Friday, 16 December 2011

Research Visits to the CSIR and UJ

Part of my trip home this year included research visits and talks at the University of Johannesburg, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

I visited the the University of Johannesburg on the 12th, and met with Tshilidzi Marwala who is the Dean of Engineering, and involved in research in various areas from missing data imputation, the analysis of interstate conflict and condition monitoring. I also met with Bhekisipho Twala, who also works in machine learning and AI in  areas including tree based methods, missing data imputation, and applications in credit risk and biometric analysis.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), located on am impressive and leafy campus in Pretoria, is the arm of the government of South Africa mandated to conduct research and development that promotes socio-economic growth in the country. I visited the Modelling and Digital Science division and gave a talk on probabilistic models for multi-class classification (look out for the paper on this soon). The talk was well attended (I was happy about this, especially since it's December) and I had the opportunity to chat to people working in Robotics and Biometrics. I even had the good fortune of meeting some of the directors of the CSIR at lunch.

The robotics research group is currently looking to hire an additional post-doc (details on the CSIR's website). Overall a great set of meetings - and hopefully not the last with these particular groups.