Newsletter of Alumni of the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering,

Clayton Campus, Monash University

Issue 6

Editor : Sue Morgan 9905 3467

MAY 1997


Greetings, fellow alumni from Clayton and Caulfield. In line with the move to a single department without separate divisions we are combining the alumni activities of the former Clayton and Caulfield departments. At Caulfield, these have been at a low ebb in recent years so that we are having difficulty in establishing a decent address list and getting together a reasonable number of graduates. Because of this there is very little in this newsletter specifically for Caulfield alumni, although there is an article entitled "The Merged Department" and we are hoping that graduates from the former Chisholm or Caulfield will take part in SMEEA activities from now on. Of course there are a number of people who have been associated with both of the former departments (including myself) and these should help to keep the reminiscences flowing. Our alumni representative from the Caulfield Campus is Malcolm Reid [Tel. (03) 9903 2286, Fax (03) 9903 2906, email:].

Many of the pages of this issue are taken up with a biography of Doug Lampard, the man who was appointed to the first chair of electrical engineering at Monash in 1962. It is written by Steve Redman, a student and then close colleague of Doug's over many years in the department. Steve is now a Professor of Neuroscience at the Australian National University. The article appeared in the journal Historical Records of Australian Science in December 1996. The journal is published by the Australian Academy of Science and the article is re-printed here with permission.

For those of us who studied under Doug or worked closely with him the biography will bring back many memories. For those who didn't know him it will provide a fascinating insight into a remarkable life.

Most of this newsletter has been written by Kishor Dabke and me. A name appears after an item only if we haven't written it. I wrote the items that include Kishor's name.

Bill Brown


I am looking forward to meeting you all at the annual dinner. In the meantime, I am maintaining an academic focus on the extended Department's activities under extreme budgetary challenges. Unlike other universities, we are not yet applying vacuum cleaners to alumni wallets but we would welcome your advice and suggestions on industry linkages. Of course, you are always welcome to consider a postgraduate degree for a touch of intellectual excitement or professional update; David Morgan would welcome your call on (03) 9905 3483 or fax on (03) 9905 3454 or email on

Greg Egan


Some of you are only interested in this! So here is the date: Friday 27 June 1997 (registration by Friday 20 June 97 using the form on page 3) in the West Banquet Room, 1st floor Union Building, Clayton Campus at 7.00 for 7.30pm. Please mark it in your diary, round up several people who haven't been for a year or two (or ever) and organise them to come. Last year we had many fresh graduates who are a great pleasure to talk to if you are beginning to feel old. And for fresh graduates it is a great

opportunity to build up an "old person" network which can be so useful.

Last year Ian Taylor of CSIRO talked on the topic of "Mining for water in antarctica" giving us some fascinating insights into some cold engineering problems he tackled during his two years down at the bottom of the world. This year also there will be an interesting speaker but delicacy dictates that the name be not revealed yet!

Last year we also launched the series "My glorious moment in engineering" to which several people contributed with short speeches of up to five minutes. Some very witty and some serious descriptions were offered. There is one unfinished story about two women in a lesbian relationship who nearly bankrupted a company. How the clever SMEEA member solved the problem will be revealed this year. So come along to hear this and let us know (on the dinner registration form) whether you will be offering something to top last year's stories. Who said they had to the true? Were all your observations in lab reports true?


With the merger of Monash University and the former Chisholm Institute of Technology in 1990 a new Faculty of Engineering was formed with the existing departments at Clayton and divisions of these in a School of Applied Engineering at Caulfield. (A few years later the Gippsland School of Engineering also joined the faculty.)

For some years after the merger the Clayton and Caulfield activities of the combined Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering (the current name) remained fairly separate. The two bachelor degree programs remained quite separate and there was no cross-campus teaching. However at the postgraduate level there was (and still is) a single set of regulations for higher degrees, although postgraduate students were attached to one campus or the other. (The postgraduate numbers at Caulfield have grown dramatically since the merger.)

At the time of the merger, Jeff Hanson, who had been Head of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the Chisholm Institute of Technology, became Head of the Caulfield Division of the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering. He retired at the end of 1991 and Paul Voumard took over this role until his retirement at the end of 1996. Currently the most senior person at Caulfield is Irena Cosic, who is a Deputy Head of the whole department, but with special responsibilities at Caulfield.

With reduced funding levels and falling student numbers in engineering (across Australia) there are plans in hand in the faculty for a common entry, common first year and common courses in the various fields of engineering across the two campuses (with some effects also at Gippsland). Thus there will eventually be a single degree in electrical and computer systems engineering at Monash. It will be sad to see the distinctive nature of the two courses, each with their own proud history, disappear, but the exigencies of current government policies and management attitudes are forcing this to happen. On the credit side, however, these changes should enable the department to face existing and new challenges with greater strength.

The department is large by Australian standards. Some idea of its size can be gauged by looking at a listing of the current full-time academic staff, which follows:

Greg Egan (Head) Clay
Ray Jarvis Clay

John Bennett Clay
Clive Berger Clay
Le Nguyen Binh Clay
David Morgan Clay
Khee Pang Clay

Associate Professors:
Ian Brown Clay
Bill Brown Clay
Ed Cherry Clay
Irena Cosic (Deputy Head) Caul
Wlad Mielczarski Clay
Kim Ng Clay
Andy Russell (Deputy Head) Clay

Senior Lecturers:
Hamid Abachi Caul
Mohammed Atiquzzaman Clay
Greg Cambrell Clay
Michael Conlon Clay
Francesco Crusca Caul
Barrie Harding Caul
Grahame Holmes Clay
Stewart Jenvey Caul
Don Keogh Clay
Easin Khan Clay
Lindsay Kleeman Clay
Robin Lisner Caul
Brian Lithgow Caul
Nallasamy Mani Caul & Clay
Qi Su Clay
David Suter Clay
Bruce Tonkin Clay

Madhu Chetty Clay
Tadeusz Czaszejko Caul
Peter Freere Clay
Ian Kaminskyj Caul
Ming Liu Caul
Sajal Palit Caul
Malcolm Reid Caul
Ahmad Zahedi Caul
John Zakis Caulssssss


Some congratulations are in order. The winner of this prestigious prize for 1996 is Justin Lipton (supervisor Kishor Dabke and later Jeff Alison of the Faculty of Medicine) for a thesis entitled "Frequency spectra of chaotic systems - theory and applications". The prize of $1,000 and the medal will be presented by Roslyn Lampard at the SMEEA dinner.

Justin came to Monash from Greythorn High School in North Balwyn and completed his BSc in maths/physics in 1991 and BE in electrical and computer systems engineering in 1993. During his undergraduate studies he was awarded the SECV Undergraduate Scholarship and won the Sir Willis Connolly Prize for excellence in electrical engineering studies. His final year thesis was on the topic of chaotic systems supervised by Kishor Dabke.

Justin completed his PhD thesis in a remarkably short time. The thesis investigates the spectral properties of time series which arise in a number of physical and biological systems to determine if they are chaotic. The usual power spectrum as well as the higher order spectrum called bispectrum and its normalised version called the bicoherence spectrum are used for this purpose.

It is important to determine if a time series is chaotic because in physical and engineering systems it may represent an undesirable and unpredictable mode of operation whereas in biomedical signals such as ECG it may represent a "normal" or healthy state. The spectral methods were used to (1) reconstruct state spaces for the purpose of short term forecasting and to identify nonlinear responses, (2) analyse deliberately chaotic digital signals as carriers for secure communications and (3) distinguish between various ECG responses which appear similar in the time domain but which can lead to wrong and possibly fatal treatment if misdiagnosed.

The work resulted in several publications in international journals and conference proceedings before it was submitted for final examination.

The Douglas Lampard Prize is funded by donations from higher degree graduates of the department. If you wish to contribute please get in touch with Bill Brown. All donations are tax-deductible.


The first winner of the $400 Telstra MEngSc Prize is Tan Soon Hie for a thesis entitled "Video coding based on human perceptual model". In any year the prize is awarded by the Telstra Research Laboratories for the best MEngSc thesis in the telecommunications area. Soon Hie started her work with King Ngan, but when he left Khee Pang took over her supervision. The following is from her thesis abstract:

In order to increase data compression in video signals a perceptual coder has been designed with human visual system (HVS) properties incorporated into its coding algorithms. This coder employs a perceptual classification which dynamically adapts the quantizer's step size according to the local image content as it would be perceived by the HVS. With this class information, smooth areas are well preserved and high activity areas are exploited to reduce bit usage.

Soon Hie published a number of papers jointly with her supervisors during her time at Monash. She returned to Singapore at the completion of her work. Her husband, Chua Chin Seng, completed his PhD in the department in 1995.


The department is pleased to announce the appointment of Bob Morrison of Staffordshire University, UK to the Sir John Monash Chair of Electrical Power Engineering and as Director of the Centre for Electrical Power Engineering (CEPE). Bob is expected to take up the position at the end of August 1997. His research interests are in the areas of electrical supply for traction systems and quality of supply. Bob also has had considerable experience in the development of short courses for industry. In the interm period, Michael Conlon will be Acting Director of CEPE.

The John Monash Chair and the Director's position were held for five years by Bill Bonwick who retired at the end of February. In a career spanning 43 years he influenced and inspired hundreds of students and built excellent bridges with the power industry. His great contributions were honoured at a dinner held in November at which the University and industry paid tribute to his great work and to Bill as a person. He is still supervising a large EPRI (USA) funded research project.

Paul Voumard ended his time as Head of the Caulfield Division of the department at the end of December. His five years in that role marked a period of great change, through which Paul always fought strongly for the Caulfield staff and programs. Although he is officially retired he is still involved in research activities in the department. It was with sadness that we learnt of the death of his wife Laura in February.

Kishor Dabke took early retirement in December after thirty years in the department. He has had a tremendous impact on students over the years, as well as on many departmental activities. His retirement is also a "Clayton's" one and we will still see much of him.

These retirees look outwardly happy with big smiles on their faces but these are just masks to hide their intense deprivation at not being able to attend meetings, mark lab reports, set exam papers etc!

The Department has thriving research in the areas of power, telecommunications, biomedical engineering, robotics, multimedia and wave propagation. One interesting project has to do with digitising and improving the image quality of old films held by the State Film Centre and offering these as video on demand.

A notable achievement in 1996 was the Engineering Excellence Award (Highly Commended) won by Kim Ng and his team including Lindsay Kleeman, Kemal Ajay, Margaret Lech, Neil Smith and others. This award was given by the Institution of Engineers Victoria Division and was for the "Non-contact measurement of 3 dimensional objects". They achieve this by using computer generated projection of stripes on objects whose shapes can be deduced. The system has been sold to a number of research institutes and industry for a range of applications including the breastfeeding habits of babies. Recently the system was launched world-wide by a local firm MOSS (McDonnell Optical Scanning Systems) who has the commercial licence for the system.

The ANSPAG (Advanced Network Systems Performance and Applications Group) team won the "Best communications application" award at the international communications conference held in Sydney in November 1996.

The department has a flourishing international exchange program among both students and staff. Exchange students (undergrad and postgrad) have recently come from the USA, Brazil, Germany and Denmark and staff exchanges are working with Malaysia (Peter Freere visited again recently) and Sweden (Sven Molin is teaching here and Ed Cherry will go there in September and Kim Ng later on).


The department and many friends in Monash and elsewhere were saddened to learn of the deaths of two people. David Giesner died on 31 Dec 96 following complications from a bypass operation. He had retired from the department at Clayton in 1992 after 21 years as a Senior Lecturer in high voltage engineering. He was active in the department up to the time of his operation and was enjoying his retirement. We all thought he had many years ahead of him but it was not to be.

Many of our alumni will remember Cliff Bellamy, who was the Director of the Computer Centre at Clayton for many years before becoming Dean of the newly formed Faculty of Computing and Information Technology at the time of the merger in 1990. He taught in a number of subjects in our Clayton course during the 80's. Unfortunately he died on 14 Jan 97 after a long battle with cancer. He had lived through many interesting phases in the development of computing technology and indeed had himself contributed much to push forward the use of computers in a university environment and elsewhere. His death was untimely and he will be sadly missed. A memorial service to honour his life was held in the Religious Centre on the Clayton campus on 21 February.



Friday 27 June 1997 West Banquet Room, 1st floor, Union Building 7.00 pm for 7.30

register by Friday 20 June 1997

Name: ____________________________________________________

No. of people attending ___________ (base 10 please)

I would like a copy of the directory @ $10 per copy yes no (circle one)

Cheque: Bank __________________ No.______________ Amount $ ________

(Make the cheque payable to "SMEEA" @ $30 per head + directory @ $10)


Tel. No. Fax No.


Speaking on "My Glorious Moment in Engineering" yes no (circle one)

Send to:

Kishor Dabke
Dept of E & CS Eng., Monash University, Clayton VIC 3168
Phone (03) 9905 3507 (03) 9905 3486 Fax: (03) 9905 3454 Email:

Electrical & Computer Systems | Faculty of Engineering | Monash University
Authorised by Head of Department of Electrical & Computer Systems Engineering
Last updated May 1997

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