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The Faculty of Engineering has bolstered its leadership ranks following the respective naming of three new Heads of Schools and the inaugural hiring of a director to oversee its Digital Sciences Initiative.
Professor Joachim Gudmundsson has been named the new Head of the School of Computer Science and is no stranger to the task having served previously as interim Head.
Professor Gudmundsson is a SOAR Fellow whose research focuses on developing effective algorithms and data structures for geometric data. In particular, he analyses movement - of people, of animals, of traffic - of anything for which we want to know more about movement patterns.
“In a time when computer science is leading the digitalisation of society, it is an exciting opportunity for me to lead a school with huge potential and with passionate and ambitious academics who are world leaders in their fields,” said Professor Gudmundsson.
“My vision is to continue attracting top research talent to the School of Computer Science, to provide our future tech leaders with an outstanding education, and to make the school more inclusive and supportive which will allow staff to pursue their passion for teaching and research.”
Additionally, fellow SOAR Fellow Professor Ali Abbas has been named Acting Head of the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Professor Abbas already oversees the Waste Transformation Research Hub aimed at addressing the waste industry’s research and technological challenges, and completed his Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering) degree at the University of Sydney in 2004.
“I am thrilled to be leading the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering during an exciting period where the discipline of chemical engineering is making important contributions towards net zero, circular economy, low emissions technologies, resources, food futures, digital, process systems engineering and biological engineering,” said Professor Abbas.
“I am proud to be working with the School’s talented researchers to strengthen these areas and create impact. My view of the strategic long-term direction for this school is focused on growth that betters both it and its members sustainably, collaboratively, resiliently and compassionately, though education, research, leadership and engagement, and governance.”
Professor Liyong Tong rounds out the announced appointments after being named the new Head of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering.
Having initially joined the university in 1995, Professor Tong’s primary research interest lies in the analysis, design and manufacturing of multi-scale and functional composite and smart materials and structures.
“I am humbled by my appointment and look forward to working together with the many talented researchers and staff to increase our standing as the top school in the country for mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering and mechatronic engineering,” said Professor Tong.
“To do this, we must not only increase our research quality and impact, but also continue nurturing the next generation of engineering leaders.”
The Faculty of Engineering has also appointed Professor Stefan Williams as the inaugural Director of its Digital Sciences Initiative.
Professor Williams is a member of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics and completed his Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering) degree at the University of Sydney in 2001. He most recently served as the Head of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering.
His research is focused on marine robotics, specifically the development and deployment of autonomous underwater vehicles whose visual and acoustic sensors can gather data for the purpose of generating high-resolution 3D models of underwater marine environments.
“I am very pleased to be taking up the role of Director of the Digital Sciences Initiative (DSI),” said Professor Williams.
“The DSI aims to build a strategic and pre-eminent position for the University of Sydney in research, education and external engagement in the digital sciences and forms a major plank of the Faculty of Engineering strategy.
“We have developed mission-oriented research programs that bring together researchers from across the institution working in areas of digital agriculture, medical imaging, defence, data-centric engineering, cyber-physical systems, energy, advanced manufacturing and materials.
“We are also reforming our engineering and computer science degrees to embed digital at the heart of all of our teaching programs.
“This is an exciting time for the digital sciences, and we are looking forward to tackling fundamental research challenges in the digital domain and working closely with industry and community partners in exploring its impact on business processes and society at large.”
High school students from across the country spent six days gaining hands-on engineering experience and getting to know the University of Sydney thanks to Engineering Aid Australia's Indigenous Australian Engineering School.
At the Faculty of Engineering, students are applying their engineering abilities and knowledge to advance technologies, gain real-world experience, and find creative and sustainable solutions to everyday challenges.