University Challenge

Date:     Wednesday 17 Mar 2010
Time:     18:30 – Tea 6:00pm for 6:30 start
Speaker:     Phd Students from Coventry and Warwick Universities –
Location:     This year held at Warwick University – in the auditorium in the International Digital Laboratory (park in Car park 8 which is free after 18:00).

Abstract :

Warwick University: Max Legg:
Automated Analysis of Mobile Phone data
Mobile Phones are one of the most common items of personal property used by people all over the world. In 2008 there were over 950 Million Mobile Phones sold internationally. By the end of 2008 there were estimated 4.1bn mobile subscriptions, up from 1bn in 2002. That represents six in 10 of the world’s population having a Mobile Phone.

These devices are busy every day of the week transferring calls, messages, media and information about the activities of the users. If one imagines these devices communicating across the globe we can begin to imagine the scope for the use of this data for intelligence purposes. It is enormous. Of course we are not interested in the general use of Mobile Phones by citizens we are interested in the use of Mobile Phones by criminals and terrorists that cause a serious threat to civilised society. Criminals and terrorists use Mobile Phones in just the same way as ordinary citizens use Mobile Phones. They use them to communicate, share information and engage in the planning or execution of crime and terrorism.

In some parts of the world the police and security services collect data from Mobile Phones in investigations. What we have discovered is that when this information is processed and handled in highly organised ways using powerful modelling techniques the potential is enormous.

This presentation demonstrates the current state of the art in the automated analysis of this information and future direction for research and development.

Warwick University: Vibhor Aggarwal:
High-fidelity Rendering on Shared Resources
*** On the night this was the winning project ***

High-fidelity rendering has been traditionally restricted, to expensive shared memory or dedicated distributed processors, due to the high computational cost. Shared resources such as a desktop grid offer a low cost alternative by combining arbitrary computational resources connected to a network such as those in a laboratory or an office. However, prevalent interactive rendering algorithms are currently incapable of seamlessly handling the variable computational power offered by the non-dedicated resources of a desktop grid. This presentation looks at novel fault- tolerant rendering algorithms for handling variable resources which enable users to experience high-fidelity rendering on their desktop machines.

Coventry University: James McCorrie
Development towards In-flight Wireless health monitoring of Gas Turbine Engines

Gas Turbine Engines are one of the most common forms of Jet Engine. Most commercial passenger planes now make use of the turbofan variation of the jet engine, due to their efficiency at low altitude, compared to other engines such as the rocket.

Turbofans work by using some of the thrust the engine provides to drive a turbine which in turn feeds the engine with air via a compressor, completing the cycle.

Managing the temperature within such and engine is very important: if the temperature gets too high, then the turbine blades can melt, resulting in flying debris at speeds in excess of 1000MPH and a number of other such undesirable consequences.

Modern jets are now a lot safer than they used to be, mainly due to improved structural design to make them more tolerable to failure including catching flying blades and surviving bird strikes, as well as more accurate health monitoring, so as to reduce the likelihood of failure.

One of the main factors in determining the health of a jet engine is the temperature of the exhaust gas (EGT). Once EGT at full throttle reaches a certain threshold, the engine requires a service.

Current systems require a large number of heavily insulated wires, which are not suitable for in-flight monitoring. This project is working towards a wireless solution, that could be used to provide detailed, in-flight monitoring, allowing more efficient scheduling of maintenance; sooner if needed, or longer if not required.

There are many challenges to overcome with such a wireless system, as with any other system that has to run in a safety critical environment. This research is working towards a viable prototype system.

Coventry University: Ammar Alalawneh
Information Technology Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage: A Resource Based View for the Jordanian Banking Industry

In the last two decades, Information technology (IT) has become the most important resource in every organisation, especially in banking industry where IT is not only essential to run banks operations, but also as a source of creating and sustaining competitive advantage. Under the current competitive environment, Jordanian banks invest heavily in IT not only to accommodate dynamics changes in business environment but also a competitive weapon and a source of competitive advantage.

However, IT is a broad concept which includes different resources ranging from tangible (physical resources) to intangible resources (IT-human and relationship resources), thus, making it difficult to give more attention. The main challenges that face every management and IT managers are

How to utilise IT resources in an appropriate way?
Which IT resources have the most impact on the sustainability of competitive advantage?

Several studies have shown different gaps in this context, such gaps are related to complexity of IT concept itself and SCA, measurement problems, methodology problems, adopted theories and industry selection.

This presentation sheds light toIT resources and how they can create achieves, and sustains competitive advantage by using strategic theories such Resource -Based view RBV. The presentation also shows some initial results of the preliminary study. Finally, the study will show the future work of research.

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