On December 16, 2016, the Department of Computer and Communications Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering at the American University of Science and Technology held the Third Symposium on Innovations in Computer & Communications Engineering- SICCE 2016.
This symposium is an annual event that aspires to bring together global and regional thought leaders in emerging areas of computing, engineering and technology to foster a discussion around aligning global trends with regional needs. This year's symposium celebrated Claude Shannon Centennial. Claude Shannon, the American mathematician and electrical engineer whose groundbreaking work laid out the theoretical foundation for modern digital communications, and on whom IEEE Spectrum Magazine said, “Without Claude Shannon's information theory there would have been no Internet.”
Three distinguished keynote speakers were the vertex of this event: Prof. Emina Soljanin, Professor at Rutgers University, NJ, USA; Prof. Joseph Boutros, Professor at Texas A&M University, Qatar; and, Prof. Deniz Gunduz, Professor at Imperial College, London, UK.
The event was attended by around 100 invitees, including officers of the Lebanese Army, officers of the Internal Security Forces, representatives of the computer & communications and computer science industries in Lebanon, IEEE Lebanon, IEEE Communications Society, IEEE Computer Society, AUST IEEE Student Branch, deans and chairs of local universities, & AUST faculty and students. SICCE was sponsored by the Information Theory Society and Technically sponsored by the IEEE Lebanon section.
The event began with a gathering of the prominent guests at the Office of the President Hiam Sakr, who warmly welcomed the guests, and stressed the importance of such event to the Lebanese Community, promising that AUST will continue to support similar endeavors to strengthen the ties with international academic institutions in its pursuit of excellence.
Thereafter, the guests convened at the Lecture Hall. After the Lebanese National Anthem, Dr. Roger Achkar, Chairperson of the Department of Computer & Communications Engineering and the organizing chair, welcomed the attendees and stated that this event is one of the activities that the CCE Department of the Faculty of Engineering undertakes to expose the students to innovations and international advancements. This pursuit of excellence has culminated in receiving the international ABET Accreditation.
The word of the American University of Science and Technology was given by Vice President Riad Sakr who welcomed the speakers and the attendees and stated: “Science and technology have evolved by leaps and bounds, from the invention of the printing machine to the discovery of electricity to the atomic and nuclear physics to vaccination, biotechnology, computer digital information processing and communications. These inventions reflect the human capacity to invent, discover and change the world; a capacity that Claude Shanon personified. He was among the pillars who have profoundly affected modern science and the digital technology. Science and technology, especially digital technology have radically changed our mode of life, services and the way we deal with things, resulting in societal, educative and managerial revolution, which manifested itself in cultural and moral changes that have
• posed new questions as to the status of truth and knowledge; and
• created global power that obliterated national specificity; and
• resulted in the emergence of new political and economic realities.
Currently, The Internet has become an infinite source of knowledge, and an integrated part of the human life activities, which has led to a global paradigm change at all levels, especially in education.
• These evolutions have deeply affected the meaning and essence of learning conditions, approaches and methodologies, which in turn, have affected the role and mission of the university.
• It has also made us speculate about what does the future hold for us, knowing that humans’ creative genius and dynamism make them potentially capable of facing the challenges of the ever evolving world of technology.
As Bauman one of the world's most eminent social theorists and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leeds, said: The art of living in an over saturated information world must also be taught and learned.”
The first lecture was presented by keynote speaker Prof. Emina Soljanin on “Codes for Storage with Queues for Access”; in her talk, Prof. Soljanin mentioned that users of cloud systems demand that their data be reliably stored and quickly accessible. Cloud providers today strive to meet these demands through over-provisioning: keeping processors ready to go at all times and replicating data over multiple servers. Special erasure codes have been designed and adopted in practice as a more storage-efficient way to provide reliability. She showed how coding reduces download time of large files, in addition to providing reliability against disk failures. For the same total storage used, coding exploits the diversity and parallelism in the system better than today's replication schemes, and hence gives faster download. She also introduced a fork-join queuing framework to model multiple users requesting their data simultaneously, and demonstrated the trade-off between the download time and the amount of storage space. At the end, she mentioned several problems that arise in distributed systems when the stored data is large, changing, and expanding.
The second lecture was presented by keynote speaker Prof. Joseph Boutros on “Lattices in Information Theory”. In his talk, Prof. Boutros stressed on the importance of Lattices that are useful in many information theoretic applications. His talk included technical material intended to a large audience including engineers and scientists from all areas. He considered that the simplest form of lattices, i.e. lattices in real Euclidean spaces, is equipped with the standard scalar product. After reviewing fundamental results on the limits of lattice constellations, he showed how lattices can be built from linear error-correcting codes. He gave conditions to make lattice codes achieve Shannon capacity. Finally, He described recent lattice constructions from codes on graphs that are good for both Gaussian and fading channels.
The third lecture was presented by keynote speaker Prof. Deniz Gunduz on “Contents on the Move: Wireless Content Delivery In 5G Networks”. In his talk, Prof. Gunduz considered that Future generations of cellular networks will need to support the growing number of users and their increasing appetite for high data rate content. Thanks to the popularity of smart phones and tablets, a significant portion of the exponentially growing mobile data traffic is due to video content delivery, and more strikingly, most of this traffic stems from a relatively small number of highly popular viral content. Thanks to this particular characteristic of video traffic, 5G networks can significantly improve the quality-of-experience for users by bringing popular contents closer to the network edge. He introduced various novel approaches to content caching and delivery in wireless networks, which will allow turning relatively abundant and cheap cache memories into extremely valuable and scarce bandwidth. He used techniques from coding theory, statistical optimization and machine learning for efficient and adaptive video content delivery in 5G networks.
This symposium was not only comprehensive, but very informative; The morning session ended after the distribution of AUST shield of appreciation to the keynote speakers by Dean Ziad Abu-Faraj, Dr. Roger Achkar, Dr. Mustafa El-Halabi and Mr. Michel Owayjan.
During the afternoon session, the speakers along with the AUST faculty, met with around 20 students interested in continuing their higher education abroad. In this session, the students were told about the requirements needed and the skills they have to acquire to be able to continue their Ph.D. studies outside Lebanon. This session was also an opportunity to discuss future collaboration with the invitees’ universities.
On this occasion, the Department of Computer and Communications Engineering would like to extend its appreciation to AUST President H. Sakr and the members of the Executive Council for their continuous support. It would also like to commend on the efforts of all those who have contributed to the success of this event, especially the organizing committee presented by Dr. Mustafa El-Halabi, Mr. Michel Owayjan and Dr. Salim El Rouayheb from Illinois Institute of Technology.
In conclusion, it is imperative to say that this state-of-the art symposium marks a quantum leap in the evolution of the Faculty of Engineering, and ascertains the unremitting strive towards the Faculty’s local and global visibility.