Geir Grasmo is the new Centre Director from April 1st

Geir Hovland has served as the Centre Director as well as work-package leader in WP3 since the project started in 2015. SFI Offshore Mechatronics was the first project and centre hosted by University of Agder to be accepted into the competitive SFI program in Research Council Norway.

Geir has played a crucial role in building up the centre and have been successfully managing for nearly six years. The centre successfully passed the mid-term review in 2019 and the Research Council of Norway funded project is now 75% completed with only two years remaining to the end of the project period.

The partners and his colleagues in the centre are grateful for the great work and collaboration with Geir. We send all the best wishes to Geir in his new endeavor where he will devote his time and efforts in building a new industrial startup company.

The successor in the role as Centre Director is also Geir, Geir Grasmo that is. Geir Grasmo is professor in materials engineering and until recently Geir Grasmo has served as head of department at engineering sciences in University of Agder. Before joining University of Agder in 2015, he spent almost 18 years of his career in various positions in the materials industry in companies such as Alcoa and Elkem and before that as a researcher in Sintef and scholar in HiS (now UiS).

Professor Jing Zhou will take over as work-package leader in WP3. Jing Zhou is also Research Director at Top Research Centre Mechatronics (TRCM).

We are now in the final 2+ years of the project and the remaining period will have a twofold mission; 1. Successfully completion of the project 2. Using the results and achievements from the centre to leverage new opportunities and initiatives for the project partners.

It is expected that increased cooperation between SFI Offshore Mechatronics and TRCM will be beneficial to seize new opportunities and initiatives in the last period of the project.

Scientific Highlights in Q1-2021

Phd defenses

WP1.3 Viktor Hristov Donkov (University of Aalborg) defended on January 15.

WP3.4 Thiago G. Monteiro (NTNU Aalesund) defended on February 3.

WP4.3 Lars Ivar Hatledal (NTNU Aalesund) defended on March 18.

Link to all completed Phd defences

Accepted scientific publications

Journal Papers:

J1: Thilina N. Weerasinghe, Vicente Casares-Giner, Indika A. M. Balapuwaduge, and Frank Y. Li, “Priority Enabled Grant-Free Access with Dynamic Slot Allocation for Heterogeneous mMTC Traffic in 5G NR Networks,” IEEE Transactions on Communications, accepted Jan. 2021 (Level 2).

J2: Bakht Zaman, Luis Miguel Lopez Ramos, Daniel Romero and Baltasar Beferull-Lozano, Online Topology Identification From Vector Autoregressive Time Series, IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 69, pp. 210-225. (Level 2)

J3: Daniel Romero, Siavash Mollaebrahim, Baltasar Beferull-Lozano and César Asensio-Marco, Fast Graph Filters for Decentralized Subspace Projection, IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, vol. 69, pp. 150-164. (Level 2)

J4: S. Mollaebrahim, B. Beferull-Lozano, “Design of Asymmetric Shift Operators for Efficient Decentralized Subspace Projection” (Accepted), To appear in IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, 2021

Conference Papers:

C1: Yvonne Murray, David A. Anisi, Martin Sirevåg, Pedro Ribeiro and Rabah Saleh Hagag, “Safety Assurance of a High Voltage Controller for an Industrial Robotic System”, Brazilian Symposium on Formal Methods, SBMF 2020: Formal Methods: Foundations and Applications pp 45-63.

C2: L. M. Lopez, B. Beferull-Lozano, “Online hyperparameter search interleaved with proximal parameter updates”, European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO), 2021.

Link to all publications in 2021


During Q4-2020 and Q1-2021 SFI Offshore Mechatronics has hosted a be-weekly webinar. We hosted five webinars in Q4-2020 and five in Q1-2021.

During the first period of the webinars, we observed good attendance with an average of 15 attendees. In the last quarter we have seen more variable attendance and a slight decline. To better understand if this is a natural variance or the consequence of the topics of the presentations being less interesting, we have made an anonymous poll. The poll is intended to provide us with feedback on past webinars and preferences for future webinars. For the time being we are pausing the webinars, but we anticipate starting up again in the fall latest.

If you have attended one of our webinars or if you may want to attend a webinar in the future, please spend a few minutes to complete the poll. Your feedback on the previous topics/ presentations and preferences and suggestions for future webinars is highly appreciated. Link to poll.

PhD Defense WP4.3 on March 19

PhD Defense: March 19 – Lars Ivar Hatledal – NTNU Aalesund

Lars Ivar Hatledal has for his defense of the PhD degree at NTNU, handed in the following thesis:

“Protocols and Standard for Co-Simulation – For demanding maritime operations”

The opponents of the thesis are:

Associate Professor Tiina Komulainen, OsloMet, Norway
Professor Agris Nikitenko, Riga Technical University, Latvia
Associate Professor Henrique Gaspar, NTNU (Administrator)

The trial lecture took place on March 19, 2021, at 10:15 on the following topic: «Co-simulation toolbox – How to implement co-simulation in an industrial environment».

The actual defense took place on March 19, 2021, at 13:15.

Both the trial lecture and the defense were public.

The main supervisor has been professor Houxiang Zhang at NTNU Aalesund. Co-supervisors have been professor Geir Hovland at the University of Agder and university lektor Arne Styve at NTNU Aalesund.

There is a strong demand for innovation and efficiency within operations, life cycle services, and design of maritime systems. Modern vessels operate increasingly autonomously through strongly interacting sub-systems. These systems are dedicated to a specific, primary objective of the vessel or may be part of the general essential ship operations. The sub-systems exchange data and make coordinated operational decisions, ideally without any user interaction. The task of designing, operating, and integrating life cycle services for such vessels is a complex engineering task that requires an efficient development approach, which must consider the mutual interaction between the inherent multi-disciplinary on-board sub-systems. Digitalization thus has become a key aspect of making the maritime industry more innovative, efficient, and fit for future operations.

However, no one simulation tool is suitable for all purposes and the plethora of modeling tools within different disciplines exists for very good reasons. Issues related to integration of heterogeneous systems and hardware, memory, and CPU utilization makes implementing complex-cyber-physical systems, like vessels, in a monolithic or centralized manner undesirable.

Co-simulation alleviates this issue, allowing different sub-systems to be modeled independently, but simulated together. Co-simulation refers to an enabling technique, where different sub-systems making up a global simulation are being modeled and run in a distributed fashion. Each sub-system is a simulator and is broadly defined as a black box capable of exhibiting behavior, consuming inputs, and producing outputs. A crucial point is that it allows users to simulate models exported from different tools in a unified manner. Compared to more traditional monolithic simulations, co-simulation encourages re-usability, model sharing, and fusion of simulation domains.

Co-simulation can be expanded into the realm of digital twins by feeding sensor data measured from the real world into the models, which in turn closes the loop by providing actionable feedback. A digital twin can be defined as a virtual representation of a physical asset enabled through data and simulators for real-time prediction, optimization, monitoring, controlling, and improved decision making. As the digital twin mimics its physical counterpart, it can be used to estimate a vessels performance before running any tests in the real world. This not only offers flexibility, but also cuts down costs to a great extent. These proxies of the physical world will help companies in the maritime industry in developing enhancements to existing products, operations, and services, and can even help drive business innovation.

This dissertation aims to drive adoption of co-simulation standards and development of use-cases by providing software that makes co-simulation simpler and more intuitive. This includes enabling technology for building standard-conforming models and systems, and subsequent tools for simulating them. The case studies presented show the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

From left to right: Co-Supervisor Arne Styve, main supervisor Houxiang Zhang, Dr. Lars Ivar Hatledal who successfully defended his PhD thesis, and Co-Supervisor and centre director of SFI Offshore Mechatronics Geir Hovland.