Saturday, May 10, 2014

Where Evolving Technologies Meet

Back from Toronto where I attended this year's Canadian Conference on Electrical & Computer Engineering (CCECE).

CCECE is a major conference under the IEEE Canada umbrella for researchers and industry professionals in the area of electrical,  computer and control engineering from Canada and around the world to meet annually in a Canadian city to disseminate their research advancements and discoveries, to network and exchange ideas in order to strengthen existing partnerships and foster new collaborations. Last year the conference was held in Regina, Saskatchewan. This year it was hosted by the Ryerson University in Toronto. Next year it will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Ryerson University

CCECE 2014 with the theme "Electrical and Computer Engineering - The Enabler of the New Economy" covered wide spectrum of topics related to electrical and computer systems, optimal control, intelligent networks and other areas.

I had a chance to attend a number of sessions from different streams, including Renewable Energy, Control & Robotics, and Cognitive Radio. It was interesting and enlightening to see how interconnected today's research in seemingly different areas has become. For example, in wireless networks researchers are looking for inspiration at Darwin's theory of evolution, utilizing genetic algorithms (even borrowing terms from the biology vocabulary like population, ancestry and chromosomes) and cultural studies (memetic algorithms). In quest for optimal solutions for multiobjective problems researchers emulate other nature-inspired ideas, e.g. raindrop algorithm etc. From the other hand, Black-Scholes financial model for option pricing is finding its use in the area of alternative energy.       

Diversity of the studies presented was also broad - from new type of keyboard for mobile devices to global data mining, and from aerial robots to submerged energy generators using marine currents.

I was reaffirmed again in my conviction that time of gigantic centralized systems has passed. Multitude of small but interconnected cooperating (synergetic) systems offers the advantage of flexibility, reliability and evolvability - be it an intelligent network of distributed energy modules, or a swarm of micro-satellites.

The next crucial step should be to connect what is envisioned and published in the papers with real world stuff "enabling the new economy". 

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