Newsletter - Spring 2012

Lobster Boil

The annual IEEE Lobster Boil is coming up on June 2, 2012. This is a great opportunity for all local IEEE members to connect in a relaxed social setting. Details:

Saturday, June 2, 2012, 6:30 for 7pm at The Fluvarium

Tickets are only $25 each for IEEE members and one guest; non-members $35 each. Please specify lobster, steak or vegetarian dinner at time of ticket purchase. Salads, rolls, dessert, tea, coffee and a drink ticket included! Catered by the Fluvarium.

Deadline for tickets: noon, Wednesday, May 30th

For tickets, contact Brian Kidney at or any member of the IEEE Newfoundland & Labrador Section Executive.

Upcoming DLTs and Tech Talks

June 6, 2012 - Dr. Fabrizio Granelli, “Networking and the Smart Grid”

IEEE Newfoundland and Labrador Section in conjunction with the IEEE Communications Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Fabrizio Granelli, IEEE ComSoc Distinguished Lecturer for 2012-13, will be delivering a lecture in St. John’s on June 6, 2012. Fabrizio Granelli is Associate Professor at the Dept. of Information Engineering and Computer Science (DISI) of the University of Trento (Italy). From 2008, he is deputy head of the academic council in Information Engineering. He received the «Laurea» (M.Sc.) degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Genoa, Italy, in 1997, with a thesis on video coding, awarded with the TELECOM Italy prize, and the Ph.D. in Telecommunications from the same university, in 2001. Since 2000 he is carrying on his research and didactical activities (currently Associate Professor in Telecommunications) at the Dept. of Information Engineering and Computer Science – University of Trento (Italy). He was coordinator of the Networking Laboratory in 2006-2010. In August 2004 and August 2010, he was visiting professor at the State University of Campinas (Brasil). He is author or co-author of more than 130 papers published in international journals, books and conferences. His main research activities are in the field of networking, with particular reference to performance modeling, cross-layering, wireless networks, cognitive radios and networks, green networking and smart grid communications.

Professor Granelli will be presenting on the following topic:

Networking and the Smart Grid: the relevance of communications in the future of power grid

The Smart Grid represents a clear step forward in improving power generation, distribution, consumption. Indeed, the Smart Grid is a digitally enabled electrical grid that gathers, distributes, and acts on information about the behavior of all participants (suppliers and consumers) in order to improve the efficiency, importance, reliability, economics, and sustainability of electricity services.

In this scenario, communications gain a central point as a key enabling technology in supporting the “intelligence” of the system. Nevertheless, the area of communications and associated knowledge can even play a greater role, in supporting modeling, simulation and design of the next generation power grid.

The seminar aims at providing an overview of the concept and architecture of the Smart Grid, focusing on the contributions of the communications community in terms of communications infrastructure and methodologies. Sample scenarios will be presented to illustrate the relevance of communications in the power grid.

Full event details:

Date: June 6, 2012

Location: Faculty Lounge, Engineering Building, Memorial University

Time: 6:45 for 7:00 PM

Please spread the word and bring a colleague!

June 29, 2012 – Dr. Prasad Gudem, Qualcomm, “Multi-mode/multi-band receivers for cellular applications”

IEEE Newfoundland and Labrador Section would like to give its membership advance notice of an upcoming technical presentation. Dr. Prasad Gudem, Senior Director of Engineering, Analog/RF IC Design Group, Qualcomm will be visiting Newfoundland in late June and has offered to present on “Multi-mode/multi-band receivers for cellular applications”. Dr. Gudem is interested in making connections with local Electrical Engineers and all members are encouraged to attend. Dr. Gudem holds a B. Tech. degree in Electrical Engineering (IIT Madras, 1984) and a Ph.D. degree (University of Waterloo, 1996). He has more than 10 years of experience in Integrated Circuit Design for Wireless Communication. Dr. Gudem has also worked closely with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) for the past 12 years. He has taught graduate courses on wireless communication design I, II and III. During this time, he received the best teacher award in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He also co-advises students with Prof. Larry Larson (who recently moved to Brown University) and Prof. Peter Asbeck who is currently at UCSD.

Event details:

Date: June 29, 2012

Location: Engineering Building, Room TBD

Time: TBD, but will be during the day time

New GOLD Chair!

We are pleased to announce that Jeff McKinnon has agreed to join the IEEE NL Section Executive as GOLD Chair. Jeff is an independent electrical engineer working in the area of hydro generation plant control. Jeff has been involved with IEEE for over a decade, starting at Dalhousie University and the Canadian Atlantic Section. He has volunteered with IEEE Canada in the past. He comes to St. John’s from Spokane, WA, where he was most recently IEEE Spokane Section Chair.

IEEE Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) was created in 1996 as a membership program to help students transition to young professionals within the larger IEEE community. IEEE young professionals are automatically added to the GOLD member community as they graduate. IEEE GOLD is a vibrant community of engineers, scientists, and technical experts with member representation across the globe and throughout IEEE societies.

If anyone has any suggestions for activities or events, please let Jeff know -

IEEE Night

The annual IEEE Night at Memorial University's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science was held on March 26. During the event the graduating class of Electrical and Computer Engineering students presented and demonstrated their senior design projects to invited guests and the public. These projects represent the culmination of the student's undergraduate career and so they are justifiably proud to show them off. The presentations and demonstrations were judged by a team of judges and prizes were awarded as follows:


  • 1st place: Camera with Embedded Processing Capability for Feature Extraction, by Andrew Bown, Ti any Connors, Kimberley Curtis, Matthew Drover and Erin Keough
  • 2nd place: Scape: An Audio Augmented Reality Framework and Application by Donovan Benoit, Mitchell Chaulk, Jesse Frampton, Michael Noseworthy and Scott Stevenson
  • 3rd place: Renewable Energy Based Fueling Station by Timothy Hancock, Jonathan Howse, Michael O'Keefe and Alexander Smith

Demonstration award:

  • A New Interface for Electronic Music by Marc-Andre Brien, Cullam Bruce-Lockhart, Kyle King and Robert Seward

Iron Ring Ceremony

In recognition of the support contributed to the graduating class to help host the reception that followed their Iron Ring cermony, the section was able to have a booth set up at the reception. The hope is that this will help remind the graduates of the important role that IEEE can play in their future careers.

Regional Science Fair

Every year the IEEE Newfoundland and Labrador Section sponsors a prize at each Regional Science Fair in Newfoundland. The prize ($100 per winning team and plaques for each winner) is for the best Senior or Intermediate project in an IEEE-related area.

For the Eastern Regional Science Fair, held at Booth College on March 30 and 31, the chosen winners were Evan Kearley and Nick Stratton of Holy Spirit High School for their project Linear Magnetic Accelerator. Their project was well designed, with a lot of thought put in to the experiment and future purposes of the technology. Good luck Evan and Nick in your future endeavours!

Awards Update

The IEEE Section has endowed two scholarships with Memorial University – one for Term 4 students like those currently in class, and one for Term 6 students. The deadline for the Term 4 scholarship has just passed. For those entering Term 6 engineering this coming fall (or those who know someone who is), keep an eye out regarding application details for the IEEE NL Section Term 6 Scholarship, valued at $1000 and awarded to an eligible IEEE Student member who is active in Branch activities.

IEEE Region 7 Spring Meeting

The IEEE Canada Spring Region meeting was held at Fairmount Hotel Queen Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec on April 28 - 29, 2012.

The IEEE Canada (Region 7) has new officers in place, which include:

  • President - Keith Brown
  • President Elect - Amir Aghdam
  • Past President - Om Malik
  • Secretary - Raed Abdullah
  • Treasurer - Ashfaq (Kash) Husain

Howard Michel, IEEE MGA Vice-President, presented on the plans for MGA to start using Section reserves to help cover MGA's portion of the IEEE operating expenses. IEEE has two pension plans to its employees. However, MGA has had trouble converting their costs in the past few years, which draining its reserves to near zero. Therefore, MGA will now be looking to Sections to help cover these costs. If the Section has less than $20k in reserves or are spending 2 times what the Section has in the bank (based on a 3-year average), MGA will not touch the Section's funds. Otherwise, there will be cost sharing. The proposed plan will be applied to reserves at the end of 2011. This proposal was hotly debated during the Board meeting as Section representatives are mostly against the idea. The following motion was passed as the Board decision from the discussion:

IEEE Canada Board objects to the withdrawal of funds from Section reserves and requests MGA to suspend the decision until more information is provided and the feedback from the Sections and regions is considered.

Any questions about this proposal can be sent to

IEEE President Elect Peter Staecker gave a presentation on IEEE future strategy. IEEE perceives Open Access model for publications is a possible threat and will be looking at how to mitigate this threat. IEEE Canada President Keith Brown presented on IEEE Canada's Strategy for the future: Visibility - Impact - Growth. It is recognized that there are needs to partner with external organizations, and improve dialog with industries. It is also recognized that IEEE Canada needs to move to multi-year forecasting for budgets.

The audit committee reported on the progress of the effort in rectifying some issues with the Region's L50 report, which was later confirmed get reconciled. It was also mentioned that from now on, there will be new term limits for Section officers. In general, one is limited to 3 terms in a position with no more than 2 consecutive terms in one Section. Other than that, formation of new Units with an executive is now required to get the approval of IEEE Chair. For chapters, affinity groups, and student branches, the Section pre-approval is required.

Other information includes: 1) Next TISP workshop will be held in Vancouver in 2015; 2) It is requested that each Section have a Industrial Relations Representative; 3) CONAC manual for awarding IEEE Canada conference organization is now available; 4) CCECE'15 was awarded to Canada Atlantic Section.

The IEEE Student Congress will be held on 14-16 September, 2012 at Mississauga, Ontario and the next Region meeting will be held on 12-14 October, 2012 at London, Ontario.

Membership Update

The membership development of our section has been growing steadily over the past few months. The total active members as of May 23, 2012 are 174, which includes: Affiliates (3), Associate Member (2), Graduate Student Member (22), Life Fellow (1), Life Member (1), Life Senior (1), Member (71), Senior Member (16) and Student Member (57). If you have not already done so please consider renewing your 2012 membership. You can do so online at:

If you would like to be a member however due to special circumstances such as minimum income, retired, unemployed, or permanently disabled, has impacted your ability to pay the full amount of the IEEE membership dues, IEEE is willing to offer reduced membership fees. For more information go to:

Senior Member is the highest grade for which IEEE members can apply. We encourage anyone who is eligible to apply. To see if you qualify for senior membership go to:

We are always looking for new members to recruit and we encourage our current members to share their experience with someone who you think would benefit from an IEEE Membership. Through the Member-Get-a-Member (MGM) program, IEEE rewards your efforts in recruiting new members. For more information go to:

OES Chapter Update

In December of 2011 the OES Chapter sponsored a presentation by undergraduate and graduate students who had worked on the Sailbot project of the MUN Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory. The Sailbot is a 2 m long autonomous sail boat. The team reported on the design and construction of the Sailbot and their experience in competing at the Fifth Annual International Robotic Sailing Competition in Annapolis, Maryland, USA earlier in the year. They finished in the middle of the pack as a solid fourth. The team is now in the process of building an upgrade with a number of design improvements for entry into future competitions. Students from the Marine Institute worked on the project, as well. Sponsors for the Sailbot work included OP-Fibreglass, Mad Rock Marine Solutions Inc. and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science through the Angus Bruneau Student LIFE Fund.

The OES Chapter had raised funds to sponsor a workshop on current developments and prospects in R&D for unmanned underwater vehicle technology that was held at the National Research Council in St. John’s in 2010. After all the bills were paid there were funds left over that, with the assistance of the IEEE Section (thank you, Lori Hogan), were used to sponsor 3 scholarships for a total of $ 1,000 for the best student NECEC 2011 presentations. The criterion for selection was based on technical excellence of a NECEC paper and its relevance to marine cybernetics as judged by members of the IEEE NL executive. The purpose was to promote interest in the field of marine cybernetics among students, specifically to encourage their continuing interest so that they will either seek employment in that field or continue advanced studies in the area.

The Chapter will remain active in 2012 with a workshop being contemplated for the fall on a topic to be determined but related to marine cybernetics, an area of increasing importance in the R&D community of Newfoundland and Labrador.