Intellectual Integration: Multiply by Two
From June 25th – 29th the HSE School of Applied Mathematics and Informatics will organize two international conferences. Sergey Kuznetsov, Head of the School, told us about the participants, tasks and programmes of both conferences.
— Dr. Kuznetsov, please tell us more about the topics of the forthcoming conferences. Let’s start with the first one.
— From June 25th – 27th we shall hold the 13th International Conference on Rough Sets, Data Mining, Fuzzy Sets and Granular Computing. These terms, which sound odd for a non-professional, are united by the idea of soft calculations, which means calculations carried out with inexact and approximated information, which result in increased knowledge, i.e. concepts and general regularities of the subject area. The concept of fuzzy sets, introduced by Lotfi Zadeh about 50 years ago, and the concept of the rough set, suggested by Zdislav Pawlak, formed the basis of mathematical models of plausible arguments which have numerous applications in information technologies and control systems. Let me give you an example from everyday life: the manufacturers call a washing machine ‘smart’ if its processor is based on fuzzy logics, which allows a soft change of modes.
— What is the history of the conference and who are its organizers?
— This conference was first held in Poland in the late 1980s, and since then it has been held in many countries, including the USA, Japan, China and India. The last conference took place in Delhi in December 2009. An important role in the organization of these conferences is played by the followers of Zdislav Pawlak, particularly Dominik Slezak, a young researcher who works at the University of Warsaw and is one of the directors of Infobgright, a Polish-Canadian IT company, which is concerned with the optimization of data storage and analytical work on the stored data. The co-chairs of the programme committee are Daryl Hepting, professor at the University of Regina (Canada), who for many years has been involved in research in soft computing, and Boris Mirkin, tenured professor at the HSE, who is internationally renowned in data analysis.
— What does the conference programme include?
— The conference will start on June 25th with two seminars where the ‘freshest’ works will be presented. Papers on text data analysis will be unveiled at one of the seminars. One of the reports will be made by Joenas Poelmans from the University of Leuven (Belgium) who is studying at the HSE School of Applied Mathematics and Informatics. He will tell us about the CORDIET international project, which involves the Amsterdam police, the University of Leuven and our School. The project is aimed at the creation of an information system for the analysis of patrol reports by Amsterdam police officers – text information which will uncover criminal organizations and their structure. The second seminar will be dedicated to the application of soft computations and the methods of pattern recognition in medicine, bioinformatics, control systems, etc. The conference programme includes a number of tutorials on rough and fuzzy sets as well as a lecture by Professor Jiawei Han (Illinois University, USA), one of the leading experts in data mining, who wrote a textbook which is used by researchers and students all over the world. He will make a presentation on Construction and Analysis of Web-Based Computer Science Information Networks. The second day of the conference includes several presentations by invited experts and work in sections on the theory and applications of soft computing. The key topics of the sectional sessions of the third day will be the applications of soft computing in such areas as clustering, semantic analysis, selection of attributes in data analysis, methods of image visualization and pattern recognition.
— Who else is involved in the conference organization?
— The preparation for the conference consists of two parts: the work of the programme committee and the work of the committee dedicated directly to organizing the event. The programme committee selects and edits the papers, and the organizing committee gathers the necessary documents, invites participants, prepares venues, organizes accommodation and meals for the guests. The staff of the School of Applied Mathematics and Informatics carried out a significant part of work for both the programme and organizing committee. For example, Dmitry Ignatov, senior lecturer at the Department of Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence, was involved not only in preparing conference papers for the Springer publishing house, but also gathered all information on the conference participants and prepared visa invitations for them. Incidentally, the fact that papers from both conferences will be published by a leading international publisher, Springer, is very important for the HSE’s reputation as a national research university and an international center which carries out research in applied mathematics and information science. Each publication in this company passes through a thorough peer review by 2 or 3 experts. The work of Springer is a notable example of international cooperation in academic publications: authors from all over the world write articles in a certain format, an international editorial committee reviews these articles, selects and edits them, then passes them on to a publishing house in Heidelberg where the publication is prepared by Indian layout designers. Then the layout is sent to a printing house in the Netherlands, from where the papers are delivered to the conference location. Springer has a very strict technological cycle: about 7 weeks for completion, from the moment the edited article texts are received to the sending out of ready papers from the printing house.
— Let’s talk about the second conference. What topic is it dedicated to?
— The 4th International Conference on Pattern Recognition and Machine Intelligence will start on June 28th, immediately after the previous conference, and will run until July 1st. In fact, this conference will be international for the first time, since previously it has been held in India. Over the last few decades India has achieved serious success in the development of intellectual information technologies and has a number of research centers connected with technoparks involved in IT. Primarily, this is the Institute of Statistics in Calcutta and the Institute of Information Technologies in Delhi. That’s why the programme committee is co-chaired by prominent Indian researchers from the Calcutta Institute: Sankar Pal, Deba Prasad Mandal and Malay Kundu. We have several invited speakers, including Rakesh Agrawal, leading research fellow at Microsoft, one of the most renowned international experts in data mining. Thousands of links lead to his works on the algorithm for mining association rules (for example, on the Apriori algorithm). Rakesh Agrawal will speak on Enriching Education Through Data Mining.
— Why did you decide to organize two conferences consequently? Are their topics related?
— They certainly are. The topics of the papers from both conferences are closely connected. Many researchers will participate in both conferences. Many of the applications of soft computing are in the area of pattern recognition and machine intelligence. We think that we are very lucky to host these conferences. Firstly, the HSE is actively carrying out research both in artificial intelligence and in pattern recognition. And secondly, Russia has not yet lost its reputation in this area, and among the participants of the conference will be Russian researchers who are internationally recognized in the sphere of pattern recognition and machine intelligence, such as Konstantin Voronov, Boris Mirkin, Mikhail Roitberg and Alexey Chervonenkis. An important event for both of the conferences will be an ’industry session’ and an ‘expert session’. At the industry session, representatives of international IT companies and projects which use these methods of machine intelligence will participate, including our sponsors ABBYY and Yandex. At the expert session leading researchers – conference directors and invited speakers – will make their academic suggestions for the IT companies.
— The working language of the conferences will be English. Do you plan to translate the presentations into Russian?
— No, there will be no translation. Both conferences are international, and the work will be in English in line with standard international practice.
— How would you briefly define the key tasks of the conferences and the organizers’ expectations?
— Any international conference is primarily aimed at the exchange of experience, building cooperation and the development of promising areas in research as well as providing a basis for fruitful collaboration between different schools, academic teams and industrial partners. And in our specific case I would also emphasize the importance of international intellectual integration.
Valentina Gruzintseva, HSE News Service