June 2021 OES Beacon OES Beacon

VPTA Column (June 2021)

Venugopalan Pallayil, Vice President for Technical Activities, IEEE OES

The COVID-19 vaccination program is progressing in many countries. Nevertheless, the impact of pandemic is continuing unabated across the world. Possibility of organizing in-person technical events still appear to be remote. So, OES has to continue its technical activities and member engagement using online virtual platforms.

Following is a summary of technical activities under VPTA after the last report.

Technology Committees (TC)

TC Chair for Data Analytics, Integration and Modeling (DAIM), Dr. Gopu Potty, organized a talk on Introduction to machine learning in acoustics: theory and applications, by Dr. Michael Bianco, Assistant Project Scientist, Marine Physical Laboratory, University of California San Diego (UCSD), La Jolla, CA, USA. The talk was attended by about 50 people online and for those who missed this talk it is available for viewing at the IEEE OES YouTube Channel. Additional talks are being planned and the next related talk is expected to be sometime in June 2021. Please look out for the announcement through our social media handles.

I would like to encourage other TC Chairs also to organize similar talks and keep the community engaged in their respective fields. I anticipate online talks are to stay at least for another couple of years, if not longer.

Chapter Activities

OES now has 22 active Chapters and 9 student branch chapters (SBCs) worldwide. In addition, OES is either leading or is part of 16 joint chapters (JC) as per the information available from the IEEE OU Analytics website. The Chennai Chapter, which had been dissolved in 2019 by the IEEE India Council, has now been regrouped under the IEEE Madras Section and a new Chapter, namely OES Madras Chapter, has been formed. This is timely as Chennai is preparing to host OCEANS 2022. We are also happy to note that a new student branch chapter has been formed in Tunisia (Details may be obtained from VPPA).

I would like to request the Chapter Chairs to consider organizing their technical activities online through virtual talks and workshops. They may explore with TC Chairs and DLs on the possibility of them contributing to these events. Note that your chapter coordinator is available for suggestions and support.

Distinguished Lecturers (DL)

The first DL for this year, as planned, was delivered by Dr. James Candy in collaboration with the University of New Orleans (UNO). The talk titled “Ocean Acoustic Signal Processing – a Bayesian Approach” was hosted on 3 March 2021 and was attended by over 100 participants across the globe. For those who missed this talk, you can still watch it on our OES YouTube Channel. Jim also provided additional materials for the attendees to familarise themselves with the topic and Matlab codes to practice the algorithms. We have these materials available for download on our website or they can be requested directly from Jim. There is a separate article in this edition of Beacon on the details of the talk.

The next (virtual) DL talk is scheduled for 25 May at 12PM UTC (8PM SGT) and will be delivered by Dr. Milica Stojanovic, Professor in Electrical and Communication Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, USA. The details of the talk, including the web link, have been shared over emails and through IEEE OES social media outlets. The talk is being organized by the Singapore OES Chapter under its chapter activities. Details on the talk will be provided in the September issue of the Beacon.

A call for nominations for DLs for a new term of 4 years commencing from Jan 2022 had been announced in the last edition of Beacon and is also published in this newsletter. We have received one interest so far. Once the relevant call deadline is closed, the DL Committee will evaluate the submissions and the names of selected candidates will be put up for approval by the AdCom. The nominations close on 31 July 2021.

Other VPTA Activities

Dr. Atmanand, the OES coordinator for UN Decade of Oceans activities, organized a webinar on ‘Indian Ocean Blue Economy Summit’ on 6 May 2021. He has covered the details of this summit in a separate article in this issue. The IEEE OES President was one of the panelists in the webinar and I had the opportunity to chair one of the sessions. The webinar was well organized and attended globally. Another technical activity was related to the participation of OES in the forthcoming Ocean Science Meeting (OSM22), scheduled for 27 Feb – 4 Mar 2022. A committee consisting of Dr. Jay Pearlman, as the OES Technical Program Committee Chair, and with Dr. Mal Heron, VPWS and VPTA as members has been formed to discuss and decide on the technical sessions to be organized during this conference under the OES umbrella. Thanks to the proposals made by some of the TC Chairs and ExCom/AdCom members.  VPWS has covered the details of OSM 22 conference and the level of involvement of OES under his report. VPWS will also cover various OES co-sponsored symposia and workshops planned for this year and beyond.