Saturday August 18, 2012
Ministry awards research grants to Swinburne Sarawak academics
KUCHING: Two academics from Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak Campus have been awarded research grants totalling about RM160,000 by the Higher Education Ministry.
Senior lecturer Basil Wong Tung Liong from the School of Engineering, Computing and Science received a grant of RM109,000 for his fundamental study and software development for simulating heat distribution inside nanostructures with irregular shapes/boundaries project.
His colleague Associate Professor Probir Kumar Banerjee was awarded a funding of RM50,000 for a two-year research on the readiness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country for cloud computing, which is the delivery of computing and storage capacity over the Internet.
On his project, Wong said: “Understanding nanoscale thermal transport involving electrons and phonons is becoming critical as the size of transistors inside computer chips is reduced significantly owing to the ever-growing nanotechnology. As more and more nanotransistors are packed into processors and electronic boards, the amount of heat generated by these devices is tremendously high.”
As a result, he said, it was necessary to learn how heat was transferred in order to have better understanding and resolution to overcome the problem.
“The objective is to explore heat transfer between electrons and phonons at the fundamental level in nanostructures with irregular shape/boundaries,” Wong said, adding that an understanding of heat conduction was important in tackling applications in the manufacturing industry where nanostructures in devices were actively used and heat transfer was a major component of the design.
The research project will take three years to complete.
Probir said the findings from his cloud computing research project would provide useful insights for the government, technology service providers and SMEs to address an area of strategic economic interest.
“Although cloud computing is based on a pay per use basis, there are security issues that may be difficult for SMEs to evaluate and resolve. Service providers control the hardware, software and data. This may lead to a lack of control for the SMEs,” Probir said.
“While technology service providers are ready with cloud applications and hosting services, control and security issues may be difficult to address and SMEs may not be able to use this cost-effective means of computing unless they acquire the knowledge and expertise with support from the service providers.”
Since it was established about 12 years ago, Swinburne Sarawak has a good track record in research related to advanced thermal science, industrial and environmental biotechnology, industrial engineering, civil engineering and health informatics in terms of publications and grants won.
Later this year, the university will be setting up a research centre to boost research, promote research collaborations and instil best research practices.
It will also serve as a model for future research centres where expertise from its engineering, computing, science, business, design and language disciplines could be pooled to develop technologies and strategies for financially, socio-economically and environmentally sustainable development.