Being a Young Professional in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Today we had the privileged of speaking to Dusanka Boskovic to learn about one of the smaller but very active IEEE groups based in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Can you tell our readers about the IEEE Section in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

The IEEE Section in Bosnia and Herzegovina was founded in 2005, and we are now celebrating our 10th anniversary.  We are a relatively small section, with approximately 300 stable members. Although the majority of our members are members of the Computer Society and the ComSoc, we have also very active Chapters linked to the Power & Energy, the Industrial Applications, and the Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Societies. The Chapter’s activities focus around organizing technical meetings with interesting and motivating lecturers. We try to be regular in making use of the ‘Distinguished Lecturer Program’, and bringing to our members recognized experts and topics on emerging technologies.

Since our members are mainly from academia, we are engaged in technical co-sponsorship of our local conferences, with motivation to improve their quality.  We were also bringing some prominent IEEE conferences to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a region.Our Student Branches and YPAG are in addition to technical activities, engaged in organizing workshops related to soft skills, and also social events, technical excursions and competitions.

STEP Visit to PowerUtility Company

STEP Visit to PowerUtility Company

Tell us about the Young Professionals group in BiH and their activity

Young Professionals AG were the organizer of some very interesting and popular training, focusing mainly on communication skills and emotional intelligence. They are motivated in helping students to make easier careers starts and they organize students’ visits to major companies, panel discussions related to job opportunities and career development.  Such activities are performed in co-operation and conjunction with our Chapters.

What are some of the key achievements of the IEEE in BiH?

Providing a framework for motivated volunteers to work together and make better conditions for engineering professionals in our society. With the IEEE we have access to relevant publications and are in touch with distinguished professionals from all around the world. The Bosnia and Herzegovina Section was a proud host for the Region 8 Committee Meeting in Sarajevo in 2013.

We are especially proud with the achievements of our students. The IAS SBC University of Sarajevo received in 2014 IEEE Region 8 Student Chapter of the Year Award, and several awards from the IAS, most recently as 2nd Most Happening Chapter globally. The PES SBC University of Sarajevo was also declared as Outstanding Student Branch Chapter in the PES. Our programmers are regular participants of the IEEEXtreme, and for many years were positioned among the top 25 teams.

Active on campus

Active on campus

For me the most important achievement was a chance for our students to measure up with their peers and build their confidence in their knowledge and their abilities.

Our Section is continually sponsoring participation in the Region 8 and Cross-section Students and Young Professionals Congresses, where they can enjoy being a part of the large community of engineering students.

Can you tell us about any upcoming and exciting initiatives?

There are two important projects that our students and YPs are engaged with:

  • Construction of a “Solar tree” at Campus University of Sarajevo, which will be used for battery charging, and also for analysis of the solar energy potentials.
Solar Tree project at University of Sarajevo

Solar Tree project at University of Sarajevo

  • Smart home project, recently launched, for which our SB was awarded funding from the IEEE and our Federal Ministry of Science and Education.

We plan for several PA trainings for YP members related to project management and writing project proposals.

BiH went through a terrible war in the early to mid 1990’s which left the country devastated.  Can you tell us a little about how an organization such as the IEEE can help rebuild relationships amongst ethnic groups and provide a platform for the betterment of youth?

The role of an organization such as the IEEE is very important to help us recognize our abilities, capacity for development and building connections with our peers worldwide. This is especially significant for our students and young professionals to have possibility to build their skills and competences.   The difficulties that these young people are facing during their education and in their careers are linked to devastation of industry and economy, lack of the resources,  and these difficulties are the same, all around Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Young Professionals and Students Celebrate IEEE day in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Young Professionals and Students Celebrate IEEE day in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

With activities in our Section we try to facilitate our members in joint actions to bridge these gaps and overcome these difficulties. It is very important when these efforts are recognized and awarded, especially by Societies through their Chapters, as focal points of technical activities.

Anything else you would like to add?

We are very proud of achievements of our students and young professional members, but there are so many projects and ideas ahead of us. We would like with these activities to attract our young professionals to stay with us, with the IEEE , and to be able to offer to them support through the different stages of their career.

About Dusanka

Dušanka Bošković completed her tertiary education at the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she is currently an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. Before joining the University, Dušanka was working on software development for embedded systems for Energoinvest – Institute for Computer and Information Systems (IRIS).  Currently, she is teaching human computer interaction and biomedical engineering, and was the founding President for the Bosnia and Herzegovina National Association for Biomedical Engineering. In addition to teaching and research, Dušanka has been engaged in several projects promoting accreditation activities to improve quality of engineering education in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Dusanka Boskovic at CERN

Dusanka Boskovic at CERN

Central Europe in focus at CEuSYP

Continuing the tradition of Central European cross-section congresses, after Linz in 2011 and Opole in 2013, this time Central European Student and Young Professionals Congress (CEuSYP) was held in Croatia, from May 8 to 10, 2015, at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, Zagreb. This Congress edition was attended by 80 participants – student members and Young Professionals, as well as speakers, sections’ and Region 8 representatives from twelve IEEE Sections including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine.

One of the main goals of the Congress was to bring students and young professionals together, increase the interest of students to remain volunteers after graduation and participate in the activities of their local Young Professional affinity groups. Special focus was also the transfer of knowledge to new volunteers, as well as recently established or reactivated student branches and Young Professionals affinity groups. However, what these congresses are really imbued with is the enormous amount of motivating energy sprouting from each young engineer and volunteer that reminds us of what keeps the world spinning. The greatest examples carried and spread this vigour all the way to the senior membership.

Congress Atmosphere

After the organizers welcoming speech, the opening of Congress was initiated by Mislav Grgic, the Dean of the Faculty and IEEE Croatia Section Chair and our special guests followed with their presentations: Margaretha Eriksson, Region 8 Director-Elect, and Christian Schmid, Region 8 Secretary, emphasising the importance of student and Young Professionals volunteers in the future of IEEE. The Congress program was filled with plenary sessions related to Young Professionals, Student, Technical, Professional and Educational activities, aiming to inform the participants about the breaking initiatives and programs. Interaction and teamwork were the centre of technical, volunteer and soft skills improving workshops. Participating student branches and affinity groups shared their significant and unique stories and exchanged ideas of activities or upcoming events and gave insights in new trends in science and technology.

After all, events like these are a great place to learn everything you ever wanted to know about IEEE, other student branches and young professional affinity groups, to make new international contacts and friendships, and to do it in the most fun and catchy way. Organisationally, it was a great intersection of our young professionals and students in the most collaborative, productive, interesting and joyful way.

CEuSYP 2015 Participants

More information about the CEuSYP can be found at: www.ceusyp2015.org and

https://www.facebook.com/pages/IEEE-CESYP-Congress-2015/836051769789015?fref=ts

Article contributed by Vinko Lešić, Croatia Section Young Professionals Chair and Ivana Stupar, Croatia Section Student Activities Chair

Article edited by Michael Gough, Assistant Editor, IEEE IMPACT

Young Professionals, Microwaves and a Regional Gathering

The third edition of the prestigious IEEE Region 10 Student/ Young Professionals/ Women in Engineering Congress 2015 was held Colombo, Sri Lanka from 9th July to 12th July, 2015. The congress began on a high note with the first ever IEEE Cricket league played between different sections. This fostered a sense of healthy competitive spirit among all the delegates of the Asia Pacific region. This was followed by an ice breaking session where people from different sections mingled and got a chance to know each other. On the night of Day 1, the congress was officially declared open by Dr. Ramakrishna Kappagantu, Director, IEEE Region 10 who warmly welcomed all the guests and delegates.

aaaaaaaaaaaa

The Microwave Theory and Techniques society hosted a special session on students and young professionals engagement in the society. Tushar Sharma, Member, image and Visibility committee spoke at length about the initiatives of the MTT society and how beneficial it is. He shared the core vision of the society which is to foster the advancement and application of RF and microwave theory and techniques. MTTS involves all the three type of member’s i.e. student members by encouraging them to set up student branch chapters, young professional’s engagement through conferences and workshops, and women in microwave by taking initiatives to involve them in the fields of RF and microwave.

aaaaaaaa

The society plans launching Young Professionals in Microwave plan with focus of recruiting volunteers and industry professionals from different parts of the world. This point struck a personal chord with the audience as each one of them could find some benefit in joining MTTS. He talked about the student activities conducted by MTTS, some of them being: Summer grants program, Undergraduate and graduate scholarships, Distinguish Microwave Lecture Program, Education Activities and Conferences and workshop. He also spoke about the various volunteering opportunities through which one can create an impact on the society. He shared success stories how locally some chapters were able to have an phenomenal impact through  IEEE MTTS-NASA and Stanford collaboration for research programmes as well as the IEEE- MTTS STAR(Students Teachers and Researchers) program. He also talked about the numerous funding opportunities available in MTTS be it in the form of Undergraduate/PHD scholarships or 1000$ that MTTS gives every year for Chapter activity support. Tushar Sharma explained the audience as to how to use MTTS efficiently for technical projects, industrial visits, microwave symposiums, and forming Special Interest Groups. The deadline for undergraduate and graduate scholarships for upcoming year is October 15, 2015 and can be found at http://www.mtt.org/students.html.

a

This was followed by a small talk on IEEE MTTS SIGHT and its initiatives. Tushar spoke about the upcoming SIGHT panel sessions, design competitions, and amateur radio classes to be hosted in International Microwave and RF conference (IMARC 2015) in Hyderabad which will be held on 10th December, 2015.  The objective of this event is to motivate high school students, young engineers, professionals to apply low cost innovative microwave technology for disaster readiness and humanitarian needs. IEEE MTT-S SIGHT has also started the concept of Makaton’s:- The technical Marathon where the teams have to identify problems faced at the local level and to “make something” to solve that problem.

aaaa

The IEEE MTT society stall also saw a lot of crowd with many interested students coming forth and talking about their problems with Mr. Tushar Sharma. This Congress proved to be the perfect platform for MTTS to increase their visibility and enlighten the delegates about its resourcefulness. On the last night of the congress, a cultural night was organized so that delegates could have a better understanding of each other’s culture and admire how big and diverse our world is. Each section put up a cultural performance as well as a stall with various souvenirs from their sections. The prize distribution ceremony took place on the last day of the congress. Feedback was also taken by the organizers so that the organizing committee of the next Congress could take note of these points and organize the Congress on an even better and bigger scale. The congress ended with one last group photograph and a lifetime of memories, collaborations and friendship.

How to Organise a Student and Young Professional Congress

Today’s article comes to us from Region 8 and focuses on the organisation of student/young professional congresses. This thorough manual was put together by the wonderful volunteers of this region.

68747470733a2f2f7261772e6769746875622e636f6d2f73746576656e323335382f766563746f726c6f676f732f6d61737465722f6c6f676f732f696565655f726567696f6e385f6c6f676f5f6c696768742e706e67

The Student and Young Professional Congress (SYP Congress) is an event that takes place every two years in Region 8. It gathers both student and young professional members from all Sections in the Region and it provides an opportunity to network and get to know over four hundred people from all over the world. During the Congress, a wide variety of workshops and lectures are organized, dealing with interesting topics in diverse technical fields and also related to soft skills. Organizing such an event provides the opportunity to gain many different skills, from teamwork to fundraising, as well as it increases the profile of the student branch at region level. In general terms, it will improve the organizers’ CV. One very important fact to be taken into account is that this congress is not a regular conference or business oriented event. It must be volunteering, where organizers are motivated by enjoying the experience of engaging with the larger IEEE community and providing IEEE members an exceptional event. Since it is volunteer based, things like subcontracting more services than the minimum needed or having a surplus in the final budget must be strongly avoided. This event takes place in only one student branch at a time, and it involves a lot of work for more than a year… but in the end the congress is an excellent experience that is completely worth it in terms of new friends and many awesome experiences, in both professional and personal scopes. Also, it gives the chance to strengthen the collaboration with the Young Professional Affinity Group. This document intends to be a guide for those who are thinking to apply to organize this Congress, and it will try to help in the organization process, from the very beginning to the very end. There are also many Cross-sectional Congresses that usually take place the year in between two Region congresses, and most of this document is also valid in the organization of those.

  1. Motivation to organize a SYP Congress
  2. Preparing the application
  3. Organizing the congress
  4. During the congress
  5. After the congress

The full manual can be downloaded using the download image below

downloadtoday

Tech Update: Bacteria eating and breathing electricity

How do we use bacteria that can eat and breathe electricity using renewable resources to produce something we can use? This could potentially be very powerful here in Australia as we have abundance of land, sun and wind but in areas that aren’t populated” says Dr Ashley Franks.

microDr. Ashley Franks is a researcher at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) use bacteria to convert organic waste material into electrical energy. This environmentally-friendly process produces electricity without the combustion of fossil fuels. MFCs have various practical applications such as in breweries, domestic wastewater treatment, desalination plants, hydrogen production, remote sensing, and pollution remediation, and they can be used as a remote power source. Widespread use of MFCs in these areas can take our waste products and transform them into energy.

Today I am going to tell you about my big fat idea and I’ll be talking to you about bacteria that can eat and breathe electricity. When we talk about electricity with bacteria what we’re actually talking about is the way they can gain energy. And while the idea might seem sort of quite interesting and unusual it all goes back to the way that all living organisms can gain energy. When we gain energy, we have a nice meat pie, have some tomato sauce, we actually eat this, it’s organic food, but what we do is we breathe oxygen so we take in our organics, it has energy, we transfer energy to oxygen and form carbon dioxide. Without the oxygen we don’t really do very well, we end up dying and we call this respiration. But there’s lots of bacteria all around our world that can actually keep on surviving and respiring without oxygen. So what these bacteria are able to do is use what we call alternate electronic acceptors. Oxygen for us accepts our electrons, these bacteria can use different things.

One of the interesting bacterias that my lab is interested in is ones … is bacteria that can actually breathe metals. So this is a lump of iron oxide, solid bit of rust. It is metal but the bacteria you see sitting on the surface in green are actually breathing the metal. So they’re eating the organics, eating their pie but they’re able to breathe the metal. The difference here is that the metal is a big lump of something outside itself. So to breathe you’d have to go up and touch it, it can’t breathe in oxygen like we do, it has to go and touch the actual lump of metal and give up electricity this way. So the reason why this is interesting to us is because you can actually gather that electricity the bacteria is breathing if you give it an electrode. If you put an electrode into this system this bacteria then will breathe the electrons onto the electrode and you can gather this as an electrical current.

Ashley Franks' eyes light up – a current flows from pond muck

Ashley Franks’ eyes light up – a current flows from pond muck

So the interesting thing here is not only meat pies but all different types of organics from around the world these bacteria can actually use. And it’s actually very beneficial because once you put it into a system like a system what we call here is a microbial fuel cell, this can actually operate like a battery. So bacteria, eating, breathing, they’re electricity, we can actually put into a system and it works together to actually form a small amount of electricity. And these bacteria you can find anywhere in the world. Usually they’re under the ground where there’s no oxygen, there’s lots of them and they use lots of different organics which they can break down and provide us with electricity. People quite often think that this is really exciting ‘cause now we can actually save our electricity problems around the world ‘cause we can just get bacteria to eat our garbage and produce it. But our problem is is that bacteria are only small and they only make a small amount of electricity. So the current and voltage output that they do is quite small but it can still have some very, very beneficial processes.

The US Navy uses these under … in the soil in the actual ocean bottom and having one that’s about 1m3 of these sort of electrodes, these have a big one, is they’re about the same as 30 diesel batteries per year. While it’s not very much electricity in power what this allows you to do is actually leave a device somewhere while the bacteria are happily eating and they keep on eating for a long, long, long time, you never have to go back and change batteries. So if you wanted to actually put sensors in a rainforest, if you wanted to put sensors in a river, if you wanted to power a small device somewhere you could put this into the actual mud and the bacteria will quite happily breathe their electricity onto your electrode and power your small device. And for us in our research lab one of our most interesting points that we like to look at is these bacteria that are breathing the electrode. So these bacteria get a wide different mix, these are just some pictures of some different types but what the bacteria do is they actually go up to this electrode, they touch the electrode and able to breathe it. So this would be like if you and me were able to hold hands across a room with no oxygen and someone can touch a wall and we all can breathe together. And the bacteria are able to do this because they produce this specialised pillon and cytochromes.

chambered BMFC being deployed in Yaquina Bay Oregon in August 2011.  The chamber is pushed into the sediment and in this semi-enclosed state, the inside volume goes anaerobic. Carbon brushes positioned inside the chamber serve as the BMFC anode. Another circular carbon brush, tied to the rope harness above the chamber, serves as the cathode.  The BMFC is wired to a power management system inside the black acoustic modem that floats above the BMFC. Power from the BMFC maintains the modem and a chemical sensor (optode) interfaced with the modem. BMFCs of this design typically produce ~10 mW continuously.  This can sustain longterm sensor measurements in the ocean and can power periodic data transmissions from the acoustic modem.  We think this technology is ideal for extending sensor networks throughout the deep ocean becuase it eliminates the need for replacing instrument batteries.  Image: Oregon State University

Chambered BMFC being deployed in Yaquina Bay Oregon in August 2011. The chamber is pushed into the sediment and in this semi-enclosed state, the inside volume goes anaerobic. Carbon brushes positioned inside the chamber serve as the BMFC anode. Another circular carbon brush, tied to the rope harness above the chamber, serves as the cathode. The BMFC is wired to a power management system inside the black acoustic modem that floats above the BMFC. Power from the BMFC maintains the modem and a chemical sensor (optode) interfaced with the modem.
BMFCs of this design typically produce ~10 mW continuously. This can sustain longterm sensor measurements in the ocean and can power periodic data transmissions from the acoustic modem. We think this technology is ideal for extending sensor networks throughout the deep ocean becuase it eliminates the need for replacing instrument batteries. Image: Oregon State University

So these are like little appendages that come out from the bacteria. They have these proteins called cytochromes that can transfer electrons and they’re able to pass electrons from inside themselves to outside themselves. So these bacteria are now becoming like a material, a biological material that can actually transfer electrons over a long distance, a relative long distance. It’s only 60 micrometres which is very small but for bacteria that’s 60 bacteria. So if 60 of us could actually stand together and hold hands it would be actually like that, transferring the electrons all that way. And this is interesting especially when you’re moving into the field of bioelectronics ‘cause these bacteria can grow an electrical biofilm that can transfer electrons better than biopolymers that people are trying to produce artificially now.

But the other aspects where this is actually quite interesting is that the bacteria themselves can be used in areas such as oil spills where the problem is is you run out of oxygen. An example that people have quite often heard of is the Deep Well Horizon spill. It was in the ocean, it was underwater but oil is organics, bacteria can eat organics but the bacteria themselves out all the oxygen in that environment and they ran out of things to breathe. But knowing about these bacteria that can breathe an electrode, if we put an electrode into that actual environment we give them something more that they can breathe, they can keep on eating this oil and they can keep on breathing and we can get rid of this a lot faster. And these electrodes are just carbon, are just like a HB pencil, that’s all they are. So you put that in, the bacteria can breathe the electricity. You might have a red flashing light but you might not care about the electricity anymore ‘cause you can get rid of the oil spill.

Operational on the ocean floor

Operational on the ocean floor

And another area that people are quite … don’t think about very often ‘cause when you flush your toilet you don’t want to, is wastewater treatment. So wastewater treatment when we do this now we use a lot of oxygen so this requires big tanks, you need to stir that tank, you need to pump oxygen through so the bacteria can eat all that organic waste, get rid of it so we don’t contaminate our rivers. But with these electric bacteria we don’t need that stirring, we don’t need that pumping and that’s just a huge saving in electrical power. So in some places like the US alone 7% of their electricity goes to treating wastewater so if you used electric bacteria instead you don’t really care about making energy but you’re saving a lot of energy.

But what I’d mentioned earlier on before is that we at the moment, this is bacteria eating … oh sorry, this is bacteria breathing electricity but now what I’ll mention is that bacteria can also eat electricity. Because what I was saying is that from the meat pie which is energy that went out to the electrode, this is a transfer of electricity or transfer of energy. But there are some bacteria we have found in the environment as well that can actually take that energy from the electrode in the form of electrons and what they can do is use that as their food source and their power source to do a whole bunch of processes. A lot of people think this sounds really quite strange, a bit like The Matrix but what you probably most commonly know this as is photosynthesis. So a plant gets sunlight in its chlorophyll and produces electrons that power fixing carbon dioxide and make us our organics. But we have found is that these bacteria, they don’t have photosynthesis but they can take electrons from an electrode so rather than needing sunlight now what we can do is actually feed them electricity and get them to produce some type of biological or organic material. And as I mentioned before something like petroleum is an organic material.

Treating sewage

Treating sewage

So these bacteria, we can feed electricity which we can produce from renewable resources and get them to produce something that we can use. And this is very important in somewhere like Australia because we have lots of places where we can have a lot of wind or we have wonderful amounts of sun but our problem is is that these areas are too far from our population, from Melbourne or Sydney or anywhere where people live to get high power electricity lines. So we can’t transfer electricity over long distances. But what we could do is we could make electricity here with solar panels, feed that to bacteria who could convert it into something like butanol  and have that transferred to Melbourne where we can use it as we need. And the big advantage here as well is that we’re not taking away from somebody’s food supply so the land is not being used for food but it’s got a lot of sunlight, we can catch that and we can feed it to bacteria and have something useful. So this is a new type of biofuel and the organics in that biofuel all come from carbon dioxide, so for greenhouse gases that becomes neutral and all we need to do is feed these bacteria electricity.

But one of the things that perplexed us to begin with was that you have bacteria that can breathe electricity and bacteria that can eat electricity and if you think about in the environment there’s not many places where you’re actually having electricity being produced all the time. But the cue there that we found that was interesting is that well you’ve got one that breathes and then one that eats and if you look at these bacteria together that’s quite often you’ll find them together. So they form what we call these syntrophic relationships where they’ll work together to actually carry out some type of process and normally it is somewhere where there’s no other electronic acceptor so there’s no iron, there’s no oxygen, you’ll have two bacteria that will work together and one will breathe electricity and the other one will eat the electricity that’s coming out of it so they get this little syntrophic relationship. What the problem that is quite with this is that the by-product at the very end is methane. So this methane is a great house gas, it’s not very good for the environment but there’s a lot of bacteria in the environment which are actually able to operate together, feed each other electricity to get their food and produce methane.

So it’s interesting ‘cause our research, we’re able to show that in these environments this is actually was what happening. So this is where these bacteria that we actually found to do these amazing things have evolved over millions of years and they’ve already set up their own electrical networks, they’ve already been working together through electricity to interact. And you might be thinking well this is quite interesting but what does it mean to us in the big run? And the thing is if we understand this process then we know how to sort of try and drive these microbes to do things differently because in Victoria one of our big methane producers is dairy cattle. Everybody likes milk, everybody likes cheese but these cattle have bacteria in their stomach that produce most of the methane that they’re able to burp out and gives us a lot of methane problems. But looking at the bacterial communities in the cow what we find is that some of them are these bacteria that are feeding each other electricity. And because they’re actually feeding each other electricity they produce a lot of the methane. So if we know how to give the cow the right type of food so you select not the electric bacteria but if you give them some vitamin supplements to select other bacteria you won’t get this interaction through electricity, you won’t get your methane and we won’t get our greenhouse gases.

And further to that if you actually want more methane then what you can do is actually promote the bacteria because there’s a lot of industrial processes to get rid of waste that convert it in these big vats using bacteria to produce methane. So if you have a lot of organics, if you have some type of food processing plant, if you have something that has a lot of waste, that waste you don’t want to put into our riverstream ‘cause you’re going to harm the environment, what you can do is actually promote these bacteria, get their electrical connections better and they’ll actually improve at getting rid of your waste, giving you methane which you can use as an energy source.

So in summary what we’re able to do with our lab is … in my lab … is able to take bacteria that can breathe metals and end up with ways to stop cows from actually giving out methane.

This interview has transcribed directly from a podcast thanks to La Trobe University and the IEEE Student Branch. The article has been edited by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief.

The Nepal Earthquakes: Engineering, Volunteering and Technology

It’s 11:56am on Saturday 25th April 2015, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal from within and brought the landmark Dharahara Tower to rubble within seconds. So many of us, oblivious to the aftermath of such a powerful earthquake went about our daily lives, giving no thought to one of nature’s most disastrous events, killing more than 8,800 people, injuring another 23,000 and resulting in hundreds of thousands homeless. With this article, we intend to bring your attention to Nepal and the measures taken and those currently underway to comfort, relieve and reassure all those who were affected.

Nepal lies completely within the collision zone of the Himalayan arc which is formed as a result of collision between the Indian Subcontinent and Eurasia tectonic plates. This makes it an earthquake prone region and statistics have shown that on average Nepal will be subject to a major earthquake every 70 to 80 years. Experts say that the 1934 Earthquake is connected to the 2015 Earthquake following a historic earthquake pattern. In 2015 alone, 147 earthquakes of magnitude greater than 1.5 rocked Nepal of which the most disastrous was the one that took place on 25 April 2015. The Gorkha Earthquake, as it is now commonly referred to, had an intensity classified IX – Violent with the epicentre east of Lamjung and the depth of hypocentre being approximately 15km.

In a desperate attempt to help, many Chinese companies extended a helping hand. Chen Tiegang, Director of the Nepal Branch of Shanghai Construction Group lent the company’s premises to people who had lost their homes and loved ones. Three on-site engineers joined rescue efforts by using the company’s crane, forklift truck and excavator to rescue people buried in the rubble. The company became an instant de facto relief shelter providing food, tents and variety of other supplies. Within 48 hours, 650 pounds of rice and 550 pounds of flour was delivered to those affected. Where one would have thought that the usage of construction technology could be only limited to its building functions, its use in relief operations in Nepal resulted in saving thousands of lives.

ZTE Corporation, a global leader of telecommunications equipment and network solutions has operations in 160 countries around the world. The CEO and CTO of South Asia Business Development Office, Mr. Xu and Mr. Zong respectively, de-toured a business trip and assisted with the purchase and transfer of 10 tents and 50 kilograms of food to Nepal. ZTE devised an emergency logistics team which distributed supplies and assembled petrol for electrical purposes. ZTE also set up a special task force of 60 engineers to provide 24-hours on-the-ground emergency support to maintain telecommunication services throughout Nepal. Telecommunication services are of utmost importance in the event of natural disasters to enable the smooth working of relief operations.

ZTE Logistics and 24-hours On-the-site Emergency team of Engineers and ZTE Relief Supplies

The taskforce repaired and restored 400 ZTE Mobile Base Stations that were damaged in the aftermath of the Gorkha Earthquake. In order to adequately assess the magnitude of the asset damage, the team prepared a database of the base stations in the surrounding areas. Each base station was assessed and reviewed before the findings were input into the running spreadsheet.  This enabled the repair works to be methodical and efficient in this time of need.

NASA’s novel technology called FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response) was also used for the very first time in a real-time scenario to aid relief operations in Nepal. The FINDER, powered by a Lithium battery can detect subtle movements like the movement of skin due a heartbeat by emitting low power microwaves. The waves can penetrate up to 9m into mould rubble and 6m into concrete, thereby being extremely useful in the locating of four men trapped under 10m of rubble from two separate buildings in Nepal.

pic4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASA’s FINDER Technology used in Nepal for Rescue Operations

Google and Facebook did not hesitate to lend a helping hand with their online web based tools, ‘Person Finder’ and ‘Safety Check’. Person Finder is Google’s missing person’s tracker which activated when Gorkha hit Nepal. Information can be submitted about people in the earthquake zone indicating their safety status. This creates the database from which people all around the world can then look for missing persons or find out the safety of a friend or family member.

pic5

Google’s Person Finder feature activated to aid in finding missing persons following the Gorkha Earthquake

Facebook’s Safety Check feature asks its users to let their network know if they are safe. When Facebook turned on this feature, it determined the users who were in the disaster area from inputted profile and personal information. People outside the disaster area could check whether their friends and family members were safe depending on their safety status.pic6

Facebook’s Safety Check Feature activated during Gorkha Earthquake to aid Rescue Operations

IEEE’s Kerala Section in India assisted with the earthquake recovery efforts by sending 100 solar lanterns to provide immediate support. Mr Jayakrishnan MC and Mr Amarnath Raja visited Nepal immediately after the earthquake to assist the IEEE Nepal subsection with the rehabilitation efforts. Volunteers in IEEE Nepal Sub Section partnered with Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Ltd, Global Himalayan Expedition and IEEE Smart Village. IEEE Smart Village worked with local IEEE volunteers and documented the necessities needed to re-build Nepal towards prosperity.pic7

100 Solar Lanterns donated by IEEE Kerala Section for immediate relief in Nepal

It is the human tendency or being human as we call it, that when we are threatened as a species, we fight back and we fight to win. That is why we have influentially shaped this planet for over 200,000 years and it is this that unites us in times of distress. Gorkha in Nepal was no different and we were attacked and we mourned the losses of loved ones. However, we got back up and united we stood strong to build our lives yet again.

May all the good forces be with you Nepal!

The IEEE Young Professionals team would like to thank Bimlesh Ranjitkar and Abhimanyu Pandey for their contributions to this article.

The article has been edited by Michael Gough and Sneha Kangralkar, Assistant Editors

Entrepreneurship: Startup Weekend in Chennai

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur? The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014. Today we speak to Mr. Nivas Ravichandran, an IEEE volunteer at heart of this program.

Big Picture

Nivas, tell us a little about yourself and your IEEE involvement.

I am Nivas Ravichandran and I work as a Growth Specialist at a startup called Frilp. I have been an IEEE Volunteer for the past 6 years and have organized more than 150+ events under IEEE. I belong to IEEE Madras Section and I volunteer with IEEE Region 10 as a member of the Electronics Communication and Information Management (ECIM) committee. I am also a part of the IEEE India Strategic Initiative in the Entrepreneurship Wing to foster Entrepreneurship amongst IEEE members across India. I am very passionate towards IEEE and love to give back to the society. A Social Media savvy person too.

Mr. Nivas Ravichandran

Mr. Nivas Ravichandran, IEEE Young Professional driving Entrepreneurship

What is Startup Weekend Chennai, how did it come about and what role does an IEEE volunteer such as you play in this?

Startup Weekend is a three day event during which groups of developers, business folks, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists, aspiring entrepreneurs and many others pitch ideas for new products, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by the evening of the third day. Startup Weekend Chennai was started in 2014 and this is the 4th Edition with a specific focus theme on Finance Technology. Finance Technology encompasses organizations and applications that provide financial services through the engagement of technology. During the three days, ideas were validated, user research was conducted and a minimum viable product was built over a period of 54 hours.  I was an organizer of the Startup Weekend Chennai and IEEE Madras Section Young Professionals also partnered with Startup Weekend Chennai to help reach out to Students and Young Professionals across cities. IEEE members were provided an exclusive discount to be a part of the event.

Demo Pitch 1

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

Who are the participants of the startup weekend? 

The participants comprised predominantly of three categories – Hustlers (Business folks), Hackers and Designers. There were 110 participants from industry and academia from various parts of India in the age group of 17 – 55. It must be said that a majority of them were in their the early 20s. In total we had 36 Pitches and 15 Teams formed during the FinTech Edition.

Who are the mentors and coaches in the program? Can you highlight a few of the key personnel?

The program had 7 mentors, 2 speakers and 5 judges for the event. The mentors included Ashwini Asokan (CEO, Mad Street Den – An Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision based Startup), Deepak Natarajan (AVP Growth, Freecharge – An Online Recharge Application), Vijay Babu (Founder – India Operations, Altiscale), Krish Subramanian (Co-Founder & CEO, Chargebee Subscription Billing), Alladi Ram, CR Venkatesh & Ramanathan RV. As it is a Hackathon format of an event, there were not many speaker sessions. We hosted 2 lightning talks from Harshal Deo (VP Data Technology – Paypal) and Anupam Pahuja (GM APAC Technology Paypal). The judges comprised of senior folk in the FinTech space from Chennai and a few Angel Investors.

Interaction and Mentoring

Interaction and Mentoring

Can you tell us about some of most impressive ideas you have had a chance to hear about this weekend? 

There were 36 ideas pitched out of which 15 were short listed based on voting by the participants. A few of the interesting ideas were

  • PaysnapA system that optimizes your online transactions while maximizing returns
  • Loan SenseHelps monitor your loans against new loan schemes in financial market
  • SmartpayAn app that enables local merchant who do micro transactions to accept digital payments
  • PrepayRA platform to help SMEs sell their Account Receivables to Banks and increase profits.

Demo Pitch 2

The IEEE Young Professionals group has started to focus on Entrepreneurship as one of its key projects. In your view how can the IEEE Young Professionals help IEEE members with entrepreneurship?

I believe it is the right time for IEEE Young Professionals to start focusing on Entrepreneurship. IEEE YP could play a very crucial role in encouraging IEEE Student and other members to pursue Entrepreneurship. We could organize Section Level or Country Level meet-ups, talks and Hackathons for members to come up with ideas, interact and find the right talent to form teams. If we start setting the stage for young professionals to meet and share ideas in the right platforms we could automatically foster Entrepreneurship among the members. In India (Under the IEEE India Strategic Initiative), we are also working on an Entrepreneurship Development Program, which prepares IEEE Student and Young Professional Members across multiple cities. We recently piloted the program in one of the cities and had an amazing response and reach. In a few months, we are expected to launch the same program across multiple cities in India.

Ideation and Validation

Ideation and Validation

The IEEE GOLDRush team thanks Nivas Ravichandran for his contribution to today’s article which should serve as an inspiration to all IEEE members. We look forward to hearing more about the great ideas and initiatives as a result of the startup weekend.

Interview conducted by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief, GOLDRush

Who am I? Qualcomm, Motorola, IEEE and San Diego

Today we have the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Xun Luo, a research staff member at Qualcomm Inc, an adjunct faculty member at the University of California, San Diego, and a distinguished guest professor at Tianjin University of Technology, China.

Dr. Luo is also a Program Evaluator for the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. In 2014, Dr. Luo co-founded the IEEE San Diego SIGHT group – Connected Universal Experiences Labs, which dedicates itself to breaking the geographical, cultural and lingual barriers between volunteers and people in need. Connected Universal Experience Labs has now evolved into a multi-national, multi-society incubator of for-public benefit projects.

Dr Luo with some of his students

Dr Luo with some of his students

Dr Luo can briefly tell us a little about yourself and the work that you do at Qualcomm.

Well, I grew up in China and I came to the US for my graduate studies. I got my Masters in Mathematics, out of my hobby, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I got fond of Commodity Pricing. While my PhD research was in very topical fields of Pervasive Computing and Visualization. I worked with a professor of finance for a year and published a report on crude oil price prediction and I am still receiving hundreds of requests these days for the model source code. After graduation, I was lucky enough to get into the mobile communication industry, first at Motorola Labs and then at Qualcomm. I worked at the research institutes of these two companies.

At Qualcomm I conduct connectivity research, which spans from radio networks to local area networks.In layman terms, you can say 3G/4G, WiFi and Bluetooth technology. In the past few years, I was have been researching these technologies and I have several numerous research papers and  8 patents.

In my part time, I serve as an adjunct faculty member at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and a distinguished guest professor at Tianjin University of Technology, China.

How did you get involved with IEEE?

That is a very interesting story. San Diego has a very vibrant IEEE community and every year they hold about 50-60 technical meetings. Many attendees are attracted by the interesting topics of these meetings. Back in 2008, I had just started my career and all the topics seemed very exciting to me and they were delivered by volunteers who were experts in their field. For example, one of the local meeting was able to invite Dr. Irwin Jacobs, Qualcomm’s founder as a panellist. This clearly says a lot for the San Diego IEEE community. I was impressed by the dedication and passion of the local IEEE volunteers and eventually I decided to join. I started as the chair of Computer Chapter and ran approximately 40 meetings a year. I became the section chair In 2012 and had the honour of leading the IEEE San Diego Section to win the “Outstanding Section Award of Region 6”.

“The IEEE volunteering experience is very rewarding. I have had the pleasure of working with passionate and bright people, grew my leadership capabilities and was able to to embrace multi-national team work.” 

 

Dr Luo receiving the award for Outstanding Section in 2011

Dr Luo receiving the award for Outstanding Section in 2011

How have you personally benefited from being an IEEE member?

IEEE has helped me in so many ways that it is hard to summarise in short. However the three key area that I would like to highlight are:

  • Technical: Contributions in the form of the IEEE Digital Library proceedings, literature and talks delivered by the individuals/teams who are leading the industry.
  • Leadership: Through volunteering, I was able to developed great organisational skills and to work as a team in order to achieve bigger goals. Several initiatives today are going to impact tens of thousands of IEEE members’ lives; for instance, the IEEE SIGHT initiative.
  • Friendship: I made friends and visited some of the most unexpected places in the world. I have been to several Indian cities and rebellion-controlled areas of Colombia to name a few. What is most exciting is that no matter what people’s political views may be, all engineers love technology and the idea of exchanging information with their peers takes precedence. I have undertaken adventures with friends to some very intriguing parts of our planet and hope to continue doing so.

What advice can you provide to IEEE Young Professionals who are wanting to pursue in highly prestigious companies, like Qualcomm?

First of all, IEEE is a technical institution, not a university; it provides great networking opportunities. My suggestion is make good use of the IEEE network and try to get in touch with professional members in various disciplines. The second thing is grow your leadership capabilities. We live in an age of innovation, more or less of entrepreneurship. Even if you work at a company, you are still required to have the capability and mindset to start a job from scratch. So, innovation, leadership and technical capability are some things that you definitely need to further develop while you study.

qualcomm-office

Another important point is that you need to ensure that you work with the most passionate and bright people. I would say that the IEEE is a vehicle to enable this for young professionals. Ensure that you work in teams and feed of each others knowledge. This team will help you in achieving many things. Firstly, it will help you to establish yourself technically. Secondly, it will provide the network for you to get noticed. You could be a great engineer but not noticed, you could be noticed but are not a good engineer. You need to have talent and you need someone to discover your talent. So, you need to prepare yourself for this and you need to work with people because at the end of the day, you need to do something big, something innovative, something that is by itself of high quality, that is self-contained, where you can prove yourself. Without a team, that is not possible. So, connect with people and make the best use of your connections.

Interview conducted by Neha Dawar, Assistant Editor, GOLDRush

Article edited by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief, GOLDRush

Uganda: Community Projects for Economic Growth

Today we are highlighting some very exciting Young Professional activity in Uganda with Mr. Ezabo Baron who has been driving the Engineering Projects in Community Service program (EPICS).

images

Can you please briefly describe the IEEE community in Uganda?

The IEEE Uganda Subsection was formed in 2013. In the last 2 years the section has worked closely with the IEEE Kenya Section. As engineers we had to realize that we have big roles to play in our community development. We needed to get our people involved as a way of addressing the needs of the society.  There was also a need for us to unite our engineers and to take part in standards development for our country’s engineering products.

We have over 40 active members abd are continuously working to recruit more. Our members meet at the beginning of each year to set activity strategies. We are actively engaging them in the Teacher In-Service Program (TISP) and Engineering Projects in Community Service program (EPICS). Some of our student members have participated in the Mobile Application Development Contests (MadC). A large portion of our effort is in raising IEEE awareness in universities, government bodies, schools and industry.

The IEEE culture in Uganda is alive. From our observations, a vast proportion of the professional community is aware of the IEEE and our subsection has been able to  help them learn more about its benefits and how working with the IEEE can be beneficial. We are yet to form student branches, the effort is to recruit more students in major academic institutions and help them establish their own branches. This is amongst the top priorities.

IEEE Members at the TISP Training, Nairobi 2014

IEEE Members at the TISP Training, Nairobi 2014

Tell us about your personal IEEE journey and what has been your major achievements to date

I got to know about the IEEE in 2008 through a friend who gave me one of the magazines to read. I was fascinated by the diversity within IEEE. Upon joining the IEEE, I was elected as publicity secretary for the Uganda Subsection. Recently, the IEEE Ad Hoc Committee for Activities in Africa appointed me to serve as the Community Moderator for IEEE Collabratec Kampala Uganda Community. I publicize IEEE activities in Uganda, mobilize members for meetings and events. I am also active in the creation of promotional materials for our local subsection. I have participated numerous times in IEEE trainings in East Africa and am one of the Subsection TISP Champions currently working with members in Uganda to develop a web-based solution for technology innovation management. This has been possible with generous support from EPICS in the IEEE Committee.

What are goals of IEEE EPICS for 2015-2016? 

In 2012 the government of Uganda developed a new framework for Science, Technology and Innovation development, empowering various stakeholder organizations to take active roles in implementing the STI development plan. In line with this, we have engaged university and high school students from Makerere, Kyambogo University and Entebbe Secondary School to work with Humanitarian Innovation Technical Institute (not-for-profit innovation structure) and IEEE Uganda Subsection members to develop a web-based solution for Science, Technology and Innovation Management. This will be used  to collaboratively generate, identify and select innovative community projects for further development as a way of uplifting the population from absolute poverty.

High School Students Make Robots During National Robitcs Challange Cup at Makerere University

High School Students Make Robots During National Robotics Challenge Cup at Makerere University

How will the EPICS projects really impact and change the overall condition of Uganda?

The EPICS projects will help to strengthen Uganda’s invention, innovation and entrepreneurship base by:

  • Enhancing research activities in science and technology
  • Improving awareness of community inventions and innovations
  • Providing an environment for intellectual property protection
  • Leading to the achievement of financial stability through arrangement of partnership with investors, donors
  • Creating employment opportunities and promoting industrial development

How can the overall IEEE community assist the IEEE Uganda and the EPICS project during this time?

IEEE Uganda recognizes that there are a number of communities out there who need similar platforms. We look forward to partnering with various organizations and technologists in establishing more of these innovation platforms in various IEEE countries. Visibility of such a valuable solution is possible through various publications and we are looking for organizations that can help in raising awareness of what we are doing.

Ezabo Baron and Lwanga Herbert Introducing IEEE to Students in Makerere University

Ezabo Baron and Lwanga Herbert Introducing IEEE to Students in Makerere University

We have also scheduled entrepreneurship training for scientists and engineers in Uganda where members will be trained in the processes of innovation and inventions.

Interview conducted by Sarang Shaikh, Senior Assistant Editor, GOLDRush

Article edited by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief, GOLDRush

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Today’s story is about a group of talented IEEE Young Professionals from the Technical College of Kirkuk (Iraq), who, amidst all the instability, invested their attention to developing future leaders. IEEE Senior Member Hussein Al-Bayati along with the Member Development Officer Ahmad Alaiady and the Deputy Chairman of Iraq Sections Dr. Sattar Sadkhan delivered an inspirational and interactive lecture on ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’.

IEEE Senior member Hussein Al-Bayati delivering the lecture

IEEE Senior member Hussein Al-Bayati delivering the lecture

 

Although motivation for Young Professionals around the world to tackle global problems is not lacking, they are not always equipped with the knowledge they need. They must take initiative in developing the skills and attributes to succeed in life. This was the intent behind organizing a lecture on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

It is commendable, something most of us may never fully comprehend, that the IEEE Young Professionals team in Iraq is striving to produce future leaders, better leaders to lead their nation towards a conflict free country. The lecture was based on the famous Dr. Stephen Covey’s book – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Dr. Stephen Covey is a well-known author who has inspired millions around the world to lead a life of principles. His message for leading a meaningful and successful life is woven in the 7 habits of highly effective people. As David Starr Jordon, the Founding President of Stanford University, states in the very first lines of the book that there is no real excellence in all this world which can be separated from right living. And that is how the author sets out to attempt to change our deepest paradigms.

Dr. Stephen Covey

Dr. Stephen Covey

“Most people’s lives run on auto-pilot and there is no self-awareness about their daily habits. This results in the absence of a plan for life, and that they do not get the opportunity to lead their lives. Most people’s lives are affected by external factors like the environment, community, family and friends” says Hussein Al-Bayati.

HABIT 1: Be proactive – Because we are humans, we have the ability to see ourselves, our attitudes and behaviours as though we were someone else. This ability called ‘self-awareness’ has helped us advance as a race in the most significant ways. As long as we are self-aware, we can see the consequences of our words and actions and say and do the right things, we can choose. In the words of the author, our basic nature is to act and not be acted upon. Each of the 6 habits depends on the ability of being proactive. It assists in creating a balance between P(Production) and PC (Production Capacity).

HABIT 2: Start with the end in mind – The most fundamental application of this habit is to imagine the end of your life as a reference against which all life’s experience will be marked. This helps to significantly contribute daily to our lives. To start with the end in mind also means clearly knowing the destination for without that knowledge, one is lost. We either design our lives or we operate in the default mode. The most effective way to start the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement. In essence, habit 1 lets you be the creator and habit 2 is your final creation.

HABIT 3: Put first things first – Contrary to belief, the third habit points that the key is not to prioritize what’s on schedule, but to schedule your priorities. The first step towards developing habit 3 is to make a list of roles that you play, say, in a week. Once the roles are defined, goals need to be defined and then each goal must be translated into a task. Prioritizing activities even before knowing if they will help achieve your personal mission is disastrous as you might prioritize and achieve goals which you never needed. Using a computer metaphor, habit 1 says “You are the program”, habit 2 says “Write the program” and habit 3 says “Run the program”.

HABIT 4: Think Win-Win – Win-Win is a mindset which constantly seeks to mutual benefit for all parties involved. In the words of the author, win-win sees life as a cooperative, not a competitive arena. Win-Win is a paradigm based on the fundamental principle that there is enough for everyone in this world. There are three character traits essential to the win-win paradigm which is Integrity, Maturity and the Abundance mentality.

HABIT 5: Seek First to Understand and then to be understood – Trying to understand other people’s points of views is very important as it assists us in being empathetic towards them. Not all emotions can be heard in words and hence trying to first understand other people gives us the reference we need to make them understand our point of view. This is a powerful habit of interdependence.

HABIT 6: Synergize – The exercise of all the above habits help in the habit of synergy. In the words of the author, Synergy is the essence of Principle centred leadership. It catalyses, unifies and unleashes the greatest power in people. The definition of synergy is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you plant two plants close together, their roots will combine and make the soil fertile so as to benefit both the plants. The whole is better than its parts or one plus one equals three or more.

HABIT 7: Sharpen the Saw – Habit 7 is the principle of balanced self-renewal. In the words of the author, habit 7 is taking the time to sharpen the saw instead of wasting time and energy sawing with an unsharpened saw. It’s enhancing the greatest asset we have – us. We need to replenish our body, our soul, and our minds to ensure we work effectively. Daily exercises for the physical body, nourishment for the soul by doing things we love and our minds by self-analysing daily can be powerful tools to sharpen the saw.

8

The lecture on the 7 habits of highly effective people saw a very good turnout which is just proof of the direction in which positive minded IEEE Young Professionals in Iraq are moving towards.

Lastly, the IEEE GOLDRush team would like to congratulate the IEEE Young Professionals team in Iraq for organizing some outstanding events amidst such unrest. We are proud to present this article to the world in the hope that Iraq can be seen in new light, in the light of hope and courage and a strong willingness to create better future leaders.

Article edited by Sneha Kangralkar, Assistant Editor, GOLDRush