Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Lecture is on toxicology and pollution.
Substances in the environment that are harmful to living organisms.
Harmful to living organisms.
Point source
Easily identified source.
Non-point source
Indirect source.
Acidity and alkalinity.

Health and safety, environment damage, considered over product lifespan. Perceived danger. Toxicity can occur through ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption.

Effects on the body. Short and long term <=> chronic and acute effects. Mutation to genetics. Tetragenes. Data sheets on substances. Heavy metals. Biomagnification. Biodegradeable.

Going through a list of water pollutants. Going through a list of air pollutants. Going through a list of soil pollutants.

Engineers need to look at the chemicals being used and the development. Must understand the toxicity.

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Lecturer went through the second assignment. Focus is on reactive processors like the ReMIC and HiDRA. Lecturer went through a recap of the HiDRA processor. Shared memory. Message passing through signals between the slave and master processor. Processors are software. There are hardware functional units.

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Monday, September 29, 2008


Lecture today is on greenhouse gases and global warming. Different gases have different lifespans. Storage of gases in the Earth. Charts of concentration levels and temperature change. Historical perspective to the data. Lots of talk about consequences. Taxing carbon production.

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Old lecturer is back. Talking about rights. Rights are privilages that a shareholder gets to buy more shares.shares will be traded down by the value of rights on ex-right day as no rights can be obtained after this date. Wealth doesn't change whether you take the share rights or not. The cost is still the same.

A new investor could buy the shares and exercise the right or buy the shares and buy more shares after the ex-rights date. An existing shareholder could sell the right before the ex-rights date or exercise the right. Dumbest thing is to let the rights lapse of to excercise a right when the share price is below the subscription price.

Renounceable rights issue. Underwriter. Low cost. No need for prospectus. Dilution of shares. Wealth transfer.

Dividend reinvestment plan. Shares issued instead of cash dividend.

Prime borrower has secured income. Non-prime doesn't. Expiration of teaser rates before jumping up to market rates. Securitising mortgage loans and getting high credit rating because the mortgage agents would only get a fee once the loans were paid back. Loans started to be offered from sub-primes.

Credit crunch: lending shrinking.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

SPARK 40K / 10K / Aspire prize giving

Following the unsuccessful bid for a place in the 40K Challenge, we were successful in being awarded a prize for the 10K section. Absolute winner and still stoaked. Brilliant! Elated!


Had my presentation today for some research I had done. Was going well untill the 8 min mark hit and I was only half way through my slides. Had to miss a large chunk of material that would have been more interesting. Ah well at least one of my lecturers offered one of his lecture slots for me to present my whole lecture again.

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New lecturer going on a new topic called flexibility with formal methods. Flexibility is how thing are connected. Optimize communication processes. Modular machines. Plug and play dream of hardware.

Cannot do plug and play if you are not sure a out the behavior of the hardware. Smulatuon is not exhaustive enough because of only gives you one scenario from the entire state space.

Ladder diagrams to programme PLD. Petri nets.

Model checking of a controller. Take the desired CCS and the model and check all states. Designing air travel. Gap between the concept and implementation. Control system has control and plant. Including the plant also simplified the state space.

Net Condition Event Systems: NCES is a modular language. Tokens flow along arcs. Transition and condition ports. Interfaces between models of plant and controller ate the same as between the real controller and real plant.

Assume the plant is just behavior and has no intelligence. Just a physical model. To handle plants with continuous behavior, use hybrid automata. Include differential equations. Reachability space is infinite. Common method is to discertize the state space.

Visual Verifier.  Up to chapter two of ViVe. Draw the reachability for an NCES diagram.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Today's lecture is on minerals and energy. Lots of focus on using metals for different purposes and changing their properties over time or by mixing. Limitations to recycling materials. More focus on chemmat. Energy use for decontaminating resources. Abundant and scarce metals. Minerals are just dispersed into other places as a different form. Just have to find ways to transport it back to where of came from. Concentration and location of minerals.

Energy is an important element to our everyday lives and quality of life. Renewable energy isn't stable because of when the energy gets renewed or when it is available. Usually low energy density. Emphasis on stored energy resources running out.

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Monday, September 22, 2008


Anthropogenics. Talking about more land. The changes in ecology over time. Focus is on the use of trees/forests. Conversion of land use and land degradation. Deforestation. Agricultural uses. Water sources. Biodiversity. Extinction.

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Lecturer talking about how you depreciate. Methods: straight line, diminishing balance, units of production. Onto a new topic called expenditure. Next topic is revaluation model.

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Karing is right, this new lecturer is really crap. He talks too slowly like we're complete idiots. Missed the last two lectures and came late to today's. Lecture started talking about the price similarity between the prices of FBL on the NZX and ASX. Not sure if the prices have been converted to the same denomination [they have]. Then he's comparing the price difference in same product prices between Munchie Mart and supermarkets. Rationalizes it as market efficiency. Next example is why people should invest in financial instruments if the have a zero NPV. The rationale is still market efficiency and fairly priced. But the real question is, how do you know of the market IS efficient if you don't know who the participants are and their reason
or knowledge they used to make their market decision.

He's actually going through exan questions. More market efficiency stuff. There's a plot of mutual fund alpha values with the mean around zero. Forms of efficiency with regards to how recent the information used.
Simple story about cheating investors. You give random predictions about price movements. Simple case of subsetting your target population.

Beta of an asset does not mean the return is equal to the risk free rate.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

EngGen403 tutorial

Got back our persuasive argument assignment. Got 13.7/15 which is a pretty weird fraction. Our tutor started talking about finding sustainability issues in each of our specialisations. Pretty hard stuff. Computer waste land. Shifting of waste from one country to another via the concept of "cheap alternatives". Had to go into groups to discuss how the University handles the issue of sustainability. Was supposed to talk about assignment three but ran out of time (tutor got distracted by questions once again).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Same lecturer as yesterday. Talking about population and consumption. Factors affecting growth rate: number of children, fertility, health, general age, education level, are of child bearing; infant mortality, life span, health care, elderly care, occupation and risk, social stability.

Population explosion
Exponential growth.
Going through a population density map of the whole world. Future scenarios. Analogy with compound interest. Another analogy with a cage of rats left to reproduce and the population exploded and the rats started killing themselves to extinction.

Improvements to human consumption. Fair share of resources. Deprecation of basic needs. Rich countries taking more than they should in terms if resources. Ecological footprint. Analogy with number of planets needed to sustain global consumption. Competition for resources.

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New lecturer starting on system on chip design and reuse, models of computation (Argos), discrete event systems. Lots of reading about papers.

0.13 micron technology allows complex systems to be designed on a single chip. IP reuse to meet productivity gap. Using CAD tools for design. Usually two buses: system and peripheral.

Platform based design
Platform is fixed.
Component based design
IPs are selected and glued together.
System-level design
Transform a high level specification to low level specification.

So how do we choose the IP from a library? Do forced simulation or supervisory control.

Model IP as a plant you want to control so that the output will match the required behavior. The adaptor introduced forces transitions which result in a tau action of the system.

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Someone confused us with the lecture theater today so we ended up in some random commerce one. The sustain lecture is screwed up. Major fail with crackling microphone.

Lecture is on sustainability with major focus on buildings and people. Systems interacting with others. The goal is that humans will exist in the future. Assumptions are that energy and materials are still required and human basic needs will remain the same. Cities remain where they are.

More focus on cities. A lot of the explanation sounds like cache architecture, shared resources, and concurrent processes.

Now the focus has shifted to human survival over time: food, land, soil and water.

The science of sustainability. Measured through risk, considered on a local basis, needs have to be identified, rules have to be set and followed. Sustainability priorities. Quality and quantity factors. Maximum and minimum limits.

Risk of desertification. Known unknowns and Unknown unknowns. It's coming. Buffers for long term plans.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Presentation skills seminar

To verbally communicate information in a limited amount of time. Cannot automatically assume that the audience are technically aware. You are the expert. Structure to facilitate. Effective balance between concepts and detail.

Visual aids for the audience. They cannot replace poor content. Guy in the audience just echoed "crisp" when the point was made about simple slide layouts.

Graphical information. Some other guy just took a photo of a slide on image resolution.

Delivery techniques and issues. Speak to the audience and not to the screen. Try not to read from text and use spoken English, not written. Use the keynotes to talk. Don't be afraid to use personal pronouns. Verbal hints with pauses and enthusiasm. Be careful of where you stand so you don't block people's views. Maintain eye contact. Emphasize what you have done.

Question time. Clarification of issues. Interested in opinion and point of view. Don't pass the buck. Try a guess but have some sort of insurance statement. "I don't have the answer to that, but I could get it to you by tomorrow."

Know your presentation. Know the room.

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