Welcome from the Vice President for Industrial and Governmental Activities

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the first Vice President for Industrial and Governmental Activities (I&GA) of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS).

Below, I will explain the motivation and origins of this new organization However, let me first describe my background and experience to explain how we arrived at the formation of I&GA and its mission.

I began as a volunteer when our society was still a Council ( Neural Network Council). I spent almost three decades of my professional life as a member of its ExCom and AdCom, helping to nurture its growth into a Society (Neural Networks Society followed by Computational Intelligent Society). As a CIS member with a strong background in industrial applied research, I spent much of my time analyzing the academic research presented in our conferences and publications. My objective was to find the relevant "nuggets" that I could refine and apply to the industrial challenges in my work. A recent survey with CIS members showed that I was not alone. There are about 30-35% of our current members in a similar situation.

We started addressing this issue in 2020, when I chaired the IEEE CIS Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) and used SWOT analysis to uncover CIS's critical needs, including the lack of Industry presence in our activities. During the 2020 Strategic Planning Retreat (SPR), I chaired a working group on Industrial Activities (IA) to further shape this concept. As a result, the CIS President created the 2020 IA Ad-hoc Committee. While chairing that committee, we evolved this concept, shaping its vision and creating the blueprints for the current organization. Finally, with the 2021 I&GA Ad-hoc Committee, we extended the scope of our activities to become Industrial and Governmental Activities (I&GA), and we refined its vision to its current state, which is defined below.

Currently, the vision for the I&GA Committee relies on the following seven components:

(a) Industry Drivers : To attract industry participation in CIS activities, we need to create and evolve the CIS value proposition for Industry. To discover it, in the Spring of 2021, we surveyed our industrial members. Out of 501 responders, we identified 189 Industry or Government responders, whom we invited to become CIS I&GA volunteers. Their responses gave us a sample of unmet Industry needs and preferences. We will continue this engagement process to identify and refine additional business needs that AI/CI technologies could address.

(b) Industrial and Governmental Membership Diversity : We need to increase the number of experienced industry volunteers. In particular, we need to reach out to our Industry Sr. Members & Fellows to champion and support the nominations of other Sr. Members and Fellow candidates. Similarly, we want to reach out to our Young Professionals (YP) and women members to become active CIS I&GA volunteers. To achieve this goal, we will work in coordination with Prof. Sanaz Mostaghim, Member Activities VP.

(c) CIS Offerings to Industry : We want to create services and products for Industry, ranging from position papers to reports, webinars, and tutorials. We also want to have industry-centered panels, workshops, and conferences with keynotes by industry leaders. We will make those video recordings available and offer them with the previously listed products in a CIS customized version of IEEE Resource Center, which we are in the process of creating and shaping.

(d) I&GA Structure : As a brand new organization, we will jump-start I&GA’s structure by drafting its Operations Manual, creating I&GA Committees and Task Forces focused on various industry sectors, and strengthing them with volunteers. We will create a new forum, the Executive Advisory Board, and invite industry and government thought-leaders to help us understand current needs for AI/CI solutions and initiatives and shape forthcoming ones.

(e) Standards: To be relevant, we need to develop a CIS Standards Committee strategy to leverage our technical expertise while being demand-driven. We will work with IEEE Standards Association (SA) to drive Standards for AI technology, such as the Consortium on the Landscape of AI Safety (CLAIS), and contribute to IEEE SA Artificial Intelligence Systems (AIS) and IEEE SA P7000 family, focused on AI and Ethics. To this end, the CIS Standards Committee will report to the I&GA to identify industry needs, with a dotted line to Technical Activities to leverage our technical know-how. To achieve this goal, we will work in coordination with Prof. Luis Magdalena, Technical Activities VP.

(f) Government Engagement: We wish to establish and improve CIS relationships with AI-friendly government agencies, such as theNational Artificial Intelligence Initiative (AI.gov), the European Approach to Artificial Intelligence (https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/european-approach-artificial-intelligence), the European AI Alliance (https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/european-ai-alliance), etc. We want to invite their thought-leaders as speakers at CIS conferences to describe their initiatives and the research opportunities that they entail. Finally, we would like to leverage IEEE USA to identify critical contacts within the US Government. 

(g) Industry Engagement in Conferences: We want to create a forum within CIS conferences, in which Industry can participate without having to submit scholarly papers. Industry leaders can define current and future challenges that AI/CI technology could address. We can achieve this with focused panels or keynote speeches. With increasing industry participation in CIS conferences, we will grow conference exhibits, sponsorships, and, more importantly, guidance to make AI/CI technology relevant to Industry needs. To this end, we have created an Industry Day within the 2022 IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI 2022). We are also organizing the 2023 Conference on AI (CAI), which will take place in June 2023 in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area. CAI will showcase this new format, which should be attractive to Industry. To achieve this goal, we will work in coordination with Prof. Marley Vellasco, Conferences VP.

The seven components of the I&GA vision will interact synergistically, as we develop them over time. We illustrate these interactions in Figure 1.

Figure 1 for 1.Welcome

Figure 1: Interactions of I&GA’s Vision Components. The arrow between two components indicates the most likely direction of influence. For instance, the component I&GA Structure(d) could influence the refinement of Industry Drivers (a) by eliciting them from the Industry Leaders in the Executive Advisory Board (EAB). Similarly, members of the EAB could guide the priorities of CIS Offerings to Industry (c), suggest potential demand for new Standards (e), and share their view in conference panels, impacting Industry Engagement in Conferences (g).

 

Finally, I strongly encourage you to participate in the CIS Industrial and Governmental Activities by volunteering in any of its committees and task forces. The appointment process to be considered to become a member of an I&GA committee may be found here. If you are interested in being considered for a position on one of our I&GA Committees, please send an email to cis-info@ieee.org with a link to your CV.