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Smart Futures: Connecting Physical and Virtual Worlds

Industry Advisory Network Breakfast
Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology,
University of Technology, Sydney

Friday 20 May 2011, 7:00am 10:00am
Aerial Function Centre, 235 Jones Street, Ultimo
Broadway Campus, UTS

This forum explored key aspects of cyber-physical technologies and the opportunities arising Industry and the implications for engineering and information technology practice. Coupling and coordinating computational and physical elements in future technologies is expected to lead to important advances in science, engineering and information technology because these technologies can dramatically improve system capability, adaptability, efficiency, effectiveness, functionality, reliability, safety, and usability. The breakfast forum will consider is how the future of cyber-physical technologies will influence industry directions, research and practice.

This Industry Advisory Network Breakfast was opened by Professor Hung Nguyen, Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, and Professor Attila Brungs was in attendance. It was facilitated by Andrew Errant and bought together leaders and emerging researchers from business, government and academia to engage and discuss this breakfast topic after brief presentations from four inspiring world-class Invited Speakers:

Far from the Madding Crowd: Autonomy and Remote Operation in the Primary Sector

Hugh Durrant-Whyte
CEO, NICTA

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Hugh Durrant, 13m:43s

Abstract: Australia is a large, sparsely populated, resource rich country a long way from anywhere; and is consequently the ideal place to do robotics. The past decade has seen substantial technical development and investment in large scale field robotics, especially in civilian applications such as cargo handling, mining, agriculture and marine environments; applications which are of central importance to the Australian economy. This talk describes a number of technical advances in these areas and especially focus on issues of systems engineering and remote operation.

Short Bio: Hugh Durrant-Whyte is CEO if NICTA. He previously led the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) at the University of Sydney where he was recipient of two Federation Fellowships. He has won numerous awards for his work including being named 2010 NSW Scientist of the Year. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the Academy of Science and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Haptically enabled VR, Tele-operation and Tele-presence

Saeid Nahavandi
Director Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, Deakin University

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Saeid Nahavandi, 16m:40s

Abstract: Haptic technology is becoming an important research platform for a wide variety of applications from virtual training for product assembly to remotely rendering safe improvised explosive devices. This talk will focus on key research challenges and technologies developed within CISR at Deakin University for major local and international research partners. The application domains range from aerospace, automotive, mining, sports, medicine to defense.

Short Bio: Saeid Nahavandi received his PhD in Control Engineering from Durham University, UK. Saeid is an Alfred Deakin Professor and the Director for the Centre for Intelligent Systems Research at Deakin University with over 50 researchers. He has carried out industry based research with several major international companies such as GM, Ford, Holden, Nissan, Bosch, Futuris, Boeing, Vestas just to name a few. For his contribution in haptics he won two major research grants from the Australian Department of Defence on haptically enabled counter explosive robot design. In 2002 Professor Nahavandi served as a consultant to Jet Propulsion Lab (NASA). Professor Nahavandi is a Fellow member of IET, IEAust and Senior Member of IEEE and has published over 350 referred papers.

Sustainability Leadership: Integrating evidence based data and IT for citywide planning addressing the climate problem

Bruce Taper
Director, Kinesis

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Bruce Taper, 16m:51s

Abstract: In all the debate about carbon taxes and climate change it is easy to lose site that local and state governments have engaged in direct action to address the climate change on a number of different levels. Bruce will critique some examples of where complex modeling of physical processes simplified by custom built tools has made a positive contribution to addressing the climate problem.

Short Bio: Bruce's track record of original thought and innovation over the past two decades has created a substantial legacy within the sustainability sector in Australia. Recognised nationally for his work on climate and energy related issues, Bruce is renowned for his capacity to utilise emerging technologies to deliver smart, equitable and enabling solutions. Bruce established Kinesis in 2007 to make a difference in addressing the climate problem. Kinesis prides itself on its capacity to deliver scientific and analytically sound solutions combined with strategic and pragmatic advice in this increasingly complex and evolving space. Bruce leads a crack team of specialists committed to providing clients with the intellectual property to make a meaningful and measurable contribution to emissions reduction. Bruce has a 1st Class Honours degree in Environmental Science from the University of Newcastle and is also a proud graduate of the Benevolent Society's 2001 Sydney Leadership Program.

Smarter Planet - Two Years On

Glenn Wightwick
Chief Technologist, IBM Australia
Director, IBM Research & Development - Australia

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Glen Wightwick, 17m:04s

Abstract: During the last two years, IBM has been very active in articulating a vision for a smarter planet based on the ability to gain deep insight into complex systems through ubiquitous instrumentation of our world, the interconnection of that instrumentation and analysis of data from those instruments. This talk will describe how this vision has been turned into reality, and what potential opportunities and challenges lie ahead.

Short Bio: Glenn Wightwick is Director of IBM Research and Development - Australia, Chief Technologist for IBM Australia and an IBM Distinguished Engineer. He is leading the establishment of a new R&D Lab focused on smarter planet initiatives. During the previous 4.5 years Glenn led the establishment and growth of the IBM Australia Development Laboratory which is engaged in the development and support of IBM software.

The participants heard from the four expert and inspiring speakers individually and then all the speakers came together as a panel to comment on each others presentations and field questions from participants. It was facilitated by Andrew Errant of Cisco Systems Inc. Participants also had the unique opportunity to meet a wide range of UTS Autonomous Robots before and after breakfast.

Organisation team

John Best, Vice President, Research & Technical, Thales Group
Paul Freeman, General Manager, Asset Management, Sydney Water
Pat Jenkins, Director, Industry Partnering Unit, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology
Gunasmin Lye, Research Administration Officer, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology
Mary-Anne Williams, Associate Dean (Research & Development), Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology

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Panel session, 18m:23s
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Wrap ups, 15m:44s