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

Clayton Campus, Monash University

Issue 7

Editor : Sue Morgan 9905 3467

April 1998


In 1997, we went from one annual dinner to three meetings per year; that's a 200% increase in activity! I am, of course, referring to the two technical visits to the Department on warm evenings in November (10th and 20th) 1997. These were well attended and brought out some who hadn't been back for 20 years. Those who came said they were pleasantly surprised at the range and depth of activities in the Department in telecommunications, optonics, robotics, multimedia, computing, image processing, energy systems and biomedical engineering to name just a few. If the alumni are willing, we can do it again in 1998.

Following Bill Brown's invitation for ex-Caulfield graduates to join the now combined SMEEA, we have had a few new members from there. It is hoped that this year's dinner will feature at least one table of such Caulfield graduates and staff. Our alumni representative from the Caulfield Campus is Malcolm Reid [Tel. (03) 9903 2286, Fax (03) 9903 2906, email:].

Soon, this distinction between Caulfield and Clayton will disappear because the combined Department will be located at Clayton. That's progress or historical destiny! To house the expanded entity, a large extension to Building 35 is now under construction. Prof. Greg Egan (Head of the Dept)) elaborates on this and other matters below. I take responsibility for the rest of the newsletter.

Kishor Dabke



Since writing last year work has now commenced on the new Engineering Building at Clayton. We expect the rest of our Caulfield colleagues to move to Clayton early 1999. The building will provide much needed space for our research and industry link programs which we are now dependent upon. This component of our budget grew to 47% in 1997 and should exceed 50% in 1999. One of the important items this year arising from the IEAust accreditation processes will be the formation of a Departmental Advisory Committee. I would welcome volunteers for the committee (anticipating a rush) with the intention of keeping its size to ten or so; we would retire half of the committee membership each year so it would not be a life sentence.

We still have a number of challenges on the budget front as Monash seeks to balance the books. One of these is the relative funding model which currently sees engineering and science students having a significantly higher weighting than say Arts. I will keep you informed of progress on this VERY important matter. Again 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



You have been waiting for this! So here is the date: Thursday 18th June 1998 (registration latest by Friday 12 June 1998 using the form on page 4) 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. In 1997, I had to turn away a few people who left dinner registration till too late so please register early to avoid missing your mates. In 1996 and 97, we had a good many fresh/recent graduates at the dinner and I am hoping that this trend will grow. It is a great networking opportunity for all.

This year Dr Peter Seligman (BE '68, Ph.D. '73) of Cochlear Ltd. will speak about the human and business side of the fascinating technical development of the bionic ear (cochlear implant) he has contributed to in a major way.

He follows Ian Taylor (BE '72, MEngSc '83) of CSIRO who in 1996 talked on the topic of "Mining for water in Antarctica". In 1997, Dr Alan Finkel (BE '76, Ph.D. '81) talked about running a high-tech biomedical product company simultaneously in Melbourne and California, USA.

Our successful light-hearted series "My glorious moment in engineering" to which several people contributed with short speeches of up to five minutes will continue 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 two years' stories. By the way, 'glorious' above includes inglorious, embarrassing etc. Who said they had to be true? Were all your observations in lab reports true?



We will earmark this year as the 30th, 20th and 10th anniversary dinner for the final year classes of 1968, 1978 and 1988 respectively. Please bring along and compare your lecture notes. Any similarities in these notes are purely coincidental! OK, if you want, you can start with nonlinear control lecture notes by yours truly.



SMEEA AGM (Annual General Meeting) will be held at 7.30 pm on Thursday 18 June 1998 in West Banquet Room, 1st Floor, Union Building, Monash University, Clayton Campus. Nominations for the position of the President, Secretary, Treasurer and up to six Committee Members should be sent by intending candidates themselves or by others wishing to nominate SMEEA members using the form on p.4 by 11 June 1998. If nominations are not received in advance by due date, nominations will be accepted at the AGM.



The Prize and Medal for 1997 will be awarded to John Nam Ngo (BE '92) for a thesis entitled "New optical signal processors: design and application to optical computing and optical communication systems".

John migrated to Australia from war-torn Cambodia at the age of 12. He was not able to receive a formal education until he settled in this country but he then did well enough at school to gain entry to the Monash BE, which he completed in 1991. For his final year project he worked with Lucian Gruner on microwave guided structures. He graduated with a pass degree and had to face the hurdles of acceptance as a master's candidate and then as a PhD candidate. He cleared these through the hard work of writing journal papers with his supervisor, Le Binh. He did so well that towards the end of his candidature he was awarded an APRA scholarship.

The citation will read as follows:

The Douglas Lampard Electrical Engineering Research Prize and Medal for 1997 is awarded to John Nam Ngo for his PhD thesis entitled "New optical signal processors: design and applications to optical computing and optical communication systems". The work was carried out under the supervision of Dr Le Binh.

The thesis makes a significant contribution to the field of signal processing employing lightwaves. It describes new incoherent fibre optic signal processors and new coherent integrated optic signal processors.

It is important to be able to represent complex optical circuits in graphical and systematic forms so that they can be analysed and synthesised for signal processing purposes in the optical domain. John has developed new optical network theory and applied it to (1) the design of new fibre optic systolic array processors for intensive matrix computing (2) the implementation of optical integration and differentiation devices (3) the design and implementation of all-optical generators and detectors for ultra-long ultra-high-speed telecommunications systems employing optical solitons (4) the design of optical dispersion compensation for extending fibre capabilities beyond current dispersion limits, and (5) the design of novel tunable optical filters.

In his examiner's report on the thesis Robert Minasian of Sydney University makes the following comments: "The thesis makes a significant contribution to the field of optical signal is extremely well written, and is of high quality. There is a logical progression of thought and discussion, and the clarity is exceptional. The significance of the achievements in the thesis is indicated by the fact that the material has been published extensively in leading journals."

Congratulations to John. The award will be presented at the alumni dinner and AGM scheduled for 18 June 1998.

The previous winners were Rick Alexander (1990), Wang Xinhua (1992), Tan Thiow Keng (1994), John Millott (1995) and Justin Lipton (1996). Their names are inscribed on the Honour Board in the display area at the western entrance to Building 35 on the Clayton campus. Have a look sometime!

The Prize and Medal are funded by higher degree graduates and staff of the Department. Winners receive a cheque for $1,000 and a specially struck medal engraved with their name.

If you wish to contribute to the fund please mail to me a cheque made out to Monash University. You will get a University receipt. All donations to the fund are tax deductible.

Bill Brown Tel. (03) 9905 3504 Fax (03) 9905 3454



Congratulations to Paul Richardson (Ph.D. '97) for winning the Ken Hunt (best thesis in the Fac of Eng) medal for his Ph.D. thesis `Image Interpolation, Restoration, and Vector Set Models', 1996. The thesis developed methods for restoring and interpolating images. The methods proposed used information gathered from image samples, taken from similar images, to capture the likely image content. Congratulations also to Daniel Zmood (BE `96) who won a 5-week South Korean work experience scholarship awarded by the Korean Association of Science and Technology in Australia (KASTA). Daniel is a postgrad student in the Department.

A number of alumni have been in the Department either as postgraduate students or as non-academic staff. Sonja Ahrens (BSc `91, BE `93) is the most recent arrival (from Siemens) in March '98 as the Business Manager for ANSPAG. Phil Hession (BE '78 MEngSc '82) and Dan Grimm (BE '87) are among the more senior ones.

John Badcock (Ph.D. `71) started at Monash in 1965, as one of Doug Lampard's Ph.D. students, and became a Senior Lecturer in communication systems. He returned to Monash to work in the Intelligent Robotics Research Centre, and later with the video communications group. Now he has formed a company, Persistent Vision Pty Ltd., (Tel: +613 9548 7448, Fax: +613 9548 7447, email: which offers consulting services in electronics and communication systems, machine vision, and software related to these areas. He also works part-time with the photonics research laboratory at the University of Melbourne.

Milosh Ivanovich (BE '95, MComp '96) was a finalist in the Young Achiever of Victoria competition in 1997. He was one of the youngest students at Monash, top of his class in BE and has won many awards since.

It is with great regret that we record the news of the death of Mr Tan Beng Heong, Raymond (BE 1973) who died on 28 Feb 1998 at the young age of 49. He was proud of his EE education at Monash and had fond memories of his days here. He was Operations Manager, Babcock K-W, Sdn Bhd, a British company in Malaysia. He is survived by his widow, a son and two daughters.

Departmental News

Prof. Bob Morrison arrived in Dec 97 to take up the position of Sir John Monash Chair in Electrical Power Engineering in the Department. Starting as a technician apprentice with GEC (UK) in 1967, he became a power systems engineer with them in 1973. Since 1983 he was an academic at Staffordshire University (UK) before coming to Monash. His technical interests are in the areas of industrial and utility power systems designs specialising in quality of electric power supply and the design of AC traction systems. While at GEC, he worked on railway electrification in Taiwan and Zimbabwe. For 20 years, he has investigated methods of electrification of railways in regions with few power lines so the Australian situation will be an interesting challenge. He is also the Director of Centre for Electrical Power Engineering in the Dept.

Tel: +613 9905 3502, Fax: +613 9905 5751).

Clive Berger, who joined the Department in 1972, succumbed to the temptation of early retirement but will be around the Department as Research Associate. Also recent retirees, Prof. Bill Bonwick (Ph.D. '73) and Prof. Fred Symons are now Hon. Professorial Fellows. The old academics never leave (live?) they just move to outer orbits.

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

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. Bruce Tonkin of ANSPAG has been appointed to ATUG (Australian Telecommunications Users Group) Board.

CTIE (The Centre for Telecommunications and Information Engineering) held a two day conference (27-28 Jan 98) to bring together all the work in telecommunications including multimedia. People from the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Clayton and Caulfield as well as people from various other parts of Monash talked about their work. Senior researchers from Telstra Research Labs presented their vision of development in this area. Next conference will be in early 1999.

Don Keogh spent a year in University of Essex continuing his research on the modelling of video signals. He also found time to attend some football matches and have his picture on the front page of the local newspaper. Qi Su and John Bennett are both on OSP (outside studies program) and both happen to be in or near the wine districts in France.

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 and Sweden. Sven Molin taught here, Ed Cherry taught there from September to December '97 and Kim Ng is there now.


WIE is the Women in Engineering branch of the Institution of Engineers, Australia. The group regularly plans seminars, which are designed to help women in the engineering profession. The next event, a "Financial Planning Seminar" will be held on 29th April 1998, 6:30 for 7:00pm start in the Auditorium at IEAust, 21 Bedford Street, North Melbourne.

Women in Engineering also meet regularly to catch up with friends and to build up a network of new aquaintances at Bennigans Bar and Bistro, Prahran on the first Thursday of every month.

For more information on the Women in Engineering group, please call

Sonja Ahrens (BSc `91, BE `93) on (03) 9905 5382, Joulia Dib on (03) 9529 4233 or Ilsa Kuiper on (03) 9248 3271. Email contact:


The Centre for Telecommunications and Information Engineering (CTIE) in the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering is offering short courses covering various aspects of telecommunications.

The next three-day Java course will be held on 12, 19 and 26th June 1998 and again on 4, 11 and 16th July 1998. Cost for this course is $450.

CTIE also offers two-day Javascript courses at $260. Three day ATM courses and shorter one day courses on Visual Communications, ATM signalling and ISDN are available and can be run on demand.

For general information about these courses, please call Sonja Ahrens, Business Manager, CTIE on (03)9905 5382 [Email:]. To register for Java or Javascript courses please contact Rebecca Preston on Tel: (03) 9905 1863, Fax (03) 9905 9654.





Cyril Carson who passed away on 15 March 1998, came to the Department from Weapons Research Establishment in Adelaide in 1971 was promoted and left in 1973 as an Associate Professor. His main areas of interest were in electromagnetic theory and radar. After returning to WRE he was involved with Jindalee project - over the horizon radar.

Nev Strong was the backbone of electromechanical workshop in the Department from 1967 to 1982. He helped Bill Bonwick in the construction of many novel machines and devices. He passed away in January 1998 after failing health over a number of years.

Easin Khan died tragically in December 1997 at a very young age after a short illness. He came to the Department in 1993. He was recognised as the leading researcher in power system reliability in Australia. He leaves behind a widow and two young children.


and nomination form for the election as an office bearer

Thursday 18 June 1998 West Banquet Room, 1st floor, Union Building 7.00 pm for 7.30

register latest by Friday 12 June 1998 BUT ASAP to avoid missing out


Name: _______________________________________________________________________________


No. of people attending ___________


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 (please circle your response)


Please indicate here if you need a vegetarian meal yes no (please circle your response)

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:





(Completed paper forms must reach Kishor Dabke, Dept of E&CSE, Monash University, Clayton 3168 by 11 June 1998)


I, ________________________________________________________________________________________________ being a SMEEA member would like to offer myself as a candidate for the

position of President Secretary Treasurer Committee Member (circle your choice)


I am a SMEEA member and propose __________________________________________________________________

who is a member of SMEEA for the

position of President Secretary Treasurer Committee Member (circle your choice)

I accept the nomination (cross out if nominating yourself)


_________________________________________ ___________________________________________

(Signature of the candidate) Date (Signature of the proposer, if applicable) Date


Electrical & Computer Systems | Faculty of Engineering | Monash University

Authorised by Head of Department of Electrical & Computer Systems Engineering
Last updated May 1998
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