Monday, 11 May 2015

UTP WILL BE LIKE MIT IN 5 YEARS





A friend who read my FB status about UTP will be like MIT in 5 years time asked, what is the plan, what is the mechanism that going to make this possible?

I answered by telling that it is the dynamic environment at UTP that going to make it possible.

You see, people at UTP are small in numbers thus it is easier to build the momentum and the momentum is there already.

Based on my observation, people in UTP are trained to work towards a common goal and it has been emphasized that along the away, continuos knowledge acquirement is one of the important keys to success.

Thus, wanting to learn more has been in the DNA of UTP and walla! this what we need.

So here is the plan. Me and my colleagues will make REVISION amongst ourselves on the fundamental topics i.e. engineering mathematics, mechanics and dynamics, finite element method and some computer programming. This all we need because other research knowledge and experience we got already.

With full commitment (not full time though, we will find times for this full commitment), we can cover these topics in two years. Meaning, after two years we will be equipped with the knowledge possesed by the supervisors at MIT.

The next three years is when we are going to put the knoweldge into action through research supervision and by the end of fifth year we can expect research output of MIT level.

So this is the plan. It is possible/feasible because of the dynamic environment at UTP that emphasizes on:

1. Working towards a common goal

2. The importance of continuous learning

On top, we are small in numbers, JUST LIKE MIT.

*for the time being, UTP referred herein specifically means Civil and Environmental Dept. of UTP.

WOKE TO A BEAUTIFUL MORNING




(Note: This article was written on 1st may, Labour day in FB)

I woke up to a happy morning all because of yesterday's events.

1. The department, during our meeting, has agreed to the proposal which Dr Ibrisam Akbar and I have prepared regarding the establishment of syllabus benchmarking committee. The department has also agreed that the benchmark will be made against Imperial College syllabus.

2. A senior staff has requested me to hold a workshop on Finite Element Method specially for the academic staff to which I immediately agreed.InsyaAllah we are going to have this end of May.

I am so happy because these only reinforced the fact that I have truely made a right and timely decision to be in UTP. To be in a progressive group where everybody wants to move forward as a team and at the same time knows what it takes and the quality to be aimed, is all I need, is where I want to be.

I told a colleague that our UTP will be like MIT in 5 years time. When asked how do I know? I answered, I know because I am going to work for it, we are going to work for it.

And the third event that made me a happy man today is when I was contacted by my very capable ex-student late last night, a very2 capable one indeed. She is so capable I was sad letting her go before (she was planning to study overseas). But now, she wants to be with me in UTP for her postgrad study.

I woke up to a happy morning today because things are falling into places and the dots are connecting, alhamdullillah.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

KERJA PENSYARAH IS THE BEST


Pensyarah bukanlah pekerja in a strict sense tapi someone who does exciting and important works and enjoying it.

We do have routine job, that is teaching classes, but we basically should and can do whatever we want.

If a pensyarah decides to build a rocket, he or she should and can start doing it immediately today and after few years, he or she will achieve it to certain extent (if not really building it fully).

If he or she decides to study the universe, in few years he or she might have a glance at the expansion of the universe and its creation from singularity.

This is the essence of being a pensyarah. Those not feeling and living it, then they are not pensyarah in a strict sense; they are merely workers. They are missing the best part of it.

So to all pensyarah, THINK AND DO EXCITING BUT IMPORTANT THINGS EVERYDAY because that is what we are supposed to be; because that is the best part of being one.

BE THE TEACHER YOU MISSED

If you dont understand your maths and physics, if you don't love them, if you find them difficult, that means science has been presented to you "WRONGLY". 

And whose fault is that? This time its your "teachers'" fault; teachers as in school and university teachers to include your elders and your society. But should you blame them? 

NO, there is no point in doing so. 

JUST be the teacher you have missed by learning by yourself, all over again, your maths and physics, hence science, so that when the time comes for you to present science to your young ones, you will present it CORRECTLY. 

You are the one who is going to make science easy to comprehend, loveable and useful, as it supposed to be.

NEGARA KAYA BARU KITA HIDUP SENANG!!


Tadi aku cakap dalam kelas, kita cuma akan hidup senang kalau negara kita kaya TAPI negara kita cuma akan kaya bila kita, the people, mula "jual barang" ke luar negara dan bawak masuk duit orang negara luar ke dalam negara kita. Ini basic equilibrium.

Aku bagi analogi. Katalah diorang (student2 aku) bukak company construction dan develop housing kat Perak. Yes diorang boleh kaya bila jual rumah2 tu tapi dari perspektif negara, negara masih tak kaya sebab diorang cuma ambil duit orang Perak bila jual rumah tu pada orang Perak; diorang cuma ambil duit rakyat Malaysia basically. Yes, they gain some but others are losing some.

In fact, negara makin miskin sebab waktu diorang construct housing tu, duit mengalir ke luar negara bila diorang beli crane dari German, excavator dari USA dan seterusnya.

So aku stress out pentingnya ilmu. Dengan berilmu sajalah baru kita boleh buat sendiri benda yang bagus sehingga orang luar negara sanggup beli dan bila ini berlaku, barulah duit negara kita bertambah dan kita dapat hidup senang.

Tapi kenapa sekarang kita masih survive sedangkan kita tak "jual" pun barang ke luar negara?

1. Yes survived tapi tak la senang. Kalau senang takda lah orang kita keluh kesah sana sini.

2. Kita survived sebab we are lucky Allah anugerahkan minyak pada negara kita. Tapi untuk survive boleh lah, untuk sustain tak boleh. Sustainable economy cuma bila kita tak bergantung kepada benda yang kita tak boleh control.

3. Lagipun what kind of people are we kalau kita tak makan rezeki yang kita buat dengan tangan sendiri? Aku cerita kat diorang tentang Nabi Sulaiman yang kaya sesangat tapi cuma makan rezeki dari jualan bakul yang dia anyam sendiri.

Aku harap diorang faham.

PERSEVERE



In last class I told the students that, to succeed we must persevere in everything we do. Perseverance, on the other hand, requires motivation, inspiration and expectation, for these three will keep us going.

1. MOTIVATION - To be motivated, we must have reasons to the things we do. Find them. (e.g in the name of God, for people, for money, for fame, for good deeds etc)

2. INSPIRATION - Know our heroes so as to get us inspired. Read autobiography (or biography) of them and watch movies about them (if any). Be their wannabe. This will keep us vibrant.

3. EXPECTATION - Know what to expect. Running too fast will only break us halfway (quit our last mile, orang puteh kata) but too slow, we will never catch up.

Remember, persevere is the ONLY keyword for success.

HOW AND WHY



Dalam kelas structural analysis pagi tadi aku bagitau kat students, kalau kita just tahu HOW, itu maknanya pandai kita takat boleh2 aje sebab pandai yg sebenar is bila kita tahu sampai WHY.
Contohnya, dalam moment distribution method, kita ni tak la cukup pandai kalau setakat tahu HOW nak buat prosedurnya je i.e. dapatkan fixed end moment, stiffness factor, carry over factor bla bla la.

Kalau betul pandai, kita tahu WHY the whole prosedur work, WHY carry over factor tu 0.5 utk certain condition, WHY stiffness factor tu 4EI/L bla bla bla.

Jadi start hari ni, kalau nak tahu kita dah cukup pandai ke tidak, utk setiap topik, sub-topik, sub-sub-topic, kita mesti dgn ikhlas tanya diri sendiri, aku ni cuma tahu HOW je ke atau tahu WHY nye sekali? Dan kalau betul nak pandai, kena usaha sungguh2 sampai boleh dapat jawap WHY.

Tapi ini bukan untuk student2 je, in fact kpd pensyarah lebih penting. Cuba assess dgn ikhlas diri kita, untuk setiap topic dan subject yg kita ajar, setiap calculation dan procedure yg kita ajarkan pada students, ADAKAH kita juga hanya tahu HOW ataupun sampai tahu WHY?

Kalau kita pensyarah masih hanya tahu HOW dan tak tahu WHY, itu maknanya kita masih bukan cikgu yang bagus. Itu maknanya, KITA KENA TERUS BACA BUKU DAN BELAJAR.

Cer check diri kite dgn ikhlas.

*teman alhamdullillah byk juga WHY yang teman tahu tapi masih banyak yang teman tak tahu. Pasei itu teman hari2 baca buku smile emoticon

7 YEARS YG BERBALOI-BIOGRAFI RINGKAS X-STUDENT2 AKU


Alhamdullillah ada good news to share. Pagi ni dapat message dari x-research student Firdaus Abdol maklumkan dia dah dapat scholarship UITM (skim tenaga pengajar) untuk sambung PhD dan sekarang tengah arrange ke Imperial College.

Bila I look back, aku rasa alhamdullillah memang berbaloi hidup. Almost semua students yang work dengan aku end up (dan akan end up) dengan PhD dan jadi pensyarah dan BESTnya semua mengajar dan work on Finite Element dan engineering mechanics. My dream of building Malaysia Intellectual Empire and me becoming the Caesar semakin menjadi kenyataan, chewahhh. Biografi ringkas x-students dan current students aku sekarang as below:

A. DAH ADA PHD DAN SEKARANG PENSYARAH

1. Dr Razin – Dr Razin aku consider x-student terawal aku. Dia attended kelas steel design aku sebelum aku buat PhD. Dia akhirnya graduated with PhD from Imperial College dan sekarang ambik tempat aku teaching Finite Element di UTM.

2. Dr Ridza – Dr Ridza attended kelas master Advanced Structural Analysis aku then buat Dissertation master dengan aku on finite element formulation. Dr Ridza graduated with PhD from Oxford university in fluid mechanics and now teaching in UTM.

3. Dr Dzulkarnain Ahmad – Dr Dzul was a friend of mine waktu aku buat degree and master di UTM. Bila aku balik dari Imperial, Dr Dzul buat PhD di UTM bawah aku punya supervision untuk tajuk finite element and meshfree method. Now Dr Dzul is teaching in UNISEL.

4. Dr Murni Rusli – Dr Murni Rusli sekarang adalah pensyarah matematik di UNIMAP. Aku supervised PhD thesisnya walaupun dia adalah student dept, mathematic UTM waktu tu. Tajuk yang kitorang buat adalah finite difference method untuk blood flow.

5. Dr Hairil – Dr Hairil dulu buat master by research dengan aku di STC, UTM tajuk finite element. Dia kemudian ke Busan Korea dan dapat PhD dari Pusan University. Sekarang Dr Hairil mengajar di UMT

6. Dr Yazmel - Dr Yazmel skrg pensyarah di UKM. Dia attended kelas master Advanced structural Analysis aku sezaman dengan Dr Ridza. He obtained his PhD from UKM.

B. PENSYARAH DAN SEDANG (ATAU AKAN) BUAT PHD

7. Erwan – Erwan dulu buat master di UTM dengan aku tajuk finite element untuk blood flow. Sekarang dia tengah buat PhD di Imperial College tajuk fluid dynamic. Erwan adalah pensyarah di UTM

8. Aizat – Aizat pun sekarang di Imperial College tengah buat PhD on finite element for structural dynamics. Aizat attended kelas Structural Dynamic aku waktu buat master di UTM. Aizat adalah pensyarah UMP.

9. Liza – Liza adalah pensyarah matematik di UMK. Dia buat PhD sekarang di UTM bawah my supervision untuk tajuk finite element formulation untuk fluid structure interaction.

10. Mokhtazul- Mokhtazul sekarang mengajar di UNISEL dan tengah buat PhD dengan aku untuk tajuk finite element formulation in wind-structure-interaction

11. Nurhidayah Rasin – Hidayah dulu buat master dengan aku tajuk finite element dan meshfree for plate analysis. Sekarang dia mengajar finite element di Linton. Bila follow FB dia aku perasan yang dia tengah arrange untuk sambung PhD.

12. Wan Firdaus – Wan dulu attended kelas Teory of Structure aku then kelas Finite Element. DIa dah dapat tawaran scholarship UITM as tenaga pengajar dan sekarang tengah arrange untuk sambung PhD.

13. Firdaus Abdol – this FB post is about her initially. As mentioned, macam Wan, dia dah dapat tawaran biasiswa tenaga pengajar UITM dan tengah arrange PhD di Imperial College.

C. PLAN JADI PENSYARAH DAN TENGAH (ATAU AKAN BUAT) PHD

14. Akhbar – Akhbar buat master dengan aku dan sekarang tengah buat PhD dengan aku on finite element modelling of FSI. Akhbar memang plan jadi pensyarah di UTP to be an expert in Finite Element and Computer programming.

15. Zhafri – Zhafri pun macam akhbar sedang buat PhD dengan aku dan of course plan nak jadi pensyarah dan finite element dan computer programming expert

16. Muhammad Nor – Muhammad Nor buat master dengan aku tajuk finite element dan meshfree untuk plate dan sekarang tengah apply untuk jadi pensyarah dan plan untuk sambung PhD ke Imperial atau Oxford.

17. Aik Ying Tang – Tang student PhD di Math Dept UTM under my supervision dan currently kitorang tengah work on blood flow with stenosis, of course in regards to finite element.

18. Tan Phay Hoon – Tan attended kelas finite element aku dan sekarang di bawah program UTM-CIAM dan OCIAM tengah tunggu interview untuk sambuang master/phd di Oxford

19. Saynie Lim – Saynie sama dengan Tan attended kelas finite element aku dan sekarang tengah habiskan master yang project nya aku bersama Dr Razin dan Dr Ridza tengh supervise on new numerical technique called IsoGeometric. Saynie dah expressed interest untuk apply scholarship (like tutorship scheme) UTP untuk sambung PhD dengan aku dan Dr Ibrisam.

So at least ada 19 pensyarah (ada ramai lagi yang aku segan nak claim ada influence on) di Malaysia yang aku yakin mempunyai pandangan dan fahaman yang sama dengan aku tentang ilmu, tentang cara pengajaran dan pembelajaran dan tentang piawai keintelektualan. Diorang tahu dan faham dan setuju pada apa yang aku definisikan sebagai bijak dan yang tidak. Walaupun diorang akan mempunyai cara masing2 tapi aku yakin standard yang aku dah mold dan set kan akan diorang uphold, kalau tak pada level yang sama, diorang akan tinggi lagi. And all these basically achieved in 7 years after I got back from Imperial, 7 years di UTM yang berbaloi. And now I have a new mission that is, to manifold (multiple) whatever I achieved in UTM here in UTP; I want to double, triple, quad (if it’s a word) my effort here in UTP (those above at where they are operating) for the sake of MALAYSIA and the establishment of the nation intellectual empire (non-precedent). And I believe ME and all the name above will keep being together and working towards what we have agreed upon for so long…the best results will come when everybody do the best for themselves and for the group.

THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL OF QUESTION OF WHY




The most fundamental question of WHY that one can ask is

WHY MUST THE UNIVERSE SATISFY THE CONSERVATION LAWS, ALWAYS?

There is no question that the universe is running, in fact, came into existence due to the satisfaction of the conservation laws that mass, momentum and energy must conserve.

A herd of birds float in mid air because the laws are safisfied, hence the same goes to the "spinning" of heavenly bodies.

But the question remains, why is this?

WHY MUST THE UNIVERSE SATISFY THE CONSERVATION LAWS, ALWAYS?

The answer is, either there is a God wishing for it or we live in a universe where there is a single question of WHY, left unanswered.

My answer is obvious.

A TEACHER IS ONLY AS GOOD AS HIS OR HER BOOKS


A university teacher (pensyarah le tu) is only as good as his or her reading of books (number and type).

Lets ask, how many have we read and what type, mediocre topics or high level ones?

The great professors at great world institutions at their 50s and 60s didnt/dont become great overnight but accumulated their knowledge by reading throughout their younger years.

The idea that we are smart already just by having PhD is totally WRONG! PhD is nothing but a process that teaches us how to read and learn by ourselves. So if we stop reading and learning after getting our PhD that alone shows that we have gone through a WRONG PhD. Seriously, nothing much we knew from our PhD for it was just a PROCESS.

And when I say book, I really mean it literally, not journal articles or magazines because our journal reading (hence understanding), in turn, is as good as the books that we read. Look at the journal articles we read and ask what is the percentage of our understanding and are there other articles that we just put them aside simply because we just couldnt understand them?

Many believe that teachers become great by DEFAULT as they get older. Come on, without continuous reading there is no possibility for accumulation of knowledge. What? We think professors can get knowledge during their sleep through dreams? We must be dreaming then.

Ok I know there is a small group of us who are actually reading book all the time already but many still dont and many are deluded that we are smart enough because we have PhD. So those who are yet having their reading habit, please start now.

Why? Because we as teachers need to be very smart over time for then only we can produce really smart students hence society hence nation. Then only we, as a society and as a nation can produce and sell technologies to the outside world and bringing in money INTO our country.

Now our country is really in bad shape because of our total dependence on oil as there is all there is at time South Korea, Japan, China, UK, Germany, US are selling their technologies hence having their sustainable economy (at least more sustainable than depending on natural sources and service type of economy like us).

If we really love our people and country, we as scholars must be very smart so that we can start producing marketable technologies. But remember, for it to be marketable the technologies must be:

1. Cheaper but perform similar, at least

or

2. Same price but perform better

or

3. Cheaper but perform better - the best

But to achieve this, we must compete with the brains at MIT, PRINCETON, CALTECH, IMPERIAL COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, OXFORD, TOKYO and the like. Are we ready and fit enough for this fight?

So teachers, lets keep reading books until we die. Indeed, we have a very good reason for it, have we not?

And if we have difficulties in our reading of a book, that means there are other books that we need to read and understand first, so go dig deeper and keep reading. For those in engineering fields, read back also our maths and physics books because, many times, these are the sources of our difficulty smile emoticon