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Past Events - 2014

2014 EEE I & M Society Workshop

2014 EEE I &M Society Workshop, Auckland November 24-­‐25 Instrumentation and Measurement: New Zealand Challenges

Report available through this link. 2014 workshop report 2.pdf

Computational Intelligence Event - talk by Dr Kevin Korb

Time: Wednesday 10 December 2014, 4:10-5:00pm

Title: The Evolution of Utility, Or Why Is Sex Fun?

Presenter: Dr Kevin Korb


In his 1997 book "Why Is Sex Fun?" Jared Diamond assumed he was asking a rhetorical question. How could it not be fun for those at the tail end of billions of years of evolution? In the meantime, however, an emerging subspecies of economists have been arguing that Diamond's question needs to be taken seriously: sex is fun only by evolutionary accident, and not because it is an action promoting evolutionary fitness. They claim: 1) utilities and fitness prediction co-evolved to fill any gap in the accuracy of predictions of the reproductive value of actions ("Gap Theory"); and 2) this implies that utilities and the expected fitness of actions are distributed randomly relative to each other, and, in particular, are uncorrelated ("Non-association Hypothesis"). We argue that Gap Theory has much to commend it, but that the inference to; (2) is a non sequitur. Furthermore, we empirically demonstrate the falsity of Non-association under a variety of environments realized in evolutionary simulations.

IEEE NZ Central Section Annual General Meeting (27th November 2014)

The meeting commenced at 5:30pm and the venue was the Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington)

Complete details about this AGM and the associated AGM of the IEEE NZ Joint Chapter on Signal Processing & Information Theory can be obtained from the following flyer link.

Guest Speakers: (More details are contained in the accompanying flyer, talks began at 6:15pm).

Dr Mansoor Shafi - What is 5G?

5G aims to deliver extremely large data rates and will dramatically improve end user experience. This talk describes the requirements of 5G (even though there is no agreed standardised story), and what technological breakthroughs are required to meet the 5G requirements.

Professor Mengjie Zhang - Evolutionary Computation and Vision Applications

Professor Mengjie Zhang will give a brief presentation on the impact of Evolutionary Computation upon various vision applications.

Dr Murray Milner - Advanced Healthcare Provision through Innovative ICT Solutions

Dr Milner in his role as Chair of the National Health IT Board will provide an update on recent
developments in advanced healthcare delivery enabled by ICT solutions including:
• Where are we seeing significant improvement in efficiencies and outcomes?
• Improving healthcare outcomes and cost improvements through utilisation of data
• Strategies to allows a patient’s primary health record to be transferred electronically
• Introduction of secure electronic self-care patient portals

IEEE NZ Central Section Computational Intelligence Chapter,  Technical Presentation

Guest Speaker:
Professor Yaochu Jin of the University of Surrey
Topic: Surrogate-Assisted Evolutionary Optimisation of Expensive Problems
Venue: Cotton Building
Room Number: CO350
Victoria University of Wellington
Kelburn Campus
Date: 10-February-2014
4:10pm to 5:00pm
Evolutionary algorithms (EAs) have proven to be powerful for optimising problems that are non-differentiable, multi-modal, noisy and multi-disciplinary. However, EAs often require a large number of fitness evaluations to achieve acceptable solutions, which is prohibitive for computationally expensive problems. To address this issue, surrogate-assisted EAs, where computationally efficient models are used for fitness estimation to reduce computational cost, have attracted increasing attention in recent years. This talk presents a few examples illustrating how surrogate-assisted EAs can benefit from advanced machine learning techniques, including heterogeneous ensembles, semi-supervised learning and active learning. We finally suggest a few new avenues to explore to improve the computational efficiency and search performance of surrogate-assisted EAs.
Yaochu Jin received the B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, in 1988, 1991, and 1996 respectively, and the Dr. Ing. degree from Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany, in 2001.

He is a Professor and the Chair in Computational Intelligence with the Department of Computing, University of Surrey, Guildford, U.K., where he heads the Nature Inspired Computing and Engineering Group. His science-driven research interests lie in interdisciplinary areas that bridge the gap between computational intelligence, computational neuroscience, and computational systems biology. He is also particularly interested in nature-inspired, real-world driven problem-solving, such as aerodynamic optimisation, natural gas terminal design, intelligent heating systems, and process optimisation and control.

Dr Jin has (co)edited five books and three conference proceedings, authored a monograph, and (co)authored over 150 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. He has been granted eight US, EU and Japan patents. His current research is funded by EC FP7, UK EPSRC and industries, including Airbus, Bosch UK, HR Wallingford and Honda. He has delivered 16 invited keynote speeches at international conferences.

He is an Associate Editor/Editorial Board Member of IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on NanoScience, and IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine, Evolutionary Computation (MIT), BioSystems (Elsevier) and Soft Computing (Springer). He is a past Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks, IEEE Transactions on Systems man and Cybernetics, Part C, and IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology. Dr Jin is currently an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, Vice President for Technical Activities and an AdCom Member of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society. He was the recipient of the Best Paper Award of the 2010 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

He is a Fellow of BCS and Senior Member of IEEE.

Yaochu JinOn Monday 10 February 2014 at 4:10-5:00pm in room CO 350 at Victoria University of Wellington, the IEEE Computational Intelligence Chapter at IEEE New Zealand Central Section had its first event since its establishment in December 2013 --- IEEE CIS Vice President, IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, Prof Yaochu Jin from University of Surrey, UK, delivered an exciting seminar on “Surrogate-Assisted Evolutionary Optimisation of Expensive Problems”. Despite heavy rain in Wellington on the day of the seminar, 34 people attended and these included IEEE members, academics, research students, and industry representatives. After the seminar, there was over half an hour of discussion between the attendees and Prof Jin. Using his over 10 years of industry experience in evolutionary computation, neural networks and fuzzy systems, Prof Jin discussed how those computational intelligence methods can be successfully used to solve complex and expensive engineering application tasks.

Following the seminar, the IEEE Computational Intelligence Chapter had its first meeting, and over 20 members attended this meeting. The meeting discussed and planned the Chapter events for the rest of this year. This was a very successful event and a good start for the Chapter. Pizzas and soft drinks were served at the conclusion of the event to permit personal networking.

Breakfast Meeting Event

Guest Speaker:
Ian McCrae
Topic: Health Becoming a Data Science by 2020.

We welcome you to a special breakfast event hosted by the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers NZ Central Section, Institute of Engineering and Technology Wellington Network and Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand Wellington Branch.
Venue: James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Hotel
Room Chancellor 2, Level 16
147 The Terrace, Wellington
Date: 22-May-2014
7:15am for a 7:30am start, finishing at 9am.
Members of any of the Institutions $15.00, Non-members $35.00.
Big Data, Machine Learning, mHealth, “R” & Operations Research will all becoming major enablers of your healthcare in the future, both keeping you well, and ensuring the best care is provided in any care setting, when you are unwell.
Ian McCrae is the founder and CEO of New Zealand's largest health IT exporting company: Orion Health.

Ian founded Orion Health in 1993 with a four-person staff in Auckland, New Zealand. Under his stewardship, the company has seen unprecedented growth and success. With over 1100 staff members and 26 international offices, Orion Health has introduced its solutions to over 30 countries.

Before founding Orion Health, Ian worked for Clearfield Consulting Ltd and Ernst & Young as a senior telecommunications consultant, specializing in message standards and connectivity of data network systems and infrastructures. Other prior roles include working as a senior business analyst for the London Stock Exchange and after leaving University as a Scientist for the New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). Here Ian constructed a 3 dimensional finite element computer model of a human molar tooth to determine the extent to which teeth are weakened by dental work and how filling shapes could be improved.

Ian has a Masters in Engineering Sciences and Bachelor of Engineering (Honors) from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.



The IEEE New Zealand Central Section is pleased to host Prof. Jaafar Elmirghani on his Distinguished Lecture tour of New Zealand. Prof. Elminghani will be speaking on "Greening Core, Data Centre and Content Distribution Networks". This seminar is supported by the IEEE Communications Society.

Please note: this seminar is in addition to the Distinguished Lecture visit of Prof. Ekram Hossain taking place on the same day (see below for details).

SPEAKER: Prof. Jaafar Elmirghani, University of Leeds, UK

WHEN: 11:00am, 11th November 2014

WHERE: Lecture Theatre AM101, Alan MacDiarmid Building, Victoria University, Wellington

TOPIC: Recent studies show that the ICT industry is responsible for approximately 2% of the global CO2 emission and this percentage is predicted to continue increasing as the Internet expands in capacity and reach. In this talk we will introduce measures that can be used to reduce the power consumption of the Internet. We will introduce mixed integer linear programming (MILP) network optimization giving a short overview of MILP and build on this and heuristics inspired by it to explore a number of energy and carbon footprint reduction measures including (i) Optimum use of time varying renewable energy in core networks (ii) Physical topology design considering perational and embodied energies (iii) Elastic optical networks using mixed line rates and optical OFDM (iv) Optimum resource allocation and green network design with data centres (v) Dynamic energy-efficient content caching (vi) Energy-efficient peer-to-peer content istribution (vii) Energy-efficient distributed clouds (viii) Energy-efficient network virtualisation.

BIOGRAPHY: Prof. Jaafar Elmirghani is a Fellow of the IET, Fellow of the Institute of Physics, Senior Member of the IEEE and is the Director of the Institute of Integrated Information Systems, University of Leeds, UK. He is and has been on the technical program committee of 31 IEEE ICC/GLOBECOM conferences between 1995 and 2013 including 13 times as Symposium Chair. He received the IEEE Comsoc 2005 Hal Sobol award for exemplary service to meetings and conferences, the IEEE Comsoc 2005 Chapter Achievement award, the University of Wales Swansea inaugural “Outstanding Research Achievement Award”, 2006, the IEEE Comsoc Signal Processing and Communication Electronics outstanding service award, 2009 and an IEEE ICC 2013 Best Paper award. He is currently an editor of IET Optoelectronics. He has been awarded in excess of £20 million in grants to date, has published over 400 technical papers, and has research interests in communication networks and energy efficiency.


The IEEE New Zealand Central Section is excited to host Prof. Ekram Hossain on his Distinguished Lecturee tour of New Zealand. He will be speaking on "Evolution Towards 5G Cellular Networks: Radio Resource and Interference Management Issues". This seminar is supported by the IEEE Communications Society.

SPEAKER: Prof. Ekram Hossain, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg Canada

WHEN: 3:00pm, 11th November 2014

WHERE: C-Block Video Conference Room, Callaghan Innovation, 69 Gracefield Road, Lower Hutt

TOPIC: 5G cellular wireless networks are expected to be a mixture of network tiers of different sizes, transmit powers, backhaul connections, different radio access technologies (RATs) that are accessed by an unprecedented numbers of smart and heterogeneous wireless devices. The multi-tier cellular architecture of 5G networks, where small cells are overlaid on the macrocells and also there is provisioning for device-to-device (D2D) communications, is expected to not only increase the coverage and capacity of the cell but also improve the broadband user experience within the cell in a ubiquitous and cost-effective manner. The traditional radio resource and interference management (RRIM) methods (e.g., channel allocation, power control, user offloading, cell association or load balancing) in single-tier networks and even some of those developed for two-tier networks may not be efficient in this environment and a new look into the RRIM problem will be required. Furthermore, introduction of many new techniques and technology and additional degree of freedom (e.g., carrier aggregation, coordinated multi-point (CoMP) transmission and reception, concurrent connection to several wireless access technologies and seemingly moving between them) that will be used in 5G multi-tier networks will significantly influence the resource allocation and interference management problems. In this seminar, l will focus on the RRIM problem in 5G multi-tier and cognitive cellular networks. Starting with the visions and requirements for 5G multi-tier cellular networks, the challenges of radio resource and interference management (e.g., power control, user association) in these networks in co-channel deployment scenarios will be outlined. Open research issues and possible approaches to tackle those issues will be described.

BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Hossain is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from University of Victoria, Canada, in 2001. He was a University of Victoria Fellow and also a recipient of the British Columbia Advanced Systems Institute (ASI) graduate student award. Professor Hossain is an author/editor of the books Wireless Device-to-Device Communications and Networks (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Radio Resource Management in Multi-Tier Cellular Wireless Networks (Wiley, 2013), Smart Grid Communications and Networking (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Green Radio Communication Networks (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Cooperative Cellular Wireless Networks (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Dynamic Spectrum Access and Management in Cognitive Wireless Networks (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Heterogeneous Wireless Access Networks (Springer, 2008), Cognitive Wireless Communication Networks (Springer, 2007), Wireless Mesh Networks: Architectures and Protocols (Springer, 2007), and Introduction to Network Simulator NS2 (Springer, 2007). Currently Dr. Hossain serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials and an Editor for the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications - Cognitive Radio Series and IEEE Wireless Communications. Also, he serves on the IEEE Press Editorial Board (for the term 2013-2015). Previously, Dr. Hossain served as the Area Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications (in the area of "Resource Management and Multiple Access") from 2009-2011 and an Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing (from 2007-2012). He is a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Communications Society (for two terms during 2012-2015). Dr. Hossain is a registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) in the province of Manitoba, Canada.

Celebrating Through Industry Panel

Celebrating Through Industry Panel (Thursday 23rd October, commencing at 6pm). Obtain the event flier from the following link. Industry panel.

On 23 October 2014, the New Zealand Central Section of the IEEE is delighted to be able to celebrate the Electrical and Electronics industry operating in the greater Wellington area. We shall be holding an evening event where a variety of businesses from within the Wellington area will tell us a little about themselves and answer questions of interest from the audience. We expect this to be a very interesting session in which we shall all learn a little bit more about the great work being done by the technology sector located in the Wellington region. Businesses represented will include Tekron International, ikeGPS, 4RF Communications, Dimension Data and others yet to be finalised.

The format for the evening will be a panel session wherein representatives from each business will speak for about 10 minutes, describing their business, the engineering successes that they have delivered and the challenges that they have encountered and overcome when undertaking engineering in the region. Plenty of time will be provided for the audience to address questions to the panellists, adjudicated by the chair. The evening will finish with some time for networking over light refreshments.

The event will commence at 6pm on Thursday 23 October 2014 and is expected to be wrapped up before 8pm. The venue is Lecture theatre in Room GBLT3, Pipitea Campus (in the Government Buildings, Law Faculty adjacent to Bunny Street). This theatre is conveniently located on the Pipitea campus of Victoria University, tucked in behind the world famous wooden Law School building and adjacent to the Wellington Railway Station.

Members of IEEE, IET and IPENZ are most welcome - as are their visitors. Please register your participation by email to

IEEE Signal Processing Society Distinguished Lecture - Equalization and Adaptation of Nonlinear Systems

 Speaker: Prof. V. John Mathews, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Utah

When: 11:00am, 13 October 2014

Where: Room CO350, Cotton Building, Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn Pde, Wellington

Topic: This talk provides a tutorial introduction to nonlinear signal processing with emphasis on equalization of nonlinear distortions in practical problems and adaptation of nonlinear system models. In the first part of the talk, we will discuss efficient approaches to inversion and equalization of a broad class of nonlinear systems. We will start by looking at exact inverses of nonlinear systems, but stable implementations of such systems may not exist. We will then describe approximate equalizer architectures that are systolic and operate in a stable manner. Examples of applying the equalizers in audio applications will also be shown. The second part of the talk will overview adaptive algorithms for identifying linear-in-the parameters nonlinear systems. Among the approaches discussed will be a method whose computational complexity involves a single multiplication and two additions per input sample, regardless of the complexity of the model.

Brief Biography: Prof. V. John Mathews is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah. His research interests are in nonlinear and adaptive signal processing and application of signal processing techniques in audio and communication systems, biomedical engineering, and structural health management. He chaired the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah during 1999-2003. Dr. Mathews is a Fellow of IEEE. He served as the Vice President (Finance) of the IEEE Signal Processing Society during 2003-2005 and the Vice President (Conferences) of the Society during 2009-2011. He is a past associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, and the IEEE Signal Processing Letters and the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing and currently serves on the editorial board of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. He was a recipient of the 2008-09 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, India, and the Utah Engineers Council's Engineer of the Year Award in 2011. He serves now as a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Signal Processing Society for 2013 and 2014.

Report on IEEE Sections Congress 2014 - Amsterdam 22-24 August, 2014

This congress is held once every two years and in 2014 it was conducted in Amsterdam. Our Secretary, Donald Bailey, attended the congress this year and has reported on this important event. To read his report, please follow this link.

IEEE NZ Central Section Chapter on Computational Intelligence Event

Time: Friday 12 September 2014, 4:10-5:00pm

                (5:00-5:30pm: Pizza and soft drinks will be provided.)

Venue: CO 350, Cotton Building, Kelburn Campus, Victoria University of Wellington

Title: Kickback Cuts Backprop’s Red-tape: Rethinking Credit Assignment

Presenter: Dr David Balduzzi


The main problem of distributed learning is credit assignment. It was essentially solved in the 80s with the invention of error backpropagation. 30 years later, backprop, along with a few more recent tricks, is one of the major workhorses of machine learning and remains state-of-the-art for supervised learning. However, it was known from the start that how backprop assigns credit is not biologically plausible. Surprisingly, almost no attempts have been made to rethink how credit is distributed.

In this talk, I shall discuss Kickback, a biologically-inspired algorithm that truncates backprop’s feedback signals. Despite eliminating almost all of backprop's error feedback, Kickback's matches its performance on regression benchmarks. I shall briefly discuss how Kickback is derived from backprop, and some theoretical results that (partially) explain its performance.


Dr David BalduzziDavid Balduzzi is a Senior Lecturer in MSOR at Victoria. He received a PhD in algebraic geometry from the University of Chicago, after which he worked on computational neuroscience at UW-Madison and machine learning at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and ETH Zürich.

IPENZ Information and Networking Evening

Final-year engineering students and IPENZ Members in Wellington are invited to join this event. Learn how IPENZ can help with your career and be inspired by the outstanding engineering achievements of Duncan Hall, Fellow of IPENZ and member of IEEE New Zealand Central Section committee. Limited spaces – to secure your seat visit:

This event has three main purposes:

  • Inform students about the pathways to professional recognition – IPENZ competence Membership classes and national registers for Professional Engineers
  • Give student engineers and those in industry the opportunity to hear from a senior engineer about their engineering career
  • Meet fellow student engineers and engineers in industry.

Meet the right people

When: Wednesday 17 September
Time: 5.30pm arrival
           6.00pm start
Where: Lecture room 102
               Alan MacDiarmid Building
               Victoria University
               Gate 6, Kelburn Parade

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