Keynote Speakers

Online Learning Comes of Age
Professor Jill Hewitt
Head of the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire
Director of Systems Usability at the University of Hertfordshire
School of Computer Science, University of Hertfordshire,
College Lane Campus, Hatfield, UK

10:15 – 11:00  Keynote Address,  
Monday, April 7, 2008 - Room: W1 - 010

Ten years ago, e-learning was in its infancy and universities and colleges were taking the first tentative steps to provide learning materials over the internet. Since then we can count four generations of delivery model and look towards a fifth which embraces virtual worlds and mixed reality. But there are still issues to be resolved, some perceived, some real, before online learning is accepted by all as an equivalent to on-campus learning. This talk will review the development of e-learning, introducing the technology which is used and the developing pedagogy of delivery, and it will look towards the likely future technology as well as raising challenges for the developers.
After graduating in Economics at the University of East Anglia in 1972, Jill worked as an information analyst for the Electricity Board and National and Grindlays Bank before moving into systems analysis for International Computers Limited and The British Aircraft Corporation. She joined the University as a lecturer in 1979, and had a long career in lecturing, research and consultancy before becoming Head of School and Chair of Interactive Systems in 2002. Before becoming Head, she was a practising software engineer and a Microsoft Certified Professional. As well as being Head of School, Jill is also the University’s Director of Systems Usability with a remit to monitor and improve the usability of the university corporate information systems.
Jill’s research is related to speech-based interfaces and distributed multimedia information systems, she has published widely and earned over £1million in grants from the EC, EPSRC, DTI and HEFCE. She worked on leading edge speech recognition technology to provide subtitles for live television. She also managed the commercial software development services for the School of Computer Science. She has been involved with e-learning since 1998 when the School of Computer Science launched the first totally online distance learning Masters courses in computer science and she was instrumental in gaining government funding to develop a successful new generation of undergraduate and masters courses.

Intelligent Multimedia Mining in e-Learning Environments

Professor Mohamed Kamel
Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence Group
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

1:15 –2:00  Keynote Address,  
Monday, April 7, 2008 – Room: W1 - 010



To make best use of learning objects repositories, efficient tools to discover, extract and share knowledge embedded in learning object repositories need to be developed. These tools will help in providing context, facilitating interactions, efficient organization, efficient delivery, navigation and retrieval. In this talk we present an overview of a number of research projects within the Learning Object Repositories Research Network (LORNET) that attempt to address the developing of these tools. LORNET is a research network that is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada as well industrial partners and involves researchers from 6 Universities across Canada to research architectures, tools and methods to maximize the usability and efficiency of learning object repositories for education, training and knowledge management. In specific, we report on work in progress by the PAMI research group in text classification and clustering methods, use of phrases for clustering documents, keyword extraction and meta-data generation. We also discuss our latest findings in the area of automatic speech/video transcription and semantic speech decoding to deal with search and information mining of an ever increasing body of multi-media data streams, which constitute nowadays a significant share of learning object repositories.
Mohamed S. Kamel is B.Sc. (Hons) EE (Alexandria University), M.A.Sc (McMaster University) & Ph.D (University of Toronto). He joined the University of Waterloo, Canada in 1985 where he is at present Professor and Director of the Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence Laboratory at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Professor Kamel holds Canada Research Chair in Cooperative Intelligent Systems. Dr. Kamel holds several positions like Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Robotics and Automation, Associate Editor of 5 international journals: the IEEE SMC, Part A, Pattern Recognition Letters, Cognitive Neurodynamics, Pattern Recognition, and Computational Intelligence, Member of the editorial advisory board of the International Journal of Image and Graphics and the Intelligent Automation and Soft Computing journal, Member of ACM, PEO, Fellow of IEEE, Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) and Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), Member of the board of directors and co-founder of Virtek Vision Inc. of Waterloo.  etc. He also served as Associate Editor of Simulation, the Journal of The Society for Computer Simulation & as consultant for General Motors, NCR, IBM, Northern Telecom and Spar Aerospace. Dr. Kamel's research interests are in Computational Intelligence, Pattern Recognition, Machine Learning and Cooperative Intelligent Systems. He is theme leader in LORNET (a research network on learning object repositories). He has authored and co-authored over 350 papers in journals and conference proceedings, 10 edited volumes, 2 patents and numerous technical and industrial project reports.

Professor Fakhri Karray
Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence Group
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo, Waterloo
Ontario, Canada

1:15 –2:00   Keynote Address,  
Monday, April 7, 2008 - Room: W1 - 010


Fakhri Karray, (S’89,M’90,SM’01) received Ing. Dipl. in Electrical Engineering from Univ. of Tunis, (84) and Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA (89).
He is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada and the Associate Director of the Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence Lab. Dr. Karray’s current research interests are in the areas of autonomous systems and intelligent man-machine interfacing and mechatronics design. He has authored extensively in the field and holds more than a dozen US patents in mechatronics and intelligent systems. He has authored/co-authored more than 250 articles in journals and conference proceedings and is the co-author of a textbook: Soft Computing and Intelligent Systems Design, AW Pub., 2004.
He serves as the Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics, the IEEE Transactions on Systems Man and Cybernetics (part B), the IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine, the International Journal of Robotics and Automation and the Journal of Control and Intelligent Systems. He has been for eight years an Associate Editor of the IEEE Control Systems Society’s Conference Proceedings and has served as Chair/ co-Chair of more than 12 International Conferences and Technical Programs. He is the General Co-Chair of the IEEE Conference on Logistics and Automation, China, 2008.
Dr. Karray is the local Waterloo Chapter Chair of the IEEE Control Systems Society and the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society. He is co-founder of Intelligent Mechatronics Systems Inc.(IMS Inc.) and Voice Enabling Systems Technology Inc. and serves as Chairman of the Board of Vestec Inc.

Human Assistive Robotic and Mechatronic Technology

Professor Toshio Fukuda,
 Dept. of Micro-Nano Systems Engineering,
Nagoya University, Nagoya,

8:30 –9:15   Keynote Address,  
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - Room: W1 - 010



Robotics as one of Mechatronics technologies has widely been used in many areas for the automation. There are many growing demands and requests for human and robot cooperation in many sectors, such as manufacturing industry, intelligent human life, aged care house, hospitals, plant inspection and maintenance, and so on. Since robotic technology is not so intelligent and adaptive to human, human and robotic(mechatronic) system are not symmetric, so that robotic technology is rather more augmentative and assistive to human behavior and works today than as an equal partner in future. Thus, human today needs more assistance by robotic technology, in our industrial, business, daily life activities, and others for many reasons:
1. Physical assistance, which provides various labors, audio-visual augmentation and others. There are several good applications for the guiding and monitoring robots for human. There are also good applications to assist the aged people to walk as they want.
2. Skill assistance, which provides more skillful works to human such as medical, life assistances & others. Medical robots help medical doctors to improve their skills, so that doctors can improve their skill of surgical operation to save patients safely & efficiently because of the minimum invasive surgery.
3. Intelligence assistance, which provides the support of decision making, memories, data base access and others. There will be many applications to be considered in future beyond our imagination.
Dr. Fukuda received the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1977. In 1977, he joined the National Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. In 1982, he joined the Science University of Tokyo, Japan, and then joined Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan, in 1989. Currently, he is Professor of Department of Micro-Nano System Engineering at Nagoya University, where he is mainly involved in the research fields of intelligent robotic system, cellular robotic system, mechatronics, and micro- and nano-robotics. Dr. Fukuda was the founding chairman of the IEEE/RSJ Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), President of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (1998-1999), Director of the IEEE Division X, Systems and Control (2001-2002), and Editor-in-Chief of IEEE / ASME Transactions on Mechatronics (2000-2002). He was Founding President of IEEE Nanotechnology Council (2002-2005) and President of SOFT (Japan Society for Fuzzy Theory and Intelligent Informatics) (2003-2005). He received the IEEE Eugene Mittelmann Award(1997), IEEE Millennium Medal (2000), the IEEE Robotics and Automation Pioneer Award(2004), Award from Ministry of Education & Science in Japan (2005). IEEE Nanotechnology Council Distinguished Service Award (2007), IEEE Fellow (1995), SICE Fellow (1995), JSME Fellow (2001), RSJ Fellow (2004).

The Arab Science and Technology: A vehicle towards a sustainable development of the Arab World

Professor Abdalla A. Alnajjar,
 President, Arab Science & Technology Foundation

 1:00 –1:45   Keynote Address,  
 Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - Room: W1 - 010



The Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) is an independent, non-profit regional and international organization. Scientists, engineers and researchers from inside and outside the Arab world as well as representatives of Arab and international institutions contribute to its establishment. ASTF caters the need expressed by Arab scientists to advance science & technology (S&T) in the Arab region. It was commissioned by its scientific community to encourage and support excellence and innovation in scientific and technological research. ASTF brings together Arab scientists with the aim of utilizing local and expatriate expertise to serve the development of the Arab region. ASTF is committed to promote coordination and cooperation among scientists & scientific organizations in order to apply knowledge that will forward the sustainable development of Arab countries. ASTF aims to identify outstanding scientific research activities being conducted by women and men of science and technology from the Arab world, while seeking to become a center for assessing the performance of scientific programs and also a powerful international Arab entity that defends the region's interests in scientific and technological progress.
With its Headquarter in the UAE, ASTF seeks to fulfill its mission as a pan- Arab organization by establishing branch offices in Arab capitals and liaison nodes in other parts of the world. At present, ASTF branch offices are in Sharjah (UAE), Baghdad (Iraq), Amman (Jordan), Cairo (Egypt), and Tetwan (Morocco).
Dr. Abdalla Al-Najjar is currently the President of Arab Science & Technology Foundation (ASTF), since 2000 & member of Sharjah Consultative Assembly since 2007. He has handled various positions in University of Sharjah (UAE) like Associated Professor of Physics, Director, Research Center, Assistant Professor of Physics etc. He was also Post Graduate, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Durham, UK, Curriculum Specialist & Physics Teacher, Eastern Zone at Ministry of Education, UAE. Dr. Abdalla did his B.Sc. in 1982 in Physics and Mathematics from the United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, UAE and completed his Ph.D., in Applied Physics from The University of Durham, UK in 1992. He currently holds membership for Advisory Board for the Arab Thought Foundation, since 2006, Consultative Committee for Scientific and Technological Development and Technological Innovation, ESCWA, 2002-2004, International core committee of the Initiative towards Engraining Iraq’s Science & Technology Community, since 2003, Advisory committee mandated to write the UNDP Arab Human Development Report, 2003, International Steering Committee of the World Renewable Energy Congress, since 2001, World Renewable Energy Network, UK , since 2000, International Solar Energy Society, Germany, since 1999, Royal Society of Crystal Growth, UK, since 1989, Sharjah University Research Board of the University of Sharjah, UAE, 1999-2005, Board of Trustees of the Sharjah Award for Educational Superiority and Distinction, 2000-2002, Environmental Friends Association, UAE 1992-present, Head of Teachers Society, Eastern Zone, UAE 1984-1987 etc.

E-Learning Concepts and Strategies at German Universities
Professor Detlef Kroemker,
Director of E-learning Center,
University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt,

12:30 –13:15   Keynote Address,  
Tuesday, April 9, 2008 - Room: W1 - 010



Megadigitale is an e-learning project that has been started in 2005 at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt, which aims to develop general e-learning strategies that can be applied at various universities to improve the quality of e-learning activities and study. The project combines thereby a bottom-up and a top-down approach to implement e-learning concepts that have been developed by the different faculties of the university. Each faculty acts as a decentralized unit that independently develops its individual e-learning activities under consideration of its demands and requirements. A central unit consisting of e-learning experts is responsible for embedding the concepts into university-wide strategies and providing support to the interdisciplinary cooperation between the decentralized units. Our work has resulted in a variety of effective e-learning strategies that we will present in our speech.
Prof. Detlef Kroemker, 52, studied electronic engineering in Bielefeld and computer science at the Technical University Darmstadt, from which he has obtained a PhD in Graphical Interactive Systems. He became the head of the department of Animation und Image Communication at the research institute "Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics" in 1987 in Darmstadt. In 1991 he started working as an Associate Manager at a newly opened branch of the institute in the USA.
Prof. Kroemker is since Dec. 1999 the head of the Institute for Computer Graphics at the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Frankfurt. He is the The initiator of the megaDigitale project in University of Frankfurt and one of the biggest e-learning projects in the German-speaking countries (Austria, Germany and Switzerland). Some of his research areas are Authoring Problems in Multimedia, E-learning and Mixed Reality, Visualization, Simulation and Animation of Complex Systems.


Full paper submission:
December 17th, 2007
Author notification:
January 15th, 2008
Final camera-ready submission:
February 20th, 2008

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