Category Archives: Featured Article

Featured Article

Bitcoin’s insatiable hunger for energy

As a quick gauge, a single bitcoin transaction has been reported to use the same amount of energy to power nine homes in the United States for one day.

In case, you’ve haven’t been following the news, there have ongoing buzz about cryptocurrencies, specifically bitcoins. In case, you are unaware about Bitcoin, here’s a quick visual snippet:

Though the focus has been on its continuing increase of its value and monetary agencies warning bitcoin investors to act with extreme caution, the energy consumption of such bitcoin transactions have been greatly overlooked which can have extreme effects on the environment.

In an opinion piece by The Straits Times, such transactions have been referred to as “burning mines”.  The complex mathematical problems to process such transactions are becoming increasingly challenge to solve, making bitcoin miners to be quipped with high-speed processors.

Such transactions needs more energy and emit heat – which also need cooling systems such as huge fans to prevent breakdowns. Digiconomist – a cryptocurrency publication has projected that “energy will be exhausted by bitcoins than the whole of the US by July 2019, and the entire world’s energy consumption will be surpassed by the end of 2020”.

There’s no way cryptocurrencies are going to go away, but are we ready for such insatiable energy consumption. The author advises to do our bit by thinking twice before buying bitcoins. But would that be enough? There were such concerns about energy consumption by Google searches few years back but seems we’ve come a long way since then. Perhaps, we need to think about measures that could be put in place especially in countries where they use environmentally unfriendly source of energy such as coal?


Different aspects of assessment of engineering Ph.D. thesis

Would you like to know what engineering examiners expect of Ph.D. research?

In the article “An analysis of Ph.D. Examiners’ Reports in Engineering”, from European Journal of Engineering Education. the authors, Elena Prietoa, Allyson Holbrooka & Sid Bourkea examine the different aspects of the assessment of engineering doctorates. Their work is based on the data collected between 2003 and 2010 for a total of 1220 Australian Ph.D. theses by analysing examiner reports.

They point out that examiners in engineering favoured theses they considered were strong in terms of scope, significance and contribution, and a thorough analysis of findings. Other factors that have direct correlation to the quality of thesis as highlighted by the authors are breadth, depth and recency of the literature review, communication and editorial correctness of the thesis. Publications arising from the thesis also determine the quality of the thesis, even though they  have lesser significance.

This is one of the popular articles in Taylor & Francis journals published in 2015.

Click here to read the full text of the article, from the European Journal of Engineering Education, which is subscribed by the library.

Fluorine in organic molecule

The hyrophobic (water resistant ) and lipophylic (ability to dissolve in fat-like solvent) characteristic of -CF3 group are important to aid in transportation of therapeutic drug to the active site in the body. Moreover, drug’s stability properties is improved due to strong carbon-fluorine bond.“These factors are crucial for the development of therapeutic drugs and agrochemicals,” says Sodeoka  (Efficient and versatile chemistry (2012, Oct 05). Retrieved from

Mikiko Sodeoka and her colleagues at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako has successfuly develop an efficient  reaction to insert the -CF3 group into organic molecule through the formation of allylsilane, another functional group comprised of silicone, using copper catalyst.

Image taken from

Original research paper was published at Angewandte Chemie International Edition 51, 4577–4580 (2012) . Full article is available from NTU library (for NTU staffs and students) at :



Enjoy the panoramic view from a see-through fuselage

Enjoy the panoramic view from a see-through fuselage 

— Flying with Airbus Concept Plane

Long-haul flight may not be boring and painful anymore at 2050. Airbus unveils its concept passenger plane which will lead you to brand new feeling of flying. You will be able to have a 360-degree view of the sky above and the world below through the transparent fuselage which is planed to be manufactured with the a Hi-tech ceramic skin.



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With the proliferation of wireless network, one area will become popular – real-time multimedia applications. The development of header compression technique will also bring improvement to the wireless access.

In this article, the authors described how a robust header compression (RoHC) can be used to reduce the overhead of IP-based traffic. And Voice over IP (VoIP) may replace the voice circuits in the future wirless network applications (IEEE 802.11 technology).

A simulation study of the RoHC’s U-mode performance when applied to VoIP in an 802.11 link is described.

[Source: HEADER COMPRESSED VOIP IN IEEE 802.11 by PEDRO FORTUNA AND MANUEL RICARDO. IEEE Wireless Communications, June 2009, Volume 16 (3), pp 69-75.]