Interview with the President of the IEEE
Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society, Dr.
Dimitar Filev, Ford Motor Company, USA.
The eNewsletter introduces Dr. Dimitar Filev, 2016-2017 President of
the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society
his predecessor Prof. Ljiljana Trajkovic, 2014-2015 Society President.
eNewsletter: Congratulations on your appointment as President of the SMC Society!
Filev: Thank you, Mariagrazia. I appreciate the opportunity to share my vision about the SMC
Society on the eNewsletter pages.
eNewsletter: What is the current state of the SMC Society?
Filev: I assume the President’s role at a time when the Society is in a very good position. For over
45 years, the Society has evolved into a multidisciplinary professional organization promoting the
synergy of dominant technology fields in the 21st century: general systems methodology, systems
engineering technology, man-machine engineering and methods, interaction of control and
communication among humans and machines, and dealing with the challenging system, human-
centric, and cyber application domains.
SMC publishes three specialized transactions covering the main fields of interest (IEEE
Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems, IEEE Transactions on Human-
Machine Systems, and IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics), a new Transactions on Computational
Social Systems (co-sponsored with the Computer Society), a new SMC Magazine, and an
electronic eNewsletter available to all members. The SMCS technical activities are organized by
over 50 Technical Committees (TCs), and it sponsors over 45 conferences every year. All this
warrants a strong financial position and potential to fund and support current technical activities
and new initiatives. The Society also established leadership role in the Brain and the Smart Grid
Initiatives of IEEE. In summary, the SMC has become the IEEE premier Society and the focal point
for the engineers, young professionals, and students working in the multidisciplinary field of
systems, human factors, and cybernetics. The credit for all this goes to my predecessor Ljiljana
Trajkovic and to all SMC volunteers.
eNewsletter: How do you see your role as President of the SMC Society, and what are your
priorities for the next years?
Filev: I would like to sustain and enrich our current strategic activities and practices. However,
there is always room for improvement. We cannot stay stagnant because science and technology,
the engineering community, and the IEEE are always on the move. As the Institute is strategically
addressing the need to change into a nimble, flexible, and forward looking organization, the SMC
Society is facing the challenges to further evolve, adapt, and transform in order to even better serve
our membership in the future. My priorities for the next two years include:
• Expanding the outreach of the Society to the broader engineering community by improving
collaboration and partnership with related IEEE societies and other professional organizations, e.g.
AAAI, INCOSE, and HFES.
• Accelerating SMC globalization by improving our presence and activities in all major
geographic areas, including Latin America, Australia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, and promoting
more balanced and diverse representation in the Society and TCs leadership.
• Continuous improvement of the impact factors and timeliness of SMC publications.
• Inspiring interest and attracting new SMC members through increasing the number of
summer schools, forums for young scientists, tutorials, attracting researchers with high scientific
reputation to the SMC Board of Governors (BoG) and TCs, and revitalization of the Distinguished
• Enhancing the quality of our conferences by streamlining SMC sponsored events and
establishing three regular triennial conferences (on Systems, Humans, Cybernetics) to
complement the annual SMC flagship conference.
• Promoting SMC leadership role in the Human Systems area and better integration of SMC
activities and TCs with social, psychological, life sciences, and other soft sciences.
• Promoting the SMC presence in emerging interdisciplinary research topics through
nurturing new publications, conferences, and TCs.
• Increasing the role and impact of the TCs and local chapters as the main link between the
BoG and SMC members through their active participation in the Society decision making
processes, including Editor in Chiefs and Associate Editors appointments, broader discussion on
new conferences, publications, and other initiatives, etc.
• Improving industrial presence in our activities and Society leadership through establishing a
special Advisory Committee of Industrial Leaders and promoting new transactions / magazine with
Part of my objectives will be to also improve the effectiveness of BoG and Executive Committee
operations by focusing on critical topics such as long term planning and quality improvement and
working closely with Chris Nemeth - Vice President (VP) for Organization & Planning, Sam Kwong
- VP for Conferences & Meetings, Ferat Sahin - VP-for Finance, MengChu Zhou - BoG Secretary,
and Robert Woon - BoG Treasurer.
eNewsletter: You have been extremely active in the SMC Society over the years. Can you tell us a
bit about your past activity in the Society? Which of the numerous roles have you found the most
rewarding thus far, and why?
Filev: I have served as BoG member, VP for Cybernetics, and VP for Publications. I enjoyed
working as VP-Cybernetics because Cybernetics was close to my area of research. The work as a
VP-Publications allowed me to learn more about how the Society and IEEE operate.
eNewsletter: Can you tell us a bit more on how the SMC Society is organized and governed?
Filev: The principles of governing and organization of the Society are defined by the SMC
Constitutions and Bylaws that can be found at http://www.ieeesmc.org/about-smcs/governance.
The Society is governed by a Board of Governors (BoG) consisting of the two immediate Past
Presidents, the 10 Administrative Officers of the BoG, and the 15 Members-at-Large. The Editors-
in-Chief of the Society fully sponsored Transactions serve on the BoG without a vote. Other non-
voting BoG members are the BoG Secretary and a Treasurer. The 10 Officers are: the President,
President-Elect, VP for Organization and Planning, VP for Finance, VP for Systems Science and
Engineering, VP for Human Machine Systems, VP for Cybernetics, VP for Publications, VP for
Conferences and Meetings, and the VP for Membership and Student Activities. The President,
President-Elect, Vice Presidents, the Secretary, and the two immediate Past Presidents form the
Executive Committee (ExCom) of the BoG. Our organizational structure includes 22 committees
that cover all main activities of the SMC Society:
• Cybernetics Committee
• Human-Machine Systems Committee
• Systems Science and Engineering Committee
• Conferences and Meetings Committee
• Membership and Student Activities Committee
• Distinguished Programs Committee
• Student Activities Subcommittee
• Chapter Coordinators Subcommittee
• Industrial Liaison Committee*
• Young Professionals Subcommittee
• Organization and Planning Committee
• Finance Committee
• Publications Committee
• Publications Ethics Committee
• Electronic Communications Subcommittee
• Standards Committee
• Search Committee for the Nominations Committee
• Nominations Committee
• Awards Committee
• Fellows Committee
• History Committee
• Committee on Financial Transparency
Technical activities in the three main fields of interest - Cybernetics, Human Machine Systems, and
Systems Science & Engineering are led by the respective VPs- Vladimir Marik, Andreas
Nuerenberger, and Rodney Roberts and are structured in Technical Committees (TCs). The list of
all TCs can be found at http://www.ieeesmc.org/technical-activitie. SMC Chapters organize our
members based on their geographical areas, see http://www.ieeesmc.org/chapters-
eNewsletter: In your opinion, what are the strengths and the weaknesses of the SMC Society
Filev: The IEEE Systems, Man, & Cybernetics Society has well established traditions and
reputation as a society with high quality publications that date back to the birth of the IEEE
Transaction of Systems, Man, & Cybernetics in 1971 and its spin-offs - Part A, Systems &
Humans; Part B, Cybernetics; and Part C, Applications & Reviews - in the late 90s. In 2013 the
three journals further evolved in the Society flagship transactions covering the three main technical
activity areas of SMC: IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems (Editor In-
Chief: Philip Chen), IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems (Editor In-Chief: David
Kaber), and IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics (Editor In-Chief: Jun Wang). Extensive research
and rapid application development in the area of social networking inspired the launch of the
newest SMC journal in 2014 (jointly with the Computer Society) - the IEEE Transactions of
Computational Social Systems (Editor In-Chief: George Cybenko).
In 2015 we launched another new publication, the IEEE SMC Magazine (Editor In-Chief: Mo El-
Hawary). The Magazine provides a forum for everyday activities of the SMC Society, its technical
committees, and members and focuses on educational, industrial, and technical review type
Mariagrazia, here I wouldn’t be talking about the SMC eNewsletter because I am confident that you,
as a new Editor of the eNewsletter, will be presenting soon a much more complete and innovative
vision and plans for growing and expanding the role of this important publication.
I believe our efforts in the publication area under the leadership of Vladik Kreinovic, VP-Publications
will continue to be focused on the following priority areas:
• Maintaining and improving the impact factor and citation numbers of our publications.
• Significantly reducing the time between submission and on-line posting / publication.
• Increasing the number of application / industrial contributions.
• Identifying and promoting new SMC publications.
eNewsletter: In which of the SMC Society related fields do you expect development and growth in
the next few years?
Filev: I already mentioned that further growth of the SMCS leadership role in the Human-Machine
Systems area will be one of our priorities. The expansion of SMCS of traditional focus areas
towards emerging research fields, e.g. brain modeling, autonomous systems, social networks,
etc., will be another of our main objectives. In addition, I would like to establish a regular and
systematic process of reviewing and analyzing the emerging technical trends using data mining
methodology and tools for the purpose of long term planning SMCS objectives.
eNewsletter: The young members in our field-especially students-are the future of the SMC
Society. How can we expand their participation and role in the Society? In short, why should one
enroll in the Society and how can he/she take an active role in it?
Filev: This work is led by the VP for Membership and Student Activities Imre Rudas and by the
BoG coordinator Adrian Stoica. The plan is to increase the number of summer schools, support for
young scientists & students, webinars, and tutorials. We have allocated over $40,000 to support
participation of students and young professional in conferences and meeting. We are also
expecting that the newly established Outreach Funding Program will provide additional funding
opportunities to aspiring new members of SMCS.
eNewsletter: Thank you for your time! We wish you success as the 2016-2017 SMC Society
Filev: Thank you, Mariagrazia. I am looking forward to working with the BoG, ExCom, and all
members to promote the Society values and serve our membership. I wish you success as the
Editor of the SMC eNewsletter.