Venugopalan Pallayil, OES VP for OCEANS
As part of OES vision to be a home for its members and for better member engagement, the OES Executive Committee organized a meeting with the San Diego Chapter members on 13 February 2023. The meeting was held immediately after the conclusion of the ExCom meeting in San Diego and was well attended. The San Diego Chapter of OES is one of its largest chapters by membership, with a great history and some amazing local activities in the technical community. However, the chapter recently has been unable to find a champion who can lead the chapter activities. So, one of the objectives of the meeting was to understand the needs of the chapter and how the OES leadership can support them to revitalize the chapter activities.
The meeting started with a brief introduction and welcome by the OES President, Christopher Whitt, followed by a technical talk by Dr. Peter Gerstoft, IEEE Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The talk was on “Machine learning (ML) for acoustic source localization in ocean acoustics,” which discussed many different possibilities of ML for in-air and underwater applications. Dr. Venugopalan Pallayil, Senior Member of IEEE and OES Vice-President for OCEANS conferences, then presented ongoing research works at the Acoustic Research Laboratory, National University of Singapore, where he is a Principal Research Fellow. He also discussed the OES activities undertaken by the Singapore chapter and highlighted how the chapter was successful in engaging the student community though the AUV competition namely, the Singapore AUV Challenge. He mentioned that the competition currently attracts over 250 students globally and has supported the formation of Student Branch Chapters (SBCs) in the Asia region. Dr. Pallayil encouraged the chapter members to get engaged with some of the new activities at OES such as Ocean Decade Initiative. The members were also urged to make use of the expertise of the pool of OES Distinguished Lecturers who can give talks in-person or virtually, as feasible, on many different topics.
The presentations were followed by a networking session, led by Robert L. Wernli (Bob Wernli) who exchanged ideas on how the San Diego chapter can get back to its past glory as an active OES chapter. Bob is a Senior member of IEEE and an OES Administrative Committee member. Currently he is serving as OES Beacon Newsletter Co-Editor. He has been serving the society in various capacities in the past and is also a member of San Diego OES Chapter. He shared his experiences with OES and how his engagement was useful in propelling a professional career.
One of the OES San Diego chapter members opined that the chapter is proposing to bring back the RoboSub, an international AUV competition for tertiary students, to San Diego and get actively engaged with the event. This activity is expected to spur a renewed interest in the young members of the chapter and bring more energy and enthusiasm for future engagements. The members agreed to reconvene on another date and elect a new Chapter Chair.
The meeting was organized with support from IEEE San Diego Section Chair, Michelle Thompson, Prof. Kathleen Kramer, Professor, University of San Diego and Board Member of IEEE Aerospace Electronic Engineering Systems Society (AESS) as well as the Chapter Chair for AESS San Diego Section. Dr. Kevin Walsh, former OES Chair was also present during the networking session. On behalf of IEEE OES, I extend a big thank you to all for making this event a very successful one.