School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

July 2016


It has been an eventful month filled with accolades for the School, including prestigious awards being presented to outstanding students and our highly acclaimed academic staff, the birth of a baby and numerous engagement activities including explosive entertainment presented on Open Day which attracted approximately 20,000 visitors onto the Murdoch campus. 

To those of you who have participated or helped organise the open day – please accept my warmest thanks.

Plenty of prospective students came through often with parents. The weather helped too! The virtual reality and games in IT was a big success with long lines waiting to have a go all day. Even the robotics down in the basement was full and well attended. Physics was full all day and had quite a few people looking for physics courses. Similar at our remaining stations! Many people were interested in renewable energy and other areas. Many, many thanks to all of you. Please see the article on our Open Day, prepared by Rebecca Treloar-Cook, that covers all our Open Day activities.

In particular, I would like to acknowledge Rebecca, Leandra and Emma from the School office. Both Leandra and Emma were exceptional – setting up for Open Day all day Friday, both working 4-5 hours yesterday (Saturday) and working ALL day today from 7.30 am to well after 5.15 pm. Rebecca had a very long day too.

Please join me in congratulating Dr Nicola Armstrong, who has been awarded a France-Australia Science Innovation Collaboration Fellowship for 2016 by The Australian Academy of Science. 

Remember, whether you are an academic, administrative or technical staff member, if you have a story to share please send it to the SEIT email - Please mention the article title in the Subject line of the email.

Best wishes,



Can everybody be happy in the Cloud?

The submission of journal paper, "Can everybody be happy in the Cloud? Delay, profit and energy-efficient scheduling for cloud services" Elsevier Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing (an A* journal according to the ERA 2010 ranking) prepared by Dr Polychronis Koutsakis’s and colleagues from the University of Rome La Sapienza, from Carleton University in Canada and from the Canadian telecommunications company TELUS, has been accepted. Cloud Computing provides consumers and service providers with a wide range of opportunities and challenges. Cloud providers make substantial investments and therefore need to maximise their profit from the services they deliver. One way to achieve this is by maximising the utilisation of their resources. However, profit maximisation often does not coincide with the improvement of a user’s Quality of Service; users generating higher profit for the provider may be scheduled first, causing high delays to low-paying users. Also, if users' service delays are minimised, this could mean that cloud resources are constantly “on”, leading to high energy consumption, high costs for providers and undue environmental impact. The objective of our work is to analyse this multi-dimensional trade-off. Dr Koutsakis and his collaborators propose an efficient scheduling algorithm, E-MinDelay, which demonstrates via extensive simulation results that energy consumption and service delays corresponding to profit loss can be simultaneously decreased.



FASIC Fellowship

The Australian Academy of Science has awarded Dr Nicola Armstrong a France-Australia Science Innovation Collaboration Fellowship for 2016. The grant is to work on “Transdisciplinary approaches to understanding the development of dementia and its risk factors” during a visit to Professor Stephanie Debette at the University of Bordeaux. The project will investigate the utility of incorporating MRI-markers of brain ageing, and other clinical biomarkers, into a risk score for dementia (specifically AD) and examine DNA methylation profiles with respect to MRI-markers, including white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and cognitive decline. This project is connected to the JPND grant recently awarded to Professor Debette, and for which Dr Armstrong and her collaborators at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at UNSW received $1.08m in NHMRC funding for 2016-18.

Doctor of Information Technology (DIT) Graduate received Australian Alumni Leadership Award

DIT Leadership Award 2016.jpg

On 23rd June, 2016, Doctor of Information Technology (DIT) graduate, Dr Thitipong Nandhabiwat, received the prestigious Australian Embassy, Bangkok-Alumni Leadership Award, from the Australian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, H.E. Mr Paul Robilliard.
The Australian Alumni program is supported by Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, all Australian Universities, together with Alumni related organisations in Thailand. It aims to unite and support graduates of Australian universities and other Australian institutions of higher learning by providing activities and opportunities for Australian Alumni to leverage their Australian education for personal and professional success.

Since Dr Thitipong’s graduation, he has actively involved in numerous Board of Directors and Committees, contributing to the academic, social and government sectors in Thailand. He served at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) as member of the subcommittee for Data and Network Cybersecurity in Telecommunications and Radio Communications. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors of Thailand Post, International Federation of Cheerleading, Asian Federation of Cheerleading, Thailand Federation of Cheerleading, and the Cheerleading Association of Thailand. At Thailand Post, his assignment as Chief Information Officer has contributed greatly to the improved efficiency of the organisation. He also serves as the ICT Advisor to the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of Thailand, Honorary Advisor to the National Legislative Assembly, and International Relations Advisor to the Satit Bilingual School of Rangsit University. Within Rangsit University, he is the Dean of International College and Assistant President for International Marketing. 

Dr Thitipong graduated with a MSc degree from the University of Pittsburgh (USA), and a BSc degree from the University of Waikato (NZ). He subsequently completed a DIT thesis on the “Use of low cost personal robots for the encouragement, demonstration and assessment of physical activities” under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Lance C.C. Fung and Associate Professor Kevin Wong in 2011. Dr Thitipong’s speech at the award dinner is available on

Article submitted by Emeritus Professor Lance C.C. Fung


Final year Games Technology project team won the Best Student Project of  The Year Award (Peter Fillery Award)

The project team from the unit ICT313 Games Technology Project has won Western Australia’s Best Student Project of The Year Award (Peter

Fillery Award) at the 25th WAITTA INCITE Awards. Their winning project titled “Radiology Assistant Simulator” beat 6 other finalists to win this year’s award. Out of the 7 finalists, 3 finalists were from SEIT at carbonMurdoch University. The winning team were working on an on-going project that was started by Dr Hong Xie in the School of Engineering and Information Technology (SEIT), and Associate Professor Jeff Cooley in the School of Health Professions at Murdoch University.
The winners for the Best Student Project of The Year Award are Kane Osborn, Matthew Jones, Christopher Snook, Jason Sardi, Nicholas Borowitzka & Daniel Manganaro. The unit coordinator for ICT313 is Mr Peter Cole.
Radiology Assistant Simulator is an exciting and ambitious project involving the virtual recreation of a radiology suite, allowing simulated X-ray imaging of a patient within an immersive and interactive 3D environment. It aims to provide cost-effective and easily accessible radiology training to Chiropractic students.

Another project team from the unit ICT333 Information Technology Project has also won the state finalist for the award. The finalists are Mark

Carriedo, Andrew Harrison, Khalid Saleh, Saleh Alanazi, Fahad Alqahtani and Nemanja Jovanovic. This team worked closely with Murdoch University academic staff: Mr Shri Rai, Dr Fairuz Shiratuddin, Mr Kevin Ong and Adjunct Associate Professor Michelle Byrnes. The unit coordinator for this unit is also Mr Peter Cole. 


Their project titled FlexiBrains is a web-based application, developed to assist in the rehabilitation of stroke survivors. Its goal is to present challenging visual, visuospatial and aural tasks to promote the rehabilitation of stroke clients. FlexiBrains records the accuracy and latency of clients when performing individual tasks and presents the data for medical assessment.
Both teams from Murdoch University will represent Western Australia at the AIIA National iAwards, which will be held in Melbourne in September 2016.

The videos of Best Student Project of the Year Finalists - 25th WAITTA INCITE Awards can be found at  

The full list of the award winners this year in all categories is available at

Murdoch Extractive Metallurgy Graduates and Students Win Awards

2016 Women in Industry Awards: Processing manager at Alkane Resources’ Tomingley Gold Operations Ms Simone Painter has been named Mentor of the Year at the 2016 Women in Industry Awards. After graduating from Murdoch University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science (Metallurgy), Ms Simone Painter discovered the “testing realities of mining at 20” on a fly-in/fly-out site where 200 employees included only five women. Alkane Resources reports that its star employee is committed to supporting other women succeed in the male-dominated industry and supported her female colleagues’ professional development and the balancing of their family and work lives. A spokeswoman from Alkane Resources said “To ensure the success of female employees, Simone also mentors their direct supervisor, typically a male, if they lack experience in dealing with women in the workplace—a common issue in mining”. The annual awards recognise and reward the achievements of women working within the mining, engineering, manufacturing, logistics and commercial road transport industries. When Ms Painter became a miner men outnumbered women 50 to one. Women now make up a quarter of the mining workforce in Australia.

Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia - Scholarship Winner: Best 4th year research project thesis from the 2015 Odwyn Jones program was wan by Christopher Gilbertson (Murdoch University, supervised by Dr Aleks Nikoloski) for his thesis on “The dissolution characteristics of chloritic-copper ore in cyanide and sulphuric acid”.

Odwyn Jones Award Winner: Kaarina Recklies from (Murdoch University, supervised by Dr Aleks Nikoloski) won an award for her 4th year project proposal “The effects of clays, dispersants and collectors on the flotation of Au-Cu ores”.

Congratulations to Simone, Christopher, Kaarina and Aleks. Well done to keep up the spirit of Murdoch Mets.


2016 Murdoch University Science Show – Engaging Local High School Students


On Wednesday 20th of July 2016 a Science Show for High School students (Years 7 to 9) was being held at Murdoch University, hosted by Murdoch Outreach and presented by Andrew Foreman. There were 275 students from 11 schools, including Thornlie SHS, John Tonkin College, Warwick SHS, St Marks Anglican Community School, Home-schooled Yarra, Pinjarra SHS, Kelmscott Senior High School, Department of Education, Santa Maria College, Kennedy Baptist College and Sharon McArthur, participated in these exciting activities. The successful event provided staff from our school with the opportunity to not only showcase the courses on offer in our School but also the state of the art laboratories and equipment available to our students. The activities consisted of two sessions of science shows, followed by tours of the SEIT facilities and laboratories. The Science Show activities ranged from exploding gases to chemical light and students volunteered to participate in many of the activities from hammering in a nail with a banana to generating their own chemical dessert. Teachers were ‘volunteered’ to experience what an explosion felt like in their own hand. The facility tours showed high school students and their teachers the high end equipment they would be using and trained in if they were to pursue a degree within our School.Drew

The Science Show and associated tours are part of the School Outreach Program which is aimed at attracting enthusiastic students to enrol in one of the many degrees on offer in our School. The School has another day planned in December where it will be entertaining, enlightening and showcasing our School, courses and facilities to upper primary school students that feed into Murdoch’s target high schools. The School would like to thank the hard work of the Technical staff, especially Caitlin Sweeney and Jacky Briggs, for the wonderful Science Show, Drs Gareth Lee, Juita and Marc Hampton for the great Tours and Talks of the SEIT facilities and Michelle Austin and her Outreach Office team for arranging the schools to come onsite.

Presentation of the Students’ Project Conserv-AR at the ACS Bright Sparks 2016

On June 30th 2016, students Luke Phipps and Michael Baker presented “Conserv-AR - A mixed-reality mobile game to promote awareness of wildlife conservation in Western Australia” at the Bright Sparks 2016 event organized by the Australian Computer Society in Western Australia. 


Bright Sparks is a showcase for students’ innovative IT projects. This event was attended by a range of ICT students, lecturers and professionals who witnessed and discussed three student project presentations on mobile applications. Using criteria from WAITTA students were able to have their work critiqued by industry experts and given feedback that will be of real benefits for their projects.

Conserv-AR is a wearable augmented and virtual reality experience that makes use of video game elements, such as storytelling and interactive gameplay. It is a serious game that engages students in a real-world experience to promote awareness of wildlife conservation in Western Australia.

Conserv-AR is a student assignment for the unit on Games Development (ICT371). This unit focuses on game development using advanced game development tools and environments. It has been developed by students Luke Phipps, Michael Baker and Justin Pettit, and supervised by Associate Professor Kevin Wong and Dr Victor Alvarez.

Article submitted by Dr Victor Alvarez

Open Day 2016

The weather was a brisk 1 degree at 7am when the majority of the people arrived on campus to set up for Open Day. The last flurry of posters, tables, display stands, and signage was put in place to ensure they were ready for first visitors who started arriving at 9.45am.


Robert and GM were set up nice and early to catch the morning rays on their Photovoltaic Array at a pivotal junction where visitors arriving had to walk past their display to get to Bush Court – we will remember this for next year as a key location! They answered many questions from prospective students and parents during the day along with Jonathon, Martina and Tania with quite a few solid queries about undergraduate studies in renewable energy.

Just a few metres down the path was the main hub for Information Technology which had a very steady stream of visitors – all enquiring about studies in games technology, information technology. Pol, Kevin, Val, Giles, Tania and many others answered the tough questions posed by prospective students and parents.

Inside the specialist labs Shri, Fairuz, and Hong were kept busy all day and well past the Open Day closing time of 4pm with people interested in Augmented Reality. Perhaps it is the current fad of Pokémon Go that has peaked interest however whatever the reason, many queued for some time just to come in and try out the AR lab. Their last “customer” for the day was none other than our Deputy Dean (and acting Dean for the day) Bruce Gardiner at 4.45pm!


Across the hallway in the another lab, Terry, Dave and Sebastian also intrigued visitors with their demonstration of  online footprints.

Similarly, visitors also managed to find the Robotics lab downstairs, where Graham set up the intricate maze for visitors to manoeuvre the robots through.

Over in the Physical Sciences building, the Water Treatment & Desalination and Environmental Engineering were set up in Bayliss Courtyard and had a steady stream of visitors all day.

The Mathematics and Statistics display, also in Bayliss, was similarly busy with young and old marvelling at the mystery of bubbles

Put into the largest venue on campus, the Chemistry Extravaganza was so popular that it filled the venue to capacity. Children were mesmerised by the reactions, bangs an pops on stage which is always so engaging by Andrew and his team.

Electrical Engineering and Chemistry had a very steady flow of visitors to their hot spots in Physical Sciences.

Perhaps the greatest surprise on the day was the number of people enquiring about Physics and indeed Physics & Mathematics combinations. Chris, Piotr, David and Bruce were inundated with queries throughout the day – with a surprising number of girls interested in the degree!

Across in Bush Court the main Murdoch Cube was very different and unique to a traditional marquee – which was certainly a huge hit with visitors. It was packed to capacity for the majority of the day despite what this photo might indicate – as this photo was taken at 8am. 


Our M-Pod was installed in the Robertson / Miners Courtyard just in time for Open Day. One of three 2.5msq cubes installed around the campus, they have bean-bags, deck-chairs in them and will soon also house games for students to play. There are power points on the outside of the M-Cube for students to recharge devices and indeed for use for events. The M-Cube will provide a welcome student interaction and interface point in our ‘zone’ which is well timed with the move of our IT students and the IT labs to the Science & Computing Building over the coming months. Our cube will have: giant Jenga; boules; Teska; and other great games for students (and staff) to play . . . if we can pull them away from Pokémon Go.

Finally, we had quite a few entries submitted for our Pokémon Go competition where visitors were asked to take pictures in and around PS, EE and SC building of Pokémon that they caught on Open Day. Business & Governance also had a Pokémon Go competition and SEIT helped host 2 x Pokémon in our hot spot areas . . . increasing traffic to our School.

The interested in our School was certainly high, with visitors coming to Murdoch specifically to talk to staff in our School about courses. We now need to harness this enthusiasm for the School to convert “interest” into enrolment. 


Open Day couldn’t have taken place without considerable coordination, input and time by Leandra and Emma. To the Technical staff that set labs up, assisted in the labs with queries and made the School come alive on stage in the Chemistry Extravaganza – we thank you. To the many academics who came in to talk passionately about their courses and research to raise awareness of how the STEM sciences feed into our everyday lives, I am sure many walked away surprised and in awe of how important our courses are to us all. And finally to Chris, Jo Hulme and her team who coordinated the entire Open Day . . . I think we are in agreement that this was (perhaps) the best one yet.

All in all Open Day 2016 was a huge success, with an estimated 20,000 visitors.

Article submitted by Rebecca Treloar-Cook

But That Was Fun! - Get Into Resources

Over the two days, Thursday 23rd June and Friday 24th June, Ken Seymour, Stewart Kelly and Graeme Thompson spent time at North Metropolitan TAFE presenting some Extractive Metallurgy (extracting copper from a copper ore) to mainly Year 10 students from various high schools in the metropolitan area. It was part of the ‘Get Into Resources’ program which was in its fifth year of operation. Over the two days we would have had contact with over 120 students.
Over the time we were there, we presented 15 x half hour sessions to groups ranging from 6 – 11 students. Some of the students were interested from a Vocational Education and Training (VET) perspective and others from an academic outlook. The students were intrigued and actively involved, with some very insightful questions being asked and were often surprised that what they were doing was what is basically done in industry, although at a more complex level. Teachers accompanying the students were given bundles of leaflets describing SEIT courses and booklets on Murdoch University. Students were given information on Open Day and some promotional items.

Whilst the sessions were brief they left with an appreciation of one part of the industry. A couple of comments that were overheard, or were put in the survey sheets were:

“I genuinely hate chemistry but that was really fun!” - straight from the mouth of an attendee.

“The best part of the program was the lunch, but the Metallurgy was the second best.”

Whilst we may not know whether our input had a major effect on any of the students, our presence was noted and most appreciated by the organisers who have requested our presence again next year, if possible.

A big thanks goes to the hard working organising committee and to Ken and Stewart who kept up with supplies, answered questions from the teachers and were, as usual, highly involved in the activities.

Get Into Resources Jun16 Media Article_Page_1.jpg

Article submitted by Graeme Thompson.


Report on BAMFAD V

For five days during two weeks of June, over 400 students ventured forth onto the South Street Murdoch campus to get a taste of University life for a day, oh and learn about the importance of various facets of the metals, minerals and mining industry (triple M) to our own State and Australia. This year was the fifth year that the program has been run, with many schools coming back repeatedly over the years demonstrating its worth. This year had some uniqueness about it as we were very fortunate to have a visit by two people from Rio Tinto to the program on one day to observe what we do and talk to the students informally. 

During their time with us on the day, the students heard a talk about minerals, energy and metallurgy and the science associated with them and participated in four of the five workshops on offer: 

  1. Mining Mathematics and Statistics, where they discovered how important mathematics is in sampling, mine mapping and associated tasks.
  2. Metallurgical Chemistry, where they learnt about analytical techniques used in the industry and in a particular study determining the percentage composition of copper and tin in brass.
  3. Mineral Processing, where they used the technique of froth flotation to improve the grade of a chalcopyrite ore, separated the components of minerals sands using magnetic and electrostatic techniques and observed the changes in composition using microscopes.
  4. Pyrometallurgy, where they observed a tin smelt, did a tin pour, discovered the importance of various other metals and their uses, and finished off with the fiery thermite reaction done in our specially constructed safety cabinet.
  5. Hydrometallurgy, where they extracted copper from a crushed copper ore, discussed the reactions involved, learnt one way copper is produced in industry and experienced the fact that faster does not mean better.

Schools that visited were: Mandurah Baptist College; Scotch College; Perth College; Applecross SHS; John XXIII College; Greenwood College; Hale School; Living Waters College; Leeming SHS; Bunbury Catholic College; and John Tonkin College.

A great deal of thanks goes to the staff and students who have assisted in the running of the program.

  • Mathematics staff: including Helen Middleton, Doug Fletcher, Brenton Clarke, Mark Lukas
  • Chemistry staff: Damian Laird, David Henry, Leonie Hughes, Hans Oskierski, Lan-Chi Königsberger, Kate Rowen, Saijel Jani, and Caitlin Sweeney.
  • Metallurgy staff: Ken Seymour, Stewart Kelly, Drew Parsons, Aleks Nikoloski
  • Dan Churach, who talked his way into their hearts
  • Support team (mainly students): Rorie Gilligan and Tendekayi Tapera (they ran one half of the mineral processing), Nick Daniel, Sandra Blair, Nasim Khoshdel Salakjani, Simon Bagas, Minh Le.


The show cannot go on without the work of the behind the scenes staff, in particular Emma Tristham and Leandra Corich amongst the many other duties they carried out on my behalf.

Finally, a big thank you to Rio Tinto for their financial support over the five years and without whose help the show would not have gone on. 

Article submitted by Graeme Thompson (BAMFAD Co-ordinator)



Professor Parisa Bahri

Professor Bahri has been invited to join the highly regarded International Program Committee of the PSE-2018 in Process Systems Engineering that will be held during July 1-5, 2018 in San Diego, California.

Dr Polychronis Koutsakis

The IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless Mobile and Multimedia Networks (WoWMoM) is a premier international conference in its field (rated as an A conference in the most recent CORE 2014 ranking).
Dr Polychronis Koutsakis will be the TPC chair of the 18th edition of the conference, which will take place in Macao, China, in June 2017, and he would like to ask all Murdoch researchers who have relevant high-quality work in the conference topics to consider submitting to WoWMoM.

See the Call-for-Papers flyer for the conference. 

WoWMoM CFP flyer 2017.jpg

It’s a boy!

Congratulations to Dr Aleks Nikoloski and family on the birth of a beautiful baby boy Filip Aleksandar Nikoloski. Baby Filip arrived on Monday 25th July at 11:17am and weighed in at 3.63kg, measuring 50cm. 


Australian Financial Review: Land of sun and surf leads the innovation charge

View the recently published article from Australian Financial Review, Land of sun and surf leads the innovation charge.

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Land of sun and surf_Page_2.jpg
Copy provided by Luke McManus, Office of Marketing, Communications and Advancement

OHS Training – Managers, Supervisors and Team Leaders

If you supervise any staff member (including casual academic staff who may be tutors or demonstrators in your units) and have not attended OSH Training -Managers, Supervisors & Team Leaders course please consider attending the course (sessions still available below).

On completion of this program participants will be able to: - Identify the legislative responsibilities (Duty of Care) in relation to the Western Australian Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and Regulations 1996 - Detail the principles of safety and health at work through the application of proactive strategies, including consultation and co-operation in keeping with the OSH policy and procedures at the University - Recall the requirements of a proactive workplace advocate and role model for the promotion of health and safety back at the workplace location - Identify and assess occupational workplace hazards - Detail the University's procedures relating to the undertaking of workplace inspection and reporting requirement, and - Know the procedures to follow in the event of a workplace incident or accident.

OSH Training -Managers, Supervisors & Team Leaders - 10th October - Enrol

Submitted on behalf of Andrew Foreman 


Computers for PhD Students

PhD Students are allocated ex-staff computers which is common practice in the University. In the event that a student requires a high spec machine, or the assigned computer does not meet their requirements then the options are:

a) The student uses their PhD funds to pay for a high spec computer (with the computer remaining the property of the University)

b) The computer can be purchased from externally funded research grants through their Supervisor

c) The computer can be purchased from other sources of funding of their Supervisor, as conditions of that funding permit.

Any queries can be directed to either Associate Dean (Research) Professor Glenn Hefter or the School Manager, Rebecca Treloar-Cook 



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