The Good News — Oct 2021

The Good News includes recent news items from this website & other news outlets.
Friday 1 October 2021

Remote teaching is going great

Prof. Steve Blackburn is teaching Structured Programming for the second time during the pandemic. In 2020, he and tutor Leopold Zhou received a Remote Teaching & Student Experience award for their interactive live-streamed lectures. This year, they were excited to return to Manning Clark Hall to teach in-person and via remote simultaneously. After only five lectures, circumstances forced them back into remote teaching. In this video, with footage from both MCH and Steve's living room, he updates us on how that's going.

Dr Kiara Bruggeman of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science won a 2021 Remote teaching and student experience award for the humour and compassion with which she taught ENGN1217 Introduction to Mechanics. Dr Amy McLennan, Sarah Copley, Juliette Parsons, Dr Genevieve Bell won an award for their modulated series, Thinking Beyond AI.

Dr Amy McLennan, Sarah Copley, Juliette Parsons, Dr Genevieve Bell won a Remote Teaching award for their modulated remote course on Cybernetics, "Thinking beyond AI."  More about the Remote teaching awards.

Supercomputing world record opens new frontiers for energy, medicine, nanotechnology

Dr Giuseppe Barca and his team have set a new world record for quantum chemical calculations, using a supercomputer to predict the chemical reactions and physical properties of molecular systems with tens of thousands of atoms. This new modelling technology will be used on supercomputers worldwide, leading to new technological leaps in renewable energy, medicine, and advanced manufacturing.

Humanitarian Engineering: Meet the first cohort

When Hayley Yates and Jack Hill receive their diplomas at the end of Semester 2, 2021, they will be among the first to do so with a minor in Humanitarian engineering. Both say their studies have been guided by life missions to “make the world a better place”.

Solar energy innovations and 'robot archaeologist' highlight Capstone 2021

Designs for a “robot archeologist” and the “solar roller” — a power station on wheels — are two of many promising innovations emerging from the ANU Engineering Capstone initiative in 2021.

Home battery subsidies needed to address "sun tax" issue roiling rooftop solar

Australia's household solar uptake is the envy of the world, but it has left our electricity network scrambling to catch up. Subsidising home batteries could be the solution, as Prof Lachlan Blackhall of the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at ANU explained to ABC News.

CZI awards $340,000 to advance genomics software that enabled COVID-19 vaccines

Dr Minh Bui's open source software for phylogenomic inference was downloaded more than 50,000 times in 2020. The data it produced contributed directly the identification of variants and the development of the COVID-19 vaccines. This week, the Chan Zuckerberg Institute announced $340,000 in new funding for the project.

Affy Hannan wins ANU Young Alumnus of the Year

Afnan Hannan, CEO and co-founder of Okra Solar, has been awarded 2021 ANU Young Alumnus of the Year. Hanan graduated in 2014, from a double Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce degree. Okra Solar is a world-leading company delivering electricity to rural households across countries in Southeast Asia. See Affy's video interview about the award and his important work.

Dr Niraj Lai shortlisted for ”Oscars of Australian science"

Passionate science communicator Dr Niraj Lal is in the running for the Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science, known as the ”Oscars of Australian science.” He has appeared on popular TV programs, hosts an ABC podcast, and has even written his own children's book about gravity -- Henry the Flying Emu. 

PhD research spurs international race for 6G Terahertz band communications

Dr Nan Yang and PhD candidate Akram Shafie have published new research that suggests the path to 6G wireless communications will employ the terahertz band (0.1-10 terahertz). Target speeds would be 20 times faster than 5G, bringing scenes out science fiction movies, such as holographic telepresence, into everyday human experience.

TechNOW podcast featuring Prof Lachlan Blackhall and Dr Elizabeth Ratnam

Dr Elizabeth Ratnam and Associate Professor Lachlan Blackhall appeared recently on the TechNOW podcast to talk about a revolutionary new way to monitor power flow through electricity grids. TechNOW is a podcast about Australian innovations that are shaping the future. 

Shifting gears to reduce transport emissions

Bennett Schneider, Master of Energy Change and a Bachelor of Engineering graduate, explains why the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia has been slow, despite the country’s love for solar power – and how it can change through policy action. ​ 

AI can explain your taste in music

CECS PhD candidate Jessica Sharmin Rahman was embarrassed to find that she liked Justin Beiber's music, so she built an AI system to figure out why. Jessica's presentation of her work won the People’s choice award at 2020 ANU Three minute thesis final. Now, she has authored a new piece for ABC Science to explain her findings.

Finding ways to recycle medical waste

Australian hospitals incinerate thousands of tonnes of medical waste each year — and COVID-19 has supercharged the problem. Capstone engineering students are joining forces with private industry to recycle it instead.

ANU Reporter features Catherine Ball and Kim Jackson

The new edition of ANU Reporter highlights ANU scholars and graduates working to increase representation, force change and drive better outcomes for all. It includes a profile on College researcher Associate Professor Catherine Ball and a feature on a CECS alumna/donor Kim Jackson.

PhD candidate’s cyber research rapidly circling the globe

School of Computing PhD candidate Adrian Herrera’s cybersecurity research was presented at a conference in mid-July and is already being incorporated into the industry’s preferred bug-finding tool. 

ANU scientists set a new record with bifacial solar cells

Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have produced a more efficient type of solar cell, using laser processing and setting a new world record in the process. The solar cells are dual-sided, meaning both the front and back generate power - which can contribute up to additional 30 per cent power generation. The research is also featured in PV Magazine.

Fast pivot for ANU Open Day 2021

Thousands of visitors were expected for the annual on-campus event. The ACT had not seen a locally-acquired case of COVID-19 in more than a year. But less than 48 hours before Open Day was to begin, a positive test was confirmed, Canberra entered lockdown, and it was pivot time on our campus once again.

Read more about the College's shift to a virtual Open Day and to hybrid learning in the classroom. And see the on-demand videos and other content offered to our virtual guests.

Solar Racing offers welcoming message for prospective students

Had Open Day gone forward as planned, a video featuring ANU Solar Racing would have been looped on a wide-screen monitor next to the School of Engineering both. When the lockdown was announced, team member Aiden Matson penned an Open Day essay welcoming prospective students to virtual Open Day, and sharing how his own decision to study at ANU was influenced by his interest in solar racing. 

Watch our July 2021 graduation video

Our July 2021 CECS graduation video is complete, starring our newest alumni. Please watch and share the video and read about the winners of our photo/video contest. When asked how he would spend his $100 prize for "Best photo involving a large inflatable duck", Zhipeng Li talked about missing his parents who he has not seen in a year and a half due to the pandemic. "I am going to use the prize money to buy presents for them," he said. 


What governments can do about QAnon believers

Policymakers and community leaders will have to engage with the ideology underlying conspiracy theories and help believers feel safe and included if they hope to contain their volatile behaviour, writes James Mortensen of the School of Computing in wake of the deadly Capitol Riots in the United States.

Contactless and spatially resolved determination of current−voltage curves in perovskite solar cells via photoluminescence

Daniel Macdonald and Hieu T. Nguyen of the School of Computing, in collaboration with ANU colleagues, have published new research on a fast, non-invasive, camera-based method to image pseudo current density voltage curves of various perovskite-based structures from partially finished to finished cells with micron-scale spatial resolution.


The Good News November 2021  |  The Good News December 2021

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing