Impressions and Links
from WCE 2013,
World Congress on Engineering.

Imperial College. London, U.K.

3-5 July, 2013.

I had the great pleasure of taking part in WCE 2013
(World Congress on Engineering).

It was three splendid days in London,
where the conference was held at the
Imperial College London.

Below you will find impressions from the conference, and links for further reading.
According to the World Congress on Engineering homepage:
The conference has focus on frontier topics in theoretical and applied engineering.

(And) The WCE conferences serve as good platforms for our members and the entire engineering community to meet with each other and to exchange ideas.

And with more than one thousand participants, from over 30 countries (according to the conference homepage), it was indeed 3 hectic days with a lovely smorgasbord of (theoretical and applied engineering) topics.

1. World Congress on Engineering in London, July 2013.

The WCE 2013 was composed of the following 15 conferences:
- The 2013 International Conference of Applied and Engineering Mathematics.
- The 2013 International Conference of Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Systems.
- The 2013 International Conference of Computational Statistics and Data Engineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Computer Science and Engineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Data Mining and Knowledge Engineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Financial Engineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Information Engineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Information Security and Internet Engineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Mechanical Engineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management.
- The 2013 International Conference of Parallel and Distributed Computing.
- The 2013 International Conference of Systems Biology and Bioengineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Signal and Image Engineering.
- The 2013 International Conference of Wireless Networks.
Thomas Tarnow and I agreed to focus on ''The 2013 International Conference of Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Systems'' and ''The 2013 International Conference of Computer Science and Engineering'', and then take in as much as possible of the rest.

And then we had to learn our way around the great Imperial College:
Established in 1907, Imperial College's Motto is ''Scientia imperii decus et tutamen'' - ''Knowledge is the adornment and protection of the Empire''.

Imperial College's entrance on Exhibition Road.

It is situated in South Kensington (See Wiki):
Imperial's main campus is located in the South Kensington area of central London. It is situated in an area of South Kensington known as Albertopolis, which has a high concentration of cultural and academic institutions, including the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Royal Albert Hall.
With the help of the friendly WCE staff, registration and ''getting around'' all went quite smoothly though.
Still, we had our hands full during the conference.

I.e. (literally) on registration we got the conference proceedings, volume I-II (a big thing), to carry with us, as well as a ''conference-bag'' with a lot of other conference material.
And (figuratively) it was 3 busy days with talks back-to-back from early morning to late afternoon.

2. Impressions from July 3rd 2013.

2.1. International Conference of Information Engineering.

2.1.1. Bloom's Taxonomy and software engineering.

First up was Mahmood Niazi with a talk about ''Teaching Global Software Engineering: Planning and Preparation Using a Bloom's Taxonomy''.

Where Bloom's taxanomy is a classification of learning objectives within education:
It refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). Bloom's taxonomy divides educational objectives into three ''domains'': Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as knowing/head, feeling/heart and doing/hands respectively).

Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels.
Skills in the cognitive domain revolve around knowledge, comprehension, and critical thinking.
There are six levels in the taxonomy, moving through the lowest order processes to the highest:
Knowledge - Exhibit memory of previously learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers.
Comprehension - Demonstrate understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating the main ideas.
Application - Using new knowledge. Solve problems in new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way.
Analysis - Examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes. Make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations.
Synthesis - Compile information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions.
Evaluation - Present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria.
Skills in the affective domain describe the way people react emotionally and their ability to feel other living things pain or joy:
Receiving - The lowest level; the student passively pays attention.
Responding - The student actively participates in the learning process - the student also reacts in some way.
Valuing - The student attaches a value to an object, phenomenon, or piece of information.
Organizing - The student can put together different values, information, and ideas.
Characterizing - The student holds a particular value or belief that now exerts influence on his/her behavior .
Skills in the psychomotor domain describe the ability to physically manipulate a tool or instrument like a hand or a hammer:
Perception - The ability to use sensory cues to guide motor activity.
(Mind) Set - Readiness to act. It includes mental, physical, and emotional sets.
Guided response - The early stages in learning a complex skill that includes imitation and trial and error.
Mechanism - This is the intermediate stage in learning a complex skill. Learned responses have become habitual and the movements can be performed with some confidence and proficiency.
Complex overt response - The skillful performance of motor acts that involve complex movement patterns.
Adaptation - Skills are well developed and the individual can modify movement patterns to fit special requirements.
Origination - Creating new movement patterns to fit a particular situation or specific problem.
According to Wiki, Bloom's taxonomy serves as the backbone of many teaching philosophies, in particular those that lean more towards skills rather than content.

Here the focus was on the cognitive domain, and how Bloom's taxanomy could help teach software engineering.
According to the speaker:
Although Bloom's taxonomy has been criticised for its simplicity, it provided a useful framework in my teaching.
Overall the six levels of Bloom's Cognitive domain were helpful, in my teaching, in which I transformed students learning from the ''knowledge'' level to the ''evaluation'' level.
... (for synthesis) I encouraged students to create something new by making predictions and solving problems.
... (obviously) Students had mixed responses for the ''synthesis'' level of Bloom's Cognitive domain, (and) many students had (minor) problems in the ''evaluation'' level of Bloom's Cognitive domain.
However, if we use Bloom's taxonomy (and other available teaching guidelines) then we can improve the overall design and delivery of software engineering modules in education.

2.1.2. Petri Nets, Memristors and an Internet Portal for Agro products.

The next presenter was Miroslav Siebert (Slovak University of Bratislava) with a talk about ''PNets - a Verification Tool based on Petri Nets''. About Petri Nets it is often said:
While the mathematical properties of Petri Nets are interesting and useful, the beginner will find that a good approach is to learn to model systems by constructing them graphically, aided in construction and analysis by computer software for simulation and analysis of Petri Nets.
Best, perhaps, trying this out with some concrete applications in mind (E.g. Office automation, work-flows, flexible manufacturing, programming languages, protocols and networks...).
In this talk, a new tool, PNets, was presented to us.
This tool offers modelling and functionality animation of designed Petri nets together with verification of their fundamental properties as safety, liveness, conservativeness, boundedness.
The tool looked pretty convincing. And (probably) a fun way to play around with Petri Nets.

Wanlong Chen (University of Kent) followed with a talk about ''Delayed Switching Applied to Memristor Content Addressable Memory Cell''.
Memristor's were first briefly introduced - Along with motivation for being interested in these things.
A new design was then proposed, which could ''reduce design complexity of memory cells, and reduce power consumption'' (turn off the power, and the memristor design will still hold the state).
Few people in the auditorium looked certain about how this technology will eventually play out in the years to come.

Quite a scene change, but then followed Nor F. Abd Ghani (School of Computing, Kedah, Malaysia), who talked about problems with selling agro products online.
(Not all that surprising, as I understood it) Product description together with value, facilitating buying process, communication, third party product certification and seller description could enhance trust for purchasing agro-based products online.
Still, developing the right (internet)portals (for selling these products) might not be that simple though.

2.1.3. Social Computing in software development.

Mahmood Niazi (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia) returned with a talk about ''Motivators of Adopting Social Computing in Global Software Development: Initial Results''.
Real-time collaboration is critical for developing high quality software systems at low cost in a geographically distributed software development environment.
Indeed, ''More and more, company contracts out all or part of its software development activities to another company.
Where, client organizations benefit from software outsourcing because vendors in developing countries usually cost less and even are more cost effective when compared with inhouse operations.

But, communication is critical for enabling real-time effective collaboration between distributed software development teams.
Now, communication, usually takes place via phone and video conferencing systems''.

But, ''now people are also beginning to use social computing tools (Skype, Twitter, Wikis etc.), as they provide additional contemporary channels that can be used to enable real-time communication for instant sharing knowledge and receiving feedback in different phases of a software development project without unnecessary delays caused by traditional means of communications (e.g. requirements specifications, design documents, formal reviews)''. Again, obviously:
The real-time communication and coordination is one of most important motivation factors of social computing adoption.
Which is all good, but perhaps a bit ''unstructured'' (''Social communication doesn't really feel like work?'').
But, not to worry (too much) - all sorts of communications lines are being used, and
We anticipate that this study will reduce uncertainties related to social computing adoption.
Who knows, soon, even Skype might be coming to a workplace close to you.

2.1.4. System of Units, Students Programming Tasks, Web Based Learning and Debuggers.

Hala M. Abdel Mageed (Egypt) talked about ''Electrical Quantities in Terms of the International System of Units'' - i.e. about constructing an automatic system for controlling and calibrating the zener diode reference standards, used to provide traceability of electrical measurements to the SI units.
Many of us in the audience looked somewhat puzzled that electrical measurements could be out of sync with SI units in the first place, but of course they can!
Rami Rashkovits talked about ''FACT: A Formative Assessment Criteria Tool for the Assessment of Students' Programming Tasks''.
In this study an assessment tool for homework assignments in computer science and its use were presented. The tool enables instructors to define a list of criteria by which the students assignments are evaluated.

Many tools, focuses mainly on the correctness of the solutions and neglects other important properties such as program design (e.g., modularity) and clarity.

''Which can lead students to conclude that the only factor that counts is the correctness, and hence focus their attention on achieving this goal at the expense of other properties. Such as examining whether a variable name is meaningful or if a class inheritance was properly designed.''
In their previous programming course the students assignments were graded mainly for their correctness, and as a result they did not pay much attention to readability, modularity and coverage.
Now, with this Assessment Criteria Tool the students are helped to come up with better solutions:
According to the requirements (reflected by the weights, assigned by the instructor) they had to change their perception on these criteria and provide better solutions.
With help from the assesments (clarified for each problem by the instructor in the tool) students
Assimilated the significance of code clarity and modularity to the future maintenance of the software. They also learned that writing unit test to cover as many lines of code as possible improves the quality of the code and reduce the number of software errors.
Indeed, happy day when a tool helps students learn all of these good programming practices.

Lakshmi Sunil (Sohar University, Oman) presented the paper ''Design of a Recommender System for Web Based Learning''.
In the abstract it says:
Devised means of incorporating intelligence in web content systems to be able to provide recommendations to learners on the basis of their learning preferences, i.e. based on their learning profiles. The paper discusses the design of such a system, mapped to a content ontology and learner profiles created in the system.
Schoolteachers beware - this could very well be the future of learning!
And, (it was) a brilliant presentation.
Isabel C. Moura (Portugal) followed with a talk about ''Visualizing the Execution of Programming Worked-out Examples with Portugol (Which some of us translated to something like "learning how to work with debuggers'').

Tenghu Mohd Sembok (International Islamic University Malaysia) ended the session with a talk about ''Arabic word Stemming Algorithms and Retrieval Effectiveness''.

2.2. International Conference of Information Security and Internet Engineering.

After the lunch break we continued with the track ''International Conference of Information Security and Internet Engineering''.

2.2.1. Security Skills of People in the Information Society.

It started with a rather funny (or perhaps not) presentation by Antoni Martinez-Balleste (Rovira Virgili University, Spain) about ''A Framework to Assess the Computer Security Skills of People in the Information Society''.

The assessment areas were computer systems, information access, mail, passwords and social networking. Stuff like:
- Knows the meaning of https.
- Is aware of several ways of being infected by malware (To name just a few: Sharing pendrives, clicking banners in certain websites, installing ''friendly'' plugins, etc.).
- Never reads the emails from suspicious or unknown senders (Clearly, reading suspicious emails may entail a variety of annoyances or even attacks).
- Never opens the attachments in the emails from suspicious or unknown senders (Opening these kind of attachments may pave the way for being infected via Trojan horses).
- Uses more than one password.
- In social networking, does not publish personal data in the profile.
- Asks contacts for permission before publishing information concerning them.

Etc. etc.
In the end the authors find that:
The best skilled segment of population is the one between 25 and 34 years old, with some higher education degree, that uses the internet daily.
- In almost all areas, the highest skilled people are below 35 years old.
- Individuals with high or good self-perceived skills on computer security, certainly have the best results (!).
On the contrary, users stating they have no skills, on average, present the lowest results.

2.2.2. A Combined Method for Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability and Authentication.

Neeta Wadhwa (Dept. of Computer. Science, New Delhi) talked about a ''Combined Method for Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability and Authentication''.
A single method that should ''Ensure the Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability and Authentication of the message to be transmitted''
(Where the message is encrypted by the latest symmetric encryption standard, AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)).

The method seemed a reasonable approach from the audience's vantage point.

2.3. International Conference of Systems Biology and Bioengineering.

2.3.1. Serum Analysis, Human Teeth, UltraSound, Marshlands in Spain and Chestnuts.

We (I) came to this track for the presentation ''Identification Method of Human Movement Intention based on the Fusion Feature of EEG and EMG'' by Ping Xie (China).
The proceedings promised
To resolve the problem of low identification merely relying on the EEG or EMG from the patients with perceptual-motor dysfunction, this paper proposes a quantitative description method to extract instantaneous feature of the EEG and EMG.
Conclusion is obtained that the human movement intention is reflected complementarily by EEG and EMG features. Especially for the perceptual-motor dysfunction patients, the algorithm can improve the identification accuracy on the human movement intention, and can be helpful in rehabilitation training process based on biological feedback control.
Sounded quite awesome.
Sadly, the presentation was cancelled. But, we were given 4 other presentations in the session.

Chinonsa Achebe (Nigeria) started with a talk about ''Mathematical Determination of the Critical Absolute Hamaker Constant of the Serum (As an Intervening Medium), Which Favours Repulsion in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)- Blood Interactions Mechanism''.
Here we were told that
This research work reveals that the interactions of the HIV and the lymphocytes could be mathematically modeled and the ensuing mathematics resolved in a bid to find a solution to the infection.
Difficult to follow, but - given the above - the conclusion was interesting:
Negative combined absolute Hamaker coefficient such a condition in essence would mean repulsion between the virus and the blood cells and could prove the much desired solution to the HIV jinx.
Here, the audience looked rather perplexed. The HIV cured, but now the patient is ''exploding'' with parts flying in all directions (repulsion between virus and blood cells)?

R. A. Moga was next with a talk about ''Strain Analysis of a Human Tooth with Support Tissues Resorption''.
Here, the audience got a good scare about bad teeth and multiple visits to dentists...
Nevertheless, apparently, the theoretical models presented in the talk seemed to be confirmed by experimental data from the field.
So, even though modelling teeths probably aren't the easiest of tasks - here the models actually worked.

Sumet Umchid (Bangkok, Thailand) talked about ''Ultrasound Power Meter with a Three Axis Positioning System for Therapeutic Applications''. I.e. an ultrasound therapy instrument was presented, and compared with other products (Standard systems). The instrument was in good agreement with the standard systems and (very reasonablely) we learned that ''The total output power from medical ultrasound devices should be determined and strictly regulated to ensure patient safety and to ascertain whether the ultrasound devices are performing satisfactorily''.
A very good presentation where we (those in the audience not familiar with ultrasound equipment) learned something new.

Emilio Ramirez Juidias (Meritxell Justicia Segovia, Spain) talked about
''A New Method to Predict the Volumetric Changes in the Odiel Marshes (Huelva, Spain)''.
I.e. ''The Odiel Marshes, Nature Landscape and Reserve of the Biosphere by UNESCO, is a natural area located at the mouth of the Odiel river (Huelva, Spain), In this research, 40 Landsat satellite images from the United States Geological Service (USGS) were analyzed for the 1975 to 2010 period''.
We learned that ''satellite remote sensing of surface water fluxes and storages in wetlands is an immature but rapidly growing field. This research showed that combined remote sensing and GIS approach was very successful in visualizing the differences in Odiel Marshes levels throughout the analysis period''.
With the conclusion that ''greater integration of remote sensing and GIS technologies, with a regression model, was most useful to describe, analyze and predict the volumetric change process in the Odiel Marshes''.
And that the imagery can be used to effectively visualize water level fluctuations and display it to the public: ''This may be useful in creating public awareness of the problems caused by global warming''.

Finally, Paula M. R. Reis Correia gave us an inside into the chestnut industry in Portugal,
with a talk about ''Modeling of Drying Kinetics of Chestnuts''.
I.e. chestnuts are ''produced in Portugal in considerable amounts, thus providing an important economic trade.
Furthermore, apart from being eaten in their natural state, they can be used for a multiplicity of industrial applications, either in their natural form or after dehydration
Here it was all about modelling the drying process.
A wonderful example of real-life modelling that you simply couldn't dream up yourself...
In the end, a member of the audience had a number of questions about the safety of dried chestnuts.
I.e. would they be safe to eat after 5 - 10 years?
While the rest of the audience looked dazzled, the presenter explained the problems to us.
I took home that it would probably be safe to eat 5 year old dried chestnuts, but it all depends on the drying process...

3. Impressions from July 4th 2013.

We kicked off day two with the ''International Conference of Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Systems'' track.

3.1. International Conference of Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Systems.

3.1.1. Motion Planning for Car-like Robots Using Hierarchical Genetic Algorithms.

First up was N. Achour (Faculty of Electronics and Computer Science, Algiers, Algeria) with a talk about ''Motion Planning for Car-like Robots Using Hierarchical Genetic Algorithms''.
I.e. optimal motion generation is still a major focus of research in mobile robotics, and here an ''algorithm for motion planning in order to generate optimal movements for a nonholonomic mobile robot'' was presented.

First, free paths were calculated without taking into account the constraints of non-holonomy of the robot, using a probabilistic roadmap planning algorithm. These paths are then improved by using shortening and discretization algorithms.
Next, the commands required to follow these paths are calculated.
According to the authors, the results showed the advantages of genetic algorithms in motion optimization.
Beautiful work.

3.1.2. Sign Language, Seawater Density, Neural Network Diagnostics, CAD automation and E-learning.

Rohit Sharma (Jabalpur, India) talked about ''Recognition of Single Handed Sign Language Gestures using Contour Tracing Descriptor''.
In this talk, four different strategies for segmentation of hand from constant background were evaluated towards building a robust static, single handed gesture recognition system.
It was experimentally found that gray level based segmentation strategies yield better results...
(Surely) an impressive amount of details have to be taken into account before one can have anything like an operational sign language gesture recognition system.

Abdulrahman Ahmed Bobakr Baqais (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia) talked about ''Function Approximation of Seawater Density Using Genetic Algorithm''.
The problem is to find the density of seawater based on temperature and salinity (pressure and more might also be relevant).
A good solution will give a good approximation to the real values, without having an equation with 35 terms or so.
The authors ended up concluding:
The previous two experiments show that genetic algorithms can successfully find a good polynomial approximator to the density data with fewer numbers of terms. By only using 4 terms we are able to find a good approximation with an average deviation of only 1.1%.
G. Anjan Babu (India) talked about ''Diagnosis of Glomerulonephritis by an artificial neural network Based on Physical Symptoms and Clinical Observations of the Blood Samples''.
Glomerulonephritis is a kidney disease. Based on data from urine samples, blood tests, imaging tests and kidney biopsies doctors can make a diagnosis.
Here it was suggested that all of these data could be feed into a neural network, and the neural network could make the diagnosis!
The speaker even suggested that the diagnosis would be better than the one made by human doctors.
The audience looked rather sceptical about receiving treatment from a black box technology.
But who knows what we will see in the future...

Varun Tiwari (India) talked about ''Design Process Automation Support through Knowledge Base Engineering''. How the task of repetitive designs in Computer Aided Design (CAD) could be automated.

Nedhal A. M. Al Saiyd (Jordan) continued with a talk about ''A Generic Model of Student-Based Adaptive Intelligent Web-Based Learning Environment''.
Here a ''suitable architectural design is proposed and the development modules of intelligent, adapted student-centered Web-based e-learning system are explained''. Cleverly, ''the proposed model enhances the personalized learning using techniques for identifying student intellectual knowledge levels and learning style''.
E.g. in the presented system, the Pedagogical module knows about different teacher strategies, and can send the student to other Course Modules, if needed.
Cool stuff, where we hope to see such systems integrated into the existing educational system in the coming years!

3.1.3. Text Classification.

Mateus Mendes (Portugal) talked about ''Exploring Long-range Correlations for Text Classification Using a Sparse Distributed Memory''.
I.e. text matching is a topic of increasing relevance, as it is important for information retrieval, text categorisation and other applications.
So, starting by building a frequency vector of words from a text (without any preprocessing), it turns out that it is possible to get a ''strong correlation between higher semantic levels and lower text representation levels''.
Still, nowhere near as good as what the human brain can do (working at a clockspeed of 200 Hz), but good enough to get a pretty good idea of what a given text is all about...
The SDM is an associative memory model that works based on the properties of high-dimensional boolean spaces, exploring in part similarities between long binary vectors. The experimental results described in the present paper show that the original model of the SDM alone, without any text processing, is able to work as a surprisingly good text classifier, even taking plain ASCII text as input.
Using a Reuters dataset, it is indeed possible to find those articles that deal with e.g. economic issues.
For more about sparse distributed memory systems, see the Wiki article.

3.1.4. System Control and Genetic Algorithms.

Turker Tekin Erguzel (Istanbul, Turkey) talked about ''Fuzzy Controller Parameter Optimization Using Genetic Algorithm for a Real Time Controlled System''.
Here a Fuzzy controller is used to control a system. And a Genetic Algorithm is used to improve the controller.
The authors finds:
Designing fuzzy controller with GA does not require any prior knowledge and yields satisfactory results. The algorithm also enhances productivity of designing fuzzy controller, makes the controller have comprehensive lookout and converges to a better solution. For process control and paramater tuning applications the proposed optimization algorithm is promising.

3.1.5. Abdullah - A Conversational Tutoring System, Reinforcement Learning.

Omar G. Alobaidi (Saudi Arabia) talked about ''Abdullah: An Intelligent Arabic Conversational Tutoring System for Modern Islamic Education''.
The goal of Abdullah is to teach students (age 10-12) essential topics in Islam (with supportive evidence from the Quran and the Hadith):
Allowing conversation, discussion and interpretation with verses in classical Arabic language by engaging in dialogue using modern Arabic language.
We were told that ''The proposed framework for developing Abdullah's user interface is based on a Pattern Matching approach to handle the user's conversations''.
And that ''Abdullah solves the complexities of understanding the Arabic language, by simply matching the utterance with a set of scripted patterns''.
Certainly, the last part (about the pattern matching approach for answering questions), raised a few eyebrows in the audience.
But, only a few actually had any questions about it. Indeed, dealing with the complexities of understanding the Arabic language might not be that easy to dig into.

Amir Bahador Farjadian (North Eastern University, Boston) talked about ''Application of Reinforcement Learning in Sliding Mode Control for Chattering Reduction''.
Generally speaking: Agents look into an environment, and take actions in order to maximize profits.
Specifically, here, we should look at a tracking problem in a dynamic chaotic environment.

Obviously, one cannot reduce the error to zero (on tracking a chaotic movement).
Still, according to the presenter, the tracking costs (movement and measurements) can be reduced by using reinforcement learning.
In the talk, results for ''standard slide mode control'' vs results for ''intelligent slide mode control that works with reinforcement learning'' were compared.
The author concluded:
Incorporating reinforcement learning into robust nonlinear control theory shows a promising route to achieve better performance.
Very pedagogical, the author also explained to us that
The purpose of this contribution is to introduce an intelligent sliding mode controller, by incorporating RL into the solution. I.e. the standard sliding mode control is overviewed and the integration of RL into this framework is explained.
Even the reinforcement learning seemed straight forward (sort of):
(The) agent will be rewarded (or punished) by taking an action in a particular state, and entering to the new state. Consequently learning is done by weighting (or suppressing) actions at each state, as instructed by the reward signal. These action values will be written in Q-table and they will be updated as the agent visits different states, and takes different actions.
Undoubtedly, the ideas presented in this talk will come in handy someday!

3.2. Random Forest Classifiers, Wayang Kulit and Queueing Models.

After a short break, we had time for two more talks in the Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Systems track,
before switching to the Applied Mathematics track.

Vrushali Y Kulkarni (Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune, India) talked about ''Efficient Learning of Random Forest Classifier using Disjoint Partitioning Approach''.
Random Forest's (E.g. see Berkeley article) ''are an ensemble learning method for classification that operate by constructing a multitude of decision trees at training time and outputting the class that is the mode of the classes output by individual trees '':
Random Forests grows many classification trees. To classify a new object from an input vector, put the input vector down each of the trees in the forest. Each tree gives a classification, and we say the tree "votes" for that class. The forest chooses the classification having the most votes (over all the trees in the forest).
The presenter told us that the Random Forest algorithm:
- Works well on unbalanced datasets.
- Learning is efficient. Same accuracy in less time.
- (can be used) for learning in small datasets.
Here we are presenting our work towards improvement in learning time of Random Forest by proposing a new approach called Disjoint Partitioning. In this approach, we are using disjoint partitions of training dataset to train individual base decision trees. This helps in creating diversity in base decision trees.
We have investigated possibility of using Disjoint Partitioning approach with Random Forest Classifier.
We conclude that this approach works well with datasets that are imbalanced in nature and have binary classification.
Again, undoubtedly, the ideas presented in this talk will come in handy someday!

Again, it was rather big scene change (one of many this day), as we continued with Wayang Kulit and learning.

Here, Ahmad Jasni (Malaysia) talked about ''Utilising Wayang Kulit for Deep-Learning in Mathematics''.
The talk proposed an alternative approach in learning simple mathematics, by utilising malaysian puppet shadow play (Wayang Kulit - Malaysian puppet theatre) as a learning tool.
''With this concept of interaction design we will be able to address a new paradigm in learning, and teaching, Mathematics for future generations''.
Well, the audience didn't look 100 percent convinced.
But, as always, the future will tell.

Elizabeth Kondrashova (Moscow State University) was the last presenter of the day.
With a talk about ''Optimization of the CBSMAP Queueing Model'' (again, a huge scene change, here to the Applied Mathematics track).
A talk devoted to the research of controlled queueing models. Investigation of
''Controlled Batch Semi-Markov Arrival Process''-flows
Certainly, Queueing theory is highly relevant.
Queueing theory: The mathematical study of waiting lines, or queues. In queueing theory a model is constructed so that queue lengths and waiting times can be predicted. Queueing theory is generally considered a branch of operations research because the results are often used when making business decisions about the resources needed to provide a service.
And, during the talk, we were given a number of good pointers (and inspiration) to reading material for long winter nights.
All, brilliant stuff.

3.3. Conference Dinner.

After the end of the presentations
(of the second day of the congress),
it was time for the Conference Dinner Banquet.
We got an exquisite meal in exquisite surroundings.

With a lot of old England charm and great hospitality.
Thomas and I had the good fortune of being seated next to Simos Evangelou (Lecturer at Imperial College, London).
We had a great talk about Control Engineering (in Formula 1 cars).

As well as the ''the Kensington Ferrari and Lamborghini mystery''...
That is, in South Kensington, every other car seems to be a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. But you never seem to see them parked in the streets, only driving by.
How does that work?
Also, had a good talk with
Ion Profeanu, Romania,
(in the middle of the picture,
with the gray-blue shirt and the nametag, pouring coffee)
about his Applied and Engineering Mathematics talk ''Pi and Others''.

4. Impressions from July 5th 2013.

We kicked off day three with the ''International Conference of Computer Science and Engineering'' track.

4.1. International Conference of Computer Science and Engineering.

4.1.1. Differential Equations, RFID Applications and Wind Power Plants.

Fuziyah Ishak (Malaysia) talked about a ''Block Method for Solving Pantograph-type Functional Differential Equations''.
Numerical solutions for (2) have been studied extensively. These methods produce one approximation in a single integration step. Block methods, however produce more than one approximation in a step. Block methods have been used to solve a wide range of ordinary differential equations as well as delay differential equations.
In the end he concluded: ''The numerical results (in this paper) indicate that the two-point block method achieves the desired accuracy as efficiently as possible''.

Yeh-Cheng Chen (Institue of Information Systems and Applications, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan) was next
with a talk about an ''RFID Application in the Manufacturing Process Control in the Semiconductor Industry''.
In a warehouse, RFID (a wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects) technology is used to keep track of cassettes (used in the semiconductor industry):
Based on RFID technology, label information where located on each cassette will be passed to the backend database system. Through RFID technology information, this system presents the RFID label information for the user for tracing purposes.
According to the speaker, the benefit (of introducing the RFID system in the semiconductor company, as a replacement for an old barcode system, read by humans) was immediately apparent:
- Improved efficiency (Faster shipment).
- Elimination of many manual processes (Speedup of automation processes).
- Reduction in number of human errors.
Apparently, some members of the audience were a bit worried about the efficiency in the (chinese) plant (after the introduction of the RFID tagging technology).
So, they wanted to know: ''How does the introduction of this new RFID technology influence the organization/the workers?''...
The speaker replied that ''This aspect was not considered in the paper''.

Next, Adela Bara (Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania) talked about ''Spatial Collaborative System for Wind Power Plants using Service Oriented Architecture''.
In a Power Grid, electrical power production must be balanced between production from powerplants, wind-production etc.
Based on historical meterological data (like windspeed, direction of wind and how much (wind) energy was produced, given these conditions) - This is input to how much power plant electricity should be produced at a given time (to meet customer demands).
Here a description followed for:
How a spatial collaborative system for wind power plants can be developed in a service oriented architecture.
that could be a helpful step in integrating the windfarms into a national power grid.

4.2. International Conference of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

4.2.1. Modeling and Software Implementation of PID Controlled Higher Order PLL.

Tulshi Bezboruah (Department of Electronics & Communication Technology, Gauhati University, Assam, India) talked about ''Modeling and Software Implementation of PID Controlled Higher Order PLL''.
Phase-locked loop (PLL) is essentially a control system that employs feedback to maintain the phase of output signal in step with the phase of a reference signal.
PLLs are employed in a wide variety of communication systems including frequency synthesizers, modulators and demodulators, motor speed control, signal detection etc.
In the end, we understood, that ''the system becomes more stable when the techniques described here were used''.
(E.g.) The model developed may be suitable for high frequency FM transceiver due to its better settling time and stability.
A presentation, miles apart from the somewhat superficial approach of just buying some electronic gadget
without really knowing how it works...

4.3. International Conference of Computational Statistics and Data Engineering.

4.3.1. Problem with Outliers, Vector Representation of Text Documents and Higher Education in Oman.

Habshah Midi (Department of Mathematics/Institute for Mathematical Research, Universiti Putra, Malaysia) talked about ''On a Robust Estimator in Heteroscedastic Regression Model in the Presence of Outliers''.
About Homoscedasticity: In statistics, a sequence or a vector of random variables is homoscedastic, if all random variables in the sequence or vector have the same finite variance. ''Serious violations in homoscedasticity may result in overestimating the goodness of fit''.
In the talk a new method was proposed that helps with the problem of heteroscedasticity and outliers:
To remedy the problem of heteroscedasticity and outliers simultaneously, we proposed a new method that we call two-step robust weighted least squares.
The proposed method was then investigated extensively using real datasets and ''is seen to be good in the presence or absence of outliers''.

Ondrej Hava (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague) continued with a talk about ''Vector Representation of Context Networks of Latent Topics''.
Transforming of text documents to real vectors is an essential step for text mining tasks such as classification, clustering and information retrieval. The extracted vectors serve as inputs for data mining models.
The process of transformation of text documents to structured vector representation involves the substantial reduction of information. In the bag-of-words approach a document is modeled as a container of vocabulary words where an order of words does not matter. The adjusted frequencies of words are used as features to describe documents.
These vector representations can then be refined, and thereby made more suitable for data mining.
From the papers abstract:
We propose a new approach to a vector representation of text documents.
An extracted document vector includes information about the adjacency of words in a document. We experimentally proved that the proposed representation enables to build document classifiers of higher accuracy using shorter document vectors.

Sunil Prakash (Faculty of Computing and IT, Sohar University, Oman) talked about ''Factors influencing Progression Rate in Higher Education in Oman - Data Engineering and Statistical Approach''.
Obviously, progression rates are very important in (state) schools.
And, in this study it is investigated why students progresses or not (What reasons might lie behind).
From the abstract:
An attempt is made to analyze the factors influencing progression rate in higher education system via data engineering and a statistical approach.
Output of Analysis:
The results in the table can be interpreted as follows:
- English score indicates that one unit change in English Score will increase the progression by 8.8%, keeping other variables constant.
- Employed is 18.816, i.e. one unit change in employment status from employed to unemployed will affect the progression by 18 times, i.e. employment leads to drop in progression.
- Marital Status is 15.835. i.e. one unit change in marital status from married to unmarried will lead to increase the progression by 15 times
The audience found these results very fascinating. Even though, some thought that certain factors were missing
(''Income level of Parents'' and others were suggested).
The speaker told us that many of these other factors would be considered in the future.

4.3.2. Structual Change Point Detection for Evolutional Networks.

Sadamori Koujaku (Graduate School of Information Science of Technology, Hokkaido University, Japan) talked about ''Structual Change Point Detection for Evolutional Networks''.
The talk was about a ''change point detection algorithm for a sequence of graphs''.
(Where) graphs naturally arise in the context of computer networks, World Wide Web, climate networks, social networks and biological networks. Accordingly, anomaly detection of graphs has been gathering a great deal of attentions. For example, in the network intrusion detection, we want to find malicious messages (e.g spammers, port scanners) among many ordinary messages.
Straight forwardly:
A graph may change its communities by way of members and/or in the way of connections.
In this example, a server and clients may make a community. Once a client is hacked, it may behave differently and send irregular messages to specific computers. Such anomaly would be detected as the change of link strength.
An anomaly detector was presented that:
- Concentrates on communities.
- Detects mainly the change of community structure.
- Can work online.
Here we would be interested in finding ''transitions in the dynamics of a graph'':
In a dynamic network, we concentrate on finding the change points on the dynamics. Specifically, we consider that a change happens when the densely connected nodes is separated, or sparsely connected nodes have dense connections.
I.e. given:
Our basic assumption is that the community structure is almost invariant over time, in other words, dense/sparse connections would be unchanged even though their weights of links may change to some extent.
(i.e. assuming invariance in communities) a ''change in members would be a sign of a special event''.

The proposed method was then compared with other spectral approaches: EigenSpace (that monitors members in a community) and EigenCompress (that monitors communication in a community), see [1].
That is - experiments with the methods were conducted using both synthetic and real-world datasets.

The Enron Email Dataset was used as real-world data:
(The Enron Dataset) Contains data from about 150 users, mostly senior management of Enron, organized into folders. The corpus contains a total of about 0.5M messages. This data was originally made public, and posted to the web, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission during its investigation.
(For this graph) A node represents an individual employee and an edge represents the email exchange relationship. The weight of a link represents the number of emails exchanged between the corresponding two employees. In this graph, the most densely connected subgraph corresponds to an executive committee exchanging many emails to run the company. The other subgraphs consist of communications between executives and employees in corresponding sections.
If would then be interesting if the method could spot events, such as:
a) Enron's stock price attains its largest value (Aug 2000).
b) Jeffrey Skilling takes over as CEO (Feb 2001).
c) Jeffrey Skilling announces departure (Aug 2001).
d) Enron is bankrupted (Dec 2001).
In the end the authors conclude that:
The proposed algorithm detects not only the change of community structure, but also the change of community activity. This is reasonable in some sense. Strictly speaking, the community structure and community activity cannot be separated so clearly because the structure may change due to the heavily weakened links or strengthened links.
In this sense, our detector might have detected changing points of an organizational life cycle: Birth, growth, maturity, decline and death.
And they note, that ''We compared our algorithm with two state-of-the-art algorithms and confirmed its effectiveness.
But, our algorithm is slow to report changes compared to the other methods.
I.e. the competitors are designed to detect the abrupt changes as they happen, but our algorithm detects changes after gathering a necessary amount of evidence

Illustration of the time series of the subgraphs. The width of a link shows the amount of emails exchanged.

4.4. International Conference of Computer Science and Engineering.

4.4.1. Indoor Air Quality and University Websites.

Ying-Ming Su (Department of Architecture, National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei) then talked about ''CO2 Purify Effect on Improvement of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) through Indoor Vertical Greening''.
Modern people usually situate inside buildings, therefore indoor air quality is important to living environment.
The interesting point would then be how many plants we need in order to get a good indoor air quality?
It was concluded:
The quality of the indoor environment significantly affects our health. The research indicated that 189 pots of Bird's-Nest Fern could reduce the concentration of CO2 from 2000ppm to 1000ppm in 2hr 6min in a room.
Indoor plants could not only decorate the indoor spaces, release of pressure and tiredness, they could improve the quality of indoor air condition and reduce the pollutants in the air. This study showed that indoor plants can also contribute to lowering the temperature through better transpiration rate potentially.
So, bring on the plants!

Layla Hasan (Department of Management Information Systems, Zarqa University, Zarqa, Jordan) was last, with a talk about ''Is it Possible to Predict Usability of a University Website from University Ranking Systems''.
Obviously, usability is important:
Usability is one of the most important characteristics of any user interface; it measures how easy the interface is to use. It has been defined as ''a measure of the quality of a user's experience when interacting with a product or system - whether a web site, a software application, mobile technology, or any user operated device''
Is is all about stuff like (ease of) Navigation, Architecture/organisation, Ease of Use (quick downloading) and Communication (basic information available), Design (visual attractiveness of a site's design) and Content (assesses whether a site includes information that users require).

Here, three Jordanian websites were comprehensively evaluated by a heuristic evaluation method. These results were compared with results from a system called Eduroute:
Universities are ranked in many ways. In this talk, the focus is on a ranking system called Eduroute - A system which focuses on studying and evaluating university websites (and, not on the performance of a university).
The authors concluded:
The results showed that the ranking of the three websites was an indicator to the overall usability of the sites; the first ranked university at Eduroute had the lowest number of usability problems per investigated pages, while the least ranked university had the largest number of usability problems.
Sure, usability is important - and it is good thing when different methods agree on what usability is.

4.5. The end of a Voyage.

And that was it, the end of a great adventure.


Simon Laub

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