GUtech students finalize their car for the Shell Eco-marathon

BARKA The GUtech team Magalodon is currently preparing for the Asia Shell Eco-marathon to take place between 16-19 March in Singapore. A GUtech team comprising of six Engineering students and one Computer Science student will participate for the third time in the Asian competition that was held in Manila (Philippines) in the last two years. Their newly developed car will to be shipped to Singapore in a few days. Their challenge will be to drive the longest distance while using only 1 l of diesel. The GUtech team will compete in the category prototype diesel, against more than 100 other student teams. There are just a few days left for the training of the conditions. Prior to their departure, the team members and their advising Engineering professor had time to speak about their preparations and the special driving strategy.

“Compared to the past two years many features were improved. The new car is around 30 per cent lighter and it has a transparent cover, which facilitates the driving,” said Mohamed Salman, the team leader. The material of the body and chassis is aluminium and carbon fibre. The students hope that their ideas and inventions can contribute to building lighter and eco-friendlier cars in future.

For the first time an Omani female GUtech student, Al Shifa Al Hadi, will drive the GUtech eco-car. Al Shifa who has been studying Computer Sciences at GUtech has developed a special software that controls the motor and the friction, which are crucial for saving fuel. “Low friction bearings need to be employed. To save fuel during the competition the driver will need to be well-informed, applying the correct driving method where no unnecessary braking or acceleration should be involved. Moreover, the type of petrol is important,” said Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis of the Department of Engineering at GUtech. Bouzakis advised the team during their preparation for the Eco-Marathon. “Generally diesel is much more efficient than gasoline, but it is causing harmful fine particulate matter emissions,” he said.

Last year, after passing all the technical checks and improving the different features the GUtech students team drove a specific fuel consumption of 0.6 l per 100 km. Around 100 teams participated in the Shell Eco-marathon in previous years, but many failed the inspection tests and therefore were not accepted for the race.

The GUtech Eco-marathon team is sponsored by Oman Air, Oman Cables and Europoles Middle East. Shell Oman and GUtech are also extensively supporting the team.

Why Pursue Graduate Studies? – A Panel Discussion held at GUtech

BARKA Pursuant to the success of its programme of Student Awards for the Advancement of Post-Graduate Education in Oman, Occidental Oman continues its series of Student Seminars to better align the industry needs and the academia on post graduate studies. To answer the question “Why Pursue Graduate Studies?” the first student seminar with speakers from the energy industry, academia and the government took place on 21 February at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech).

Prominent key speakers were Steve Kelly, President and General Manager of Oxy Oman, Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech, Dr. Saif A. Al-Hiddabi, Assistant Secretary General for Programs & Scientific Research at The Research Council (TRC) as well as Dr. Fatima Al Hajri, Director of the Graduate Survey at the Ministry of Higher Education, and Maher Al Wahaibi of be’ah, energy company. The panel discussion was moderated by Dyala Sabbagh, Chief Operating Officer of Gulf Intelligence. All panellists brought forward their experience-based knowledge in their respective fields.

“Undergraduate studies give you a solid basis for the job,” said Steve Kelly of Oxy Oman. He stressed that Oxy Oman focuses on training graduates on the job and moulding them according to their industry needs. On the other hand, Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell mentioned that GUtech educates students to become flexible, independent graduates, who can apply research methods, who know how to tackle problems and how to solve them. To get training on the job all GUtech students have to conduct at least three months internships during their studies. Dr. Saif Al Haddabi stressed that the idea of life-long learning is necessary for creating a knowledge-based economy in Oman, and which links the industry, academia and the government. Dr. Fatima Al Hajri mentioned that the labor market in Oman currently requires mainly Diploma or Bachelor degree holders. Therefore, a phenomenon of ‘over-education’ has been created in some fields in the past years.

This afternoon seminar served as an ideal dialogue platform where students, professors, and representatives from the oil and gas industry and the government met to discuss different opportunities and challenges related to post graduate studies and their subsequent career options for students in Oman and in the region. The next student-centred panel discussion will be held at Sultan Qaboos University in the coming months.

A Young Innovator talk for Generation Z held at the British School Muscat

MUSCAT During an inspiring, motivational talk held at the British School Muscat yesterday Assoc. Professor Basel Dayyani, Department of Computer Science at the Germany University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) encouraged the young school students to think as inventors, creating ideas from an early age onwards, while helping to solve everyday problems. Computer Science is not only about programming but about “how to think” about problems our world is facing, said Prof. Basel Dayyani, during an afternoon talk entitled “The Young Innovator”.

Inventions could be “anything that makes you more comfortable in everyday life. Anything that brings comfort and is easy to use,” he said. “Once you like doing something it becomes fun and you can achieve many things. For example, I love to code with artificial intelligence,” he said. Currently Prof. Basel is involved in many projects such as programming software for Machine Learning as well as for the financial and health sector, e.g. for cancer detection. Professor Basel stressed that technology has become the second nature of the Generation Z, those born after 1997. At the same time it is important to play games, to do sports and to read in order to enhance the production of neurones in our brains and therefore to enhance imagination. “When children play with toys it is not a waste of time.”

Prof Basel Dayyani graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder from the Center of Astrodynamics Research. He is a former NASA scientist. He has worked on mapping the gravity field of Earth at NASA. He also worked in Silicon Valley/ California (USA) and he has over 30 years of experience in the software industry in different engineering fields, working for IBM, Microsoft, Parametric Technology, Synopsys and Unisys. During the talk Prof. Basel showed a short video about the NASA Mars exploration that started in the 1980s; Prof. Basel was part of the initial team that started its research about Mars already around 30 years back.

Looking back on his own work and career path, he had some strong and clear messages for the young innovators in the classroom. To achieve certain goals, patience, hard work and failures are essential. “To train for the World Cup you have to train hard,” he said while adding that failures are important for the entire learning process. “You will fail many times, but the tenth time you will succeed – do not give up. You learn from your failures. Keep on going until you find the solution,” he said, encouraging the students to pursue their ideas.

Prof. Basel Dayyani is teaching Software Engineering and programming at GUtech. The BSc in Computer Sciences at GUtech is a four year programme with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Information Systems.