For whatever reasons, I am comfortable with mathematics and computing. Perhaps it was the motivation from Miss Lim, when I was in school in Ipoh. But last week in Copenhagen, something caught my interest. It was ontology. It is actually a concept that I use all the time, but without formalizing it, let alone to give it a name. It is how we view a process systems before starting a mathematical modelling.
Ontology is the philosophical aspects of whatever that we are examining. Using ontology, a unit is visualised from its function, its nature etc, and depicted in various forms to facilitate representation of complex systems. There are two challenges – first is to have a comprehensive view of the system that we are examining, second, is to develop the engine that runs underneath, connecting objects and all its associated physical, chemical and other phenomena, and simulate them all simultaneously. Nice and neat, of course in principle, but it is not an easy task. Haha, a student of mine got stuck in developing the engine of functional models that he developed for fault detection system, and I didn’t have enough time to dig deep into the issue to help him solve the algorithms.
I spent 2 hours listening to various researchers on ontology, including Prof. Preisig from NTNU, Trondheim, with whom I spend another half an hour on the matter. Interesting. Perhaps I’ll get into it later.
Markazi Mosque Copenhagen
After two long days attending conference at the Bella Center Copenhagen, we, a group of professors in process control decided to visit a mosque. So, at 6 pm we started our journey by a metro train, followed by a bus ride, and searching for the place on foot. Few minutes later we saw a Muslim girl, who directed us to the place. Once inside, the aura was socially warm. It was the center of activity for Jamaah Tabligh of Denmark in Copenhagen. It was a house converted into a musalla. Brother Zahid told us that in the near future the place will be expanded as they have already purchased a plot nearby. At this small place, groups from various places gather in transits before being sent to various communities within Denmark. The mission is simple, calling people to be closer to the Almighty and reminding them not to be absorbed by daily activities, forgetting the mission of life – the world is a farm for the hereafter.
We were told that there are around 250 thousands Muslims living among the 5 million people in Denmark. So, they make about 5 % of the total population. Interestingly, in the aftermath of the “karikatur Danmark” where the Danish newspaper published 12 editorial cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in September 2005, and creating anger on Muslims around the world, more dialogues between muslim scholars and the Danish communities took place. It brought many positive impacts including the construction of a purposely built mosque in Copenhagen, growth in the number of mosques around the country and the locals became curious and interested in Islam. We left the mosque after a short stay, feeling fully recharged.
The 5-day event of PSE 2015 was held in conjunction with ESCAPE25 and chaired by Prof Rafiqul Gani of the Denmark Technical University. The organization was neat and the participation was full. Due to some safety and health procedures, the organizer decided to cap the participation to 600 and about 50 % of papers submitted had to be rejected. It was nice to meet and talk to people highly regarded in the academic field..
I was told that once the early bird registration deadline was up, the organisers made their accounting and realised that they have made the break-even point. So, all additional fees beyond the date would be a profit. Interestingly, instead of smiling and enjoying the would be profit, they decided that now they can offer free registrations from interested researchers that were hampered by financial constraints. Such a noble act. They understood the aim of an academic conference. It is for dissemination of knowledge and networking, and not for profit making. They do make a little profit though.
That is why I despise some of the professional institutions that put so much emphasis on profit making in running academic conferences. Knowledge creation, dissemination and sharing are noble acts. I call upon all friends in the academic world to have this in mind.