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Focus on Technical Committees

The Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society is home to three technical groups: Cybernetics,
Human Machines Systems, and System Science and Engineering. The Cybernetics group includes
16 committees, the Human Machine Systems, 8 TC’s, and the largest is System Science and
Engineering with 18 committees. In each issue of this Newsletter, we cover the activities of some
technical committees to familiarize the reader with the committee’s work and stimulate interest
in their activities.

Technical Committee on Infrastructure Systems & Services

Margot P.C. Weijnen
Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands

Infrastructure is the basic fabric of society ...

Without adequate supply of energy, transportation, information and telecommunication services
Western societies will be disrupted and all economic activity come to a halt. Without adequate
supply of water and waste water removal services public health is at risk. All of these services,
whether supplied by public utilities or private industries, rely on networked engineering systems.
For a long time, infrastructure bound services were just taken for granted. However, especially
since 9-11, we have come to realize that our dependency on infrastructure systems entails
serious risks and vulnerabilities to the well-functioning of our modern society, giving rise to the
notion of critical infrastructures.

From local to continental and global networks …

Many of these infrastructures have outgrown the level of the city, the province or the nation
state. Modern energy, transportation, information and telecommunication services are provided
through continental or even global networks, which evolved through cross-border interconnection
of regional and national networks.  Even though each and every node and link of these vast multi-
national networks was designed in the true sense of engineering design, the overall integrated
systems did not emerge as the result of an explicit engineering design or master plan. This gives
rise to fundamental questions on the role and responsibilities of engineering professionals
involved in the design, operation and management of infrastructure systems, especially in view of
the need to steer the course of modern society onto a sustainable development path.

Evolving socio-technical systems - without a master plan …
The common denominator in the intriguing world of infrastructure development is the absence of
a master plan. When electricity infrastructure was developed in the midst of the industrial
revolution to enable safer lighting and provide an attractive alternative for steam powered
traction, nobody could have fathomed a future society in which almost everything, including the
most basic household functions, is powered by electricity. Thomas Hughes in his seminal work on
the history of the US electricity infrastructure noted the evolutionary nature of infrastructure
systems. He coined the term Large Technological System to denote a system that was gradually
expanded geographically and became ever more fine-meshed over many decades, as the result of
technological innovations and the interests of public and private players involved. In Hughes’
perspective the evolution of Large Technological Systems cannot be understood unless the social
dimension is included in the system. Technology providers, public and private investors, public
policy makers and the end-users of electricity are among the actors creating momentum and
driving the evolution of the system. The evolutionary process is not governed by central
coordination, but rather shaped by decentralized decision making of the many  stakeholders
involved. As such, a Large Technological System is better understood as a Socio-Technical
System, which includes the physical entities and the social entities (the “actors”) designing,
operating and managing the technical system. The interplay between technological and social
change makes the history and future of our infrastructure systems fascinating research material,
and a most fitting subject for the IEEE SMC society.

Adapting capital intensive systems to emerging needs …
The capital intensity of most infrastructure systems comes with a lifetime of decades and even
more, whereas in the meantime technological innovations happen, economic conditions change
and increasing numbers of users need to be accommodated in their demand for new and better
services. It is nothing short of remarkable how well our 20th century infrastructures have so far
been able to cope with our 21st century demands. It is also a fact, however, that many of the
infrastructure systems that have served us so well are ageing. The US and European electricity
infrastructure systems contain many physical components that were installed more than 50 years
ago and will need to be replaced by modern technology in the near future.

Creating new infrastructure systems for emerging economies …
While the western post-industrial economies are coping with ageing infrastructure systems, large
parts of the world’s population are still deprived of even the most basic services that
infrastructure systems in developed economies supply to every doorstep. Without accessible,
reliable and affordable infrastructure related services, the chances of economic development for
rural communities in the poorest countries are nil, as all their productive time is spent on
collecting water and firewood, tending livestock and harvesting meagre subsistence crops.
Without electricity, water pumps cannot be powered and no light is available to enable studying
in the evenings. The practices of livestock grazing and firewood collection in these rural
communities often contribute to destruction of their natural environment, forcing them to seek
new opportunities in urban agglomerations. In 2008, for the first time in human history, 50
percent of the human population lived in cities. With the rapid pace of urban growth that is
occurring in especially the least developed economies, 70 percent of the human population is
expected to be urban by 2050. Many of the world’s megacities are already facing problems with
the supply of infrastructure based services to their fast growing populations, resulting in serious
traffic congestion and deteriorating air quality, water shortages, electricity brown outs and even
black outs. Given the capital intensity of infrastructure, it is difficult to keep pace with the rapidly
increasing population numbers, especially in the less developed economies where capital is
scarce.

Deeply influencing society …
With infrastructure bound services at the basis of almost any economic value chain,
infrastructures are crucial enablers of economic development. Given the influence of
infrastructure bound services on the way we lead our daily lives, infrastructures are also deeply
influencing social development in ways that were never explicitly intended. Think for example of
the crucial role of social media such as Twitter in the government turnovers in Tunesia and Egypt.
The internet, emerging from a defense research inspired network between knowledge institutes,
has in less than three decades penetrated all aspects of modern society. Numerous other
examples can be given to show that infrastructure systems, although they are systems meant to
fulfill a specific function, are shaping society and the economy on a broader scale and at a deeper
level.

New research initiatives worldwide …
Adequate infrastructure development is a huge engineering challenge considering the huge
increase in demand as a consequence of the population growth and economic development
expected in the next decades. The combination of technological and social complexity, with
feedback loops across different governance levels, geographical and time scales, and across
infrastructure sectors, has led many of our TC members to explore infrastructure systems as
complex adaptive systems. New research centers, such as Next Generation Infrastructures in the
Netherlands, the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium in the UK and the SMART
Infrastructure facility in Australia, are developing advanced simulation and modeling capabilities,
such as agent-based modeling and serious gaming, to acquire a better understanding of the
behavior of infrastructure systems, and the system-of-infrastructure systems.

Challenges for the future …
Even if infrastructure systems cannot be designed in the traditional sense of design engineering,
they are man-made systems and many engineering professionals are involved in the design,
operation and management of infrastructure systems. Considering the far-reaching influence of
infrastructure systems on the way our society uses its natural resources, today’s engineering
professionals bear responsibility for equipping the infrastructures of the future with the flexibility
needed to meet the needs of future generations, with the resilience needed for fast recovery from
disturbances, and with the intelligence needed to make better use of available infrastructure
capacity and scarce natural resources. Especially intelligent infrastructures seem to hold the key
to the provision of better services and inducing ecologically responsible user behavior. Through
smart meters and smart: personalized, time and location dependent, pricing schemes,
infrastructure systems can induce active user involvement and awareness contributing to, for
example, relieving highway congestion or stimulating decentralized renewable energy resources
and storage. Smart grids will allow consumers to be engaged in peer-to-peer provision of
services, therewith reducing the need for large scale production units and long distance transport.
All of these efforts will contribute to, though not guarantee, a better performance of our
infrastructure systems as enablers of a sustainable social, economic and ecological development.

Our mission …
The mission of our TC is to contribute from a variety of disciplines, each with a different
perspective on infrastructure system complexity, to an emergent theory and a modeling,
simulation and gaming toolkit for the design and management of networked utility and
infrastructure systems as complex evolving socio-technical systems. In other words, the TC
strives to organize a scientific stage for confronting, combining and possibly integrating the social
and physical perspectives on infrastructure networks, in such a way that the insights can be made
available for practitioners in the infrastructure sectors and help them to achieve better quality
and reliability of infrastructure bound services.

On the agenda …
The members of our TC seek to join forces in the organization of workshops and conferences, and
joint publications. A new item on the agenda is the joint development of summer schools for PhD
students and young professionals. Specific topics of interest you can expect us to address in the
near future:

· Smart infrastructures for smart cities
· Infrastructure development in developing economies
· Strategic infrastructure asset management
· Regulation of investment in infrastructure systems
· Innovative contracts for infrastructure development
· Advanced modeling and simulation approaches
 
You are welcome to join us!

Technical Committee on Enterprise Information Systems

Li Xu, Senior Member, IEEE (lxu@odu.edu <mailto:lxu@odu.edu>) and
Mengchu Zhou, Fellow, IEEE (mengchu@gmail.com)

The Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) Committee is also called Enterprise Systems Committee 
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_Information_System,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_system). EIS has become increasingly popular as it
integrates and extends business processes across the boundaries of business functions and
corporate walls, as well as country border lines. In recent years, a growing number of enterprises
world-wide have adopted EIS such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to run their businesses.
Prior to the emergence of EIS, information systems such as MRPII, CAD, CAM, and CRM were
widely used for partial functional integration within a business organization. However, with global
operation, global supply chain, and fierce competition in place, there is a need for enterprises to
adopt suitable EIS such as ERP, e-Business and e-Commerce systems in order to achieve the
required efficiency, competency, and competitiveness. As an example, the global business
operation has forced Dell and Microsoft to adopt ERP in order to take advantage of a global
supply network. Today, not only large and medium sized companies, but also small companies are
quickly learning that a highly integrated EIS is a necessary requirement of their global business
operation.

Evidence show that EIS has an important long-term strategic impact on global business and world
economy. Due to the importance of this subject, there is a growing demand for research on EIS to
provide insights into the issues, challenges, and solutions related to the design, implementation,
and management of EIS. In June 2005, at a meeting of the International Federation for Information
Processing (IFIP) Technical Committee for Information Systems (TC8) held at Guimarães, Portugal,
the discipline framework of Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) as a scientific sub-discipline
called Industry Information Integration Engineering was proposed (Roode 2005). The IFIP TC 8
committee members from many different countries intensively discussed the innovative and
unique characteristics of EIS and Industry Information Integration Engineering as a scientific sub-
discipline (Raffai 2007). In this meeting it was decided by the TC8 members that the IFIP TC8 First
International Conference on Research and Practical Issues of Enterprise Information Systems
(CONFENIS 2006) would be held in April 2006 in Vienna, Austria. In August 2006, at the IFIP 2006
World Computer Congress held in Santiago, Chile, the proposal was voted and endorsed by the
Congress, the IFIP TC8 WG8.9 Enterprise Information Systems was formally established to
promote the world-wide academic interactions among both academics and practitioners in the
area of enterprise information systems for advancing the concepts, methods, and techniques
related to enterprise information systems.
In October 2006, an Enterprise Information Systems Special Session was successfully held at 2006
IEEE International Conference on SMC. In 2007, IEEE SMC Technical Committee on EIS was
established, focusing on the interface between systems engineering and industry information
integration engineering. This is the first EIS TC in IEEE. Since then, The Special Session on EIS has
also been held at every IEEE International Conference on SMC. Currently IEEE SMC TC EIS has
members from countries such as Brazil, China, Poland, UK, US, and others.

To further respond to the needs of both academicians and practitioners for
communicating and publishing their research outcomes on EIS and Industry Information
Integration Engineering, Taylor & Francis, one of the world’s largest academic publishers, decided
in 2006 to launch an international science and engineering journal entitled Enterprise Information
Systems exclusively devoted to the topic of EIS and Industry Information Integration Engineering.
The journal has been included in SCI since its inception with 2009 impact factor of 2.809 and
ranked 12/116 in computer/information systems journals by Thompson Reuters.

EIS is largely influenced by systems science and engineering. John Warfield, former President of
IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society, former Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions SMC, and
an IEEE Life Fellow, points out that enterprise integration as a major global challenge of these
times is a systems challenge (Warfield 2007).  A massive literature demonstrates that systems
science and engineering has major implications for enterprise integration and many other
problematic situations involving complexity and is able to meet this challenge (Warfield 2007).
Systems science and engineering has been used to serve specific enterprises in many of its
operations. For example,  Scott M. Staley, Chief Engineer at Ford Motor Company, worked with a
large cross-functional team to create an enterprise-wide information system (known as the C3P
system), using the work program of complexity (WPOC) which stems from systems science (Staley
& Warfield 2007). The C3P system refers to a CAD/CAE/CAM/PIMS system and has been applied
to design, engineer, and manufacture automobiles and further to provide product information
across and beyond the entire enterprise, extending into the supplier and customer base.

IEEE SMC TC on Enterprise Information Systems provides an engineering and industry forum to
expand the growing dialogue among researchers and practitioners world-wide to share their
research results and applications. It provides a venue in which engineers and researchers in EIS
will find the latest, state-of-the-art information in this burgeoning area. Topics of interest include
enterprise engineering, enterprise modeling, and especially the complex and cross-disciplinary
systems research of enterprise integration that arise in integrating extended enterprises in a
contemporary global supply chain environment. Techniques developed in mathematical science,
computer science, manufacturing engineering, systems engineering used in the design or
operation of enterprise information systems are also considered. Three highly cited papers since
the founding of TC EIS is as follows,

Warfield, J. (2007). Systems science serves enterprise integration: a tutorial. Enterprise
Information Systems, 1(2), 235-254. Cited 40 times in Web of Science, 44 times in Google.

Luo et al (2007). Flood decision support system on agent grid: method and implementation.
Enterprise Information Systems, 1(1), 49-68. Cited 35 times in Web of Science, 36 times in Google.

Hsu, C., and Wallace, W (2007). An industrial network flow information integration model for
supply chain management and intelligent transportation. Enterprise Information Systems, 1(3),
327-351. Cited 31 times in Web of Science, 40 times in Google.

Advances within EIS are occurring in an accelerating fashion in this burgeoning area. However,
the enterprise integration challenges are still numerous as more complex systems are being
created continuously and new technologies are created or integrated.  More research is expected
to address such challenges and emphasize the importance of systems science and engineering in
EIS in different ways. In next five years, IEEE SMC TC EIS will help and facilitate continuous
collaboration and exchange of ideas and experiences of researchers and practitioners in EIS area
within IEEE that is crucial to the further development of the subject. 

References

Raffai, M. (2007). New Working Group in IFIP TC8 Information Systems Committee:
WG 8.9 Working Group on Enterprise Information Systems. SEFBIS Journal, 2, 4-8.

Roode, D. (2005) IFIP General Assembly September 2005 Gaborone, Botswana Report from
Technical Committee 8 (Information Systems). 27 August 2005.

Staley, S, & Warfield, J. (2007). Enterprise integration of product development data: systems
science in action. Enterprise Information Systems, 1(3), 269-285.

Warfield, J. (2007). Systems science serves enterprise integration: a tutorial. Enterprise
Information Systems, 1(2), 235-254.

Technical Committee on Human Perception in Vision, Graphics, and Multimedia
Co-chairs
Anup Basu, and  Irene Cheng, University of Alberta and Holly Rushmeier, Yale
Industrial Co-chair
Haohong Wang, TCL Research

The Committee was established in January, 2010. Following are some of the topics that are within
the scope of the Technical Committee:

1. Perceptual quality in image, video and 3D compression;
2. QoE (Quality of Experience) based Multimedia and Graphics;
3. Perceptual factors & QoE in DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP)
4. 3D mesh refinement and evaluation of simplification algorithms based on perceptual
thresholds and skeletonization;
5. Human factors in 3DTV and stereo visualization;
6. Visual quality prediction and perceptually driven texture reduction;
7. Active Vision;
8. Panoramic view perception, capture and rendering;
9. Perceptually optimized transmission of integrated texture and mesh taking packet loss
into consideration;
10. Foveation for efficient image, video and 3D transmission;  and,
11. Perceptual factors in efficient web-based multimedia education.
Goals for the next five years
1. Organizing the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (ICME 2013)
in San Jose;
2. Organizing the Industrial Track of IEEE SMC 2014 conference in San Diego;
3. Organizing Special Sessions at IEEE SMC Conferences;
4. Organizing the STAR Report presentation at the Eurographics conference in 2012;
5. Organizing Special Issues on HMS in IEEE SMC Transactions;
6. Organizing Panels to Enhance University-Industry Interactions
Important papers
1. “Perceptually Coded Transmission for Arbitrary 3D Objects over Burst Packet Loss
Channels and a Generic JND Formulation,” (I. Cheng, L. Ying and A. Basu), IEEE Journal on
Selected Areas of Communication (JSAC), pp. 1184 - 1192, Vol. 30, Issue  7, August 2012.
2. “Optimal Pixel Aspect Ratio for Enhanced 3D TV Visualization,” (H. Azari, I. Cheng and A.
Basu), Computer Vision, Graphics and Image Processing, pp. 38-53, Vol. 116, Issue 1,
January, 2012
3. “Perceptually Guided Fast Compression of 3D Motion Capture Data,” (A. Firouzmanesh, I.
Cheng and A. Basu), IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, 829-834, Aug. 2011.

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