Work Experience

The 2013-2014 ITR Summer Work Experience program is open for applications.

The Summer Work Experience program provides students with the opportunity to gain up to 12 weeks paid professional experience while working on some of the most exciting problems and challenges in modern telecommunications.

The Summer Work Experience Program at the Institute for Telecommunications Research (ITR) allows students to undertake up to 12 weeks funded work experience over the summer break (November to February).

The ITR Summer Work Experience Program is aimed at local 3rd & 4th year undergraduate and postgraduate students studying at Australian and New Zealand based Universities. The program provides students with the opportunity to gain paid professional experience while working on some of the most exciting problems and challenges in modern telecommunications (see below for a list of sample projects).

Successful applicants will receive a tax-free stipend of $300 per week for up to 12 weeks. Students will be responsible for paying all other travel expenses.

Applications should include:

  • cover letter
  • current curriculum vitae
  • copies of official academic transcripts
  • preferred area of interest


Preference will be given to students who:

  • have an outstanding academic record
  • have demonstrated an interest in undertaking a postgraduate research degree in telecommunications.


Applications should be submitted to Christine Bennett by October 31.


2013-14 Projects


The project summaries below provide a sample of the type of projects available in the 2013-14 program.

Project Title: Multiple antenna and polarisation diversity modelling

 Following the success of multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology in terrestrial wireless systems, multiple antennas and MIMO signalling are being designed into satellite communication links to improve the data rate and reliability of the wireless communications.  Antenna diversity and signal processing enables us to more efficiently using the available radio spectrum, effectively reducing the spectrum licensing cost.  In contrast to terrestrial channel environments where MIMO exploits spatial diversity and significant multipath scattering, satellite MIMO typically exploits polarisation diversity in a line-of-sight environment.

 In this project, we aim to quantify the MIMO benefit and investigate polarisation diversity for antennas of interest to ITR's global sensor network (GSN) project.  The successful student will be guided to model simple antennas, and to simulate their performance for polarisation signalling using software such as Matlab or VSS.  We will seek to better understand recent antenna and channel measurements taken during GSN outdoor trials.

 A keen interest in antenna theory (electromagnetic wave propagation) and software simulation (e.g. Matlab, VSS) is highly desirable.

Supervisors: A/Prof. Linda Davis,   

Dr. David Haley


Cubesat Communications Payload


Cubesats offer a relatively low-cost entry to space but thanks to advances in low-power miniaturised electronics, they can still be used to provide valuable satellite applications. ITR is currently designing a UHF communications payload for a cubesat, plus associated ground station facilities. This project is a collaboration with the University of Adelaide who are handing other components of the cubesat, plus various European research organisations and universities. Our satellite will be injected into a low-earth orbit during a multiple-cubesat launch from one rocket.

Our payload must provide flexible, low-rate communications to ground and other cubesats. Low power and mass are critical requirements. A prototype PCB containing a COTS RFIC and micro-controller has already been designed and tested. A further iteration of this design, plus additional software development, is required. This scholarship will support a student who will work with a small number of ITR staff. Depending on the skills of the recipient, this project may involve electronics design, PCB layout, software development and/or algorithm design. During this phase of the project we envisage testing the payload on a high-altitude balloon launch.

Project contacts:

Prof Bill Cowley David Haley


Project title: Visible Light Communications for Indoor Positioning

Radio frequency spectrum is a limited resource. Due to the rapid growth of wireless data communication systems in recent years, to license a frequency band in the radio spectrum becomes very expensive. Recently, visible light communications (VLC) have attracted a lot of attention. As the name suggested, the EM wave with frequency band belonging to visible light instead of radio frequency is used for communications. The immediate benefit is that the spectrum of visible light is free to use. Also, visible light has some properties different from the conventional radio frequency so that we can build some new applications.

The aim of this project is to build a broadcast system based on VLC. The student will be guide to develop a system in which a LED light is an information source and a mobile phone is a receiver. Here, the LED light refers to the powerful one which can light up a room. Based on this system, an indoor positioning system will be built. Students will learn not only the advanced wireless communication technique - VLC but also multiple input multiple output (MIMO) systems when they build the system.

Contact person and details:
Dr. Siu-Wai HO, Senior Research Fellow
Office: W2-04, Institute for Telecommunications Research, UniSA
Telephone: +61 8 830 23606
Fax: +61 8 830 23873

Area of interest: visible light communications, positioning system, storage coding, cryptography, information theory.


Project title: Efficient Free Webmail with Privacy Protection

Free webmail like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Hotmail, etc. are very popular. These webmail accounts are convenient but they also introduce many new problems. Use Gmail as an example. Google can automatically add context-sensitive advertisements to emails because it scans our every email. Also, we have no clue whether our email can be permanently removed from the Gmail server even if we click the delete button on the Gmail interface. As our email may contain personal and private information, our privacy is not protected. On the other hand, the stability of these free email accounts has no guarantee. Gmail has been occasionally unavailable. In 2009 Gmail outage has happened four times.

The aims of this project are to solve the above privacy and stability problems for free webmail. Students will be guided to build a web interface which leaves only encrypted messages on free webmail servers so that the privacy of our emails is protected. Based on the web interface, students in this project will be guided to develop some coding schemes which can improve the stability and the speed of downloading a file from the webmail server. Prior knowledge in coding theory is not required but basic understanding of matrix theory is preferred. Students will learn storage coding and cryptography in this project.

Contact person and details:
Dr. Siu-Wai HO, Senior Research Fellow Vacation Research Projects 2013 3

Office: W2-04, Institute for Telecommunications Research, UniSA
Telephone: +61 8 830 23606
Fax: +61 8 830 23873

Area of interest: Storage coding, cryptography, information theory, visible light communications


Project title: Information Theoretic Inequality Prover

Many engineers have devoted their lifetime to build and improve different communication systems. At the same time, it is important to know what the optimal system can achieve and how far the state-of-the-art is apart from the optimal solution. Information Theory can give us insights about these questions as it tells us a set of "physical laws" that all the communication systems must obey regardless the design of the system. Information Inequalities are very important tools to derive these physical laws. Therefore, the technique for proving information inequalities is critical in information theory.

Information Theoretic Inequality Prover (ITIP) is an amazing piece of software which can automatically verify an information inequality in a computer (see Unfortunately, this software is insufficient to solve some of the existing problems due to the recent development of information theory. For example, ITIP is not fast enough to solve a problem involving more than 10 random variables. The aim of this project is to build the second generation of ITIP. Students will be guided to learn the working principle of ITIP and develop software in Matlab (or C program). Prior knowledge in information theory is NOT required but students who love mathematics are encouraged to apply this project. Students will learn optimization technique and matrix theory in this project.

Contact person and details:
Dr. Siu-Wai HO, Senior Research Fellow
Office: W2-04, Institute for Telecommunications Research, UniSA
Telephone: +61 8 830 23606
Fax: +61 8 830 23873
Area of interest: information theory, Shannon theory, storage coding, cryptography, visible light communications


Project scope - Error correcting coding, source coding (compression), multi-user communication, implementation of algorithms in Matlab and C++

Contact person and details:
Gottfried Lechner, , 8302 5189


Project title: Brain computation and human vision 

How does the human brain compute what we see? Although we effortlessly see and recognise objects and places, the brain employs some clever computational 'tricks' to hide from our own minds the very computations that underlie this ability. This research project will involve developing mathematical and computer models to simulate how the human brain computes a key aspect of our visual world: the appearance of object surfaces.

Contact person and details:

Dr Tony Vladusich, Research Fellow, Computational and Theoretical Neuroscience Laboratory, Institute for Telecommunications Research
Phone: 8302 3239

Areas of interest: Computational vision