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Eureka award winners join Curtin

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Two leading scientists have joined Curtin’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, bringing with them significant expertise in the development of large-scale surveillance technologies that could benefit both defence and civilian purposes.

The two researchers – Professor Ba-Ngu Vo and Professor Ba-Tuong Vo – were co-recipients of the 2010 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in support of defence or national security. They won the award for their pioneering work in enhanced surveillance technologies, along with Professor Antonio Cantoni from The University of Western Australia (UWA).

Professor Ba-Ngu Vo said their award-winning research was developed by using signal processing and systems theories in innovative ways.

“Through the application of stochastic geometry methods, we developed innovative algorithms that significantly increase a system’s capacity to monitor multiple objects or targets of interest,” Professor Vo said.

“This has the potential to make a major contribution to Australia’s defence and national security by enabling better detection of a much larger number of objects and at longer ranges – including in hazardous urban environments and for the protection of ships, aircraft and vehicles.”

Their research improves on existing approaches that suffer from the problem of ‘exponential complexity’, which can rapidly exhaust the capacity of even powerful computers.

“The big breakthrough is that we did this through a radically novel formulation, which uses less demanding computer power than traditional tracking methods, and can be done, essentially, with an off-the-shelf computer,” Professor Vo said.

Prototypes of their model are already in use in the US space program and German defence forces, with a number of successful trials completed.

Their work also has the potential for wide-scale use in the civilian domain. It could benefit traffic management, the monitoring of crowd behaviour, sports analysis, remote sensing and biomedical research.

Professor Ba-Ngu Vo has been appointed Professor and Chair of Signals and Systems in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Curtin, while his brother Professor Ba-Tuong Vo, will work as Associate Professor in the same department.

Professor Ba-Ngu Vo is working with colleagues to establish a research centre on sensors signals and systems.

Professor Ba-Ngu Vo, Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering, Curtin University
Tel: 9266 3475, Email:  

Megan Meates, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241, Mobile: 0401 103 755, Email:

About Professor Ba-Ngu Vo:
Professor Ba-Ngu Vo completed his PhD in 1997. He then held various research positions before joining the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne in 2000. In 2010, he joined the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at UWA as Winthrop Professor and Chair of Signal Processing, before coming to Curtin.

About Professor Ba-Tuong Vo:
Professor Ba-Tuong Vo received his PhD with distinction in 2008 from UWA. He subsequently worked as a Quantitative Analyst at BankWest in Perth. He was then Associate Professor at UWA before moving to Curtin. He is a previous recipient of a Whitfield Fellowship from UWA and an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship.

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