This is the Newsletter of the Centre for Data Science and Systems Complexity (DSSC) at the University of Groningen. The DSSC Newsletter is issued evey two months.

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Centre for Data Science and Systems Complexity (DSSC), University of Groningen

DSSC Newsletter

MAY 2016

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DSSC research profiles
DSSC expressions of interest for H2020 consultations
Big Data and Complexity on the National Scientific Agenda 

Plenary speaker at MEDICON
Successful public-private projects in Energy System Integration
Launch of SmartBreed project

HORIZON 2020 EC logo
FETHPC-01-2016: Co-design of HPC systems and
ICT-07-2017: 5G PPP Research and Validation of critical technologies and systems
DS-02-2016: Cyber Security for SMEs, local public administration and Individuals
nwo logo
- Investment Grant NWO Medium
- T-AP Digging into Data
- Top Sector Water Call
STW logo
Smart Customized Solutions for Industrial Processes with Reliable and Safe Data Usage

DSSC Seminar Big Data & Higgs Physics (June 7, 14.00-18.00, 5161.0151)
EuroVis 2016 (June 6-10, Groningen)
19th European Conference on Mathematics for Industry (June 13-17, Santiago de Compostella)
The ISC High Performance Conference (June 19-23, Frankfurt)
Power Systems Computation Conference (June 20-24, Genoa)
International meeting for Simulation and High Performance Computing (June 28-29, Ecole Polytechnique)
European Data Forum (June 29-30, Eindhoven)
International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (August 29-September 1, Amsterdam)
Conference on Complex Systems (September 19-22, Amsterdam)
The Data Economy and the Internet of Things (September 14, Milan)
Workshop on Control of Trasmission and Distribution Smart Grids (October 11-13, Prague)
International Conference on Computing in High Energy and Nuclear Physics (October 10-14, San Francisco)
i-KNOW Conference (October 18-19, Graz)
Optimization challenges in the evolution of energy networks to smart grids (October 27-28, Lisbon)
IAU Symposium Astroinformatics (October 20-24, Sorrento)

DSSC research profiles

The DSSC reunites a group of innovative researchers whose interests will be featured in every issue of the DSSC Newsletter. 2 researchers at the Johann Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (JBI) and Kapteyn Institute introduce their projects.

Dr. Mircea Lungu (JBI)
Lungu photo
Software entities are more complex for their size than perhaps any other human artifact since in a software system no two parts are alike.

Dr. Lungu seeks to understand how we can build tools that augment the human intellect to help it cope better with the inherent complexity of both writing new software and reading software that is already written. His research lays at the intersection of empirical software engineering, programming language design, and data science. 

To provide approaches that scale up to the reality of the large amounts of source code that exist in the context of industrial software ecosystems and in open source code repositories, Dr. Lungu is developing hybrid solutions that trade some of the formalism (and soundness) of the traditional static source code analysis for the scalability of data science methods such as information visualization and data mining. 

He has recently become interested in investigating the potential that comes with the ubiquitous tracking of user behavior for build evolving models of user knowledge that can later enable the adaptation of software tools to the particular needs of the user in context. To study this, he is currently designing an architecture for an open and  intelligent learning software ecosystem. Since in this project, machine learning will play an important role, he is interested in collaborating with the AI experts from within the DSSC. 

Dr. Lungu is also happy to share his expertise on programming languages, software design, and software quality assessment with other researchers from the DSSC center.

Dr. John McKean (Kapteyn)

McKean photoOur Universe contains a rich tapestry of structure that has evolved over cosmic time to form the beautiful canvas of stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies that we observe in the night sky. However, what we see does not reveal the full extent of our Universe because the dominant form of matter is not the baryonic material that makes up the tangible world around us, but is an unknown form of dark matter.

My research programme is focused on understanding the structure of galaxies and dark matter using a technique called “gravitational lensing”, where the foreground matter in the Universe distorts and magnifies distant galaxies much in the same way that an optical lens distorts light. By studying these distortions, I am able to infer the properties of dark matter and investigate its effect on galaxy formation and evolution.

This work involves making precise measurements of the Universe at the highest possible angular resolution, which for me, means combining many radio telescopes together to form an interferometer with milli-seconds of arc spatial-scales. This in itself is a complex data issue, since combining telescopes from all over the planet (and sometimes beyond) requires sophisticated data analysis techniques to extract the highest quality science information. In addition, the large Terabyte datasets expand our view of “big data” science challenges, and leads to new developments in parallel data storage and processing.

As a tenure-track staff member at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute and a tenured staff astronomer at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), I combine both worlds to develop calibration and imaging strategies for radio telescopes (primarily LOFAR, the Low Frequency Array), whilst spearheading a world leading programme in gravitational lensing at radio wavelengths. The data processing side involves understanding the instrumental response of our radio telescopes to the sky surface brightness distribution and using the data to removes these effects. In particular, I am working on new methods for de-convolving our imaging data to obtain the highest quality science images, while removing spurious imaging artefacts that can lead to the misidentification of structure in the radio sky. My group at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute is trying to take advantage of these calibration and imaging methods to study galaxy formation at the highest redshifts, but on the smallest-scales through combining the high angular resolution of radio interferometers and the magnifying power of gravitational lensing.

Of course, much of this work is in preparation for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the next generation radio telescope to be built South Africa and Australia. The shear size of the SKA means having a collecting area that improves our sensitivity by over an order of magnitude from where we are now, whist also providing an increase is angular resolution and frequency information. Over the next few years, and within the DSSC framework, I aim to expand our efforts to understand data calibration and image processing on a much larger scale, so that we are fully prepared to take advantage of the SKA when it starts science observations in early 2020. I look forward to collaborating with the researchers within the DSSC to achieve this goal.

DSSC expressions of interest for H2020 consultations
In February 2016 the European Commission opened two public consultations to collect ideas for the future work programmes FET Proactive and Mathematics for Excellence in Science (along the research lines of Topological data analysis and other potential mathematical methods for big data analysis; HPC, Exascale and Exabyte; Quantum algorithms; High-dimensional inference problems; Secrecy and Privacy).

As topics under Mathematics for Excellence in Science the DSSC proposed "Network inference and analysis," Parallel problem solving," and "Approximate computing." For FET Proactive, the Centre endorsed the topic "Theory of Evolving Systems," proposed by Prof. Igor Shagaev (London Metropolitan University).

Big Data and Complexity on the National Scientific Agenda
A significant number of questions on the National Scientific Agenda pertain to Big Data and Complexity.

The Agenda is the outcome of a broad consultation process, initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and various educational and scientific institutions, and provides a broad strategy to:NWA logo

  • encourage scientific focus on social challenges
  • profile Dutch education and research institutions in relation to the European Horizon 2020
  • encourage synergies, creativity and innovation
  • maintain the Netherlands' position among the global leaders in the knowledge economy
Through its research lines Adaptive models, Complex Systems and Advanced Instrumentation, the Centre for Data Science and Systems Complexity is strongly connected to this program. Several DSSC researchers participated in the workshops "Responsible use of Big Data," "Building blocks of matter and foundations of space and time," and "Brain, cognition and behaviour" that concerned the implementation of the agenda in these fields. 
To view the questions that pertain to the expertise of DSSC researchers, please click here. For an overview of the NWA workshops, please click here.

A group of DSSC-researchers from the Kapteyn Institute and JBI have obtained an EU International Training Network to work on Big Data and Galaxy Evolution, with acronym SUNDIAL: SUrvey Network for Deep Imaging Analysis & Learning. The group will develop new imaging analysis algorithms and techniques, and apply them to some deep and large astronomical datasets in the optical, to study galaxy evolution and the role of the environment.

The collaboration, including Reynier Peletier, Michael Wilkinson, Michael Biehl, Kerstin Bunte, Edwin Valentijn, Scott Trager, Peter Barthel, Gijs Verdoes Kleijn and Leon Koopmans in Groningen, includes universities in Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Finland, as well as 5 private companies.
Sundial photo

SUNDIAL Abstract:
Though Big Data has become common in many domains nowadays, the challenges to develop efficient and automated mining of the ever increasing data sets by new generations of data scientists are eminent. These challenges span wide swathes of society, business and research. Astronomers with their high-tech observatories are historically at the forefront of this field, but obviously, the impact in e.g. commercial applications, security, environmental monitoring and experimental research is immense.

We aim to contribute to this general discussion by training a number of young scientists in the fields of computer science and astronomy, focussing on techniques of automated learning from large quantities of data to answer fundamental questions on the evolution of properties of galaxies. While these techniques will lead to major advances in our understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies, we will also promote, in collaboration with industry, much more general applications in society, e.g. in medical imaging or remote sensing.

We have put together a team of astronomers and computer scientists, from academic and private sector partners, to develop techniques to detect and classify ultra-faint galaxies and galaxy remnants in a deep survey of the Fornax cluster, and use the results to study how galaxies evolve in the dense environment of galaxy clusters. With a team of young researchers we will develop novel computer science algorithms addressing fundamental topics in galaxy formation, such as the huge dark matter fractions inferred by theory, and the lack of detected angular momentum in galaxies. The collaboration is unique - it will develop a platform for deep symbiosis of two radically different strands of approaches: purely data-driven machine learning and specialist approaches based on techniques developed in astronomy. Young scientists trained with such skills are highly demanded both in research and business.

Plenary speaker at MEDICON
Prof. Nicolai Petkov (Johann Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science) was a plenary speaker at Medicon 2016, where he gave a lecture about "Trainable COSFIRE filters for pattern recognition and medical imaging." For the abstract of his lecture and more information about the event, please click here.

Successful public-private projects in Energy System Integration
Three public-private research projects that involve DSSC researchers have been awarded EUR 1.25 million by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research programme Energy system integration - planning, operations and social embedding (ESI). Most of the money comes from the NWO itself and the rest is donated by industry. The projects are:
  • Acceptable and sustainable integration of energy systems
Applicants: Prof. Linda Steg, (Faculty of Behavioural & Social Sciences), and Prof. Jacquelien Scherpen of the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen (ENTEG)

Project description: The aim is to find ways of producing an efficient, reliable, sustainable and socially acceptable integrated energy system. The project focuses on integrating macro (energy plants) and micro (households generating their own energy) approaches, and explores ways of using new control mechanisms to achieve the optimum combination in the infrastructure for gas, electricity and heat. It is also important to find ways of encouraging users to make more efficient use of the system.
  • Optimum control of integrated energy systems
Applicants: Prof. Kanat Camlibel of the Johann Bernoulli Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science (JBI), in association with Prof. Jacquelien Scherpen of the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen (ENTEG)

Project description:  We are studying new algorithms designed to make integrated systems work as efficiently as possible for ‘prosumers’ (consumers who also produce energy) of gas and/or electricity. Security of supply is vital and it is important to make optimum use of the capacity of the gas and electricity grids to guarantee stability.
  • Study and development of an energy management system and user interface that can match supply and demand of various energy carriers using user preferences while contributing to user acceptability and proper adoption of the system.
Applicants: Dr. Kees Keizer and Prof. Linda Steg (Faculty of Behavioural & Social Sciences); Prof. Marco Aiello and Dr. Faris Nizamic (JBI).

Project description: This research focuses on users as the managers of our energy system. It looks into ways of designing an acceptable, effective energy management system that can match supply and demand of energy from different sources, while meeting the needs and capabilities of the users.

Launch of SmartBreed project
The kick-off meeting of the SmartBreed project (machine learning for animal breeding) funded by STW took place at the JBI on March 3 and was attended by the partners Prof. Roel Veerkamp and Dr. Bart Ducro from Wageningen University and Dr. George Azzopardi from the University of Malta. The Intelligent Systems group was represented by Ahmad Alsahaf and Prof. Nicolai Petkov.

For more information, please click on the calls.
FETHPC-01-2016: Co-design of HPC systems and applications
Deadline: September 27

ICT-07-2017: 5G PPP Research and Validation of critical technologies and systems
Deadline: November 8

DS-02-2016: Cyber Security for SMEs, local public administration and Individuals
Deadline: August 25

Investment Grant NWO Medium
This grant is meant for the purchase of equipment and for the setting up, linking and enriching of data collections. For applications in Physical Sciences (EW) and Social Sciences (MaGW) there is an upper limit of 500,000 euros (NWO-funded part). The lower limit is 110,000 euros (NWO-funded part). The obligatory co-funding is at least 25% of the costs of the total investment (i.e. at least 33% of the requested NWO subsidy).

Deadline: September 1
For more information, please visit the website

T-AP Digging into Data
The Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP) has launched the 2016 T-AP Digging into Data Challenge to support research projects that use “big data” to address questions in the social sciences and humanities. This funding opportunity is open to international projects that consist of teams from at least three member countries, and must include partners from both sides of the Atlantic. Countries that are participating in T-AP DiD are: Canada, United States of America, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Portugal. Projects must address any research question in humanities and/or social sciences disciplines by using large-scale, digital data analysis techniques, and show how these techniques can lead to new insights.

Deadline: June 29
For more information, please visit the website

 Top Sector Water Call
NWO is using the 'Topsector Water Call' to stimulate new fundamental and precompetitive scientific research projects to strengthen the knowledge base and increase the applicability of knowledge in the Top Sector Water. 19 themes have been formulated in 3 subsectors:

Maritime technology: Maritime design and engineering, maritime constructions and materials, hydrodynamics, maritime systems and processes, Impact on the marine environment, maritime operations.

Deltatechnology: Flood risk management, Sustainable Delta Cities, Hydraulic structures, ports and waterway, Water management, Water and Food (Food security), Water & Energy, Water & ICT, Eco-engineering & nature based solutions, Sustainable functioning of water systems in the future, Blue growth: Sustainable use of seas, estuaries and oceans.

Water technology: Resource efficiency, Smart Water Services, Sustainable Cities.

Deadline: June 23
For more information, please visit the website

Smart Customized Solutions for Industrial Processes with Reliable and Safe Data Usage
The Technology Foundation, NWO Physical Sciences and NWO Humanities took the initiative of opening a joint call for research proposals at the intersection of Smart Industry and Big Data. Proposals that have a Creative Industry component are evaluated favorably. The call requires an early submission of an argument as to the proposal's suitability to the theme.

Pre-submission deadline: June 9
Submission deadline: June 30
For more information, please visit the website


DSSC seminar Big Data & Higgs Physics

June 7, 14.00-18.00, 5161.0151 (Bernoulliborg) 

The DSSC seminar features prominent local and guest speakers in data and complexity science.

Speakers: Prof. Elisabetta Pallante (Van Swinderen Institute); Dr. Ir. Gerco Onderwater (Van Swinderen Institute); Dr. Ir. Fred Wubs (JBI); Dr. Johan Messchendorp (KVI - Centre for Advanced Radiation Technology)

For more information, please visit the website.

19th European Conference on Mathematics for Industry

June 13-17, Santiago de Compostella

ECMI conferences are promoted by the European Consortium for Mathematics in Industry with the aim to enforce the interaction between academy and industry, leading to innovation in both fields. They are one of the main forums where significant advances in industrial mathematics are presented, bringing together prominent figures from business, science and academia to promote the use of innovative mathematics to industry. They also encourage industrial sectors to propose challenging problems where mathematicians can provide insight and new ideas.

For more information, please visit the website

Power Systems Computation Conference

June 20-24, Genoa

The Conference gives to the international forum of researchers and power system engineers a good opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences on the latest developments in the field. The emphasis is placed on both theoretical developments as well as on practical applications in the utility and manufacturing industries.

For more information, please visit the website

European Data Forum

June 29-30, Eindhoven

The European Data Forum (EDF) is one of the key European events for industry professionals, researchers, policy makers, and members of community initiatives to discuss the challenges and opportunities of data-driven innovation in Europe. The Forum will address all facets of data-driven innovation: infrastructure, tools, applications (including, new products and services reaching out to multilingual European audiences) as well as societal and economic impact.

For more information, please visit the website.

Conference on Complex Systems

September 19 - 22, Amsterdam

Main track themes: Foundations of Complex Systems, ICT, Language, linguistics, cognition and social systems, Economics and finance, Infrastructure, Planning, and Environment, Biological and (Bio)Medical Complexity, Socio-Ecological Systems, Complexity in Physics and Chemistry

For more information, please visit the website.

Workshop on Control of Transmission and Distribution Smart Grids

October 11-13, Prague

The IFAC Workshop CTDSG´16 is the forum for the exploration of the frontiers in control of transmission and distribution systems. This Workshop is attended by a worldwide audience of scientists and engineers from academia and industry, with the widest coverage of application Smart Grids fields. Among the topics covered: power systems, smart grids, power electronics, energy market and trading, WAMs and WAMPaC Systems, PMU, simulators.

For more information, please visit the website

i-KNOW Conference

October 18-19, Graz

i-KNOW 2016 aims at advancing research at the intersection of disciplines such as Knowledge Discovery, Semantics, Information Visualization, Visual Analytics, Social (Semantic) and Ubiquitous Computing.
This years Conference Theme will be focusing on Cognitive Computing and Data-Driven Business. In our understanding they represent the technological and business-oriented perspectives on the same phenomenon.

For more information, please visit the website.

IAU Symposium Astroinformatics

October 20 - 24, Sorrento

IAU symposium on Astroinformatics will bring together world-class experts to address the methodological and technological challenges posed by the scientific exploitation of massive data sets produced by the new generation of telescopes and observatories.

Topics: Database Management Systems, Data Mining, multiprocessor computing for astronomy, machine learning methods for classification and knowledge extraction, algorithms for N-point computations, time series analysis and image processing, advanced visualization for astronomical Big Data, cross-disciplinary perspectives and advanced training.

For more information, please visit the website.

EuroVis 2016

June 6-10, Groningen

EuroVis 2016, hosted by the University of Groningen, is the 18th annual visualization gathering organized by the Eurographics Working Group on Data Visualization. The objective of EuroVis is to foster greater exchange between visualization researchers and practitioners, and to draw more researchers and industry partners in Europe to enter this rapidly growing area of research.

For more information, please visit the website.

The ISC High Performance Conference 

June 19-23, Frankfurt

The ISC High Performance conference is Europe’s largest international conference and exhibition for high performance computing (HPC), networking and storage.

The topics of the 2016 event include:
Big Data and HPC Convergence; Performance Modeling and Prediction; Advanced Disaster Prediction and Mitigation; State of the Art in Life Science & Computational Systems Biology; Challenges in Extreme Engineering; Exascale Architectures: Disruptions, Denials & Directions; Algorithms for Extreme Scale in Practice; HPC in IoT and Robotics; Deep Learning : Basics and Applications; Connected Cars and Big Data.

For more information, please visit the website

International meeting for Simulation and High Performance Computing

June 28-29, Ecole Polytechnique

TERATEC brings together top international experts in high performance computing, simulation and Big data, making it the major event in France and in Europe in this field. It reaffirms the strategic importance of these technologies for developing industrial competitiveness and innovation capacity.

For more information, please visit the website

International Conference on ICT for Sustainability

August 29 - September 1, Amsterdam

The ICT4S conferences bring together leading researchers in ICT for Sustainability with government and industry representatives, including decision-makers with an interest in using ICT for sustainability, researchers focusing on ICT effects on sustainability and developers of sustainable ICT systems or applications.

The theme of the 2016 conference is “Smart and Sustainable”. ICT transformational power is essential to make our society smarter and increasingly sustainable. This should embrace all levels, from individuals to cities, from public sector to all industry sectors, from business goals to environmental objectives.
Among the topics: Intelligent energy management in buildings, Smart grids, Sustainability in data centers and high-performance computing, Intelligent transportation and logistics, etc.

For more information, please visit the website.

The Data Economy and the Internet of Things

September 14, Milan
The goal of this event is to showcase the activities we carry out in the area of Urban Life and Mobility at EIT Digital and promote the Data Economy in a sustainable world

For more information, please visit the website.

International Conference on Computing in High Energy and Nuclear Physics

October 10 - 14, San Francisco

The CHEP conferences address challenges in computing, networking and software for the world’s leading data-intensive science experiments that currently analyze hundreds of petabytes of data using worldwide computing resources.

Hosted by: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

For more information, please visit the website.

Optimization challenges in the evolution of energy networks to smart grids

October 27 - 28, University of Coimbra

The objectives of this workshop are bringing together scientists, engineers, researchers, and students from academy and industry to share recent research and unveil new research directions concerning the use of optimization models and methods to address the challenges arising in the evolution of energy networks to smart grids.
Contributions to the workshop are expected to cover a wide range of topics including:  integration of renewable energy generation, storage, demand forecast, demand side management and demand response, smart metering, system reliability and provision of ancillary services, microgrids, electricity smart grids, gas smart grids, network integration, information and communication technologies, internet of things, big data, and improved methods to optimize the resulting complex energy models.

For more information, please visit the website
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Centre for Data Science and Systems Complexity · Nijenborgh 9 · Groningen, Gr 9747 AG · Netherlands

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