Transcript of Jaren Ryan Rex’s response during the SOSE Recognition Program for Distinguished Students of 2017

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Response by Jaren Ryan Rex
Magna Cum Laude and Physics Program Awardee
SOSE Recognition Program for Distinguished Students
Leong Hall, 24 May 2017, 10:00 a.m.

Dr. Vilches, Dr. Bautista, esteemed faculty, and fellow students, good morning.

It is an honor to be with you all here today. I am sure we are all delighted to have performed as well as we did to receive our hard-earned grades. At the same time, we are humbled to be blessed with the passion for learning and the cognitive capabilities that have enabled us to excel in our fields. We are also humbled to be in each other’s presence, to see others who have excelled, and to celebrate our collective achievements as a community.

As science majors, we can perhaps all agree that reaching this level of excellence has required a great deal of discipline. Reading our textbooks and other references again and again, until we finally understood the lessons; solving problems late into the night to practice for the upcoming exam; working long hours in the lab to accomplish only a small step in our theses—we’ve all learned how hard work pays off through these experiences.

Sometimes, though, we felt it didn’t pay off—we may have been discouraged from time to time with a substandard performance in a test, a difficult concept we couldn’t understand, or a failed experiment. And many of us have been in a love-hate relationship with our theses, recalling those times when we wanted to scream in utter frustration whenever our programs weren’t running properly, or our simulations produced bad results, or our circuits weren’t working, or the reagents didn’t react as expected, or we didn’t see what we wanted to see under the microscope, or the math simply didn’t check out. At one point, we may have given up on doing our best, and settled for “OK, good enough.” But eventually we would get back on our feet and renew our resolve to excel, no matter what challenges we face.

And here we are now! We’ve hurdled four or five years of hardship and trials, and reaped the best rewards: those flashes of insight when we connect two lessons together, the sweet feeling of winning a champion title in a competition, and the extraordinary experience of getting 100% in a long exam and seeing your raw grade decrease because your previous exam was a 137.5/100.

But as Ateneans, we’ve learned not to let all these achievements get to our head, but rather to share our blessings with others and use our talents to help others in the best way possible. We’ve tutored our block mates and other students who needed help understanding the lessons. We’ve organized projects to spread love and appreciation for the sciences: amazing race-type games with stations demonstrating practical applications of science, talks and fora for experts to share their knowledge and experience, and many, many more. Some of us have even gone out and presented our theses or other projects to various audiences, reminding them of the importance of science in our lives.

This brings us to now. After celebrating our achievements, we ask ourselves: What now? Some of us have well-laid plans as to what to do next. But some of us are still unsure, still exploring our options (and doing feasibility checks on them). And what are we to expect from the outside world? I don’t know. Perhaps we will be continually frustrated by people who refuse to believe in the usefulness and relevance of our fields. Perhaps we will be discouraged by the lack of scientific interest in our own country, or the blatant disregard of it elsewhere in the world.

But as scientists and as Ateneans, we know how to respond. We know the truth about how science is ever-present in life, how science shapes our understanding of nature, our technological developments, and our worldview. And we can assert the importance of our careers, whether they be creating products that put science to good use, or doing research that deepens our understanding of the universe, or inspiring the next generation of scientists. We will not be discouraged by the evils of the world; rather, we shall commit to serving God and the world by continuing to excel in our fields.

Once again, we thank the Ateneo for giving us this opportunity to excel. Wherever we go, we shall inspire others to do the same.

Thank you all.

Jaren Ryan Rex (BS APS/ACS): Magna Cum Laude and Physics Program Awardee for 2017

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From left to right: VP for Loyola Schools Dr. Maria Luz P. Vilches, Physics Department Chair Dr. Raphel Guerrero, SOSE Awardee Jaren Ryan Rex, and SOSE Dean Dr. Evangeline Bautista at the SOSE Recognition Program for Distinguished Students held at Leong Hall Auditorium last 24 May 2017, 10:00 a.m.

by Ellice Dane Ancheta and Quirino Sugon Jr

BS Applied Physics with Applied Computer Systems student Jaren Ryan Rex is one of the students recognized by School of Science and Engineering (SOSE) of Ateneo de Manila University in a Recognition Program for Distinguished Students held in Leong Hall Auditorium last 24 May 2017, 10:00 a.m. Jaren finished Magna Cum Laude and was chosen as the Program Awardee of the Department of Physics. He finished his elementary at Multiple Intelligence International School and his high school at Philippine Science High School Main Campus where he graduated with Highest Honors. Upon entering Ateneo de Manila University for his undergraduate studies, Jaren was given the Fr. Thomas B. Steinbugler, SJ Academic Scholarship, a 100% tuition and fees scholarship for valedictorians from Jesuit and science high schools.

Below is an interview with Jaren Ryan Rex by Ateneo Physics News.

1. Why did you choose Ateneo in college?

It is an interesting piece of information. I was diagnosed with mild Asperger’s syndrome, which means my social and physical skills were underdeveloped. So when deciding where to study for college, my parents and I were discussing whether I would go to UP or Ateneo. We weighed the pros and cons, and we decided that Ateneo would be a more friendly and nurturing environment to help me overcome my challenges better. And I think it did. And also, my choice of a double major course, BS Applied Physics/ BS Applied Computer Systems is only offered here.

2. What was your BS Applied Physics thesis?

In my undergraduate thesis, I simulated typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) several times using the weather model called WRF, short for Weather Research and Forecasting model. The WRF model has many different physical parameters that represent physical assumptions made by the model, such as the amount of air that flows between atmospheric columns, the mixing ratios of different states of water in clouds, and the interaction between the air and the ocean. These are just a few parameters that can be varied in the WRF mode. In my thesis I tried varying all of these to see which parameters caused Haiyan to be most intense. I hoped we would be able to understand more the physics of how Haiyan became so destructive.

For each of these parameters there are different schemes that we set for the parameters, and each parameter affected a different part of the simulation. Some parameters affected the typhoon’s track. Some affected the minimum sea level pressure. Some affected the wind speed. For each parameter, there were settings that produced the most intense typhoon in the simulation: that’s what I assumed to be closest to the actual state of the atmosphere and the ocean during the typhoon. Some settings would make the track very accurate, but the sea level pressure would be too high. It would not be as intense as observed—in fact, very far away from observed intensity. On the other hand, there were settings of the same parameters that made Haiayan more intense but also caused it to deviate far away from its observed track. The model itself could use some improvements.

3. What was your BS Applied Computer Systems thesis?

I got concrete blocks and dropped weights on them so they would crack. I dropped the weight repeatedly and took a picture of the block after I dropped the weight. A new crack would form, and would appear in the picture. I would then have a series of pictures that show how the crack propagates after each impact. Then I would run different image processing operations on the pictures to analyze the properties such as the length and the branching patterns of the cracks. For image processing, I used OpenCV (CV stands for Computer Vision) for Python, which I learned on my own. I did not simulate. All the experiments were actual physical experiments.

I had experiments where I varied the height from which I dropped the weight, to measure the rate at which the crack propagates in relation to the energy of impact. I have another set of experiments where I had different compositions of the concrete. They are mixtures of cement and sand. I varied the ratio of cement to sand by volume. For the experiments where I varied the mixture, I found that pure cement is much weaker compared to mixtures of cement and sand, meaning it cracks with much fewer impacts. The cement-sand mixtures crack after about three times as many impacts as pure cement. But on the other hand, for the cement-sand mixtures, it does not seem to matter how much sand is there. The strength of the block is relatively constant with respect to the amount of sand. For the experiments where I varied the height, I got the obvious results. The blocks crack faster when the weight is dropped from a higher distance, since more energy is input into the block for each impact. And also actually what is interesting is, for the higher impact distance, the crack forms more branches than with lower heights.

Actually I was supposed to predict quantitatively how cracks propagate but my thesis was submitted in a somewhat unfinished state based on the results I was able to produce. My plan was to use the image processing techniques to get a measure of the crack length, crack area and even the speed of propagation. But what I ended up doing was trying so many image processing techniques to isolate the crack in the image. It was hard to find a good algorithm because usually there was a lot of black noise in the image background, making it hard to see the cracks.

I eventually found an image processing technique that makes the crack stands out from the background much more compared to the other image processing technique. It is called bottom-hat filter. I just put in the recommendations that the results of applying the bottom-hat filter can then be analyzed further to extract those quantitative parameters, such as crack length and area. There were a lot of previous studies about image processing of cracks where I found out about the suitability of this kind of image processing. I did not exactly base it on quality control. The intent of this thesis was more of studying how cracks propagate for computational fracture mechanics. I deduce the theory from what is observed.

4. Do you have extra-curricular activities?

I was part of the Ateneo programming varsity team. We competed in programming contests like the ACM-ICPC (Association for Computing Machinery – International Collegiate Programming Contest) among other various local contests. There is also a programming contest hosted by UP Diliman called Algolympics. There are many contests with a similar nature. In programming contest we are usually given problems that have a certain specification and given input. We need to do some computations and process data in some way to produce a certain output. Our goal is to write programs to solve those problems such that whenever you input anything into the program, it will produce the correct output. Most of the time the programming languages we use are limited to C++ and Java.

This semester, I have won two champion titles. One of them is the UP ACM Algolympics. This is by team. (We usually compete in teams.) The other contest was the HP Code Wars. It was hosted by HP (Hewlett-Packard), the company. The way we’re teamed up depends on the circumstances. Most of the time we have the same team for most of our contests, but in some circumstances some members are not available, so teams are shuffled a bit. Sometimes, some members are ineligible, e.g. the HP Code Wars was only for graduating students. So instead of my usual team I was teamed up with other graduating students in the Programming Varisity. The members of the programming varsity are mostly Computer Science majors. I was the only Physics major there. At some point there were two physics majors there, but one of them shifted to Computer Science as well. He was also from my course, BS Applied Physics with BS Applied Computer Systems.

5. Do you have a blog?

I write for leisure but I don’t write regularly for any organizations or school publications. I have a blog on Blogspot, entitled Overcoming. I’ve been posting on this blog since 4th year high school. I’ve written over one hundred posts–mostly just personal reflections.

6. What can you say being in the last batch taking BS APS/ACS program? (Note: the program is still listed in the Registrar and may be offered again.)

I would say it is a little sad. I met freshmen who said this is their dream course. It would have been the course they would take if it was still offered. I believe it was mistake on the part of the Registrar or so I heard. Since last semester, when Dr. Guerrero talked to our batch, he mentioned something about making curriculum for something that could be a replacement for this course. I hope it would be similar or even better.

7. What are your plans after graduation?

One thing I really enjoyed doing apart from studying physics itself is tutoring physics. I have given a lot of tutorials for my block mates in Physics and Math that I have lost count. I even tutored other students in Ateneo who have asked for help in Physics and Math. The tutoring has helped me understand the topics even more and deepened my appreciation for them. Because of this experience in tutorials, I planned to someday return to Ateneo and teach Physics.

After Ateneo, I may take a vacation for a year before working here in RCS (Regional Climate Systems Program of Manila Observatory) where I did my thesis. I have talked to Dr. Gemma Narisma about this already. I shall work there for maybe one or two years to have good working experience. After this, I shall go to graduate school either in Europe or Japan because I want to specialize in Particle Physics. My dream is work with CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). I don’t know how many years I would spend there, but I plan to return to Ateneo to teach physics.

8. Any parting words?

Maybe I would say if anyone asked us for advice about how to being in a Physics major, I think the best I can say is to keep reading not just the lessons you are taking up, but anything that interests you within physics, because that’s how you keep yourself motivated. Practice makes perfect. You develop an intuition on how to solve or approach problems even if you have never seen the problem before.

Ateneo SOSE honors distinguished Physics students of 2017

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The School of Science and Engineering (SOSE) of Ateneo de Manila University held a Recognition Program for Distinguished Students last 24 May 2017, 10:00 a.m., at the Leong Hall Auditorium. According to Dean Evangeline P. Bautista, PhD, the program was made to recognize the students who truly personifies the spirit of magis in the diverse fields of academics, research, leadership, competition, and sports. She hoped that these group of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers would be successful in their fields, so that they can help the country appreciate the value of science and engineering. Jaren Ryan M. Rex, BS Applied Physics with Applied Computer Systems and Magna Cum Laude, gave the response for Honor Students.

Below is the list of awardees from the Physics Department.

A. COMPETITION WINNERS

Paul Ivan B. Ceralde

  • BS Applied Physics with Materials Science and Engineering
  • EAGE Student Awardee, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE), Barcelona, Spain, September 2016
  • 3rd Place, Ateneo Team, national Collegiate Olympiad 2017, Materials Science and Engineering SUMMIT 2017, University of the Philippines

Jansen Keith L. Domoguen

  • BS Applied Physics with Materials Science and Engineering
  • APS Distinguished Student Awardee, American Physical Society (APS), Salt Lake City, Utah, April 2016
  • 3rd Place, Ateneo Team, national Collegiate Olympiad 2017, Materials Science and Engineering SUMMIT 2017, University of the Philippines

Jaren Ryan Rex

  • BS Applied Physics/BS Applied Computer Systems
  • Champion, Team Mobiuchsia
  • UP ACP Algolympics 2017 competitive programming contest, 11 February 2017 at UP Diliman
  • 1st Place, Team Mobius Trips, HPE Code Wars programming competition, 27 February 2017, HP Enterprise office, Eton Centris

Socorro Margarita T. Rodrigo

  • BS Physics
  • Best Student Oral Presentation/Best Student Paper award, 13th Philippine Association of Marine Science (PAMS) National Symposium on Marine Science, General Santos City, 22-24 October 2015
  • 2nd Prize, Undergraduate Basic Research
  • SOSE Outstanding Student Research awards, 2015-2016
  • Youth Delegate, Philippine Delegation, 21st Conference of the Parties (COP2), Paris, France, 30 November to 12 December 2017

B. COUNCIL OF ORGANIZATIONS OF THE ATENEO (COA)

Jomel U. Maroma

  • BS Physics
  • Vice President for Organization Strategies and Research, Executive Board (2016-2017)

C. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CLUSTER (STC)

League of Physicists

Paulo Gonda

  • BS Physics
  • Tesla House Head (2016-2017)
  • AVP for Human Resources (2013-2014)

Joseph Thomas Miclat

  • BS Physics
  • VP for Internal Affairs (2015-2016)
  • VP for Finance (2013-2014)

Kira Lok

  • BS Physics
  • VP for Marketing (2013-2014)

James Hernandez

  • BS Physics
  • VP for Academic Affairs (2014-2016)
  • AVP for Organizational Development (2013-2014)

Jaren Ryan M. Rex

  • BS Applied Physics/BS Applied Computer Systems
  • AVP for Academic Affairs, Services Manager (2013-2014)

Carlex Jose II

  • BS Physics
  • AVP for Internal Special Projects (2013-2014)

Christabel Bucao

  • BS Physics
  • AVP for Academic Affairs, Project Overseer (2013-2014)

D. HONOR STUDENTS

Magna Cum Laude

Jaren Ryan M. Rex

  • BS Applied Physics/BS Applied Computer Systems

Cum Laude

Paul Ivan B. Ceralde

  • BS Applied Physics with Materials Science and Engineering

Jomel U. Maroma

  • BS Physics

Jansen Keith L. Domoguen

  • BS Applied Physics with Materials Science and Engineering

E. DEPARTMENTAL RECOGNITION

Department of Physics

Jaren Ryan M. Rex

  • BS Applied Physics

Novel Applications of Nanomaterials through Material Chemistry and Engineering: a talk by Dr. Joselito Razal of Deakin University

by Marienette M. Vega

The Department of Physics would like to invite you to a talk on the Novel Applications of Nanomaterials through Material Chemistry and Engineering by Dr. Joselito Razal Deputy Director, ARC Future Fibres Hub and Associate Professor, Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University, Australia to be held on 22 June 2017, Thursday, 2:30 pm to 4 pm at CTC 118.

Abstract. Material chemistry aims to engineer nanomaterials to perform novel functions that do not exist in its bulk form. With this engineering framework, nanomaterials have the potential to behave and function differently or more superior than that of conventional macroscopic materials. Recent efforts to implement engineering of surfaces or chemical structure and composition particularly of low-dimensional nanomaterials have provided evidences that this approach can facilitate the design and assembly of novel architectures into useful devices and cater for a wide range of applications in energy, catalysis, sensing, to name a few. In this talk, our recent efforts in developing nanomaterials with tailored properties and functions will be presented. In particular, an emphasis will be placed on our recent developments on two dimensional nanosheets with unique solution behaviour for advanced applications in energy storage and conversion.

About the Speaker. Joselito Razal (Joe) is the Deputy Director of the ARC Future Fibres Hub and an Associate Professor at the Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University. He is best known for his research on novel functional nanomaterials for flexible and wearable energy storage and energy harvesting applications. Joe developed the toughest synthetic fibres using carbon nanotubes during his PhD studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, which have led to the development of many types of strong and tough nanomaterial-based fibres. These fibres are also multi-functional. They can store and convert energy, and sense external stimuli such as movement and pressure. These fibres have the potential to be integrated into wearable devices, portable electronics, and smart textiles. More recently, he has studied other types of low-dimensional materials including graphene, for which he discovered that achieving large aspect ratio nanosheets allows for fine-tuning of solution behaviour. This discovery has direct implications on solution-based processing of novel 3D materials produced by 3D printing and fibre spinning technologies. This research has helped many other scientists take advantage of this unique behaviour to improve processability of many nanosheets. For his pioneering works, he was awarded a Future Fellowship by the Australian Research Council in 2013. Since then, he has been leading a team of research fellows and graduate students, and working with several industry partners alongside his collaborators in Australia and overseas.

Delay tolerant network front-end application for disaster risk reduction by Jherrielloyd Yao and Carlex Jose (BS APS-ACS)

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Carlex Randolph Jose and Jherrielloyd Lourrenz Yao (BS APS-ACS) at Interlinks 13.0 last May 5, 2017. Their poster is entitled, “Design and implementation of a delay tolerant network front-end application for disaster risk reduction.”

by Ellice Dane Ancheta, Sunshine Indias, and Quirino Sugon Jr

Last 5 May 2017, BS Applied Physics / Applied Computer Systems students Jherrielloyd Lourrenz Yao and Carlex Randolph Jose presented a poster at Interlinks 13.0 on their research entitled, “Design and implementation of a delay tolerant network front-end application for disaster risk reduction,” which is one of the disaster-related projects of the Ateneo Innovation Center. In his Physics thesis last year, Yao worked on interpolation methods for rainfall data in Metro Manila under Dr. James Simpas, while Jose worked on volume holographic reconstruction of Bessel beams at multiple wavelengths under Dr. Raphael Guerrero.

Below is an interview with Jherrielloyd Yao and Carlex Jose by Ateneo Physics News.

1. How did you arrive in Ateneo?

Yao: I graduated from Philippine Science Central Visayas Campus in Cebu. I chose Ateneo because it is a top school. My choices were Ateneo and UP. I passed UPCAT but I had no course in UP. My chosen course there was Materials Engineering. My first choice of course in the Ateneo is also BS APS MSE (BS in Applied Physics / Material Science and Engineering). It was in second year that I chose ACS. So I shifted. I am more interested in programming and electronics. I felt that MSE is too heavy with Chemistry, which is not exactly my favorite.  I was inclined to take science courses. I had three choices, some of the major branches of science: biology, chemistry and physics. I chose physics because it is more general, with more applications. I think it offers more choices in the future in terms of jobs. Also there are more grad school courses I can pursue given a physics background.

Jose: I graduated from Philippine Science Eastern Visayas campus in Leyte. I took both the UP and Ateneo entrance exams. For both universities, I chose physics. I actually couldn’t decide confidently between UP and Ateneo. But Ateneo offered a 100% scholarship. So nothing against UP, but Ateneo is a better choice financially. That is why I am here. On physics, one of the factors is that the coolest people I look up to are our physics professors. So I had appreciation for physics already. Also, the topic seems more interesting by how rudimentary the whole thing is compared to the other sciences.

2. What was your physics thesis about?

Yao: My study was about interpolation methods for rainfall data in Metro Manila under Dr. James Simpas. The usual setup involves weather stations with rain gauges measuring rainfall in specific points on the map every five minutes. However, the dense network of weather station has a minimum radius of 5 km across stations, which leaves the points in between stations with no data. Interpolation methods aim to address the lack of data for a given study area by generating estimates at points with no weather station. Multiple studies have been conducted involving interpolation methods for other areas or countries with different conditions, climate, topography, etc. All of them conclude different results: no interpolation method will work well for all cases. I have assessed a few of the common interpolation methods for my thesis – Nearest Neighbor, Cubic, and Inverse Distance Weighting (IDW) – and I have evaluated the results through correlation and root mean squared errors. I have also developed an interpolation method which worked better than the ones mentioned earlier. It is a hybrid method combining IDW and Successive Over relaxation (SOR). SOR is an iterative approach commonly used to solve potentials in electromagnetics. With some modifications and integration with the IDW, it has been used to generate rainfall values on a map of Metro Manila.  

Jose: I worked with Bessel beams with the Photonics lab under Dr. Raphael Guerrero. My thesis is entitled “Volume Holographic Reconstruction of Bessel Beams at Multiple Wavelengths” Basically, what I did was I would store Bessel beams at  a specific wavelength in a Lithium Niobate Crystal. Lithium Niobate Crystal (LiNbO3:Fe) is a photorefractive crystal in nature. I have the holographic data stored using red light at 633 nm wavelength, while reconstruction was performed using three different wavelengths: 633, 612, and 604 nm. I have not published my paper yet. The big deal about Bessel beams is that it is an interesting topic. Bessel light beams have a property of being non-diffractive over a certain distance, unlike plane waves (which are also non-diffracting) and Gaussian waves that spread out. An ideal Bessel beam possesses a well-defined central spot surrounded by concentric ring. It should be non-diffractive over infinity, which means that the central core would remain the same, without expanding, over an infinite distance. A true Bessel beam is impossible to create, what we work instead with are beams that are Bessel-like, these beams possess Bessel properties over a distance. They are called Bessel-like beams because their central core barely widens over a particular distance. With that, they have a property of self-healing even with obstruction partially covering the beam. The beam has the capability restore itself. Using photorefractive crystals like LiNbO3 crystal is another way of storing memory. An advantage of using the LiNbO3 crystal is that it is capable of storing 100 bits/um^2. Unlike conventional optical and magnetic data where information is processed serially (bit by bit), holographic data is processed in parallel (by blocks of data) with the capability to cache and retrieve multiple information blocks simultaneously.

3. What was your Applied Computer Systems thesis?

For this project, we were operating under possible conditions of the aftermath of a disaster. There might be limited resources due to damaged infrastructure, cut power lines, and downtime of basic telecommunication services. Given this backdrop, what we did is to develop a system to enable responders to communicate effectively under these limitations of a disaster scenario (no 3G, internet, or signal). Our main goal is to enable efficient and reliable communication systems even without the infrastructures we usually rely on for this purpose. We want to make it possible for responders to have a communication system which can assist them in sending images, audio clips, text messages, among other features that speed up the process of sending necessary information they might need in responding to the situation. That is the gist of the problem.

What we developed is an application that would implement the DTN (Delay tolerant network) system. Basically, DTN is a bundle transmission system where you do not have to wait for a secure line to send the message across. There is no end-to-end communication that is required. This transmission is unlike phone calls, wherein the phone call actually starts only if both ends have to acknowledge that they are ready to take the call. For the DTN, you are just sending information out whenever you have a chance and hope it gets to its destination. This is good in disaster scenarios because responders are moving dynamically and conducting operations always. It could be messy. For example, 20 people moving independently from one another are contained in a zone as in a protocol during disaster. With each DTN, each one of those 20 people can take information or data from their phones, and contact other responders when needed. Information is gathered in each device and bumping will occur as two phones meet. The exchange of information happens by mere proximity, by using their adhoc wifi capability. Most smartphones have the capability to set up its own network or “hotspot”. If the phones are close enough, they share information they gathered. For example, information can go from my phone to your phone and on to other phones until it reaches the phone that collects all the data in the zone. The phone that collects all the data in the zone is called an aggregator. Over time, as enough information is collected, a passing data ferry (VHub or UAV) along the zone can take that information and transmit it further. Its eventual destination will be in mission control, where decisions and instructions can be sent out to responders.

The mission control is the backbone wherein all information is sent and processed to assess disaster management, the other team–Dane Ancheta’s team–is working on this. Our work is more focused on those responders in the field. The responders then will be working with an application for communication and information sharing without the use of internet, but using the adhoc wifi instead.

4. What programming languages did you use?

For this project we used Android Java. The Delay Tolerant Network (DTN) part is the starting point and the foundation of our work. We started with IBR-DTN (developed by Institut für Betriebssysteme und Rechnerverbund), an existing application which we used for this purpose. What we did is we started from this application and modified it to suit our needs. Originally, what the application can do was send audio messages. We added several capabilities and functions to this, such as image sending, text messages, and appending text information to the image in Exif (Exchangeable image file format) file. Metadata such as GPS and notes are stored in this Exif file. Local face detection was also added on the app. This local face detection lessens the delay and work of the mission control group. This is possible because images taken on the field is immediately processed by the face detection capability, therefore, it does not have to spend time being sent and processed by mission control. Other functions include GPS and radio frequency module capability because the data ferry (the UAV) would pass by the zone, and get the information from the aggregator node. The communication is done in the 760MHz bandwidth, however we are exploring using 915 MHz. The team also wants to explore using LoRa (long range) communication for this purpose because this allows for the transmission of information farther distance in the kilometers range. However the trade-off for reaching a farther distance is that it will have a weaker transmission rate.

5. How did you choose your topic?

This project was already initiated and worked upon before we came in the lab. There have been a lot of collaborations and planning with external groups outside Ateneo, such as Toyota InfoTech Japan and some sectors in the government, as far as we know. This thesis is a part of the bigger project of the Ateneo Innovations Center (AIC) which is the Multi-Platform ICT Decision Support System UAVs, Vehicle Hubs, Ubiquitous Computing for Disaster Risk Reduction. We are just contributing to this bigger project. While our team is working on communication for the field responders, Dane and her team are working on mission control, receiving and processing all the data aggregated to them. There is also another group working on data ferries, which makes use of the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). It is easier to use UAV for disaster scenarios as it is easier for it to go from place to place. There is also another group that works on flight simulation for the UAV flights.  

6. How are projects done in Ateneo Innovation Center?

There are many small tasks for all of the researchers. Working in the lab, especially in big active labs such as the Ateneo Innovations Center (AIC), requires a lot of collaboration and contribution from each one. A lot of our work intersects with the other group. Some results are based on their findings and the other way around. In a way, we are one big group, but each of us have our own focus. Other than the actual project itself, there were little side quests or tasks that we had to do. Eventually these small tasks would add up and contribute a great deal to the project.

7. What were some of the difficulties you encountered while working on your thesis?

Yao: It was difficult to shift from physics to communications. We had to learn by doing. There were expected outputs, and we had to learn how to do it on the spot. For example, we had to learn Android for our thesis which we started working on for the first semester. However, Android programming is offered in the second semester. We had to do a lot of research and reading. We try to understand and study existing apps because we could use some of the information for our thesis. We are given a shorter time for the ACS subjects and even the thesis is done in 2 semesters–part of which is our integration to the lab.

Jose: To be honest, the bulk of the work is programming, like we have to design the concept and  use-cases. My work there is objective: it involves coming up with a plan of action on how to solve it. We are designing a system and we have the available technology. We know what devices or software we want to use. The objective there is to make everything work together or how to make everything function properly–that is the aspect which is more physics-related. After that you, sit down and code for hours or days or months. Every time that here is something the team wishes to add, you have to adjust everything again.

8. Where do you go from here?

Jose: For our research in the Ateneo Innovations Center (AIC), we are sure that there will be people in AIC who will continue it, considering that there is a long term vision for this work. As for myself, I am not sure yet whether I will continue studying such as taking up a Master’s degree or PhD. But I  have also been looking at employment offers. I feel both are equally interesting. It is difficult to separate physics from the IT stuff.  You can think of it (IT) as being deeply in the physics realm as well. Unless it is hardcore programming, but even then, it is fun for me or challenging enough for me. So far I had taken an exam and an interview for work. There is no transaction yet.

Yao: I am really not sure. Perhaps I will work for a while then study further. Regarding the study, I am interested in the Toyota Motor Philippines School of Technology (TMP Tech). They have a school and it is in house meaning you could live there. I find it interesting because I like to tinker with stuff. Although I have not explored cars, I actually don’t know anything about cars but I want to build stuff.  With that in mind, I am also interested in Aeronautics–if not, robotics, but it is heavy on engineering. I still lack the knowledge. Definitely I am sure I will do Masters.  I am not sure what course yet but it will have to be related to physics or ACS.

9. How do you feel about being the last ACS batch?*

Jose: I shifted from pure physics to applied physics with computer systems. The department should rethink freezing ACS and bring it back because there might be students, like me, who will want to shift into the course.

Yao: I think the ACS track is a good course. It is a good combination because it incorporates programming, engineering and communications to complement our background in physics. I don’t know why they removed it. We shifted to ACS from other courses in physics.

*(Note: Though the Physics Department has not offered the BS APS/ACS program for two years, it still exists in Registrar’s records. The Physics and Chemistry Departments may revive the ACS program soon. BS APS/ACS is a rebranding of the BS Physics with Computer Engineering (BS PS/CE) which started in 1985.)

10. Do you have any parting words or advice?

Jose: Well as for advice, I feel like it would be reckless if I speak and I invoke my 5th amendment right (“right to remain silent”). All I can say is, “You do you.” Do what you think is best. There is no one course of action in or after college. I have seen people prosper in doing things I would advice otherwise. I don’t doubt my decisions but I might take it back at some point. Well, let’s see. It is difficult to advice because you can’t really say if it is going to be a success story. It might be too early to speak.

Yao: Pursue your dreams. We are proud to have earned our degrees because it is a proof of what we have learned in college for the last five years. It means that we are out to start a new phase in life. 

ateneophysicsnews_responders_aggregators_adhoc_wifi_201700609.png

In a disaster area, the DTN responders are grouped by zones and are connected by the adhoc wifi network. For each zones (green areas) there are responders limited by proximity. The red circles are the data aggregators. The blue dots are the responders on the ground doing their task, linked to each other by the adhoc. Each zone will have a leader. The leader will make decisions on where to go and when to dispatch instructions to the team. In this context, the work assigned to the leader is to be the aggregator to collect information. The aggregator entails having the RF module connected to the android phone, which will collect information from phones and responders to pass it on to incoming data ferries (UAV). Through this process of receiving and sending information, there will be links to other DTN groups in other zones, and lastly the information on the group through the bumping of data, will eventually reach mission control.