Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

PROGRAMMES

NMC-COMSATS-ISESCO International Conference and COMSATS' Research Group Meeting on Mathematical Modelling Held in Nigeria

The two-day International Conference on ‘Mathematical Modelling’ successfully concluded on December 29, 2015, in Abuja, Nigeria. The event was jointly organized by COMSATS; the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and COMSATS’ Centre of Excellence in Nigeria, the National Mathematical Centre (NMC). The international conference was attended by about 40 researchers and scientists belonging to Bangladesh, Jordan, Pakistan, Senegal and Nigeria.

The event provided a forum to the researchers and scientists belonging to the common Member States of COMSATS and ISESCO for the exchange of knowledge, skills and expertise in mathematical modelling. During the conference, the subject-experts presented research papers related to the applications of mathematical modelling in different fields of science and technology. Specific titles of the presentations made during the event included: Modelling the Effect of Pollutants on the Lower and Upper Respiratory Tracts; Mathematical Modeling of Measles Epidemiology in Nigeria; Global Analysis of an Ebola Model; Stability and Bifurcation Analysis of Ebola Deterministic Model; Solution of SIQR Model by Homotopy Analysis Method; Ecological (Environmental) Risk Assessment: the Concept, the Use, the Complexity and the Future; Assessment of Storm-water Runoff Entering King Talal Dam Modelling and Analysis of an Age Structure Model of HIV; Development of Method for Rapid Quantification of Simple Sugars in Mango Juice by Chemometrics; A Non-hydrostatic Atmospheric Model for Weather Simulation over Minna; Modelling the Transmission Dynamics of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection in the Presence of Vaccination and Behavioural Change; Inverse Source Problems for Time Fractional Diffusion Equations: Applications for Water Pollution; and Mathematical Model for the Dynamics of Tuberculosis Vaccination. Moreover, there was a presentation by a representative of Regional Centre for Integrated River Basin Management, Kaduna, Nigeria [A Category II UNESCO Water Centre].

The event concluded with distribution of certificates to the local and foreign participants. Speaking at the concluding ceremony, Prof. A. R. T. Solarin, Director/Chief Executive NMC, thanked COMSATS and ISESCO for giving an opportunity to NMC to host this important event. Prof. Solarin appreciated the quality of research papers presented by the participants. He also shed light on COMSATS’ support towards the capacity-building of Nigerian institutions, particularly the postgraduate scholarship opportunities provided by the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Pakistan. He pledged to actively participate in the future activities of COMSATS. Mr. Farhan Ansari, Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes), COMSATS Headquarters, thanked the local and foreign speakers for making intellectual contributions and sharing relevant experiences for the benefit of the participants of the conference. He also thanked ISESCO and NMC for joining hands with COMSATS to organize the Conference. Dr. Ismail AbdelHamid, Science Expert ISESCO, stressed the need for enhanced collaboration among the developing countries for the exchange of expertise and related know-how. Appreciating ISESCO’s on-going collaboration with COMSATS, he informed that a similar event is scheduled to be jointly organized by the two organizations in 2017. He also expressed pleasure on establishing collaborative ties with NMC.

The Conference was followed by the Second Meeting of COMSATS’ International Thematic Research Group (ITRG) on ‘Mathematical Modeling’, and held on 30th December 2015. The meeting was organized by NMC, Nigeria, which is also lead Centre of the Group. The Group is executing the joint research project entitled ‘Mathematical Modeling and Simulation of Air and Water Pollution: Effects and Remedies’, which is being sponsorship under ISESCO-COMSATS Research Grant scheme. The project also has the patronage of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), under its recent bi-ennial agreement with COMSATS.

The primary objective of the ITRG meeting was to discuss the progress made by the Group since its launching in December 2014, as well as to determine the future course of action. The meeting was chaired by the designated Group Leader, Prof. B. O. Oyelami, NMC, Nigeria, and was attended by the following research scientists: Prof. M. O. Ibrahim, University of Ilorin, Nigeria; Dr. Salman Amin Malik, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Pakistan; Prof. J. A. Ogidi, Biomathematics Programme, NMC, Nigeria; Dr. Othman Al-Mashaqbeh, Assistant Researcher, Royal Scientific Society (RSS), Jordan; Dr. Mountaga Lam, Research Scientist, University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), Senegal; Prof. Olusola J. Adeniran, Mathematics Programme, NMC, Nigeria; and Dr. O. O. Yaya, Special Assistant (Technical) to Executive Director, National Water Resources Institute (NWRI), Nigeria.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Oyelami welcomed the founding as well as aspiring members of the Group. He thanked COMSATS and ISESCO for providing Group members another opportunity to meet and share their progress in executing the joint research project, as well as to discuss their future plans. He renewed his commitment to efficiently render services as the Group Leader. Mr. Farhan Ansari conveyed the Executive Director COMSATS’ warm wishes to the participating scientists and researchers partaking in the group activities. Dr. Qureshi considered joint efforts by the developing countries imperative for addressing the trans-border effects of air and water pollution. Referring to the joint research projects being undertaken by the Group, he expressed confidence that the Group could play a constructive role for enhancing the indigenous capacities of the developing countries to assess and mitigate the effects of air and water pollution. He urged the participants to effectively seek guidance from the Group leader and timely submit their progress reports.

The technical session of the meeting, commenced with a presentation by Mr. Ansari outlining the mission, structure and technical programmes of COMSATS, particularly the ITRG programme. He shed light on the basic ideology and implementation mechanism of the programme, which is geared towards achieving South-South cooperation by undertaking well-defined joint research projects in different fields with the participation of research workers belonging to relevant institutions in Member States. He hoped that the present meeting is expected to result in the distribution of research components/activities of the project among the ITRG members to be completed during the year 2016, as well as firm commitment to collaborate for publishing joint research papers in reputed journals.

Subsequently, the Group Leader made a detailed presentation covering the following:

  1. Proceedings and outcomes of the foundation meeting of the Group, including various components of the joint research project;
  2. NMC’s progress with regard to the execution of the assigned research component, i.e. modelling of air pollution for the environment and medical implications; and
  3. Proposed Action Plan of the Group for the year 2016.

The founding members of the Group from Pakistan and Nigeria shared their research progress as well as sought guidance from the Group Leader regarding the difficulties being faced in executing their assigned components. The new participants identified different segments in which they were capable and willing to contribute. The distribution of research components/activities among the participating researchers for the year 2016 is as follows:

  1. Prof. B. O. Oyelami (Nigeria), Prof. M. O. Ibrahim (Nigeria), Dr. S. A. Malik (Pakistan), Prof. J. A. Ogidi (Nigeria) and Dr. M. Lam (Senegal) will collaborate to model the transportation and distribution of pollutants in air and water, with a view to access their impact on ecosystem and environment.
  2. Prof. B. O. Oyelami (Nigeria) and Dr. O. O. Yaya (Nigeria) will use statistical models to analyze remote-sensing data and satellite images related to air pollution in order to forecast natural disasters.
  3. Prof. O. Taiwo (Nigeria) and Mr. M. Nashir Uddin (Bangladesh) will collaborate to determine how chemicals, heavy metals, slugs and petrochemical in air or water would influence climate change, and possibly cause environmental mishaps. They will also use models to study factors that enhance carcinogenic and allergic diseases and those that lead to environmental problems.
  4. Prof. B. O. Oyelami (Nigeria), Prof. J. A. Ogidi (Nigeria), Mr. M. Nashir Uddin (Bangladesh) and Prof. Xiaodong Zeng (China) will assess how pollutants in the air lead to greenhouse effect and the associated global warming by using different models.
  5. Prof. F. Taiwo (Nigeria), Dr. W. Lugano (Tanzania) and Prof. J. A. Ogidi (Nigeria) will use models to estimate the impact of contaminants on the environment, in order to determine the contribution of industrial pollution towards high prevalence of respiratory diseases and allergies.
  6. Dr. S. A. Malik (Pakistan), Prof. Xiaodong Zeng (China) and Dr. O. Al-Mashaqbeh (Jordan) will collaborate to develop models to predict the distribution of pollutants in water.
  7. Prof. Peter Osanaiye (Nigeria) and Dr. W. Lugano (Tanzania) will set-up benchmarks for pollution effect from industrial set-ups.
  8. Prof. B. O. Oyelami (Nigeria) and Prof. F. Taiwo (Nigeria) will use Monte Carlo (MC) Simulation for some stochastic models considered in the project.

The distribution of tasks was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the participants belonging to Nigeria, Pakistan, Jordan and Senegal. It was agreed that the Group will submit to COMSATS an interim report during October 2016 and the final report during September 2017. Moreover, during the discussion session, the representative of the National Water Resources Institute (NWRI), Nigeria, proposed that COMSATS and the Lead Centre of the Group, NMC, should jointly submit a project proposal to the Executive Director NWRI the Institute for exploring the possibility of financial support for the research project. Furthermore, the Group Leader pledged to organize periodic meetings of the Nigerian scientists taking part in the project, for effective execution of their assigned research components.

It was also agreed that the next meeting of COMSATS’ ITRG on ‘Mathematical Modeling’ will be held in conjunction with the next ISESCO-COMSATS International Conference on Mathematical Modeling, which is scheduled to be held in the first quarter of 2017. The ITRG members renewed their commitment to actively participate in the joint research project under the supervision of the Group Leader, and publish joint research papers and monographs/books based on their joint research.