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Celebration Lecture Series 2013 on
"The Making of an Academic"
Strategic Workshop 2013 on
"Understanding the Cyber World: A Rendezvous for Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition, and Cybernetics"

University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK

Following its successes in China in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively, the IEEE SMC Celebration Lecture Series (CLS) was held on 25 March 2013 at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK. This was followed by a technical workshop "Understanding the Cyber World: A Rendezvous for Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition, and Cybernetics" on 26 March 2013. This two-day event was jointly organised by IEEE SMC Northern Ireland Chapter and School of Computing and Mathematics of the University of Ulster. This two-day event has featured lectures and/or presentations delivered by eight distinguished scholars who are active in the IEEE SMC Society, or have achieved high-level recognition from the IEEE, or have developed a successful career.

The CLS aims to provide expert insight, advice and professional training, as well as an academic forum and networking opportunity to PhD students and early career researchers in their future academic career. Seven speakers have delivered on different topics central to the CLS theme of "The Making of an Academic": Prof Marcello Pelillo from University of Venice (Italy) gave a lecture on Creative Research; Dr Gavin Brown from University of Manchester (UK) on Excellence and Innovation in Teaching; Prof Fionn Murtagh from University of London (UK) on Research Funding for Achievement and Impact; Prof Loi-Lei Lai (Vice President of IEEE SMC Society) from State Grid Energy Research Institute (China) on Building Professional Network; Prof Daniel Yeung (Senior Past President of IEEE SMC Society) from South China University of Technology (China) on Effective Manuscript Preparation; Prof Fabio Roli from University of Cagliari (Italy) on Personal and Time Management for Young Scientists; and Dr Stephen Clark from University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory (UK) on Effective Research Presentation.

During the Strategic Workshop on the second day the above seven speakers, along with another speaker Prof David Bell from Queen's University of Belfast (UK), have shared their insightful forward looking views on different topics central to the workshop theme of "Understanding the Cyber World: a Rendezvous for Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition, and Cybernetics". These include: Towards a Holistic Theory of Pattern Recognition? (Prof Marcello Pelillo); On the Virtues of Unifying versus Diversifying in Machine Learning (Dr Gavin Brown); Big Data: From 'Firehoses' to 'Deluges' and 'Avalanches' (Prof David Bell); Towards a New Science of Big Data Analytics, based on the Geometry and the Topology of Complex, Hierarchic Systems (Prof Fionn Murtagh); Generalization, Stability, Robustness, Sensitivity and Noise Control in Cyber Pattern Analysis (Prof Daniel Yeung); Combining Compositional and Distributional Semantics (Dr Stephen Clark); The Adversarial Relationship between Classifier and Patterns in the Cyber-World (Prof Fabio Roli); and Grid Analytics (Prof Loi-Lei Lai). After the talks, a panel discussion followed involving the speakers and the audience in a pursuit to identify major research problems in addressing the challenges of Understanding the Cyber World. It was suggested by the speakers that a series of workshops and panel sessions will be organized in this year and the next to continue this exploration. The aim is to turn these discussions into a concrete and strategic research direction where the community of researchers in the IEEE SMC Society could play a leading role.

This event attracted more than 50 (on 25th of March) and over 40 (on 26th of March) IEEE members, GOLD members and potential members from University of Ulster and Queen's University of Belfast in Northern Ireland and other universities in England, Ireland, and other European countries. The delegates, including mainly PhD students, postdoc researchers and some academic staff, have found the event very interesting, inspiring and beneficial, and they have enjoyed listening to those high quality talks.

Details and updated information about the workshop are available at
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