Conference success leads to valuable connections for Victoria
29 Nov 2017 - 09:04:25 in ResearchVictoria’s Evolutionary Computation Research Group (ECRG), based in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, put on a strong performance at the annual International Conference on Simulated Evolution and Learning (SEAL 2017). The conference, held at China’s Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) this month, represented an opportunity for Victoria researchers to connect and collaborate with their counterparts from around the world. Postdoctoral fellow Dr Harith Al-Sahaf and staff members Professor Mengjie Zhang and Dr Bing Xue won the overall Best Paper Award for their contribution on the topic of genetic programming, particularly texture image classification. “Winning this award shows that the work done at Victoria by the ECRG is new, well-recognised by experts in Evolutionary Computation, and has made a valuable contribution to the field,” says Dr Al-Sahaf. The first workshop on Evolutionary Optimisation and Learning, held jointly between SUSTech and Victoria, was also successful, with more than 100 conference attendees taking part. Professor Zhang provided an overview of Victoria’s ECRG/Artificial Intelligence (AI) groups, while group members gave presentations on five strategic directions and related research. During the conference, five ECRG group members each chaired a session in their strength, while Professor Zhang chaired several keynote speeches and tutorials. “Many people came to talk to us about collaborating on research, or taking up a PhD or postdoctoral position with us, further enhancing Victoria’s reputation,” says Professor Zhang. “Several staff members also established new research collaborations and contacts which are extremely valuable to the University.” Dr Al-Sahaf also notes the importance of networking to the research field, including attracting funding to explore new research avenues, and collaborating with industry partners to solve real-life problems. “Networking is a very important factor that allows researchers to share ideas and engage in deeper discussions with authors from around the globe. Having external collaborations shows the exemplary quality of research at Victoria, and allows us to benefit from the experience of other researchers.” After the conference, group members visited Shenzhen University to seek further collaborations. Professor Zhang is now in Hanoi to give a keynote speech for IES 2017: The 21st Asia Pacific Symposium on Intelligent and Evolutionary Systems. While in Hanoi he will also visit the Dean and President of Le Quy Don Technical University to discuss research collaborations in AI and security. Staff from Le Quy Don visited Victoria last year, and will send a student to take a Master’s at the School of Engineering and Computer Science, as well as one or two staff members to do a PhD in AI and security using a Vietnamese Government Scholarship.