September 2021 OES Beacon

VPTA Column (September 2021)

Venugopalan Pallayil, Vice President for Technical Activities, IEEE OES

OES colleagues,

Greetings from Singapore. I have been home (Singapore) bound for almost two years now. I am sure many of you as well, especially those who live in Asia. Some of our colleagues in North America and Europe are lucky to have their holidays (within the country, though) and enjoy camping trips. I really envy them. Singapore being small, unfortunately, we do not have that luxury. Many of you may be getting ready to attend the San Diego-Porto OCEANS in person. This is an exciting opportunity to meet our fellow colleagues and offer a much-needed break from online meetings. I wish I could be there as well. More countries have started to accept that the pandemic is soon to be an endemic and we may have to live with it. This realization and increased vaccination rate are helping the countries to open-up their economies slowly but cautiously.  I remain optimistic that some international travels would be possible starting early next year.

Despite the trying conditions, our volunteers have been doing an excellent job giving talks and organizing workshops online. Details of these activities have been covered elsewhere in this edition. I would like to highlight some of the technical activities in the ensuing paragraphs. Reports on conferences and workshops have been covered by the respective VPs.

Technology Committees (TC)

Under the ‘Machine Learning in Acoustics and Oceanography’, series, TC Chair for Data Analytics, Integration and Modeling (DAIM) organized another talk. The presenter was none other than our TC Coordinator, Dr Shyam Kumar Madhusudhana. The talk was attended by about 30 people online and has also been posted on IEEE OES YouTube Channel. It is satisfying to know from our social media colleagues that this talk has received many views. More details on the talk have been covered by Dr. Gopu Potty, the TC Chair for DAIMS.

Dr Andreas Marouchos, TC Chair for Polar Oceans, organised a successful online workshop on Antarctic and Southern Ocean Forum 2021 (  The workshop was attended by more than 100 professionals around the world and hosted 22 presentations. Please see a separate report on this by Andreas in this edition of Beacon.  I look forward to similar talks and workshops from other TCs and keep the community engaged in their respective fields.

The second TC Chair’s meeting was held online on 6 Aug 2021. Thanks to Shyam for organising the meeting. The meeting discussed delays in setting up TC websites and nomination of Co-Chairs for each of the TCs and requested the TC chairs to complete these tasks as soon as possible. Another point discussed was the need for redefining the focus of some of the TC objectives after evaluating their current relevance to the OES community. President IEEE OES also attended the meeting and briefed the attendees on the involvement of IEEE OES in the UN Decade of Oceans and the importance of TCs as a source of contribution in achieving the objectives set out. He will be sending out separately a document detailing the OES plans of engagement under the UN decade of oceans programme.

Chapter Activities

Apart from some of the activities mentioned under DL, most other Chapters have been largely ‘silent’ in the past 3 months. Please notify the chapter coordinator or me on any of the chapter activities being organized so that we can report them in the Newsletter. In my last VPTA column I had mentioned that Chapters can reach out to the TC Chairs and DLs for support. They should also explore locally and invite prominent speakers even if they are not OES members. This is one of the ways of reaching out to communities beyond IEEE OES. Until the countries fully open up, reliance on a virtual platform for chapter activities will likely continue. There is an opportunity for the chapters to get engaged in the UN Decade of Oceans related activities. Let us hear from interested chapters and OES members.

Distinguished Lecturers (DL)

The DL activities have been progressing well, and we had four talks delivered since my last report. On 25 May Dr Milica Stojanovic, Professor in Electrical and Communication Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, USA, delivered an online talk. The talk was attended by close to 30 participants. The talk was organized by the Singapore OES Chapter under its chapter activities. Prof. Milica also delivered a keynote talk during IEEE/OES China Ocean Acoustic (COA) conference ( This talk is available for viewing on the OES YouTube channel.  Dr. John Potter, Professor at NTNU, Norway delivered the other two DLs. One of the talks was organized jointly by the Norwegian and Italian OES Chapters as well as the IEEE student branch chapter, University of Pisa and IEEE OES Joint Student Branch UNIFI-UNIPI. The title of the talk was “Fusion reactors, Fuel Cells and Distributed Acoustic Sensing – What do they have in common and what might DAS now offer?”  The DL was presented in-person, but also available for virtual attendees online. This Beacon edition is carrying a separate report on this activity. The second talk was delivered as a keynote during the IEEE/OES COA conference. We will continue to hear more presentations from DLs in the coming months. Stay tuned.

The call for nominations for new DLs was closed on 31 July 2021. We have received four new applications and one request for a second term. The DL committee will meet at the earliest opportunity and make its recommendations to AdCom through VPTA for new appointments, which would be effective from 01 Jan 2022 for a period of 4 years.

OSM 22

In my last report I had mentioned about the Ocean Science Meeting 2022, to be held in 2022 Feb-Mar, and IEEE OES is a Co-sponsor ( We had proposed 7 Scientific Sessions and one Town Hall.  All the 7 Scientific Sessions submitted have been accepted and the Town Hall submission is under review.  I would like to request our OES community to submit abstracts to these sessions and also spread the word among your circles. For ease of reference, I have provided a table below, which provides a list of session topics accepted as well as relevant OES contacts. Note that the abstract submission deadline is 29 Sep 2021. Hopefully we can meet in Hawaii for an exciting conference.


What are your thoughts about IEEE OES Technical Activities? I am open to receiving constructive suggestions and criticisms on VPTA activities. I believe it would help to look at things from different perspectives and bring new ideas and make our technical activities more appealing and useful. Email me at



OSM22 OES session topics and contact info

Session Name and Type Session Topic OES Contact
Ocean Data Science, Analytics, and Management – Scientific Session OD06: Machine Learning for Oceanographic Applications

Venugopalan Pallayil

Ocean Data Science, Analytics, and Management- Scientific Session OD14: Digital Ocean

Pattabhi Rama Rao

Ocean Sustainability and the UN Decade – Scientific Session OS10: Marine Litter and Microplastic Monitoring and Understanding

Rene Garello

Ocean Sustainability and the UN Decade – Scientific Session OS11: Observing and Predicting the Global Coastal Ocean

Emma Heslop

Ocean Modeling – Scientific Session OM02: Pairing autonomous monitoring with modeling to expand capacity and develop new understanding of coastal ocean systems

Brandy Armstrong

Ocean Technologies and Observatories – Scientific Session OT17: Ocean Observation for the Small Island Developing State (SIDS)

Ramasamy Venkatesan


High Latitude Environments – Scientific Session HL14: Autonomous Sensing and Monitoring in Polar environments

Venugopalan Pallayil

Ocean Sustainability and the UN Decade – Town Hall*

*Under review

Connecting Early Career Scientists with Academia and Industry Experts

Hari Vishnu