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Reported by Cathy Ann Clark & David Leslie
On March 5, 2020, the Providence Section, OE22 Chapter, met at the Westerly Education Center in Westerly, Rhode Island for a combined technical talk and dinner meeting. Roy Manstan gave a presentation on “The Listeners: U-Boat Hunters During the Great War.”
Mr. Manstan was well qualified to tell the tale of U-boats and the acoustical technology, which was developed in the USA to detect them. He worked as a field engineer at the U.S. Navy Underwater Sound Lab in New London, qualified as a Navy diver, and eventually became the Lab’s Command Diving Officer. His team of engineer/divers has been sent around the world supporting Navy RDT&E and maintaining fleet ASW readiness. Retiring from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in January 2006, Manstan began writing about submarine and antisubmarine warfare history. His books include TURTLE: David Bushnell’s Revolutionary Vessel (2010); Cold Warriors: The Navy’s Engineering and Diving Support Unit (2014); and The Listeners: U-boat Hunters During the Great War (2018).
The twentieth century saw the introduction of new modes of warfare on and above the battlefields of Europe. These included aircraft, rapid fire machineguns and massive artillery, which could fire half-ton shells from 20 miles. In August 1914, Germany’s mechanized armies rolled across Belgium and established the Western Front along the border with France. Anticipating that England would attack from the sea, Germany sent an obsolete U-9 submarine to scout the North Sea. It was devastatingly effective.
In his talk, Manstan documented the rise of German submarines in World War I and the Allies’ successful response of tracking them with innovative listening devices―precursors to modern sonar. Technology defined the relationship between submarine predators and their prey. Success or failure was in the hands and minds of the scientists and naval personnel at the Naval Experimental Station in New London, Connecticut, and this may well have determined the outcome of the Great War, 1914 – 1918.
On July 21, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and local guidelines for public gatherings, the Ocean Engineering OE22 Chapter hosted its first Remote Technical Talk of the year. Andrew Zalay, P.E, spoke from California about problem solving in today’s technology for sea-based wind power. Mr. Zalay was responsible for the design, development, completion and/or operation of over 3GW of greenfield wind farms for leading developers in the U.S., Germany and Australia over 30+ years. This experience enabled him to offer us a broad perspective on the status and prospects for power from offshore wind (OSW). There are several innovations on the horizon that can advance the state of the art of OSW at deep water sites. New designs can reduce the cost and construction timeline for placing stable, spar buoy floating foundations and wind turbine generators (WTG) can be installed more simply and less expensively with a new barge design integrated with hoisting equipment. The wind industry will benefit from oil industry knowledge and job transfer. He discussed the potential for OSW in the USA, current limitations and exciting new technology to enable the more widespread deployment of this renewable energy source.
The prospects for OSW are good. Capital spending on sea-based wind is expected to eclipse offshore oil off Europe within several years. In the USA, the offshore wind power potential has been estimated to be 86 GW by 2050, with 33% of that available near population centers along the Northeast Atlantic coast. However, the USA is just getting its feet wet. Most of the existing and planned projects are for shallow-water, bottom-mounted foundation turbines, designed and operated by European companies in partnership with U.S. electricity networks. The greatest wind resource lies further offshore in deeper water where floating turbine foundations will be required. Candidate technologies include large/low water plane floaters, tension-leg platforms and spar buoys. Current limitations in the USA include the need for Jones-Act compliant installation vessels and the development of supply chains and port facilities. The design challenge is also considerable and goes to the heart of ocean engineering. Researchers are simulating the aero/hydro /electro/mechanical systems over a range of scales to account for external meteorological and oceanographic conditions—wind inflow, waves and currents—which act as applied aero dynamic and hydro dynamic loads, acting in feedback with wind turbines. WTG control systems must account for power generation and rotor, drivetrain, nacelle, tower, platform and mooring dynamics. This is a multi-disciplinary effort that requires broad engineering expertise. Mr. Zalay noted that European companies are poised to dominate in this arena and called for the application of Yankee ingenuity and 500 years of seafaring history.
Reported by Khalid Isa & Mohd Rizal Arshad
On May 20th, 2020, IEEE OES Malaysia Chapter organized an online technical talk (webinar), which entitled How to Think in Time of Crisis? The speaker of this talk is Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) of UniMAP cum the Past Chair of IEEE OES Malaysia. More than 40 attendees all around the world joined this talk.
The talk focused on the ability to think well, which is important in this turbulent and uncertain pandemic times. Engineers, researchers, and other professional vocations alike must be able to use the most appropriate thinking tools to analyse the available data and observations to make the best decisions. Sometimes poor judgement and decisions were made not because of insufficient information or data but due to haphazard and random thought-processes and the steps taken to reach a decision. Engineers, and many researchers alike, are well-known as typical vertical thinkers. They prefer structured processes and proven facts before moving to the next step in decision-making. It is a good habit, by the way. But, sometimes, knowledge of some readily available thinking tools will allow engineers to make quicker and faster decisions without having to risk the repercussion of ill-judgement, or at least minimising a faulty decision.
In this talk, Prof. Mohd Rizal shares some available tools which researchers and engineers can use to make better decisions,especially in time of crisis.
Virtual Distinguished Lecture Program (VDLP)
Reported by Khalid Isa & Mohd Rizal Arshad
On June 29th, 2020, IEEE OES Malaysia Chapter has organized a Virtual Distinguished Lecture Program (VDLP) via the Google Meet platform. The VDLP topic entitled Swarm Robotics – Concepts and Its Potentials, has been presented by Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad. This VDLP was attended by 45 attendees, which include academicians, students, and industrial people. The DLP has been held for two hours, starting from 2.00 pm until 4.00 pm.
The objective of this program is to present and discuss the concepts and potentials of swarm robotics. This is because the main aim of every research endeavor is ultimately to develop and produce output, which will add benefit to human life. They can either by helping, simplifying, optimizing, or even replacing human tasks. Robotic is one of the examples which have been widely used to assist human in solving different types of tasks. However, a traditional robotic system either manually control or autonomously control has many technical limitations such as high structural complexity, low level of fault tolerance, and constrained by the limited task performing capabilities. As a result, many complex tasks are out‐of‐reach and, in most cases, failed to be executed especially in large and unstructured workspaces. To overcome these limitations, a new approach in robotic research called swarm robotics has been actively researched over the last few decades.
ExCom Managerial Meeting
Reported by Khalid Isa
On July 23rd, 2020, IEEE OES Malaysia Chapter organized a managerial meeting with all the executive committees and members. The meeting agenda is to discuss regarding hosting the 12th National Technical Seminar on Unmanned System Technology 2020 (NUSYS’20) Virtual Conference, the new date and venue of the IEEE 9th International Conference on Underwater System Technology: Theory and Applications (USYS 2020/2021), and other activities such as Malaysia Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge, Technical Talk and Distinguished Lecture Program. The meeting was held via Google Meet.