18 February
2010

I was at Memorial University in Newfoundland giving at talk. In addition to visiting people in the Computer Science Department like Professors Sharene Bungay and Andrew Vardy, I also spent some time with Ralf Bachmayer (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; Marine Institute) as well as some other faculty members. In addition to a generally-robust general computer science program, there is a lot going on there related to Oceanography, Underwater Robotics and general topics related to the sea. That's no big surprise given the location of the school on the Eastern Seaboard, the historical dependence of the Newfoundland economy on the sea, and the relative lack of other non-maritime industries in the area. As a result, they have unparalleled resources for ocean studies.

Among the interesting things was a huge ice tank at the National Research Council (NRC) Institute for Ocean Technology (IOT) (distinct from Memorial). I believe it is the biggest such tank anywhere in the world. The IOT is a secure facility, but I had a chance to look around inside. There are several projects there that are under wraps, including contract work for America's Cup sailing teams. The ice tank is extremely large, 3 metres deep, 90 m long, contains 3.5 million litres of water and can be cooled off to produce a layer of ice of a specific thickness and texture, which can then be used to test the ice worthiness of ship designs. Want a huge basin covered with 4cm think ice? Just give them a day to make it for you.


In the wave tank they have there, they can use 168 computer-controlled wave panels positioned around the basin to reproduce a large variety of ocean conditions. This tank is not as deep of the one I saw in Rio de Janiero a while ago, but more controllable.

They also have a selection of Seagliders, a model of a military submarine that can be used for certain types of open-water testing, and lots of other activities.


By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
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