CIIT Holds the First Meeting of COMSATS' Thematic Research Group on 'ICTs'
The first meeting of COMSATS’ Thematic Research Group on ‘Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)’ was held in Islamabad on 19th and 20th April 2011. The meeting was hosted by the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), which is also the Lead Centre of the Group. During the two day event, the Group deliberated on initiating collaborative projects in the field of ICTs and its technical and administrative aspects. The institutions represented in the meeting were: CIIT-Pakistan; National Mathematical Centre (NMC)-Nigeria; Royal Scientific Society (RSS)-Jordan; and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)-Malaysia.
The meeting was inaugurated on April 19, 2011 at the Islamabad Campus of CIIT by the Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. I.E. Qureshi. Twenty-one participants from Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Pakistan attended the inaugural session of the meeting.
In his Inaugural Address, Dr. Qureshi recapitulated the recent activities of COMSATS aimed at capacity-building for the development of S&T sectors in Member States. In particular, he highlighted the activities undertaken in collaboration with ISESCO in 2010 and those planned for 2011 under COMSATS-UNESCO Cooperation Programme. Dr. Qureshi pointed out that COMSATS has a versatile and vibrant Network of sixteen R&D organizations in different developing countries, which provides a strong technical base for the organization to promote South-South cooperation in science and technology. Explaining the rationale of Thematic Research Groups, he observed that, currently, most of the scientific research around the world is being conducted as a group-activity. He further stated that COMSATS is trying to bring together research-scientists from different countries to join hands and work collectively on common problems.
“The present Thematic Group meeting” Dr. Qureshi said, “is aimed at development an ICT based research theme that would be beneficial for all participating countries. The concept of such a group-activity will serve the purpose of South-South cooperation, create opportunities of technology-sharing and enable successful completion of projects through cooperative efforts”.
Earlier a message from the Rector CIIT, Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi, was read by Mr. Tahir Naeem, Director of Planning, Development and Human Resource Development at CIIT. In his message, Dr. Zaidi underscored the importance of ICTs in the present developmental scenario. Highlighting the objectives of the Thematic Research Group on ICTs, Dr. Zaidi hoped for focused deliberations by the participants for the commencement of a fruitful joint research activity.
The Technical Session of the meeting was started with the Keynote Speech by the Group Leader, Dr. Sajjad Mohsin, Dean Faculty of Information Science and Technology (FIST) of CIIT, who shed light on topics relating to the theme of the Group proposed for collaboration. Presentations on the same were made by the senior officials of the Institute; ‘WiFi Networks’; ‘Precision Agriculture’; and ‘e-Learning’. These presentations were followed by short presentations by the representatives of other member/participating institutions, who highlighted the objectives and strengths of their organizations. These representatives were: Dr. Abdul Hanan Bin Abdullah, Dean Faculty of Computer Science & Information Systems, UTM-Malaysia; Mr. Oladejo Olutunji, Principal Programmer (MIS), NMC-Nigeria (and COMSATS-NMC Liaison Officer); and Mr. Shadi Tawafiq El-Asasfeh, Computer Systems Analyst, RSS-Jordan. These presentations helped in identifying areas of mutual interests in the field of ICTs and highlighted the relevant potential of the participating institutions.
Based on the understanding developed during the Technical Session, the deliberations on the second day of the meeting remained focused on finalizing the title of the joint research project, most effective mechanism for its implementation and related matters of cooperation. Another highlight of the second day was a short visit of the Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan, H.E. Mir Changez Khan Jamali. The Minister was appreciative of the efforts of COMSATS, CIIT and other members of the Group to embark upon a joint research-activity and wished them good fortune.
A consensus was built as to the title of the joint research project: ‘e-Solutions for community using low-cost WiFi’. In order to ratify the Group-members’ compliance to their obligations towards the joint project and membership of the Group, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was distributed among the representatives, to be signed by the Heads of the participating institutions/organizations.
The Thematic Research Group meeting concluded with a commitment, on part of the participating institutions, to make sincere efforts to achieve the common R&D aims identified during the meeting.