Dr Daniel Xu

Casual Academic

School of Elect Engineering and Computer Science (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Daniel Rampling

Career Summary

Daniel is an experienced commercial lawyer with over 11 years in private practice and in-house legal environments

Daniel works closely with NIER on major research projects and industry collaboration.  He also utilises his previous workplace relations experience to provide support to our Human Resources Team.

Qualifications

Daniel completed his Bachelor of Arts / Laws at the University in 2003 and is currently studying to obtain a Masters of Intellectual Property.

Daniel Rampling

Daniel is an experienced commercial lawyer with over 11 years in private practice and in-house legal environments.

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Daniel Bell

Experience

Daniel is a currently a Senior Legal Counsel in the Legal Office.

Daniel has extensive experience in construction law, property law and procurement.  Daniel also regularly provides advice on commercial contracts, information technology, administrative law, intellectual property and governance issues. Daniel has acted for a diverse range of clients from both the public and private sectors.

Daniel has developed a thorough understanding of the Higher Education Sector and the specific needs of tertiary institutions.  Daniel currently focuses most of his time on matters for the Resources Division, progressing large University projects such as the University's expansion into the city and its outsourcing of maintenance services.

During his time at The University, Daniel has provided advice to the executive staff and University Council in relation to:

  • Preparation and dispute resolution of construction contracts
  • Review and preparation of tender documentation
  • Preparation and negotiation of commercial/retail leases
  • Preparation and dispute resolution of information technology contracts
  • University by-laws, delegations, policies and procedures
  • Controlled entities – constitutions and management agreements
  • Procedural fairness and administrative processes
  • Complaints, academic misconduct and student grievances
  • Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 and Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998
  • Administrative Decisions Tribunal
  • Compliance with higher education legislation
  • Funded research agreements and commercialisation of University intellectual property

Qualifications

  • Unrestricted Principal's Practicing Certificate (NSW)
  • Admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of New South Wales
  • Admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (The Australian National University)
  • Bachelor of Laws (The University of Newcastle)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Hons) (The University of Newcastle)

Daniel Bell

Daniel is a currently a Senior Legal Counsel in the Legal Office.

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Cause for pause: Hopping from hardwires to no wires at all

Identifying a gap between our theoretical understanding of wireless senso-actuator network technology and its real-world applications, Associate Professor Daniel Quevedo is seeking to remedy shortfalls of time-honoured paradigms in engineering science and bridge 'what is' with 'what could be'.

Associate Professor Daniel Quevedo 

Associate Professor Daniel Quevedo is a problem solver. Combining elements of systems control, signal processing, and wireless communications to develop original, high-performance engineering designs, he is also scientifically curious about everyday technology.

'My research is about finding ways to enhance the existing uses of embedded processors for the control of networked systems,' he explains.

'I want to enable novel functionality too.'

Building on the emergence of networked systems, as well as what we already know about associated wireless and computational technology, Quevedo is looking to provide solid theoretical foundations and practical solutions for real-world problems. Similarly addressing the current challenges these new technologies present, the Chilean native is duly working to revise contemporary understanding of industrial control processes and cyberphysical systems.

'It is by no means clear how to harness their potential,' he admits.

'A common thread is that many of the standard paradigms which allow the separation of computation, communications, and control are no longer valid.'

Quevedo began addressing such inadequacies when he moved to Australia to undertake a PhD in 2001.

Opting to study a specific class of engineering design problem where decision variables are limited to a prescribed set of values, his approach complemented elements of systems control with those of signal processing and information theory. Quevedo also sought to design model predictive controllers for power electronics during his candidateship, working within available constraints to improve future and current energy conversion methods. In doing so, he opened the door to access a variety of situations where traditional methods have only been able to give partial and unsatisfactory answers.

'I was able to formulate and resolve design problems within a solid quantised control framework,' he declares.

'This allows for powerful solutions to be obtained in a systematic manner.'

From stumbling blocks to stepping stones

Chiefly interested in understanding how we can take full advantage of networked control system technology in factory settings, the engineering scientist is looking at ways to replace outdated hardwired communication links.

'The advantages of wireless are enormous,' he enthuses.

'It's much easier to install and maintain, it saves space and weight, and it increases system flexibility.'

'Wireless devices can also be placed where wires cannot go, as well as where power sockets are not available.'

To design new closed loop control systems so that they work over the current protocols for wireless communications, Quevedo is studying measurements of wireless sensors set up in factories and other buildings. He is also in the process of building a mathematical model of the situation and investigating the types of optimisations needed to achieve efficient operation.

'Our key challenge is to overcome the bottlenecks caused by limitations in communication and computational resources,' he states.

'But we still need to respect fundamental stability and performance limitations.'

International industry engagement

Quevedo has also had a hand in research that led to two international patents.

The first saw him collaborate with Ericsson to develop power control and algorithms for cellular systems. Working on the basic condition that increased power usage leads to decreased battery life, the team analysed mobile phone activity at Ericsson's base stations to better understand network tradeoffs and their implications for the average user. Also wanting to avoid associated problems with system overload, they formulated a precise balance between sustained cellular reception and power usage.

'To make efficient use of available resources, these controls are essential,' Quevedo says.

The trilinguist's more recent patent similarly underlies many industrial applications. This time collaborating with ABB Corporate Research Switzerland, a global leader in automation and power technologies, Quevedo modified existing control designs to boost the performance of power converters in renewable energy and smart grid contexts.

Well-travelled and well-equipped

Juggling publications in top international journals, external thesis examinations for universities in Germany and France, as well as expert assessments for the Australian Research Council and Chilean Commission of Scientific Technological Research, Quevedo is soon set to throw a few more responsibilities into the mix. Having just been named runner-up in the Engineering and Technology Category for the 2014 Scopus Young Researcher of the Year Awards, this list of accomplishments is vast and ongoing.

Perhaps most impressively, next year he will give a semi-plenary talk at the International Federation of Automatic Control Conference on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control. Quevedo is also Editor of the International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control, Associate Editor of the Australian Control Conference, and was a member of PhD Candidacy Examination Committees at Notre Dame University in the United States and Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

Long-term logistics

Believing networked control systems should 'simply work,' even in the presence of uncertainties in availability of energy, computation and communication resources, Quevedo anticipates a winding road ahead for engineering science and related technology fields.

'It will all come down to how well we're able to translate the plug-and-play functionality of the Internet to these distributed systems,' he says.

'We'll need to learn from established design techniques and develop new ones.'

Associate Professor Daniel Quevedo

Cause for pause: Hopping from hardwires to no wires at all

Identifying a gap between our theoretical understanding of wireless senso-actuator network technology and its real-world applications, Associate Professor Dani

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Mediating cultural differences

Dr Daniela Heil's anthropological expertise is helping to understand the impact of cultural differences on the health of indigenous communities.

Mediating Cultural Differences

Dr Daniela Heil first started working with an Aboriginal community in Central Western NSW in 1997 as part of her PhD-related anthropological fieldwork and since then has developed lifelong relationships with Indigenous communities and people.

Her strong connection has given her great insight into why the health system is letting down Aboriginal people.

"Often non-Aboriginal policy makers refer to the way health care providers should behave in terms of 'cultural appropriateness', but this term has been coined from a non-Indigenous perspective," Dr Heil said.

"Instead Aboriginal people judge healthcare in terms of 'cultural safety'. They place a greater emphasis on what they have experienced over time, how they feel and how their feelings are addressed," she said.

With health statistics showing poor outcomes for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders, including life expectancies of up to 15 years below those of non-Indigenous Australians, Heil's work has illustrated that such cultural differences are major factors in explaining why mainstream health interventions are not embraced by Aboriginal peoples in the same ways.

Heil, a researcher from the Faculty of Education and Arts, has built on her PhD research to address the question of whether the distinctive characteristics of Indigenous cultures can be successfully accommodated in health policy and practice, in Indigenous peoples' terms.

Her work, which has been published in the British Social Science and Medicine Journal, titled "Conceptualizing "risk taking" in Australian Aboriginal health" looks at discrepancies between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspective on health and wellbeing.

"Health providers need to look at Aboriginal perspectives in terms of what do they want and why they resist culturally appropriate terminology. They also need to look at risk management with patients – how health providers talk about risk and consider from the Aboriginal perspective what it means to do risky things," Dr Heil said.

Dr Heil says it's not that Indigenous people don't care about their health; it's just that they place a greater importance on others so putting their health first can end up contradicting their cultural values.

"If their doctors says 'you must take your medication – it's your priority', that order might contradict ten other social obligations that are their priority in culturally oriented terms. That is, for Aboriginal Australians greater emphasis is placed on responsibilities for family, so if they are seen to be putting their individual selves first, it's about risking and jeopardising the social acceptance of their kin," Dr Heil said.

The outcomes of Dr Heil's work contribute to informing health care policy formation with a greater emphasis on extended family networks and considerations for the differing local issues in each Indigenous community.

"If someone gets five minutes of advice on how to be healthy and then goes home and can't incorporate that into their life, it makes no difference. I'm proposing if you take the time to explain health care issues in culturally safe ways, even though it might cost more to do it properly in the long run, it will actuallyhave a significant affect on Indigenous health outcomes," Dr Heil said.

As an interesting side project, since 2006 Dr Heil has studied a relatively new phenomenon where German parents use Ukraine surrogates to give birth to the biological children of the former.

"Couples fly to the Ukraine where egg and sperm are implanted into surrogates, who then give birth nine months later," she said. "As soon as the child is born the parents go to Germany, get a passport issued, the mother says that she gave birth to the child in the Ukraine, then they fly home."

"I'm interested in it in terms of legality. In Germany it's illegal because the surrogate gave birth – they don't accept that the biological mother has given birth. The German government is trying to deal with how to accept these children and it will have consequences later when the children decide to marry as they do not have a proper birth certificate to this point in time," Dr Heil said.

Dr Heil's work in this area will soon be featured in the Cambridge Anthropology journal.

Mediating Cultural Differences

Mediating cultural differences

Daniela Heil's anthropological expertise is helping to understand the impact of cultural differences on the health of indigenous communities.

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Dr Daniel Xu

Position

Casual Academic
Center for Intelligent Electricity Networks (CIEN)
School of Elect Engineering and Computer Science
Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment

Focus area

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Contact Details

Email daniel.xu@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4033 9181

Office

Room A922
Building NIER Building-Block A
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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