News 2009

Grant Approved for Next Generation Mobile Networks Project

December 2009: This month the European Commission has formally signed the grant agreement for a major new research project: BuNGee - Beyond Next Generation mobile broadband, in which York is a partner. The vision of the project is to develop a new architecture for broadband wireless networks in the next generation and beyond, capable of supplying an order of magnitude greater capacity density than current fourth generation proposals, approaching 1 Gbit/s/km2. The proposed architecture is based on a hierarchical structure using advanced wireless backhaul systems, using new high-gain antennas along with novel MIMO and virtual MIMO techniques. The project is led by Alvarion, and includes four other companies and two other universities from seven countries.

Microbeam Analysis Society Awards Cosslett Award to Professor Mohamed El-Gomati

November 2009: The Microbeam Analysis Society has awarded Professor Mohamed El-Gomati the prestigious Cosslett Award for the best invited paper for his work on measurement and calculations of secondary, backscattered and low energy loss electrons in scanning electron microscopes, which led to a new theory in secondary electron emission. In receiving the award, Mohamed said "this award is in recognition of many colleagues and students who worked with me over the years, and also to the craftsmanship of our technical staff at York; without their professionalism and dedication I would not have been able to carry out these studies."

Unique Work on Insect Noise is Featured on National Radio

October 2009: Dr David Chesmore appeared on BBC Radio 4's Nature Programme on 6 October. The programme, entitled "Insect Soundings", explored the ways in which insects make sounds, and some unusual applications of insect acoustics including insect-inspired music and the detection of alien invasive insect larvae in imported timber goods and trees. David discussed aspects of sound production and his work on alien invasive insect detection.

His work was also recently discussed at a European COST (Co-Operation in the field of Scientific and Technical research) meeting on "Hot Topics in Soundscapes", where he gave an invited presentation on his work in insect acoustics. COST action TD0804 on "Soundscapes of European Cities and Landscapes" aims to bring together a wide range of disciplines to advance soundscape concepts in urban environments.

Andy Marvin elected to the IEEE EMC Board of Directors

October 2009: Professor Andy Marvin has been elected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society, the world's largest society dedicated to the development and distribution of information, tools and techniques for reducing electromagnetic interference. Andy was elected by the worldwide membership of over 4000 engineers in the IEEE EMC Society.

York Students' Success at 2009 SET Awards

September 2009: Richard Smith and Jonathan Andrews of the Department of Electronics won the Leadership Forum Award for the Best Electronic Engineering Student(s) at the 2009 SET Awards (Science, Engineering and Technology Student of the Year) held at the InterContinental Hotel, London on 24 September. The SET Awards are based principally on performance in final year projects. In their projects supervised by Dr Steve Smith, Richard and Jonathan designed and built systems that take photographs of museum visitors then meld them automatically into exhibits around the museum to provide a personalised and engaging experience.

Prof John Robinson, Head of Department, on hand to see Richard and Jonathan take the award, commented "The SET Awards showcase the talent, enthusiasm and achievement of science and engineering students from all over the UK. The very best of these win the awards, so we are extremely proud of Richard and Jonathan's success."

York Electronics Department Retains #1 Position for Student Satisfaction

September 2009: The Department of Electronics at York has topped the table in the National Student Survey for the second year running. The Sunday Times' summary scores, published in the University Guide 2010 supplement on 12 September put York on 87.4% - the highest score for Electronic and Electrical Engineering in the UK. The full results are available on the HEFCE Teaching Quality website.

York Minster to Echo to the Sound of Heritage

September 2009: On the 7th October 2009, the dramatic setting of York Minster will host a unique exploration of the ways in which audio technology can enhance the appreciation of heritage venues. The concert is the culmination of the I Hear Too Research Cluster, funded by the Science and Heritage programme sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The initiative involved researchers, artists and scientists, as well as partners from industry, museums and heritage venues, working together to explore the role that acoustics, audio, music and sound-art have in our understanding and experience of heritage. The concert will feature seven specially-commissioned music, performance and sound-art installation works in various locations in the Minster.

 

Tony Ward Re-elected President of EAEEIE

August 2009: Tony Ward has been reappointed for a second 3-year term as President of the European Association for Education in Electrical and Information Engineering. In its 21st year the EAEEIE is the oldest association in Europe dedicated to the enhancement of teaching and learning in Higher Education, and now has members in almost every European Country. The EAEEIE holds an annual conference, presided over by the Association's President, which this year was held in Valencia, Spain. The 2010 Conference will be in Lithuania.

The Association has successfully bid for and managed EU Thematic Network projects continuously for the past 10 years. The latest project, code named ELLEIEC (Enhancing Lifelong Learning within the Electrical and Information Engineering Community) will establish a European Virtual Centre for Enterprise competence development. The Centre is novel in that it simultaneously develops language skills as well as the technicalities of the bite-sized enterprise competence learners choose to study. 

Sir Robin Saxby and Prof. Kel Fidler Awarded Honorary Degrees by University of York

July 2009: At the 2009 graduation ceremony, the University of York awarded honorary degrees to Sir Robin Saxby and Professor Kel Fidler. Sir Robin Saxby (shown here with final-year student Max Hastings playing a musical instrument based on the Wiimote remote control interface) was for many years the CEO of ARM Holdings Ltd, the market-leader in the design embedded processors, with products found in just about every mobile phone in the world, as well as cars, digital cameras, game consoles and many other consumer electronic devices. He is an ex-President of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), and is currently the chairman of the media production company Arolla Partners. Kel Fidler was an ex-head of department of the Electronics Department at York, and is current chairman of the Engineering Council UK, the regulatory authority for Chartered Engineering in the UK, and which also inspects universities and accredits degrees. Both have had very distinguished careers in engineering, and we're looking forward to their greater involvement in our teaching and research over the coming years.

Prof. David Howard Contributes to a New Book on Musicology

July 2009: Publishers Ashgate have recently announced "Modern Methods of Musicology", a review of the state-of-the-art in applying computing technology to the study of music. David Howard has contributed the chapter on "The Computer and the Singing Voice". Prof. Howard is a leading expert in the development of the singing voice, and the use of technology both to aid the development of individual singer's techniques, and to analyse the characteristics of the voice as an instrument.

Music Technology Students Record National Choral Composition Competition

June 2009: Music Technology Students from the Department of Electronics brought their recording skills to a national competition recently held at the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM), run in association with BBC Radio 3 and the Tallis Scholars. Second Year students Philip Day, Adam Lister and Dean O'Brien seized the opportunity to get some top class performances for their Recording Studio Techniques coursework. They planned the recording session to ensure these one-off performances were captured with the highest possible quality. There was additional pressure in that the winning composition had to be recorded, edited and posted on the NCEM's website as an mp3 within an hour of the result being announced! Both the organisers of the event at the NCEM and their tutor, Dr Damian Murphy, were very impressed with their professionalism and their ability to get the job done under considerable pressure and to a very high standard.

The results are available to listen to at the NCEM's website:www.ncem.co.uk

2010 Times League Tables Published: Department in the Top Ten in the UK

June 2009: On June 3rd, the Times newspaper published its influential Good Universities Guide for 2010. The Department of Electronics at York was rated 9th out of the 64 Electrical and Electronic Departments considered in the survey,confirming the place of York as one of the top ten departments in the UK. (Last month, the Guardian newspaper rated York as 8th in the country). Once again, the University of York itself was rated 11th in the country, confirming our rating as one of the top 100 universities in the world.

Electronic Students' Business Plan a Finalist in Global Competition

May 2009: Waverun, an innovative business service enabling bars to promote special offers to students on a night out in York using SMS text messaging, has won through to the finals of the Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship challenge run by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The team comprises electronics students David Furey and Michael Slater, along with two other colleagues from the University of York: Joseph Pearce and James Hambleton. The service is already being used by about 10% of the students at York. Sadly, due to the current influenza pandemic, the finals in Hong Kong have been postponed for a year.

York Academics Play Key Role in Success of IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation

May 2009: Prof Andy Tyrrell and other members of the Intelligent Systems research group from the Department of Electronics, played key roles in the 11th IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation held between the 18th and 21st May 2009 in Trondheim, Norway.

This is the largest annual IEEE event in the area of evolutionary computation. This year CEC attracted 398 registrants with 300 oral presentations, 5 poster sessions, 12 tutorials given by world leaders, and three keynotes. Andy Tyrrell was the conference general chair, while Prof Jon Timmis and Steve Smith had key roles on the organising committee. Gianluca Tempesti, David Halliday, Christina Santini and Andy Greensted, all from York, were also heavily involved in running the conference. Andy comments: "CEC 2009 provided a stimulating forum for scientists, engineers, educators, and students from all over the world to disseminate the latest research findings and exchange information on emerging areas of research in the field." York's latest contributions in evolutionary hardware were reported at the conference, as previewed in IEEE Spectrum Online: http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/may09/9108

2010 Guardian League Tables Published: Department in the Top Ten in the UK

May 2009: On May 12th, the Guardian newspaper published its annual guide to universities in the UK, including league tables for each subject. The Department of Electronics at York was rated 8th out of the 61 departments listed under "Engineering: Electronic and Electrical". The University of York itself was rated 11th in the country, confirming our rating as one of the top 100 universities in the world.

Prof. Mohamed El-Gomati wins Muslim News award for Excellence

April 2009: Professor Mohamed El-Gomati of the Physical Layer group at York was recently presented with the 2009 Fazlur Rahman Khan award for Excellence in Engineering, Science and Technology at the ninth annual Muslim News awards. The award recognises Prof El-Gomati's contribution to the field of electron microscopy, including the world's first parallel electron energy analyser, his role as referee for the British Government and UNESCO, his more than 180 technical papers, patents and books, and his work as deputy-chairman of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation.

'Real Virtuality' helmet featured at EPSRC Pioneers Exhibition

March 2009: Professor David Howard is taking part in Pioneers-09 at Olympia, London on Wednesday 4th March, an exhibition organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to showcase pioneering research. Attendees are expected to include members of government, UK research councils, academic colleagues and the general public. David is principal investigator on a grant "... towards real virtuality", working with Jude Brereton at York, and with co-investigators Professor Alan Chalmers and Mr Christopher Moir from the University of Warwick as well as colleagues from the Universities of Bangor, Bradford and Brighton.

The key objective is to provide a fully immersive experience to users, such that they do not know whether it is real or not; hence the title "... towards real virtuality". The initial mock-up is the Virtual Cocoon (pictured) which will stimulate hearing, vision, taste and smell and is complemented by a glove for touch. Applications include fully experiencing what it was like to live in the past, training for dangerous situations, remote medicine, travel-free tourism, travel-free meetings, sport and other activity training and new ways of learning subjects such as history, languages and geography.

York Academic Leads Development of Virtual Centre for Enterprise Education

February 2009: The University of York is very pleased to be a leading part of a new £600,000 thematic network ELLEIEC (Enhancing Lifelong Learning for the Electrical and Information Engineering Community) funded by the European Commission for a three-year period until September 2011. ELLEIEC aims to establish a virtual centre for the development of enterprise skills and competencies, and investigate the impact of Lifelong Learning on the employability of graduates. Tony Ward of the Department of Electronics is leading the work package on the development of the virtual centre, which will provide bite-sized learning in enterprise with the novel option of learning in a language other than the learner's native tongue: each learner will have a mentor who will coach them in both their understanding of the module content and in their ability to communicate in their chosen language. The University will bring experience of enterprise education from the White Rose Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Enterprise to the project as well as experience in linking student skills development needs with training courses using the Skillsforge software tool.

Developing the Next Generation of Radars

February 2009: The next generation of radar systems are being designed to provide substantially better performance for the detection and tracking of targets. These advances will be made possible by using the extra degrees of freedom provided by multi-input multi-output (MIMO) antenna technology. A project starting at York will investigate highly innovative ways of designing space-time adaptive processing (STAP) algorithms for MIMO radar systems. These algorithms will be based on world-leading reduced-rank signal processing techniques developed in the Communications Research Group in the team led by Dr. Rodrigo de Lamare. The project is supported by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Industrial Sponsor for the new MSc in Digital Signal Processing

January 2009: In October this year, a new one-year full-time taught MSc programme in Digital Signal Processing (DSP) is starting at York. This programme will teach the theoretical foundations of DSP methods and develop skills in practical implementation techniques such as FPGA design. The programme uses the expertise of all the research groups in the Department of Electronics to cover state-of-the-art applications of DSP techniques to the fields of communications, instrumentation, bio-engineering, medical sensing, imaging and multimedia, amongst others. The MSc in DSP is designed for graduates in mathematics, engineering, physics or computer science, and will provide a good route to a career in any of the varied industries that use DSP technology for students with any of these backgrounds.

The programme has just attracted industrial sponsorship from RF Engines Ltd (RFEL) who have established two special awards for the best students in the programme: "For Excellence in Theoretical Signal Processing" and "For Excellence in Signal Processing Design". One University Masters Studentship is also available for this programme. For more details, visit the MSc in Digital Signal Processing web-pages

Launch of New Research Consortium in Cognitive Communications

January 2009 The Department of Electronics hosted the first meeting of the Worldwide Universities Network Cognitive Communications Consortium on the 8th and 9th of January 2009. Over thirty delegates from sixteen academic and industrial partners from around the world came together to discuss collaboration on future research that aims to apply cognition techniques to communications systems and networks. The multi-disciplinary activity incorporates the fields of wireless communications, distributed artificial intelligence, applied electromagnetics and implementation. At York, the Communications, Intelligent Systems, and Physical Layer research groups are all involved. The Consortium is led by Dr David Grace from the Communications Research Group at York, with logistical and financial support coming from the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a grouping of 18 universities worldwide that has been established to help foster research collaboration. The next meeting is scheduled for June, in Hannover, Germany.

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