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  • richardmitnick 8:37 am on May 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Quantum world-first: researchers can now tell how accurate two-qubit calculations in silicon really are", ...you can only tap into the tremendous power of quantum computing if the qubit operations are near perfect with only tiny errors allowed” Dr Yang says., , “Fidelity is a critical parameter which determines how viable a qubit technology is..., , , The researchers say the study is further proof that silicon as a technology platform is ideal for scaling up to the large numbers of qubits needed for universal quantum computing., Two-qubit gate, UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Quantum world-first: researchers can now tell how accurate two-qubit calculations in silicon really are” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales – Sidney

    14 May 2019

    Isabelle Dubach
    Media and Content Manager
    +61 2 9385 7307, 0432 307 244
    i.dubach@unsw.edu.au

    Scientia Professor Andrew Dzurak
    Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications
    +61 432 405 434
    a.dzurak@unsw.edu.au

    After being the first team to create a two-qubit gate in silicon in 2015, UNSW Sydney engineers are breaking new ground again: they have measured the accuracy of silicon two-qubit operations for the first time – and their results confirm the promise of silicon for quantum computing.

    1
    Wister Huang, a final-year PhD student in Electrical Engineering; Professor Andrew Dzurak; and Dr Henry Yang, a senior research fellow.

    For the first time ever, researchers have measured the fidelity – that is, the accuracy – of two-qubit logic operations in silicon, with highly promising results that will enable scaling up to a full-scale quantum processor.

    The research, carried out by Professor Andrew Dzurak’s team in UNSW Engineering, was published today in the world-renowned journal Nature.

    The experiments were performed by Wister Huang, a final-year PhD student in Electrical Engineering, and Dr Henry Yang, a senior research fellow at UNSW.

    “All quantum computations can be made up of one-qubit operations and two-qubit operations – they’re the central building blocks of quantum computing,” says Professor Dzurak.

    “Once you’ve got those, you can perform any computation you want – but the accuracy of both operations needs to be very high.”

    In 2015 Dzurak’s team was the first to build a quantum logic gate in silicon, making calculations between two qubits of information possible – and thereby clearing a crucial hurdle to making silicon quantum computers a reality.

    A number of groups around the world have since demonstrated two-qubit gates in silicon – but until this landmark paper today, the true accuracy of such a two-qubit gate was unknown.

    Accuracy crucial for quantum success

    “Fidelity is a critical parameter which determines how viable a qubit technology is – you can only tap into the tremendous power of quantum computing if the qubit operations are near perfect, with only tiny errors allowed,” Dr Yang says.

    In this study, the team implemented and performed Clifford-based fidelity benchmarking – a technique that can assess qubit accuracy across all technology platforms – demonstrating an average two-qubit gate fidelity of 98%.

    “We achieved such a high fidelity by characterising and mitigating primary error sources, thus improving gate fidelities to the point where randomised benchmarking sequences of significant length – more than 50 gate operations – could be performed on our two-qubit device,” says Mr Huang, the lead author on the paper.

    Quantum computers will have a wide range of important applications in the future thanks to their ability to perform far more complex calculations at much greater speeds, including solving problems that are simply beyond the ability of today’s computers.

    “But for most of those important applications, millions of qubits will be needed, and you’re going to have to correct quantum errors, even when they’re small,” Professor Dzurak says.

    “For error correction to be possible, the qubits themselves have to be very accurate in the first place – so it’s crucial to assess their fidelity.”

    “The more accurate your qubits, the fewer you need – and therefore, the sooner we can ramp up the engineering and manufacturing to realise a full-scale quantum computer.”


    Silicon confirmed as the way to go.

    The researchers say the study is further proof that silicon as a technology platform is ideal for scaling up to the large numbers of qubits needed for universal quantum computing. Given that silicon has been at the heart of the global computer industry for almost 60 years, its properties are already well understood and existing silicon chip production facilities can readily adapt to the technology.

    “If our fidelity value had been too low, it would have meant serious problems for the future of silicon quantum computing. The fact that it is near 99% puts it in the ballpark we need, and there are excellent prospects for further improvement. Our results immediately show, as we predicted, that silicon is a viable platform for full-scale quantum computing,” Professor Dzurak says.

    “We think that we’ll achieve significantly higher fidelities in the near future, opening the path to full-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computation. We’re now on the verge of a two-qubit accuracy that’s high enough for quantum error correction.”

    In another paper – recently published in Nature Electronics and featured on its cover – on which Dr Yang is lead author, the same team also achieved the record for the world’s most accurate 1-qubit gate in a silicon quantum dot, with a remarkable fidelity of 99.96%.

    3

    “Besides the natural advantages of silicon qubits, one key reason we’ve been able to achieve such impressive results is because of the fantastic team we have here at UNSW. My student Wister and Dr Yang are both incredibly talented. They personally conceived the complex protocols required for this benchmarking experiment,” says Professor Dzurak.

    Other authors on today’s Nature paper are UNSW researchers Tuomo Tanttu, Ross Leon, Fay Hudson, Andrea Morello and Arne Laucht, as well as former Dzurak team members Kok Wai Chan, Bas Hensen, Michael Fogarty and Jason Hwang, while Professor Kohei Itoh from Japan’s Keio University provided isotopically enriched silicon wafers for the project.

    UNSW Dean of Engineering, Professor Mark Hoffman, says the breakthrough is yet another piece of proof that this world-leading team are in the process of taking quantum computing across the threshold from the theoretical to the real.

    “Quantum computing is this century’s space race – and Sydney is leading the charge,” Professor Hoffman says.

    “This milestone is another step towards realising a large-scale quantum computer – and it reinforces the fact that silicon is an extremely attractive approach that we believe will get UNSW there first.”

    Spin qubits based on silicon CMOS technology – the specific method developed by Professor Dzurak’s group – hold great promise for quantum computing because of their long coherence times and the potential to leverage existing integrated circuit technology to manufacture the large numbers of qubits needed for practical applications.

    Professor Dzurak leads a project to advance silicon CMOS qubit technology with Silicon Quantum Computing, Australia’s first quantum computing company.

    “Our latest result brings us closer to commercialising this technology – my group is all about building a quantum chip that can be used for real-world applications,” Professor Dzurak says.

    The silicon qubit device that was used in this study was fabricated entirely at UNSW using a novel silicon-CMOS process line, high-resolution patterning systems, and supporting nanofabrication equipment that are made available by ANFF-NSW.

    A full-scale quantum processor would have major applications in the finance, security and healthcare sectors – it would help identify and develop new medicines by greatly accelerating the computer-aided design of pharmaceutical compounds, it could contribute to developing new, lighter and stronger materials spanning consumer electronics to aircraft, and faster information searching through large databases.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:45 am on May 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Low cost way to explore groundwater resources could be game changer", , , UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Low cost way to explore groundwater resources could be game changer” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    10 May 2019
    Lachlan Gilbert

    UNSW Sydney water engineers have revealed that investigating and managing groundwater resources more sustainably can be achieved at lower cost by using existing Earth and atmospheric tidal data.

    1
    Dr Gabriel Rau downloads data from a bore. Picture: Prof Emeritus Ian Acworth

    Groundwater exploration can be achieved at much lower cost and with less invasive procedures thanks to a new passive technique being championed by UNSW engineers.

    In an article to be published in Reviews of Geophysics, the research team from UNSW Sydney, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany and Deakin University point to a new way of investigating groundwater resources by analysing the groundwater level changes due to influences by Earth and atmospheric tides. These effects can be measured in monitoring boreholes globally.

    Dr Gabriel Rau who is an engineering geologist at KIT and affiliated with UNSW’s Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre says that current testing methods require active pumping of water from a specially designed water-extraction well while observing the water level response in other wells in the vicinity.

    “This costs a lot of money and only gives a result for that particular location,” he says.

    “The properties of groundwater reservoirs – also known as aquifers – vary greatly in space, and it is much too expensive and intrusive to build extraction wells everywhere.

    “The new method, on the other hand, involves using tidal information embedded in water levels from monitoring boreholes. It is a passive technique and simpler to conduct than the current practices of pump and aquifer testing.”

    2
    Extracting groundwater to investigate resources the conventional way requires more hands on deck. Picture: Dr Landon Halloran

    Co-author Timothy McMillan – from the UNSW Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre and School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering – says the article pulls together studies from multiple disciplines including some previously carried out by UNSW researchers about an underutilised groundwater investigation method.

    “Our work has uncovered that recent advancements in this field, developed both here at UNSW and abroad reveal a potential for significantly cheaper long-term groundwater investigations,” he says.

    “This method has the advantage of being able to calculate the physical properties of the subsurface from just the measured water levels.”

    The engineers say that normally to calculate the groundwater available, a large hole needs to be drilled which then requires a crew of two to three people managing the drill rig to pump water out, anywhere from a few days to several months.

    However, as McMillan explains, the passive approach that they recommend requires only a small hole to be drilled, then an automated water pressure data logger to be placed in the hole for a month, which produces the same results.

    “An added advantage of our new approach lies in the fact that we can re-analyse decades of existing water level data to calculate subsurface properties that change over time,” he says.

    “Whereas the pumping method would require the pumping crew to come back and pump the hole again for the same length of time they previously did to get one more value.”

    3
    Representation of groundwater head measured in a well penetrating a semi-confined aquifer with a relatively rigid matrix subjected to (A) strains caused by Earth tides (using the moon as an example celestial body) and (B) barometric loading caused by atmospheric tides.

    Dr Rau describes the passive method as “paradigm shifting” in subsurface resources research.

    “We can use the impact of Earth and atmospheric tides on commonly acquired atmospheric and groundwater pressure to obtain unprecedented knowledge of subsurface properties at low cost,” he says.

    “Similar to tides in the ocean, the groundwater level is affected by tidal forces squeezing the porous rocks in the subsurface and causing measurable pressure changes.”

    Another benefit to the cost-saving aspect of the passive approach is the capability to rapidly expand our knowledge of subsurface properties in order to sustainably manage groundwater resources. Groundwater extraction is increasing rapidly throughout the world and is linked to falling water tables, ground surface subsidence, water quality degradation and reduction of stream baseflow.

    The engineers say that using a combination of knowledge gained from engineering, science and maths, the impact of Earth and atmospheric tides on groundwater can be used to make calculations to forecast groundwater resources linked to climate variability.

    “Our new approach lets us use existing data to get to the same properties [as active exploration],” says co-author, Professor Wendy Timms, of Deakin University.

    “And because we can also use the cheaper monitoring boreholes, we get many more locations in space. Also, we can now monitor changes in properties over time.”

    The new approach highlights the huge value of existing groundwater monitoring networks, such as those funded by the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

    “We are facing immense challenges related to water resources in the future,” Dr Rau says.

    “With the results, we can better manage subsurface resources and do it much more sustainably.”

    Associate Professor Martin Andersen who is director of the Connected Waters Initiative and a co-author on the paper says that “if the groundwater industry adopts our suggested investigation technique we will take a giant step forward in the characterisation of the water bearing layers in the subsurface and vastly improve our ability to manage this valuable resource”.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:03 am on May 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Labor commits $15m for National Health and Climate Centre at UNSW", , Climate Change Research Centre, , The Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Labor commits $15m for National Health and Climate Centre at UNSW” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    09 May 2019
    Lucy Carroll

    The Centre will be the first in Australia to deliver a national response to the impact of climate change on health.

    1
    Professor Ian Jacobs, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, Associate Professor Donna Green and Matt Thistlethwaite, MP for Kingsford Smith.

    A new UNSW Sydney centre that will investigate the major health risks Australians face from climate change will receive $15 million in funding under a Labor government.

    Matt Thistlethwaite, MP for Kingsford Smith, announced the investment in the flagship National Health and Climate Centre at UNSW’s Kensington campus on Thursday. It will be the first centre in Australia to deliver a national response to the impact of climate change on health by bringing together state and federal governments, and world-class researchers from a range of disciplines.

    The Centre, which will operate with about 30 staff and 40 to 50 PhD students, will assemble academics to work on a range of issues including heat-related illness from heatwaves, mental health impacts in farming communities caused by severe droughts, asthma caused by air pollution and bushfires and infectious diseases transmission in Far North Queensland.

    Mr Thistlethwaite said the new Centre will leverage the existing expertise of UNSW in cutting-edge science innovation and the Climate Change Research Centre and The Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes.

    “Climate change is the world’s largest health risk,” said Mr Thistlethwaite. “For a nation like Australia a lack of action on climate change will risk people’s lives. Scientists know we need to do more to remain healthy into the future. This Centre will address the effects of temperature and water-related illness, respiratory problems caused by major dust storms and the significant impact climate change has on health services.”

    2
    Matt Thistlethwaite, MP for Kingsford Smith.

    Funding for the Centre will come from Labor’s election commitment of a $300 million University Future Fund and will be overseen by an independent advisory board.

    “The Centre will work to reduce impacts of climate change and prepare Australia for a changed future around the damaging effects of climate change. This Labor investment will directly boost Australia’s health and climate change research capabilities in Sydney as well as in partner agencies across the country,” said Mr Thistlethwaite.

    The Centre will include board members and representatives from states and territories’ health departments, the health service industry, academia and the NGOs. It will represent a cross-section of health and policy expertise and be boosted by UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine, the Kirby Institute and The George Institute.

    UNSW Science’s Associate Professor Donna Green, who will be the director of the new Centre, said Australians were already highly vulnerable to extreme weather which will continue to be worsened by climate change.

    “A recent Lancet special report on health and climate change warned that if our hospitals and health systems fail to prepare for our changing climate, that failure would threaten human lives and the viability of the national health systems they depend on. Australia cannot afford to ignore such clear advice,” said Associate Professor Green, a founding member of the Climate Change Research Centre.

    “Instead of just reacting to climate impacts – and risk having our health systems caught out – our goal with this Centre is to carry out research that will better protect all Australians.

    “The Centre will bring together medical and scientific experts to ensure our emergency departments – and other related health infrastructure – have plans in place to better prepare ourselves for a more extreme future. While we have a small window of opportunity to take action, we currently lack a coordinated, strategic national response to this crisis. The Centre will respond to this gap.”

    Associate Professor Green said the centre will develop critically needed educational programs on how climate impacts health, assist and engage the most vulnerable communities – especially the elderly, young children and remote Indigenous communities, integrate leading health and climate researchers on regionally-specific challenges and develop comprehensive multi-media public education campaigns to translate the Centre’s findings into better health outcomes.

    Professor Ian Jacobs, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the funding announcement and emphasised that inaction on climate change would mean avoidable loss of life.

    “UNSW has been at the forefront of both climate and health research for many decades, with the largest university-based climate change research centre in Australia,” said Professor Jacobs. “We need to find solutions and it is our researchers who will be in the vanguard of this battle.”

    “University researchers all across Australia have shown leadership on this issue and will continue to do so into the future. But, we cannot do this on our own. Regardless of who wins the upcoming Australian election, they must, as a priority, unite with their political rivals to find a way to confront climate change as a nation,” Professor Jacobs said.

    The Centre will bring together the responses of federal agencies including the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC), along with state and territory governments and other universities. The Centre will include a range of researchers including epidemiologists, environmental scientists, climate impact scientists and science communicators.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:53 am on May 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Australian Universities Rocket Competition, https://www.aiaa.org/, UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “UNSW rocketry team over the moon about successful launch” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    02 May 2019
    Lachlan Gilbert
    Louise Templeton

    After competing in the inaugural Australian Universities Rocket Competition, the sky is the limit for a group of UNSW Science and Engineering students.

    2
    The AIAA UNSW rocket blasts off. Picture: UNSW

    A group of UNSW Science and Engineering students celebrated its highest achievement after competing in the inaugural Australian Universities Rocket Competition (AURC) over the Easter weekend.

    As part of the Thunda Down Under rocketry event held in southwest Queensland, AIAA UNSW achieved a successful first launch of the Ainsworth 203 rocket which included retrieving the entire rocket intact, post-launch.

    While missing out on a placing, the result meant one of the team members, Projects Director Justin Tran, was awarded a ‘High Power Rocketry Level 3 Certification’ which ensured the group can launch bigger rockets in the future.

    Justin, who is three years into a double degree in Aerospace Engineering and Business, says the experience was the most challenging, yet rewarding experience the AIAA UNSW Rocketry Team has participated in to date.


    AIAA UNSW’s successful rocket launch at the Australian Universities Rocket Competition, Easter 2019.

    “The launch was truly spectacular,” Justin says.

    “It was such an achievement for the whole team when Ainsworth 203 ignited and lifted off. We had a slight problem with the parachute deployment which resulted in a mad dash to a neighbouring farm to retrieve the rocket which had travelled much further than anticipated.

    “However, everything worked perfectly and we were rewarded with certification to fly more powerful motors in future competitions.”

    The AIAA UNSW team, which is comprised of members of BLUEsat and Biosphere project teams as well as students with strong interests in aerospace technology, were required to design, build and launch a single stage rocket – one with a single rocket motor or a cluster of motors – to a target height of 10,000 feet while carrying a payload of at least 4kg.

    Dr Danielle Moreau, a lecturer at the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, who mentors the UNSW AAIA Rocketry team, said that student participation in extra-curricular projects at university puts them way ahead of their peers.

    “Rocketry is a highly innovative sector that needs skilled engineers to design innovative solutions to the new age of space transport,” Dr Moreau says.

    “Our future engineers will need not only technical expertise, but possess communication and cooperation skills, the ability to work in different environments and the capacity to manage information and others.

    Our students are developing this incredibly important skill set through this project.”

    Justin says that seeing so many students and hobbyists come together for their love of rocketry really “lit a fire within the team”…so to speak.

    3
    Students in the AIAA UNSW team preparing the rocket for launch. Picture: UNSW

    “It inspired us and made us hopeful for the future of the Australian space industry to see such a rich passion for aerospace and the multitude of roles that you could move into and are being created all the time,” Justin says.

    “In the future, we have so much that we want to do to make AIAA Rocketry a truly formidable student team in Australian rocketry, but also to give back in a more meaningful and impactful way to UNSW students.”

    In the short term, Justin says the team will be looking to refine Ainsworth 203 to offer as a launch platform for experiments occurring around UNSW.

    “We want to design and manufacture a rocket capable of hitting 30,000 feet for use in next year’s AURC and the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition in the US, as well as implement a way for budding rocketeers to increase their skills and step into more critical roles within the team,” he says.

    The AIAA UNSW team who competed at Thunda Down Under were: Scarlett Li-Williams (Biosphere), Ashleigh Ford (Biosphere), Yasmin Akhtar (Biosphere), Timothy Guo (BLUEsat), Jackie Deng (BLUEsat), Nora Deng (BLUEsat), Justin Tran, Arfin Muhammed, Tom Grimes, Morgan Armstrong, Vanja Videnovic, Jeff Chang, Eric Lin, Pranav Patil, Simon Bohun, Swapnil Yadav, Tom Nguyen and Vineeth Rao.

    For more about the AIAA UNSW Rocketry Student Project team, please visit: https://www.engineering.unsw.edu.au/about-us/student-led-projects/aiaa-rocketry

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:11 am on April 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A computer re-use program at UNSW, A model for sustainability innovation that we demonstrated at UNSW, , “Enactus UNSW had a focus on social entrepreneurship”, Charlotte Wang, Edge Environment, Environmental engineering, Student startup eReuse Inc, UNSW-University of New South Wales,   

    From University of New South Wales: Women in STEM-” Computer says go: from e-waste entrepreneur to environmental engineer” Charlotte Wang 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    29 Apr 2019
    Lachlan Gilbert

    1
    Charlotte Wang. Picture: Edge Environment.

    UNSW alumna Charlotte Wang was initially hesitant about doing a degree in environmental engineering, but since helping to launch a computer re-use program at UNSW, she has never looked back.

    When Charlotte Wang first got involved with student startup eReuse Inc. – a program aiming to reduce e-waste in the environment – she didn’t realise it would inform the path her studies and career would eventually take.

    Charlotte, a UNSW alumna who completed her degree in environmental engineering in 2017, now works as a sustainability adviser at an up-and-coming sustainability consultancy, Edge Environment.

    She says working on the eReuse project enabled her to see everything she was learning in engineering in a new light.

    “To be honest, I may not have found a path in engineering if I hadn’t worked on this project,” Charlotte says of eReuse.

    “I really came to appreciate the skillset I gained from studying environmental engineering and I found my path through discovering that I could be an engineer and focus on less traditional engineering problems like environmental degradation and social inequality.”

    eReuse aims to “turn 21st Century trash into refurbished donatable treasure” by salvaging old computers destined for landfill to be refurbished and donated to socio-economically disadvantaged groups in the community. It is the first program of its kind to be run in an Australian university setting.

    Charlotte was lead author on a research paper titled “Social and intuitional factors affecting sustainability innovation in universities: A computer re-use perspective”, published recently in the Journal of Cleaner Production. The paper examined the work the group did in establishing a system and process for computer re-use at the university while providing community groups with functional, refurbished computers.

    Donations

    Between 2014 and 2017, the group donated more than 100 computers to such groups. Recipients of the machines included the Junction Neighbourhood Centre Maroubra, Mission Australia (Surry Hills), Barnados Australia and even an overseas client in the African Youth Initiatives Centre in Ghana.

    Initially the program was born out of a student society called Enactus that Charlotte joined earlier in her studies at UNSW.

    “Enactus UNSW had a focus on social entrepreneurship,” she says.

    “It helped me to see the link between my engineering knowledge, and the business world and its associated frameworks and skill sets, of which I had little to no knowledge.

    “I learned vital skills about how to create and run a business from it – which has really helped me as a consultant and in my sustainability career, as my work is often focused on change management in large businesses.”

    Valuable experience

    Charlotte says her honours thesis, which she devoted to the eReuse program, and the recently published paper gave her an understanding of the steps needed to make organisations shift to more sustainable pathways.

    “What was captured in the study was a model for sustainability innovation that we demonstrated at UNSW, which can be applied to other organisations, particularly complex organisations such as multinational businesses and government departments.

    “What I mean by sustainability innovation is the shift of both culture and operations onto a model that better addresses social, economic and environmental aspects in a systematic way,” she says.

    In her present work, Charlotte is modelling the life-cycle environmental impacts of products like concrete and trains, to help manufacturers understand and communicate the environmental impact of their supply chain and processes.

    “I’m also working on implementing sustainability on major infrastructure projects, like Sydney Metro Northwest and Inland Rail (Parkes to Narromine package),” she says.

    Back to uni

    Looking ahead, Charlotte can imagine a return to tertiary education, but on the other side of the lectern.

    “I would love to be an academic and introduce a more self-conscious strain to engineering education,” she says.

    “As engineers, we work with models and modelling techniques all the time, yet we don’t seem to teach young engineers to be reflective about the ‘model’ or ‘system’ called society and the body politic that we’re a part of.

    “As engineers, we should be considering the place of engineering in society, how technology affects both our culture and the environment, and the impact engineering advice and recommendations makes within decision-making in large organisations and in politics. I think this would go a long way to addressing our current sustainability problems.”

    Emerging discipline

    Charlotte says she originally had doubts about environmental engineering because she left school with a background in humanities, while jobs in this emerging area did not appear as well defined as traditional engineering jobs.

    “Originally, I found environmental engineering so daunting because I hadn’t studied science past Year 10 and suddenly I needed to study physics, chemistry and biology/ecology at a university level,” she says.

    “I was also worried about finding a job with an environmental engineering degree because it’s such a new discipline. A lecturer in my school, Stephen Moore, helped me understand what it means to be an environmental engineer and helped me transfer from civil to environmental engineering.

    “Looking back, I realise that it’s actually exciting to have an environmental engineering degree because it’s an emerging field and there isn’t really one definition for what it is.

    “And you get to help define it by the way you choose to use it.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:41 pm on April 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Solar powered desalination offers hope of a global shift in agriculture", UNSW-University of New South Wales, UNSW’s Global Water Institute   

    From University of New South Wales: “Solar powered desalination offers hope of a global shift in agriculture” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    17 Apr 2019

    Cecilia Duong
    UNSW Media & Content
    (02) 9385 0846 & +614 66 634 161
    cecilia.duong@unsw.edu.au

    A revolution in irrigation that could secure water supplies and food production during drought is the goal of researchers at UNSW’s Global Water Institute.

    1
    Scientia Professor David Waite with the third generation MCDI that was built by CTET in China.

    Australia’s ability to reliably produce food for an ever-increasing population is a growing concern amid droughts and increasingly volatile climate conditions.

    Australian agriculture practices rely heavily on groundwater, even though this water source is becoming increasingly saline at many locations, making it impractical to use.

    To combat this issue and make fresh water readily available to the farming sector irrespective of the quality of the local groundwater supply, UNSW’s Global Water Institute (GWI) is developing an innovative, solar-powered version of a desalination technology called Capacitive Deionization (CDI).

    CDI has significant potential to revolutionise irrigation and ensure that Australia can continue to meet growing food production demands and, in doing so, protect Australia against food shortage during drought.

    CDI removes salt from brackish water by passing water through a stack of electrode pairs with positive ions such as sodium (“cations”) attracted to the cathode and negative ions such as chloride (“anions”) attracted to the anode. When a voltage is applied across the electrodes, a desalted stream of water is produced.

    While conventional CDI uses mains power, UNSW researchers have developed prototypes powered by solar energy. These solar-powered CDI units are an energy-efficient alternative with low operating voltage and the possibility of energy recovery, making it ideal for brackish water desalination, especially in remote locations where mains power may not be available. The units are also really easy to maintain, which makes the technology even more suited for use in remote-off grid communities.

    2
    Scientia Professor David Waite (right) and a third generation MCDI that was built by CTET in China.

    The idea for the project was born when Sir Ratan Tata, the Chairman of the philanthropic Tata Trusts in India, visited UNSW to receive an honorary doctorate and challenged researchers to help find ways to provide clean water for Indian villages. Scientia Professor David Waite from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering accepted the challenge and, with support from Professor John Fletcher from the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, constructed the first solar-powered prototype.

    Second and third generation units, in which energy usage was reduced by recovering a portion of the energy used, have been constructed with funding from an ARC Linkage grant with industry support by Goldwind Environmental Technologies, a Beijing-based company that is the largest manufacturer of wind turbines and is now expanding into development of water technologies.

    “For this project, we innovated in both the mode of operation of the established technology of membrane capacitive deionisation (MCDI) and the use of solar energy combined with energy recovery to power the device,” said Professor Waite, Executive Director of UNSW Centre of Transformational Environmental Technologies (CTET).

    The collaborative team from UNSW’s Faculty of Engineering is now working closely with Goldwind to trial the technology in Xinjiang Province in the far north-west of China. Plans are also underway to trial it in glasshouses at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury campus through the recently announced CRC for Future Food Systems.

    Professor Waite says that providing dependable water supply options to the agriculture industry that are cost effective, can function independently of the electricity grid and do not carry a significant environmental burden is essential for Australia’s future food security.

    “Scope exists for use of this technology in remote parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory where the treatment of brackish water – typically the only water available – has been problematic using existing technology.”

    The UNSW Global Water Institute (UNSW-GWI) is a world leader in water research, innovation and problem solving. As the nation’s most advanced water knowledge hub, the Institute draws on water expertise from seven faculties and 13 specialist centres across the University.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:48 am on April 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "UNSW alumnae off to Antarctica with women leadership program", Dr Jeanette McConnell, Professor Frances Separovic, , UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: Women in STEMM -“UNSW alumnae off to Antarctica with women leadership program” Dr Jeanette McConnell and Professor Frances Separovic 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    Two UNSW alumnae are building on their unique strengths as leaders in STEMM – a voyage that will lead them to Earth’s southernmost continent.

    1
    UNSW Alumnae Dr Jeanette McConnell and Professor Frances Separovic have been selected for the fourth Homeward Bound Program.

    A STEMM education advocate and a biophysical chemist are embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition that will place them in the company of future female leaders … and penguins.

    Dr Jeanette McConnell and Professor Frances Separovic are among an international cohort of 95 women selected for the fourth Homeward Bound Program.

    The program is a ground-breaking strategic leadership and science initiative for women of diverse STEMM backgrounds that empowers them with skills to impact policy and decision-making, culminating in a three-week expedition to Antarctica in November.

    STEMM education for all ages: Dr Jeanette McConnell

    2
    Dr Jeanette McConnell wants to be a great leader for students and show them the limitless possibilities of science.

    Dr Jeanette McConnell completed her doctorate at UNSW Science’s School of Chemistry in 2015 – she explored the anti-cancer properties of natural products from marine organisms such as sea fungus.

    It was during her PhD that Dr McConnell discovered she preferred communicating her research to working from the lab bench. She became a regular at science communication events such as the 1-minute thesis competition, where entrants battle it out in presentations about their research.

    After completing her degree, Dr McConnell wanted to forge a path that would put her greatest strength and passion – her scientific literacy and communication abilities – to use.

    “When I was making this transition from academia, I struggled with the feeling that the only valuable thing I could do was stay in academia – anything else felt like a failure,” Dr McConnell says.

    Today, Dr McConnell supports people experiencing the same dilemma, and tries to help them find value in using their PhD in areas other than academic research – as Editor-in-Chief for Cheeky Scientist, an organisation that provides resources, training and support to PhD graduates interested in seeking a career outside academia.

    Dr McConnell is also Director of Fizzics Education USA, bringing interactive science workshops to kids of all ages. As a STEMM educator, Dr McConnell is aiming to increase the visibility of science literacy and education and make important scientific issues such as climate change more accessible to the audience.

    But more importantly, she wants to help young people uncover their own potential and see the value in STEMM.

    As an educator I want to be a great leader for students and show them the limitless possibilities of science,” says Dr McConnell.

    “I want to be the type of leader that empowers others to pursue their own goals.”

    Key to that goal is creating an environment where young audiences, regardless of their scientific background, do not feel marginalised or feel that a career in STEMM is outside their reach.

    “I especially want to be able to give that experience to young girls and to people who don’t see themselves already reflected in these places of leadership of science,” says Dr McConnell.

    “I want to help them see that if they want it – they can do it.”

    Growing up, Dr McConnell never have imagined her life would lead her to Antarctica.

    “It’s a far-away land you think you can never reach,” she says.

    “I never thought I would get to go there with nearly 100 incredible women who are going to be or are already leaders in our world. I’m stoked to meet and learn from these women.”

    A new catalyst in STEMM leadership: Professor Frances Separovic

    3
    Professor Frances Separovic wants to be a pillar of support for women in STEMM. She is pictured here with her team with the nuclear magnetic resonance, a key instrument in her research. Picture: Peter Casamento

    Professor Frances Separovic – a UNSW alumna who completed her PhD in Physics in 1992 – does not view herself as a traditional leader. Instead, she wants to be an unwavering pillar of support for women in STEMM. To her, the Homeward Bound program is a new chapter in her career, from the laboratory towards mentorship.

    “I see myself as one of those people who encourages others,” says Professor Separovic.

    “Leadership is about empowering people to do things. You encourage them to believe in themselves, make them take ownership of things, be responsible and to be enthused.”

    Professor Separovic’s career in STEMM began when she started working at the CSIRO as a laboratory assistant.

    Professor Separovic says delving into scientific research never crossed her mind until she got that job at CSIRO – immersed in the laboratory, she discovered her love for the scientific method. That was what inspired her to go back to pursue a research degree.

    “People should go ahead and try different opportunities. A lot of people work but don’t really like their jobs,” she says.

    “There are challenges and difficulties in science if you want to be a researcher, but that is part of why we love and appreciate it so much.”

    In 1992 when she completed her doctorate degree at UNSW Sydney in the School of Physics, she was one of the very few women in her cohort.

    “One thing I really enjoyed was being treated as an equal by my supervisor, rather than as a student,” says Professor Separovic.

    Today, she is a global leader in the science of membrane polypeptides. Using cutting-edge technologies, Professor Separovic’s research team is aiming to find out how these compounds can be used in the fight against Alzheimer’s, and for new antibiotics.

    In 2005, Professor Separovic became the first female Professor of Chemistry and then Head of School at the University of Melbourne in 2010.

    In 2012 she became the first female chemist elected to the Australian Academy of Science and, in 2018, she was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.

    Now, Professor Separovic is seeking a different path of helping the next generation of women leaders to take the leap – through Homeward Bound.

    “The people who I really admire are those who have the courage to go ahead and do things even when they are not really confident,” says Professor Separovic.

    “It’s about being brave. So you need to make people believe in themselves.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:19 pm on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Sky’s the limit: celebrating engineering that’s out of this world” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    12 Apr 2019
    Cecilia Duong

    Researchers from UNSW Engineering are harnessing new technologies to help build Australia’s space future.

    1
    An impression of UNSW Cubesat in orbit. Image: Jamie Tufrey

    On International Day of Human Space Flight – an annual celebration of the beginning of the space era for mankind that’s designed to reaffirm the important contribution of space science and technology in today’s world – UNSW Engineering is looking at some of its own space-related research highlights.

    Whether it’s finding ways to mine water on the moon or developing space cells with the highest efficiencies, researchers from UNSW Engineering are harnessing new technologies to help build Australia’s space future. Our student-led projects, such as BlueSAT and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA Rocketry), are also providing students with real-world experience in multi-disciplinary space engineering projects to continue to promote space technology in Australia.

    Here are a few highlights of how UNSW Engineering research is innovating both on Earth and in space.

    Mining water on the Moon
    2
    Image: Shutterstock

    A team of UNSW Engineers have put together a multi-university, agency and industry project team to investigate the possibilities of mining water on the moon to produce rocket fuel.

    Find out more.

    Satellite solar technology comes down to Earth
    3
    Solar cells used in space are achieving higher efficiencies than those used at ground level, and now there are ways to have them working on Earth without breaking the bank.

    Researchers from the School of Photovoltaics Renewable Energy Engineering are no strangers to setting new records for solar cell efficiency levels but Associate Professor Ned Ekins-Daukes has made it his mission to develop space cells with the highest efficiencies at the lowest weight.

    Find out more.

    Students shine in off-world robotics competition
    4
    UNSW’s Off-World Robotics team – part of the long-running BLUEsat student-led project – achieved their best placing in the competition to date.

    A team of eight UNSW Engineering students came eighth in the European Rover Challenge (ERC) in Poland, one of the world’s biggest international space and robotics events, defeating 57 teams from around the globe.

    Find out more.

    Exploring a little-understood region above Earth
    5
    Associate Professor Elias Aboutanios with UNSW-Ec0. Photo:Grant Turner

    UNSW-EC0, a CubeSat built by a team led by Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) deputy director Associate Professor Elias Aboutanios, is studying the atomic composition of the thermosphere using an on-board ion neutral mass spectrometer.

    Find out more.

    Rocketing into an internship
    6
    Third-year Aerospace Engineering student, Sam Wilkinson, scored an internship at Rocket Lab in New Zealand.

    Third-year Aerospace Engineering student, Sam Wilkinson, describes how he landed an internship at an international aerospace company, which works with organisations such as NASA, without going through the usual application process.

    Find out more.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:05 am on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Ian Turner, , STEMM-Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Medicine, Supporting gender equity, UNSW-University of New South Wales, WRL-UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory   

    From University of New South Wales: “Sand, Surf and STEMM: what’s on a coastal engineer’s mind” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    11 Apr 2019
    Penny Jones

    Ian Turner is internationally regarded for his work on protecting our coastlines. Now, he sees supporting gender equity as his next important challenge.

    1
    Ian Turner: “One of my earliest memories is wearing a mask and snorkel.”

    From his earliest memories watching the underwater world through his mask and snorkel, UNSW Engineering alumni Professor Ian Turner’s fascination with the coast has not undiminished.

    Today, as the Director of UNSW’s world-famous Water Research Laboratory (WRL) at the University’s Northern Beaches Campus in Manly Vale, Profesor Turner says his focus is on both tackling the most pressing coastal challenges facing the country and addressing the lack of equity and diversity in engineering and other STEMM disciplines.

    Where did your career take you after graduating from your UNSW Master of Environmental Engineering Science in 1995?

    I went straight to the US to do postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland for two years, after which I returned to Australia to work for 10 years in the consulting space. Then, after being awarded a Churchill Fellowship and spending an incredible three months visiting some of the top coastal engineering research groups in Europe and the US, I felt a renewed pull towards academia and decided to see if I could transition back.

    UNSW was then, and still is, the standout university in Australia for coastal engineering so I was lucky when an opportunity opened in 2007 within the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I’ve been at UNSW ever since. My job at WRL is deeply satisfying and I believe I have the best position in my field in Australia, and one of the best in the world.

    Why did you gravitate towards coastal engineering?

    This dates back to my being really young, under five years old, spending summer days at the beach on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. For the first part of my life living in England, my father – who is also an academic – worked each summer in the US, which meant that every year the entire family moved back and forth across the Atlantic from our home in Cambridge.

    One of my earliest memories is wearing a mask and snorkel and being fascinated with how the sand was moving underwater. The coast captivated me then and, after moving to Australia when I was nine, it was a natural progression of choosing subjects that aligned with my interests in marine science and engineering. Australia is a uniquely coastal-focused nation. The coastline is where we live and where we trade, but it’s also part of our identity. Managing the coastline into the future is one of the important challenges for us to get right, which makes it a really interesting place to focus my energies.

    2
    Professor Ian Turner at the formal opening of a new wave flume research facility at the UNSW Water Research Laboratory.

    WRL continues to go from strength to strength. What do you think are some of the secrets to your success?

    Because it is such a dynamic and complex environment, coastal engineering is multidisciplinary by its very nature. As technical engineers, I think the key to our success has been to embrace this complexity. We spend a lot of time building great relationships with our partners and understand the (sometimes conflicting) needs of all three levels of government, industry, the environment and the community.

    We also consciously focus our energy on projects that will have the biggest impact in terms of education and improving the ways we manage and protect our coastline. This is an explicit decision the team makes before launching into any new project.

    Can you give a couple of career highlights?

    One was leading an initiative to develop a teachers’ guide providing a coastal management perspective to STEMM education [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine] in high schools in the Australian curriculum. This guide is now being used as an educational tool right across the country, which is very satisfying.

    Another was in 2016, when a large storm impacted the south east coast of Australia. I found myself thrust into the national and international spotlight, interpreting the impacts of that storm and why it occurred. I even led the BBC World News!

    But I think the most important highlight has been the opportunity I’ve been afforded throughout my time at UNSW to create a career where my professional life and family commitments are highly compatible. Echoing the special childhood experiences I had while growing up in Europe, the US and Australia, during the past decade my own growing family have had the opportunity to create and experience a ‘second life’ living, working and going to school in Cornwall (southwest England) as they have accompanied me during three extended and professionally productive sabbaticals.

    Finding it hard to achieve professional/personal life balance is a barrier to more women reaching senior positions in academia, so it’s great you’ve mentioned your interest in it. What are your thoughts on this?

    This is on my mind a lot at the moment because I recently joined the UNSW Athena SWAN Gender Equity team. Athena SWAN is a whole-of-university initiative to increase diversity and gender equity in STEMM subjects and we are in the process of implementing a four-year gender equity action plan.

    I’m well aware that I’m a white hetero male in a leadership role with a happy marriage, two kids, a dog and a nice house, but because I grew up in a feminist household, I’m really keen to contribute to the gender equity conversation. I’m learning that it is easy to provide better opportunities for women, but it does require leaders like me to recognise when unconscious bias kicks in.

    One of my reasons for being involved in the Athena SWAN space is to open the door for other male leaders to do so as well. I have a 14-year-old daughter, and it’s very important to me that I am part of creating an equal future for her to progress through.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:43 pm on April 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Maths whiz solves 48-year-old multiplication problem", UNSW-University of New South Wales   

    From University of New South Wales: “Maths whiz solves 48-year-old multiplication problem” 

    U NSW bloc

    From University of New South Wales

    04 Apr 2019
    Lachlan Gilbert

    A UNSW Sydney mathematician has cracked a maths problem that has stood for almost half a century which will enable computers to multiply huge numbers together much more quickly.

    1
    Associate Professor David Harvey demonstrating the old-school method of multiplication which is impractical when multiplying astronomically large numbers together. Picture: Natalie Choi/UNSW

    A UNSW Sydney mathematician has helped solve a decades-old maths riddle that allows multiplication of huge numbers in a much faster time.

    Associate Professor David Harvey, from UNSW’s School of Mathematics and Statistics, has developed a new method for multiplying together huge numbers, which is much faster than the familiar “long multiplication” method that we all learn at primary school.

    “More technically, we have proved a 1971 conjecture of Schönhage and Strassen about the complexity of integer multiplication,” A/Professor Harvey says.

    “They predicted that there should exist an algorithm that multiplies n-digit numbers using essentially n * log(n) basic operations.

    Our paper gives the first known example of an algorithm that achieves this.”

    In other words, if we were to multiply the numbers 314 by 159 with the usual primary school method, we would need to calculate 9 digit-by-digit products (see video). In general, if n represents the number of digits in each number, the answer can be arrived at in n2 operations.

    Schönhage and Strassen themselves invented an algorithm needing fewer than n2 operations, but were unable to get it down to n * log(n).

    Harvey says that the Schönhage-Strassen algorithm is already quite fast: a computer using the primary school method would take months to multiply two numbers with a billion digits, but can do it in under 30 seconds using the Schönhage-Strassen algorithm.

    But for numbers with enough digits – billion, trillions or even gazillions – the new algorithm, developed by Harvey and his collaborator Joris van der Hoeven at École Polytechnique (France), would outrun even Schönhage and Strassen’s algorithm.

    A/Professor Harvey says that Schönhage and Strassen also predicted that n * log(n) is the ‘best possible’ result – that no-one will ever find a faster multiplication algorithm.

    “So in this sense, our work is expected to be the end of the road for this problem, although we don’t know yet how to prove this rigorously.”

    While it’s still early days, A/Professor Harvey imagines that this breakthrough has an enormous number of consequences.

    “It means you can do all sorts of arithmetic more efficiently, for example division and square roots. You could also calculate digits of pi more efficiently than before. It even has applications to problems involving huge prime numbers.”

    A/Professor Harvey says he was surprised that such a fast multiplication algorithm is even possible.

    “People have been hunting for such an algorithm for almost 50 years. It was not a forgone conclusion that someone would eventually be successful. It might have turned out that Schönhage and Strassen were wrong, and that no such algorithm is possible.

    “But now we know better,” he says.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U NSW Campus

    Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement.

    In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do.

     
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