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New research centre for environmental engineering launched

New research centre for environmental engineering launched

A three dimensional view of Auckland city showing how its environment is performing in real time will be one of the first projects to be tackled in a new international collaboration.

The quality of environmental sensing in New Zealand is set to improve following a joint venture between New Zealand’s Unitec and NIWA and China’s Wuhan University and technology company LJDY to set up the Centre of Computational Intelligence for Environmental Engineering (CIEE).

The CIEE will be based at Unitec’s Mt Albert campus and will focus on improved environmental monitoring, using Computational Intelligence, GIS, GPS, 3D Visualization and Internet of Things technologies and data science to provide a clearer picture of how the environment is performing.

The new research centre has three main aims.

Firstly it will offer education in computational technology and environmental engineering and short courses to be run by the different partners through Unitec.

The Centre will also conduct high level collaborative research, and produce intellectual property that will create export opportunities for New Zealand companies who will be involved in the various projects.

Unitec Computing Head of Department Professor Hossein Sarrafzadeh said there is enormous potential for the new CIEE.

“Wuhan University is on China’s top 10 universities list, LJDY is a well-established technology company in China with over 100 technology staff, and NIWA is a high profile Crown Research Institute in New Zealand. These organisations combine with Unitec to form a highly credible team,” he said.

The new centre combines computational intelligence, remote sensing and the Internet of Things capability with environmental engineering to develop tools and technology that will be used to address problems such as air and water quality in New Zealand and China. Using an exciting new 3D modelling system developed by LJDY they can show real time images of a city like Auckland with high accuracy.

“Everyone is very excited about this capability,” Sarrafzadeh said.

“It will take the air quality research we have been doing in collaboration with NIWA to the next level.”

NIWA Chief Executive John Morgan said the collaborative nature of the new venture was one of its greatest strengths.

“We are very much looking forward to participating in this highly innovative venture and being part of exploring export opportunities.

“Using our combined expertise in technology, engineering and applied science is almost certain to lead to exciting innovations.”


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