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Session 1 Preparing a successful research grant proposal

Session 2 The quest for creative research

In science and engineering, more and more research disciplines are emerging. However, solutions to many difficult research problems often require knowledge in several disciplines and collaboration of researchers in different fields. In this talk, I will show several examples of interdisciplinary research that led to major creative work, discovery of new scientific theories, innovation in technology and development of novel products. One area of rapid development in the last several decades is biomedical imaging and information processing. It has attracted researchers from many different fields, including biology, physics, medicine, mathematics, computing and electronics. The invention of computer tomography (CT) is an example of successful interdisciplinary research in mathematics, physics and electronics. Although an integral transform was introduced by Radon in 1917 and Cormack developed the theoretical formulation of CT scanning in mid-1950’s, the mathematical work had no applications to medicine until Houndfield built an actual CT scanner. It took 9 days for the first CT scanner to collect the data and 21 hours to processing the data and reconstruct an image. With better mechanical design, faster computers and more efficient signal processing algorithms, a CT scanner today can produce tens of 3D slices of a human body in the order of seconds.

Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary research area, which makes use of computational algorithms to solve molecular biology problems. That is, information science has been applied to a traditionally experiment based research field. String matching algorithms studied in computer science have been used to compare DNA sequences or protein sequences. Graph theories are useful for the analysis of gene regulatory networks. Computational geometry algorithms have been used to study biomolecular surface structures. Also machine learning and data clustering and classification algorithms have many applications to genomic data analysis.

In this talk, I will also present our work on bioinformatics using signal processing and pattern recognition techniques. One problem in gene expression data analysis is to find a subset of genes that express under a subset of conditions. That is, we need to perform clustering in both feature and object directions. The procedure is called biclustering. Such a problem cannot be solved using traditional clustering algorithms, which partition a data matrix in one direction only. We have recently discovered an effective solution to biclustering analysis of gene expression data using the Hough transform, a method for line detection developed in image processing. Our techniques can be used to extract several types of biclusters, or coherent patterns, in gene expression data and these techniques can be applied to the identification of cancer types and subtypes.

Recently, we have also found that 3D pattern matching algorithms can be employed to solve many problems in the analysis and prediction of biomolecular interactions. Two biomolecules can interact with each other if their surface donors and acceptors can form simultaneous and consistent hydrogen bonds. 

Given a large number of donors and acceptors, we do not know whether a donor will match an acceptor, and if so, which donor will match which acceptor. This is a 3D-pattern matching problem and it can be solved using the probabilistic relaxation labeling (PRL) algorithm. In this method, we consider the compatibility between two pairs of hydrogen bonds and find a solution that best satisfies compatibility constraints. An effective solution to a difficult molecular biology problem is obtained based on ideas developed in pattern recognition.

In summary, one aspect of creativity in research relies on broad knowledge of several disciplines and interdisciplinary work can help us find novel approaches to tackling difficult problems in science and engineering.

Session 3 The preparation of a manuscript

In this talk the essential elements in the preparation of a manuscript will be examined. These include preparation and construction of the manuscript, language issues, and technical details. Special attention must be paid to revision and responses to reviewers, and ethical issues. Some suggestions for conferences/journals targeted for submission will be discussed.

Session 4 Effective research presentation

What’s the message?  This talk will show several approaches to effectively get your technical message to the audience members.  How do you engage an audience?  Are questions good, bad or indifferent?  Should my talk have every detail?  These are the type of questions this talk will answer.  We’ll look at ways to present data, results, theorems, proofs and algorithms to different types of audience.  The goal of this talk is to provide everyone at least one new way to think about presenting their work, so that the audience understands and appreciates it.

Session 5 Introducing the IEEE and SMC Society

IEEE is a non-profit organization and is the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology. It has more than 400,000 members. The Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society has over 5000 members. The vision of the Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society is to be recognized as the world leading society for the advancement of theory and application in systems science and engineering, human-machine systems, and cybernetics. The mission of the Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society is to serve the interests of its members and the community at large by promoting the theory, practice, and interdisciplinary aspects of systems science and engineering, human-machine systems, and cybernetics. It is accomplished through conferences, publications, and other activities that contribute to the professional needs of its members. The Society sponsors about 50 conferences in a year. There are many Chapters and Student Branch Chapters worldwide. The chapters offer the opportunity to develop activities for professional development, share expertise through technical exchange for example through the Distinguished Lecturer Program, and build networking and leadership skills. There are financial supports provided by the Society.  The Society has many Technical Committees in various areas; the speaker will give a discussion on big data application in energy systems and intelligent internet economy in particular for power networks. Standards development will also be included.

Session 6 Building and maintaining a strong, professional network

Professional networking has the ability to open many windows and doors at any stage of your career. Networking involves communicating with someone in the same industry outside of your normal working environment. It is commonly done in job fairs, trade events, conferences, luncheons, and professional networking websites on the Internet.

Meeting and talking to the right people can earn you free advice, awareness of you and your university or company, word-of-mouth referrals. If done correctly, networking has the potential to gain you credibility, trust, professionalism, knowledge expertise, and enable you to find jobs.

This presentation will describe how to effectively use professional networking for career advancement. Topics include what are the goals of networking, how to set expectations, how to reach out to someone new, how to build professional relationships, how to network online, and how to get started. An overview will be presented of the major social media sites, including recently funded initiative to establish an IEEE social media presence on Sina Weibo, Renren, Tencent QQ and Wechat. 

Session 7 Excellence and innovation in teaching

Teaching new generations of students is a challenging task that calls for new approaches and methodologies that will appeal to current generations of both students and educators. Aristotle once said: “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”. Recent theories of education emphasize learning through “reflection on doing”. They include a number of approaches such as experiential learning, experiential education, action learning, adventure learning, free choice learning, cooperative learning, and service learning. Adopting these new approaches in teaching and in designing new pedagogical tools is an important step in advancing the art of teaching in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In this lecture, we use examples from teaching university courses in communication networks to illustrate experiential teaching and learning approaches in engineering.