IEEE UK & Ireland Young Professionals participation in ICC 2020

 07 Jun 2020 04:00 PM to 10 Jun 2020 01:00 PM

The IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC) is one of the IEEE Communications Society’s two flagship conferences dedicated to driving innovation in nearly every aspect of communications. In 2020, due to COVID-19, IEEE held its first-ever virtual ICC, originally scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland.

Initially, the IEEE YP UK and Ireland representatives were in charge of organising

  • a session on Networks without borders, by Linda Doyle, Vice President for Research/Dean of Research in Trinity College Dublin
  • a social event at Lansdowne Hotel, with local music by “The Irish House Party” 

Courtesy COVID-19, the participation of the affinity group was juggled to better serve the conference's needs.

On June 7, Daniel Martins, YP's South Ireland Representative, and Koushik Kumar Nundy, YP's Dublin representative were panelists in the "Volunteering for ComSoc" session, where they shared their experience with volunteering for IEEE, and how it has helped in both their professional growth, as well as the benefits it provides to the IEEE and STEM community.

On June 10, Koushik moderated a discussion with Lawrence Wong, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore, outlining the various tenets of "Writing Research Proposals".

Furthermore, Koushik and Daniel volunteered in the following session, to ensure smooth execution of the first-ever fully online IEEE ICC.

"IEEE YP Symposium on Impact of Data Science in Healthcare" - Event Report

I had the good fortune of organising a symposium on July 15, 2019, titled "IEEE YP Symposium on Impact of Data Science in Healthcare", as part of my work with the IEEE Young Professionals UK & Ireland, at NDRC, The Digital Hub in the heart of the Liberties in Dublin, Ireland.

We were very fortunate to have support from Think BiosolutionNDRC and The Digital Hub, which was very helpful in organising and executing the event.

The primary audience consisted of Young professionals (IEEE members/non-members) who want to use IEEE as a channel for employment in data science in the Healthcare space.

This event was of particular interest to
early-career professionals in the data science space
healthcare professionals
graduate students
undergraduate seniors
IT professionals looking to upskill or diversify
Wannapreneurs in the healthcare space
Researchers in health, data science, AI, ML, etc

The evening was opened with tea/coffee and networking, following which the event was MC'd by Koushik Kumar Nundy, CTO of Think Biosolution, and Dublin Representative of IEEE UK & Ireland Young Professionals.

Opening remarks were presented by the Hon. Ambassador of India to Ireland, Mr Sandeep Kumar.

This was followed by talks from an eclectic mix of academics, researchers, clinicians and administrators.

Eimear Galvin spoke about how data plays an important part in these healthcare startups and for HSE.

Eimear manages Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) in Dublin, based in St James hospital. HIHI is a joint government initiative of both the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) and the Department of Health (DoH), funded through Enterprise Ireland and supported by HSE. Part of Eimear’s role is to establish Ireland, through HIHI, as a leading location for start-ups and expanding healthcare companies, by allowing easy interaction with hospitals and primary care centres.

Eimear Galvin

Dr Friedrich Wetterling discussed how data is important for connected medical device solutions, what are the risks and opportunities, and how his employer Fire1 is working towards tackling them.

Friedrich is the Senior Data Scientist at FIRE1 Foundry. FIRE1 has raised more than €57 Million till date, and some of its investors include global healthcare leaders like Medtronic. FIRE1 is a connected medical device solutions company dedicated to improving outcomes for people suffering from chronic diseases.

Fredrich Wetterling

Dr Chandana Fitzgerald brought to the table the tech opportunities of data in healthcare, clinician's perceptions about data, and regulatory challenges of handling medical data.

Chandana is the Chief Medical Officer at HealthXL. As a CMO Chandana leads thought leadership, research, content, operations and strategic growth for a global digital health platform, HealthXL. Chandana is a medical doctor with work, research and educational experience across European, American and Asian markets. She has recently launched her Digital Health Podcast and also writes thought leadership pieces regularly.

Chandana Fitzgerald
Dr Soumyabrata Dev introduced us to his recent work where they have developed a stroke predictor for EHR data.

Soumyabrata is a Machine Learning Researcher at ADAPT Cente, Trinity College Dublin and will be joining as an Assistant Professor at University College Dublin from Fall 2019. Soumyabrata obtained his PhD from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore, in 2017. From Aug-Dec 2015, he was a visiting student at Audiovisual Communication Laboratory (LCAV), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.
Soumyabrata Dev

Following the talks, Eimear, Friedrich, Chandana and Soumyabrata were joined by Dr Shourjya Sanyal, CEO of Think Biosolution in a panel discussion about the role and significance of data in healthcare, especially clinical pathways and decision-making.

Panel Discussion
Each talk lasted 15 minutes, and the panel discussion was about 30 minutes long.

This was followed by a networking session with snacks. The event had over 110 registrations and we received a lot of positive feedback from the attendees.

Scare Quotes

Some statements simply are better if a certain famous person said them. ~ Gary Saul Morson

I have always been intrigued by quotes, despite their often half-baked oversimplifications of concepts, usually of life and love. The part that fascinates me most is the multitude of contradictions offered, usually by people on opposite sides of an argument, but not too rarely by comrades, or even occasionally by the same people.

Those that quote those that are quoted refer to such quotes that echo within their own thought chambers as a vindication of their already held opinion, where the quote's original intent may have been no more than a witty comeback.

Sometimes, more scarily, the quotee was trying to make quite the opposite point from the quoter.

Nowhere are these contradictions more on the nose than with famous quotations about quotations. Except for politics, maybe, but who wants to ramble about political wordplay!

Exhibit 1
(A) quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business. ~ A.A. Milne

Exhibit 2

I like a writer who is original enough to water his garden with quotations, without fear of being drowned out. ~ Henry Van Dyke

In retrospect, perhaps, this blog post was unnecessary, as the point has somewhat been made by a great author of our times.
Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we're quoting. ~ John Green
But then again, anything worth doing might just be worth overdoing!
Be careful--with quotations, you can damn anything. ~ Andre Malraux

The Home Depot Song

I have theorised that all songs are clandestine commercials.

Included here is a case study, outlining the hypothesis that Celine Dion's "Because you loved me..." is an insidious ad for Home Depot. I have outlined the first verse of the song with their corresponding merchandise here,
For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
Just so there is no doubt that this is happenstance, here's a few more examples, because, SCIENCE!
You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
References: [1] [2] Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion - YouTube

"From Engineer to Entrepreneur" - Event Report

On September 11, 2017, a talk, titled "From Engineer to Entrepreneur" was organised by the Dublin chapter of Founder Institute and the UK and Ireland chapter of IEEE Young Professionals. The event was kindly hosted by Google at their European HQ in Dublin.
I was fortunate enough to accompany Matthew Ellis on behalf of IEEE YP UK&I.

The wonderful audience
The event started off with the wonderful Patricia Scanlon, CEO of Soapbox, who walked us through her journey as a researcher, an intra-preneur and then an entrepreneur.
Patricia discusses how she scours the earth for the best talent
Her definitive work on voice recognition in children sits at the core . She shared her stories about the trials and tribulations that come as oft-ignored baggage with the entrepreneurial journey. Her voice recognition work at Columbia University, IBM, Alcatel-Lucent(Bell Labs) and Trinity College Dublin provided for a compelling story, and prepared her for the road ahead, where her work at Soapbox has acquired several laurels, including a $1.2 million seed funding earlier this year.

The old adage that children are often seen, not heard, is brought back into harsh focus, when we realise that the vast array of voice-recognition and control platforms, from Google's Assistant to Amazon's Alexa, are so attuned to adult voices, but perform horrendously when presented with a child.
This is the founder you have been looking for...
We also got a peek into the investment opportunities and collaborations she was able to leverage, including support from Enterprise Ireland and the spinning-in of Soapbox Labs into the Learnovate Centre at Trinity College Dublin.

She spoke about the myriad relationships, amongst all of the stakeholders, the investors, the employees, the clients and collaborators and how it all comes together to solve anything from a customer pain point to core speech engineering issues, or to even ensure that there was always money in the bank for keeping the lights on. 

While I was writing this article, Patricia showed up on the news again for her talk at InspireFest2017!

Patricia was followed by the delightful Neal O' Gorman.

Having graduated from Electronic Engineering in University College Dublin, Neal has gone on to become a serial entrepreneur with Artomatix being the 3rd company he has founded – the first was acquired by Agilent Technologies in 2006. His second company was a social games company that had an acquisition offer from one of the top social games companies in the world.

Neal is also the Director of the Dublin Chapter of Founder Institute.

Neal spoke about the challenges faced by engineers, when they set off on an entrepreneurial path.
Neal talks about the Founder Institute
Some interesting misconceptions are widely observed when we look at why people want to get into the "start up game". They range anywhere from being a "get-rich-quickly" scheme, the ability to control your hours, to "being your own boss".

Neal stressed on the importance of perseverance, and abandoning your comfort zone. The zero salary periods, the work-life balance, and need to be planned and accounted for.

He mentioned how being away from home helped in his journey, as social and personal commitments and startup duties are always competing for the same scarce resource that is time.

He spoke about not getting too attached to an idea, identifying the right problem, building the right team, having that insane degree of commitment.
"Few startups succeed, and fewer ever turn a profit" - Neal
Once the speakers were done, the audience got a chance to mingle with each other and get 1-on-1s with the speakers.
Neal and Patricia comparing notes!
Regaling after!
Overall, the event was well received, and will hopefully prove valuable to the attendees planning to set upon their own entrepreneurial journeys.

About IEEE Young Professionals

IEEE UK & Ireland (UK&I) Young Professionals is an Affinity Group for electrical, electronics, software and computer systems engineers that have graduated in the last decade. IEEE UK&I YP is a professional network that assists with transitioning from university into the professional world.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community to innovate for a better tomorrow through its more than 423,000 members in over 160 countries, and its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. IEEE is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe.

About Founder Institute
The Founder Institute is the world's premier idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program.

Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 170 cities and 60 countries, the Founder Institute’s mission is to “Globalize Silicon Valley” and empower talented and motivated entrepreneurs to build companies that will create one million new jobs.

The Founder Institute was founded in 2009 by Adeo Ressi and Jonathan Greechan. It is operated out of Palo Alto, California.

PSA : Linux support for Kaby Lake laptops - JANUARY 2017

This isn't as much a post, as it is an update on the state of Kernel and Distro support for Kaby Lake laptops, as of early January 2017.

Kaby Lake support was introduced in Linux 4.5, and only came of age closer to 4.8, although not with its fair share of quirks. GPU support for corresponding Intel integrated graphics is very much a work in progress, but as of 4.9 seems to be in usable condition.

Test Environment:
CPU : Intel Core i5 7200U 2.5GHz
GPU : Intel Integrated Graphics 620
RAM : 8GB DDR4 2400MHz
HDD : Sandisk Ultra II 480GB SATA3 SSD

All installs, unless otherwise specified, used an encrypted LVM disk with default setup.

Good : openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora 25
OK : Ubuntu 16.10
Bad : openSUSE Leap 42.2, *buntu 16.04 LTS
Unknown : antergos, Linux Mint 18.1

In some greater detail...
openSUSE Leap 42.2 is on Kernel 4.4, as is Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS and its myriad derivates(tested on Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu and Xubuntu.).

Fedora Workstation 25 comes with an outdated kernel, but a dnf update on a fresh install takes the kernel to 4.8. It had no visible issues, except this was the only distro where sound did not work out of the box. Running  service alsa force-restart as root solved the problem however. 

openSUSE Leap 42.2 consequently has some bug which results in "X Window System" having CPU utilisation skyrocket to the point of unusability. A purely CLI session which startx disabled seemed to work fine for the limited time I tested it.

*buntu 16.04, on the other hand, seems to start up fine, but freezes at random intervals, usually triggered by browser start-up. The only way to restore control is a force reboot, as keyboard shortcuts, force logouts and switching off X, all seem to have no effect whatsoever.

Ubuntu 16.10 (also tested on Kubuntu) comes with Linux 4.8, which thankfully has much better support.However, hardware acceleration seems iffy, and running a 4K video on vlc, or YouTube has framerate issues that weren't present in Fedora's similar kernel.

openSUSE Tumbleweed (release 20170104), openSUSE's rolling release runs on a 4.9 kernel, and has stellar support on KDE, but tracker takes up way too much RAM on GNOME. Not sure if it is a GNOME issue or Kaby Lake issue, though.

For antergos, the ISO Refresh 2016.11.20 failed to boot up from an USB key. There is now a new ISO download available (as of Jan 6, 2017) which I have not tested.

Linux Mint 18.1 MATE seemed to have it's mirrors down last I checked. I will try to update it's testing once I have a chance to give it a spin.

Analytics - Phase 4

It's that time of the year again. 

Just kidding. If there is one thing about this blog's schedule that is consistent, that is its inconsistency of schedule.

There has been this irregular tradition of looking at what kind of people (read "computers") chance upon my little corner.

In its latest iteration, we see a surprise surge in visits from the Cult of Mac! Also, Chrome has finally dethroned Firefox at the browser helm, over two years after it did so in the world's wider web.

Well, how have the interwebz shifted over the years then. We see quite a few interesting trends as time passed by. This is the 4th such post, so let's see how the balance has shifted over the years.

Since its early days, Chrome users had held their own in terms of traffic. In the last couple of years, however, it has grown from lingering in Firefox's shadow to claim its place under the sun, while IE, almost always on the verge of a comeback, will likely never quite catch on in these parts.

Also of note is the "other" section, fuelled almost entirely by esoteric KHTML and Dilo-like renderers in the early days, but replaced by more simplistic, yet consistently growing mobile-based alternatives.

Speaking of mobile alternatives, the practical absence of mobile visits can be better visualised by the OS share variance with time, with "other" accounting for a humongous 0 percentage points during the earlier years, while growing to a healthy 10% in recent times. 

Given it's FOSSy leanings, Linux-based user-strings have always been over-represented for this blog that for the web-at-large, but the sudden spurt in Mac visits is an unexplained surprise, which may or may not be explicable by the proliferation of "cheaper" Macs like the Air, the Mini and the Pro non-retina.

Note 1: All of these number are cumulative(since early 2009), so the trends would be more pronounced if we take each period in isolation. A year by year comparison might be in order, especially if compared to overall trends in market 

Note 2: Previous iterations lie here: Part 3 2 1