Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Guest post: WCCI Conference Report

This is a guest post by my colleague and friend Dr Brendon Woodford of the Department of Information Science at the University of Otago. Brendon writes about the 2010 World Congresss on Computational Intelligence, which was held in Barcelona, Spain, July 18-23.

The 2010 IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI'2010) was held at the Centre De Convencions Internacional De Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, between the 18th and 23rd of July, 2010. This conference, held biyearly, is a combination of IEE The International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN), the IEEE International Conference on Fussy Systems (Fuzz-IEEE), and the IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC). A total of 1715 papers were presented over five days with up to 17 parallel sessions going on at any one time. At a guess there were over 2000 delegates at the congress itself.

Prior to the conference proper, a set of tutorials on the Sunday was presented on a wide range on topics from an introduction to evolutionary game theory to the foundations of computational intelligence in the context of knowledge-based medicine.

The main highlight of the Sunday evening was the Welcome Reception at the Convention Centre itself which enabled me and my colleagues to catch up with old friends and make new connections.

Most of the plenary sessions were held mid-morning across the week. Monday's plenary was presented by Dr. Sushmita Mitra on hybridization with rough sets, Prof. Dr. Habil. Rudolf Kruse talked on Temporal Aspects in Data Mining at the Tuesday plenary, Prof. Dr. Pedro Larrañaga spoke on probabilistic graphical models and evolutionary computation, an in-depth talk on The evolution of fuzzy clustering was presented by Dr. Enrique H. Ruspini, and finally Dr. Shiro Usui presented on the PLATO platform for collaborative brain system modeling. My impression from these talks was that the themes of hybrid techniques applied to real-world problems appeared to be a strong thread across all the talks.

In terms of the paper presentations, most of the subject matter ranged from the development or extension to theories of computational intelligence to applications of existing techniques to real-world problems. An emerging thread of some of the presentations which I had not been party to was the emphasis on how such work has been targeted to industry with a few to create stronger links between the research community and big business. This concept was cemented in a panel session on "Computational Intelligence in Industry: Promises and Challenges" which presented some cases studies on how research groups around the world have forged links with corporations to better their business.

The gala dinner was not held at the conference venue but at Alfonso XIII's Palace, in the Fira of Barcelona, a majestic building which hosted all delegates in its vast dining space. As part of the event, an ceremony was held to honour outstanding research with such categories as the Best Paper Awards.

The final social event I could attend was the Concert at the “Palau de la Música Catalanathe” in which the Camera Musicae Orquestra performed "The Eight Seasons"; a variation of Vivaldi's Four Seasons which each original movement accompanied by an extra movement by composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992). Although I could not make it myself, I was reliably informed that it was a world class performance.

Images of the more social parts of the conference can be found at http://www.wcci2010.org/photo-gallery

The presentation of my IJCNN accepted paper was held directly after lunch on the last day of the conference. Although the numbers of delegates had dwindled over the week, there was still enough in attendance to provide me with good feedback on the presented work.