Viva MALAYSIA!

Volume 8 Issue 8 News & Resources | August 2015

 

Viva MALAYSIA!

Flag Aug 2015

  1. The chosen narrative

Our life is not without ending and its own path. Human are endowed with sufficient level of intelligence in order to chart their life’s path and to make decision on what to do with life as a whole. Among the critical difference between human and animal is the ability to dream and construct life goals whilst creatively invent new ways to achieve the dreams or goals. The ability to create new things is pertinent to human and with it the ability to invent new narrative to life. We can change any narrative of any events by changing our perspectives. The importance of life’s narrative must not be sidelined in the urgency to respond to transient urges. We must plan and execute our own life’s narrative. Without it, we will only be living the dreams of others. So, what is our chosen narrative in life? Whatever it is and no matter how bad it may turn-out to be, it will always be OUR decision and this is OUR life.

    2. The thinking factor

All actions should be only be taken after proper considerations. In this, the most important skill is the ability to think critically taking into considerations all the influencing factors. In reality we can clearly witness the adverse effects of not thinking before doing anything. Many disasters and ill-desired accidents, in retrospect, could have been averted if those involved had done the necessary thinking and rationalisation. But of course, everything looks logical and rational in retrospect. The challenge is to make things as logical and rational before it potential occurrence taking all observable and measurable parameters. And for this, one needs proper and methodological thought processes. The realisation of a matured thought process which leads to a balanced and justified action must be nurtured and continuously strengthened. The ability to think well and be rational in making decision are very valuable commodity to any aspiring researchers and administrators.

    3. Handling the pressure

Human will take action motivated by an instinctive trait within him. The fight or flight response is a natural outcome when faced with any form of danger or risk to his wellbeing. A thinking person will consider the probability of winning@survivable. And, since we know that the pressure of making decision is directly proportional to the level of danger which exist, a thinker will not risk his life for just some potential outcome in lacklustre manner. A life or death scenario will certainly push the pressure to the max. Typically the act of decision making becomes more difficult as the situation escalate.The researchers’ ability to handle pressure will influence the mode of workingand the feasibility of potential outcome. For this, researchers must learn to live with the pressures.

    4. Good Luck Malaysia!

This is the month where Malaysian celebrate the 58th year for independence. On the 31st of August 1957, Malaysia consisting of West and East Malaysia was granted independence from the British Empire. Since then, the country has progressed tremendously and alongside her neighbours are now part of ASEAN and also the global community. The responsibility to develop the nation belongs to all her citizens including academicians and researchers in the institutes of higher learning (IHLs). In academia, the main challenge is to produce novel and innovative solutions which will help the country to progress to the status of developed nations. The need for international cooperation and collaboration is much needed in order to expedite the process. The aim is to put Malaysia as one of the international global hub for novel and innovative solutions. This global outlook, i.e. conducting R&D for solving global issues, will not in anyway negate the importance of solutions for local problems. The new breed of researchers must always be global in their analyses and outlook. And, to make themselves relevant, they must ensure their international network and collaborations are utilised to the max and considered in their overall research roadmark. All in all, in order to succeed in the future, Malaysia needs to be in the forefront of Science and Technology. In this, the contribution of researchers are much wanted.

   5. In a nutshell

The whole aim for this short write-up is to highlight the importance of constructing a positive and vibrant research narratives in our IHLs for the various field of knowledge. The thinkers, coming from the social and scientific backgrounds, must push-forward the need to make thinking a must in decision making and ensure that concious and rational decision-making are pervasive. The progress of the country will hedge so much on the abilities of researchers to produce the best of output. At the individual level, a researcher must ensure the relevancy of the research work to the local and global communities. Nobody is an island and so does a researcher. The importance global collaborations cannot be downplayed. Solid collaboration is important at the idea-seeding, growth, implementation, testing and validation stage. In terms of research support, much can be gained from this networking.

In Universiti Sains Malaysia(USM), the Underwater System Technology research efforts such as underwater robotics and underwater acoustics are gaining ground. More research groups with similar interest have grown at other local universities. Many activities are being planned and also been organised. This is a good move for Malaysia. The international network for ocean-related research theme is also being strengthened and widened. Though there are difficulties such as the lack of significant number of new researchers and research funding available, the mood is positive and more interesting research projects and products awaits.

The motto for USM’s underwater research group is “Go Deeper, Reach Further”. In this we believe that the ability for handle deep water system immersion and ingression, will ensure bountiful resources which exist in the deeper oceans to be available for long-term economical sustainability. The deep water exploration is the aim of many research groups around the world. In this, we can surely capitalise on the reality of global cooperation and collaborations.

Dive Deeper!

 

drrizal 2014 2

Written by :
Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Between Two Worlds

 

Between Two Worlds


Volume 8 Issue 7 News & Resources | July 2015

 

 

 

 

No free lunch!

The way an engineer looks to the world is dissimilar to others. He is always looking for a system or cause and effect relationship. There is always a reason for anything to occur. There is no “free-lunch”. Something cannot be produce from nothing. There is always a valid reason for something to occur. If a straightforward derivation is too complex, he will make assumptions which we will allow some partial solution to the problem. As energy is assumed to be indestructible, it can only be transformed.Hence, some form of energy will need to be transformed to another form. The energy equation will always maintain its balance. It is akin to a zero-sum game. Any gain will be compensated by a loss somewhere else. The unseen equilibrium will play its role somehow whether we like or not.The only issue is that whether we can make sense of this trade-offs or will it be forever hidden from our prying eyes and inquisitive mind. The ability to appreciate and comprehend this relationship has permitted human beings to solve old-age problems and invent new things. We seek to understand in order to emulate and create. Though most of the time we are oblivious to the outcome of our actions. Yes, we can control what we do or what kind of action will be executed, but the outcome will always be out of our hands. We are helpless and this helplessness will always be part of us – human.

The discrete world:

No one can deny our world is predominantly analogue, i.e. we have no need of computers, array of sensors, image capturing device and other wearable device. Human being has only been introduced to the digital world less than 100 years ago. The modern world has now predominantly being influenced by the discrete representation of the analogue world, i.e. digital world. The advents of modern equipment and facilities have, undeniably, improved the quality of life throughout the globe. The world has never been closely linked or networked like we have today. The era of globalization has been fuelled by new innovation and invention in the field of communication and rapid transportation system. The discrete world has touched nearly every living being. The age of globalization has arrived for many years and we just have to learned how deal with its consequences. The influence of digital world has also boost the need for new and innovative software engineers. These new breed of programmers hold the power to affect the way the digital tools are utilized and represented to societies and nations. The mastery of the digital spaceand its tools will be critical to any countries aspiring to accumulate the riches of the world. This is the lesson which can be seen by the influence of Facebook™, Google™ and Microsoft™ just to name a few to the rest of the world. In fact, the race to gain a foothold on the virtual world has translated into cyber war between nations, i.e. through hacking and illegal intrusion into sensitive domain and virus attacks on data portal. Even communication system has been tapped and secret information being used for strategic and tactical decision making. The discrete world is here to stay and we have to ensure we are not left behind in the race.

Switched System:

The discrete representation of the analogue world will depend so much on the quality of the model. The quality of the developed model, on the other hand, will depend on how much we know about the real system and to what extend all of them can be represented in the model. An alternative approach is to conduct physical modeling. But then physical modeling may only be suitable to certain system. After a relatively stable model has been acquired, optimization of its parameters must be done. And, for this, there are many optimization methods already available. The final stage is to conduct model validation before the actual implementation. The modeling part is the most critical since this will ensure subsequent stages would be easier or more complex.Model is a discrete system representation that will make it possible to be manipulated in the digital domain. The existence of various transformation methods (e.g. Laplace Transform, Z-Transform and Fourier Transform) is to enable the migration from the time domain to the frequency domain, and also to convert continuous time system into its discrete representation. The more recent state-space method is also to simplify the analyses and the switching between the analogue and digital domain. Of course all these representations have originated from those sometimes abstract-looking differential or difference equations of the events being modeled. The act of switching between the two domains will need to be given more attention since errors can creep in in transition and the resultant will most likely be misleading. Model refinement may need to be done regularly as the three source of errors i.e. external disturbance, noise and model parameters inaccuracies will always exist in the real world. The aim is to achieve what control theoretician termed bisimilar relationship. Intuitively, two systems are considered bisimilar if they match each other's moves. In this sense, each of the systems cannot be distinguished from the other by an observer. It would be interesting to see how we can finally model a real world system completely into its discrete representation. Until that moment, we just have to ensure we compensate all the errors to the best of our abilities.

Problems:

There are many problems which are waiting to be solved. These problems come in various levels of importance, priority, difficulty and impact. The digital tools are aplenty to expedite the process of searching for the optimum solution. The availability of world-wide data sharing makes the goal of convergence to the best solution more probable. Proper system’s modeling and its validation will need to be more robust and dependable. The main task of scientists and researchers is to ensure we tackled the problem which has the highest priority with the greatest impact, i.e. one which will alleviate most of the sufferings being faced by communities around the world.

“But just as haste and restlessness are typical of our present-day life, so change also takes place more rapidly than before. This applies to change in the relationships between nations as it does to change within an individual nation” ~ Gustav Stresemann

 

 


Written by :
Assc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Research, Researcher and Noise!

 

About Research, Researcher and Noise!


Volume 8 Issue 6 News & Resources | June 2015

 

 

 

 

Civilization and technology:

The progress of civilizations throughout millennia has always been tied to the progress of knowledge and technology. From the intricate and complex Mayan structures on top of very steep mountains to the great pyramid in Egypt right down to the ingenious water channel system of the Romans and the brilliant concept of optics and mechanism of seeing proposed by the Muslim scholars, the proofs of the link between progress and know-how is an undisputed fact. The more emphasis was given to the accumulation and realization of knowledge and technology, the more advance a nation or civilization becomes. In order to have the best practices in anything we do, the main prerequisite is solid foundation of knowledge. These know-how and appropriate tools will enable the best way in doing things and fulfilling the expected outcome. It is a like a short-cut to success. Insufficient knowledge and inappropriate technology will make the journey to be very long-winded and inherently doomed right from the start. The inventions of written words and documenting tools (incl. printing system) have enabled all the know-how and generated technologyto be shared. The continuous critical look at the current body of knowledge has also ensured an organic growth and expansion of solutions to new and emergent problems in societies and nations at large. The group of people entrusted to critically evaluate and expand the boundaries of knowledge and technology are the researchers and students of knowledge residing in various institutes of higher learning and independent research centers. The dynamic characteristic of knowledge and technology will always be the catalyst to push new progress in itself and other aspects of civilizations.

The ideal researcher:

The prime mover of innovation is the researcher himself. An ideal researcher is a person entrusted to develop an innovative, creative and novel solution which will contribute directly to the overall progress of his company, society and nation. His work is fully supported by solid funding, facilities and flexible time-frame. He will work collaboratively with other researchers working on the same research objectives. An ideal researcher would not be interrupted by unnecessary and unconnected tasks to his main research objectives. Nobody will hassle and disrupt his research efforts and will strive to disengage him from any distractions. The ideal researcher is given full autonomy to manage his research plan and execution. His research environment is very supportive and he will be highly regarded in society for his commitment to his work. This ideal environment provided will ensure 100% commitment by the researchers to hiswork. The ideal researcher will not start from zero and will intelligently utilize the available body of knowledge to move forward. The ideal researcher is willing to bridge the gaps between different disciplines of knowledge and not bogged down by field compartmentalization and specialization. His interest is to seek novel solution and problem-solving methods, i.e. generating novelty in the processes and tools for solution-seeking. The ideal researcher is given the academic freedom to venture into new ideas and chart new way forward. In him lies the future of the nation and survival into the new millennia. Alas, the ideal researchers only exist in our mind and dreams. What we are left with is the not-so-ideal researchers and whatever they are capable of. We need to do a lot of soul searching. This is so because, whilst we desperately need the novel and real solutions from our fellow researchers, we are not really making their endeavor easier. The responsible parties must reevaluate the overall support to researchers. Researchers can only so much. The rest still depends on others.

Research noise:

Any system developed which involve sensing and signal processing will be exposed to the effect of noise. The source of noise can be internal or external. Noise is normally considered as an undesired signal which interferes with proper parameter detection and processing. This interference will then affect the accuracy of measurement and the final actuation taken to affect the current output of the system. Researchers have developed various filters to “catch” or take-out these undesired signals from the measured signal. The frequency based filters is tuned to filter specific noise. For example; internal noise, such as white noise, generated by electronic components in the hardware circuits will be filtered using a high frequency filter module. Other type of low frequency noises such baseline line oscillation due to power line 50Hz frequency will be addressed by just a simple hardware filter. Noises in discretized signal can also be filtered using the software approach. In fact many more methods are available for signal noise filtering, once the measured signals are discretized. The Signal-to-Noise (SNR) is one measure of system ability to handle noise input. One example of hardware approach to cancel noise effect is the Common-Mode Rejection Ratio (CMRR). Different methods are available to handle noise. Some other types of “noise” are image artifacts. These noises will affect the quality of images captured. Image processing researchers have developed many image-based algorithms to extract such artifacts. In general noise signal is an undesired element in sensing and measurement requirement. Though now, synthetic noise has been used to eliminate or cancel the effect original noise sources. The most important lesson which we can take from this short discussion on noise is that the ability to handle “noise” or disruption is critical to all researchers. In most cases noise is an unwanted disturbance, but in some specific cases, noise presence is critical. The choice is ours.

Last point!

The signals which we assumed to be disruption or disturbance to our system may need to be further evaluated. The most important step is to extract the noise characteristics such as frequency spectral, power content and amplitude. The next step is to determine the noise source and how much it affects the measured data for specific application. For sure, it is nearly impossible to totally eliminate noise elements from our system, but we can surely find ways to minimize its effect.

“Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid” – Mark Twain

 


Written by :
Assc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Some Issue About R&D Efforts

 

Some Issue About R&D Efforts


Volume 8 Issue 4 News & Resources | April 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Evaluate the real intent:

One major task of anyone intending to pursue post-graduate study is ensuring that he or she has sufficient desire (read: motivation) and appropriate portion of academic or scholastic capacity for long term academic pursuits. Of course, all the other physical and formal requirements such as financial and logistic supports must be available prior to this. An academic pursuit is not for the faint-hearted. The pot-holes are aplenty and one can easily get distracted or frustrated with the obstacles one will certainly encounter. The temptation of wanting to stop engaging with all the academic discourses can be very strong at times, and it is quite normal to see breakdowns, be it physical or mentally, among active postgraduates students. As with other normal struggles of human endeavor, there will be success and failure. It is just very natural. One can avoid this undesired outcome if new venture was evaluated holistically and one stays very honest to one’s ability.

Novelty Gap:

In order to ensure one will increase the probability of success, the percentage of novelty must be as higher as possible. As one goes on the research and development trail, this specific percentage of novelty will drop significantly. The main game changer is to ensure some percentage of novelty is still in the loop during the thesis evaluation and actual viva session. The gist of engaging in a postgraduate research work is to ensure one can prove, convincingly, the novel components of the research output. This novel output, in essence, is the contribution to the overall body of knowledge. It is the ticket to join the academic fraternity. It acts as an accepted license to join the group and the right to say anything in order to influence or change anything to the current body of knowledge. It would be suicidal for any postgraduate student to take light on this issue, and also fail to provide proper attention to its attainment. The novel aspect will be the main determining factor.

Gap Analysis:

When one venture to conduct a literature review of the current body of knowledge, after identifying the specific research problem, and investigate all currently available proposed solutions to the problem, one will have a clearer picture of the research problem’s horizon. From here a taxonomy or gap analysis will be available. This gap analysis will be crucial because it will justify the claimed novelty of the research work. Often, a problematic research work will originate from an incomplete or insufficient gap analysis process. One can only, justifiably, propose a solid solution if the research problem and problem statement are clear. The literature review must also have the appropriate breadth and depth. The breadth will justify the scope of work. The depth will provide the actual justification to the research work itself. At the end of the day, when examiners are questioning your work and push you to the wall, you can always show the gap analysis results. You are standing on solid ground and not just assuming that you do. Never take lightly the importance of gap analysis.

Take a different shoe:

To be able to appreciate the quality of one’s research output, one needs to be able to play the role of the devil’s advocate or the prosecutor. Find the weakness in your own work, especially the assumptions and constraints which have made the research work more manageable and doable. Normally, a complex problem became simpler due to these so-called assumptions and constraints. When an examiner opts to re-evaluate or re-consider the initial reasons for the assumptions and constraints, the ground will be shaken and one novel contribution may no longer hold itself. So, this act of doubting or questioning the results will be very useful. To be critical of oneself and not to be too confident with one’s research outcome will be useful. The processes undertaken must be evaluated for any mistaken assumptions and superficial justifications. Take a different shoe from what you are wearing now. Evaluators are not there to be nice to you. Instead, their main task in to ensure the work is valid to the highest of standard. No worries, if you have your job, everything will be just fine.

It is all about presentation:

The importance of presenting the research output properly must be taken seriously. Evaluators will only value whatever is presented to them. All the toils and troubles that one went through to complete the research will forever be hidden to the evaluators. One may has done so many things to come to the final output, but a sloppy job at the end will erase all those hard-work and sacrifices. Starting a research work properly is very important because it will determine the quality of the output. Nevertheless, a solid and firm (and presentable) research presentation will be more crucial. The so-called “research thesis” will encapsulate all the research work done and demonstrate the novelty produced. A pleasant thesis presentation which succinctly presents the research problem, proposed solution, research acquired and novelty would be greatly welcome by any thesis evaluator. The importance of good presentation must never be underestimated. It is all about presentation because we are all human. And, human prefers nice things.

In a nutshell:

To be valuable, any research effort must bring real solution and create actual impact. The act of proposing an incomplete solution may not be the best of offers. In fact, the proposed incomplete solution may complicate matters and led many other astray. It is the responsibility of all researchers to be ethical and professional in their conducts. These qualities will ensure that real growth in the body of knowledge and not just an empty academic claim. The onus is on us, the researchers!

 

“The most difficult is not to find the right solution, but to ask the right question”– m.rizal

 


Written by :
Assc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Thing About Control

 

The Thing About Control


Volume 8 Issue 5 News & Resources | May 2015

 

 

 

 

Control freak:

The urge to control the environment around us is very strong that we will feel very uneasy when placed in an unknown environment. This urge may be due to the fight or flight instinct or it is just an innate urge to control others. We do it to all inanimate object and living beings. We are the inadvertent and willing master of the universe. Well, if we can arrange things according to our whims; we would like very much to be king, and make others subservient to us. Alas, the world is not totally cooperative to this desire. We are inherently weak though we have the power of intellect which allows human to have a sense of control to the world. Through this natural equilibrium, human beings have started to appreciate his rightful position in the real world, and have grown to adapt his needs to the actual thing that he can acquire. He is now more pragmatic from the control point of view. We may not be able to acquire everything, but surely we can acquire something, and, vice versa. From here, the philosophy is; we may not be able to control everything, but we can surely control some of them. Hence, the main aim is to be able to control the most important parameters. In this, the control urge can somewhat be realized and fulfilled.

Building blocks:

Any system can be represented into a control system block. Unless, it is an open loop system, there will always be a feedback loop which will link the output stage to the desired input stage. A system or plant will be one major block in either open or closed-loop control system representation. The parameters of the plant can be either fixed or dynamic, i.e. varies with time. This time variant or invariant system will be crucial in understanding the behavior of the system to input response. The plant can then be represented in a mathematical model, either in the transfer function mode or state-space representations. The number of input and output will also affect the way the particular system is analyzed (SISO, MIMO, SIMO & MISO). A sensor block in the feedback loop is represented by an array of internal and external sensor modules. The accuracy and sensitivity of the sensors are critical in ensuring the system time response is acceptable. This time factor is also termed as sampling time. Another important block is the controller block which will handle the error (difference between desired and output values) and ensuring that the input to the system will bring the output nearer to the desired value or so that they will converge. Various control approaches have been proposed and will continue to be developed in order to handle external disturbance and non-linearity components of the plant. Most practical system is inherently non-linear in and the disturbances are mostly non-deterministic. The accuracy of the plant and variable input models will be pertinent to the reliability of the chosen control approach.

The law:

Control designer is always obsessed about accurate modeling of the real system being controlled. They strive very hard to understand all the constraint and limitations of the current system model. The more information they have, the more controllable is the system. Real appreciation of the external disturbances is also important and many methods have been proposed to ensure desired performances are achieved. The important aim is to arrive at the best control law that will reduce the error to zero. It may be very taxing and time consuming to design, analysis and test the control approach on real or actual system as the actual system complexity increases. Hence, mathematical and simulation approaches in controller design will be crucial and cost-effective. Because of this dependence on mathematical representations or model of the system, the methods for extracting model must be considered carefully. Various methods to implement the developed control law, i.e. by injecting input triggers and disturbance are conducted. These are done in order to test the controller robustness and frequency response. At the same time, new control theories are continuously being developed while the more implementable control methods are realized. Control laws in living organisms are continuously being emulated to man-made system. Some hybrid control methods have also been investigated. Three main aims of control system are for stability, tracking and regulating applications. These aims cover most of the man-made applications. And, as long as new machines and system are invented, new and more innovative control methods will always be developed.

Fundamental knowledge:

The progress of the modern civilization has boosted the need for newer and more reliable control algorithms. As the system complexity increases and more unique application are invented, unique and more cost-effective controllers are required. A complex control system normally requires very complex hardware implementations and such generalization is not desirable since the set-up will not be sustainable. The challenge is to be able to utilize simple control laws for complex control applications, and with simple hardware implementations. This is an utopian aim, but one which will boost and encourage more research work in control theories and control algorithms. Probably a fundamental shift of how we look at control methods is required. Our approach into novel control design is strictly bounded by the accepted control theories and its accepted constraints. Hopefully one day these unquestioned boundaries will be reconsidered and new control laws will emerge. And, one thing for sure, the variances in human needs are unlimited, and so does the control requirements.

 

“Authority is nothing without power, and power is nothing without control” – m.rizal

 

 


Written by :
Assc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

某选秀选手再爆乱伦干爹门_Exnessٷվ
ͻ
΢
΢

վȴʣ Ӫ Źܷ С΢ҵ ˰


ڵλã ҳ  >  ŷ  >  ˰Ҫ