Keynote Speakers

Alexander M. Korsunsky MA DPhil CPhys MinstP
Professor of Engineering Science and Fellow, Trinity College, Oxford University, UK

 Alexander Korsunsky received his degree of Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) from Merton College, Oxford, following undergraduate education in theoretical physics. His current appointment is Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford and Trinity College. He has given keynote plenaries at major international conferences on engineering and materials. He has developed numerous international links, including visiting professorships at Universitá Roma Tre (Italy), ENSICAEN (France) and National University of Singapore.

Prof Korsunsky’s research interests concern developing improved understanding of integrity and reliability of engineered and natural structures and systems, from high-performance metallic alloys to polycrystalline ceramics to natural hard tissue such as human dentin and seashell nacre.

Prof Korsunsky co-authored books on fracture mechanics (Springer) and elasticity (CUP), and published over 200 papers in scholarly periodicals on the subjects ranging from neutron and synchrotron X-ray diffraction analysis and the prediction of fatigue strength to micro-cantilever bio-sensors, size effects and scaling transitions in systems and structures.

Support for Prof Korsunsky’s research has come from EPSRC and STFC, two major Research Councils in the UK, as well as also from the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), NRF (South Africa), DFG (Germany), CNRS (France) and other international and national research foundations. Prof Korsunsky is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Strain Analysis published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, UK (IMechE).

Prof Korsunsky is consultant to Rolls-Royce plc, the global aeroengine manufacturer, whom he advises on company design procedures for reliability and consistency. He spent a period of industrial secondment at their headquarters in Derby, UK (supported by RAEng), and made recommendations on R&D in structural integrity.

Prof Korsunsky plays a leading role in the development of large scale research facilities in the UK and Europe. He is Chair of the Science Advisory Committee at Diamond Light Source (DLS) near Oxford, UK, and Chair of the User Working Group for JEEP (Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing) beamline at DLS. These activities expand the range of applications of large scale science to problems in real engineering practice.

Prof Korsunsky’s research team at Oxford has involved members from almost every part of the globe (UK, FR, DE, IT, China, India, Korea, Malaysia, South Africa).

Prof. Denis Fichou
Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore / Pierre & Marie Curie University in Paris,  France

Dr. Denis Fichou is a Research Director at CNRS (1st class), Paris, France, and a Professor at NTU, Singapore. He is the current Head of the Organic Nanostructures and Semiconductors laboratory that he founded in 2001 at Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris. From 2005 to 2015, D. Fichou has been a Visiting Professor at NTU including a Tcheng Tsang Man Chair at the School of Material Science & Engineering in 2005-2008. He is now at the School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences where he setup a research lab to develop novel organic and hybrid solar cells. In the late 80s D. Fichou has pioneered organic electronics. In particular he is the co-inventor of the first organic transistor on a flexible substrate (Adv Mater 1990). Since then, he has been developing organic semiconductors and devices, in particular the widespread oligothiophenes family. Today his research is oriented towards the design of organic and hybrid photovoltaic solar cells as well as new oxide-based photoelectrochemical systems for water splitting and energy storage. He has published more than 180 articles in international journals such as Nature, Advanced Materials, ACS Nano, JACS, etc. Besides, he is the holder of 10 patents and the editor and co-author of several books including the Handbook of Oligo & Polythiophenes (Wiley-VCH, >1.000 citations). Finally, his publications received over 6.400 citations (h-index=42, Web of Science).

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Prof. Akira Namatame
National Defense Academy, Japan

Speech Title: Autonomous systems: many possibilities and challenges

Speech Abstract: Our lives have been immensely improved by decades of automation technologies. Most manufacturing equipment,home appliance, cars and other physical systems are somehow automated. We are more comfortable, more productive and safer than ever before. Without automation, they are more troublesome, more time consuming, less convenient, and far less safe. Systems that can change their behavior in response to unanticipated events during operation are called autonomous.Autonomous systems generally are those that take actions automatically under certain conditions. They can be thought of as self-governing systems capable of acting on their own within programmed boundaries.Depending on a system’s purposes and required actions, autonomy may occur at different scales and degrees of sophistication. The capability of such autonomous systems and their domains of application have expanded significantly in recent years. These successes have also been accompanied by failures that compellingly illustrate the real technical difficulties associated with seemingly natural behavior specification for truly autonomous systems. The autonomous technology also holds the potential for enabling entirely new capabilities in environments where direct human control is not physically possible. For all of these reasons, autonomous systems technology is as an important element of its science and technology vision and a critical area for future development.

Autonomy is a growing field of research and application. Specialized robots in hazardous environments and medical applicationunder human supervisory control for space and repetitive industrial tasks have proven successful.However, research in areas of self-driving cars, intimate collaboration with humans in manipulation tasks, human control of humanoid robots for hazardous environments, and social interaction with robots is at initial stages.Autonomous systems are in their infancy and are capable only of performing well-defined tasks in predictable environments. Advances in technologies enabling autonomy are needed for these systems to respond to new situations in complex, dynamic environments.

Research on autonomy includes many challenging problems and has the potential to produce solutions with positive social impact. Its interdisciplinary nature also requires that researchers in the field understand their research within a broader context. In this talk, I will discuss autonomous technologies that promise to make humans more proficient in addressing such needs. The current status of autonomy research is reviewed, and key current research challenges for the human factors community are described. I will also present a unified treatment of autonomous systems, identify key themes, and discuss challenge problems that are likely to shape the science of autonomy.

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