert or conflict?

In 2011 the Obama Administration announced its now famous ‘pivot’ to Asia, away from the shifting sands of the Middle East to the economic growth and rising power centres of Asia. Yet, this is a project that has only just begun and one that has drawn controversy from both the left and right. The panel will present a lively discussion on the upcoming US election and discuss how the 2012 election campaign could be significant for the Asia Pacific.

The panel will be chaired by Andrew Carr and feature Professor Anatol Lieven, Professor John Hart and Dr Benjamin Schreer.

Our three guests all bring extensive knowledge of US politics and US policies in Asia, to discuss who will win, the role of foreign policy in the campaign, the defence and strategic thinking of both candidates, and the different visions they have for our region. There will then be a chance for audience questions and discussions to explore one of the most significant US elections for our region in decades.

This panel is free and open to the public.

Click here to register

The views expressed in this lecture series are those of the presenters and do not necessarily represent the views of The Australian National University.

Speaker/Host:

Strategic and Defence Studies Centre

Date: Wednesday, 22 August 2012
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM





The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks By President Obama to the Australian Parliament

Parliament House
Canberra, Australia

10:42 A.M. AEST

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Prime Minister Gillard, Leader Abbott, thank you both for your very warm welcome. ...

Later today, in Darwin, I’ll join the Prime Minister in saluting our brave men and women in uniform. And it will be a reminder that -- from the trenches of the First World War to the mountains of Afghanistan -- Aussies and Americans have stood together, we have fought together, we have given lives together in every single major conflict of the past hundred years. Every single one. ...

So here, among close friends, I’d like to address the larger purpose of my visit to this region -- our efforts to advance security, prosperity and human dignity across the Asia Pacific. ...

For the United States, this reflects a broader shift. After a decade in which we fought two wars that cost us dearly, in blood and treasure, the United States is turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia Pacific region. ...

Our new focus on this region reflects a fundamental truth -- the United States has been, and always will be, a Pacific nation. Asian immigrants helped build America, and millions of American families, including my own, cherish our ties to this region. From the bombing of Darwin to the liberation of Pacific islands, from the rice paddies of Southeast Asia to a cold Korean Peninsula, generations of Americans have served here, and died here -- so democracies could take root; so economic miracles could lift hundreds of millions to prosperity. Americans have bled with you for this progress, and we will not allow it -- we will never allow it to be reversed.

Here, we see the future. As the world’s fastest-growing region -- and home to more than half the global economy -- the Asia Pacific is critical to achieving my highest priority, and that's creating jobs and opportunity for the American people. With most of the world’s nuclear power and some half of humanity, Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress.

As President, I have, therefore, made a deliberate and strategic decision -- as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future, by upholding core principles and in close partnership with our allies and friends.

Let me tell you what this means. First, we seek security, which is the foundation of peace and prosperity. We stand for an international order in which the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld. Where international law and norms are enforced. Where commerce and freedom of navigation are not impeded. Where emerging powers contribute to regional security, and where disagreements are resolved peacefully. That's the future that we seek. ...

As we consider the future of our armed forces, we've begun a review that will identify our most important strategic interests and guide our defense priorities and spending over the coming decade. So here is what this region must know. As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority. As a result, reductions in U.S. defense spending will not -- I repeat, will not -- come at the expense of the Asia Pacific. ...

Indeed, we are already modernizing America’s defense posture across the Asia Pacific. It will be more broadly distributed -- maintaining our strong presence in Japan and the Korean Peninsula, while enhancing our presence in Southeast Asia. Our posture will be more flexible -- with new capabilities to ensure that our forces can operate freely. And our posture will be more sustainable, by helping allies and partners build their capacity, with more training and exercises.

We see our new posture here in Australia. The initiatives that the Prime Minister and I announced yesterday will bring our two militaries even closer together. We’ll have new opportunities to train with other allies and partners, from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean. And it will allow us to respond faster to the full range of challenges, including humanitarian crises and disaster relief.

Since World War II, Australians have warmly welcomed American service members who've passed through. On behalf of the American people, I thank you for welcoming those who will come next, as they ensure that our alliance stays strong and ready for the tests of our time.

We see America’s enhanced presence in the alliance that we’ve strengthened: In Japan, where our alliance remains a cornerstone of regional security. In Thailand, where we’re partnering for disaster relief. In the Philippines, where we’re increasing ship visits and training. And in South Korea, where our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea will never waver. ...

Meanwhile, the United States will continue our effort to build a cooperative relationship with China. All of our nations -- Australia, the United States -- all of our nations have a profound interest in the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China. That's why the United States welcomes it. We’ve seen that China can be a partner from reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula to preventing proliferation. And we’ll seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing, including greater communication between our militaries to promote understanding and avoid miscalculation. We will do this, even as we continue to speak candidly to Beijing about the importance of upholding international norms and respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people. ...

So God bless Australia. God bless America. And God bless the friendship between our two peoples.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END
11:10 A.M. AEST

From: Remarks By President Obama to the Australian Parliament, The White House, USA, 17 November 17, 2011

Anatol Lieven is author of Pakistan: A Hard Country.

Finland's School Success Based On Well Trained and Paid Teachers

Anu Partanen argues in "What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success" (The Atlantic Monthly 29 December 2011), that the success of Finland's high level of education is due to the absence of private schools. However, I suggest a more significant factor may be that Finish teachers are required to have much higher levels of education and are paid much better. A Finnish school teacher is required to have least a Master's degree, 35 weeks study in a school subject and 35 weeks teacher training.

Finish teachers get paid 13% more than miners, unlike Australia, where teachers get paid 29% less than miners.

One way the education of Australian teachers can be improved is by providing on-line courses. But then if their salaries are not also increased, they may go and work for the mining industry. ;-)

Bologna reform problems for German higher education

Spiegel reports problems with the implementation of the Bologna reforms in German universities: "German Universities 'Share Blame' for Problems" (08/15/2012). German university students traditionally studied for much longer than the three year first degree in the Bologna model and complain they are now being hurried through the system.

Power to the People!

Tom Worthington showing Power to the People!
Power to the People! is a display of energy generation and use, for Eco-Annandale October 2012. The controversy over carbon tax, climate change and electricity price increases have obscured the simple facts of how is generated.

Solar Panel, LEDs and Meter
This display shows a photovoltaic panel (a so called "solar panel") connected to an electricity meter and light emitting diodes (LEDs). The available light indoors has less than one thousandth the power of the noon day sun, but is still sufficient to light three ultra efficient LEDs. An analogue multimeter set to read current is used. Unlike a digital meter, which requires a battery, the ammeter needle is powered purely from the current being measured. The display is positioned so that as the visitor approaces, they will shade the sloar panel, causing the LEDs to dim and meter needle to flicker, thus showing the relationship between light and energy.
Solar Panel Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Multimeter



Taking power to the people, you can buy install your own solar panels, multimeter and LEDs for small scale power generation.

QR Code for Power to the PeopleThe solar panel generates electrical power, the wires conduct the electricity to the lights and the meter measures the power used.

ps: I will speaking on "A Green Computing Professional Education Course Online using eBooks", in the Innovation in Education Showcase, 12:30pm, 19 September 2012, in the Ethel Tory Centre, at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Excellence in Innovation for Australia

A consortium of Australian universities is assessing the value of research with the "Excellence in Innovation for Australia" (EIA). This is by the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) and the Group of Eight Universities (Go8 includes the ANU). Essentially this is a marketing exercise to give case studies in plain English (which a business person or politician could understand) of how university research has helped Australian industry and the community. The topics selected for initial case studies are:
  1. Defence
  2. Economic Development
  3. Society
  4. Environment

The Australian project is modeled on the UK REF Impact Pilot Study (November 2010). Australian universities have until the end of of August, 2012 to submit case studies, with panel considering submissions by the end of October. There is no date set for the results to be published and the slow pace of the work is at odds with the objective of showing universities to be of practical use. A more real world approach would have been for the universities to publish their case studies and then invite industry, as well as academic, to comment on them and then vote which are the best.Link

Free training at The ANU

How to Learn: Student guide to Free training at The ANUThe Australian National University (ANU) provide "How to Learn: Student guide to Free training at The ANU". This is a 37 page booklet detailing free courses and services for students of the university. The services offered go beyond the usual how to use a computer and include topic design, thesis writing and supervision, project management. The booklet is provided as a PDF file, as well as on paper. Unfortunately it has been formatted with two columns of text, making it difficult to read on screen.

Topics
  1. Help Services
  2. Useful Tools
  3. On-line Tools for Learning and Collaboration
  4. Library Tours
  5. Information Skills
  6. Computer Skills
  7. Academic Skills
  8. Statistical Data Skills
  9. Personal Development Skills
  10. Career Development Skills
  11. Other Services
  12. Quick Contacts and Help

Podcasts

One item of particular interest are a set of podcasts on student topics:

  1. Topics essential to academic success: SkillSoup
  2. Skills development: The Learning Curve
  3. Student and staff interviews: SkillSoup Radio
  4. Resolving life problems: MindSpaces
  5. Academic skills: Skills Tips:
  6. Administrative processes and practices: PodShots:
  7. Studying Business and Accounting: first year strategies
  8. Organising your career: JobPod