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Message from the IEEE CAS Vice President, Technical Activities: Vojin G. Oklobdzija

Vojin G. OklobdzijaI would like to thank the Board of Governors for their vote to appoint me for another 2 years term as Vice President of Technical Activities. I have served a two year term 2010-2012 and my new term will end December 31st, 2013. The past two years have been challenging with respect to the two important tasks that I started: (a) defining a “vision” of CAS (b) evaluation and organization of Technical Committees. I expect to complete those tasks in my second term. Therefore I expect this term to be both difficult and challenging. I hope I will be able to deliver and justify the confidence that was given to me.

For the last 50 years we have been riding a “technology revolution” which started with the invention of Integrated Circuit in 1958, enabling the integration of a digital computer on a single chip – “microprocessor” in 1971 and continuing on a larger scale enabling integration of those devices not only in computing devices, but also in commodity products, communication equipment and even the human body. The challenges in solving the circuits problems have evolved from millions and hundreds of millions of devices into billions of devices and further onto the system level. As the problems that were central to CAS mature, the new challenges emerge, and so does the focus onto different areas that surpass the traditional boundaries of CAS. The National Academy of Engineering has posed 14 Grand Challenges that will the face scientific community in the 21st Century:

( 1)Make solar energy economical, (2) Provide energy from fusion, (3) Develop carbon sequestration methods, (4) Manage the nitrogen cycle, (5) Provide access to clean water, (6) Restore and improve urban infrastructure, (7) Advance health informatics, (8) Engineer better medicines, (9) Reverse-engineer the brain, (10) Prevent nuclear terror, (11) Secure cyberspace, (12) Enhance virtual reality, (13) Advance personalized learning, (14) Engineer the tools of scientific discovery.

Some of those challenges are directly related to CAS and our membership. How do we respond to the new challenge and how do we as a society cope with the new and ever changing world? The challenges the CAS community is facing can be found in:

Green IT – computing with ultra-low-energy; energy scavenging from the environment; towards zero power computation and communication

Nano & Alternative Technologies – organic electronics; nano-electronics; ability to follow transistor scaling; finding an alternative physical phenomena that will replace transistor; brain-inspired ICT

Bio-Health – interface between electronics and bio-world; nano drug delivery and regenerative neuro-prosthetics; multimedia for health informatics and remote health care; analysis and design of bio-molecular circuits and systems

Scalable IT – large scale systems; systems of systems; multimedia; data mining

Sustainable Energy – integrated smart energy grids; alternative and renewable energy sources

It is obvious that the structure and organization of CAS cannot remain static. We must evolve and adapt to the occurring changes. In addition our organization must reflect occurring changes in order to cope with emerging problems and challenges. The Technical Activities of CAS are organized around 16 Technical Committees each one representing a distinct technical activity within CAS. This structure has not changed much in the last decade and is also reflected in the CAS flagship conference – ISCAS. In the meantime, the world has changed. It is true that fundamental disciplines that are defining CAS will remain relatively unchanged, the new activities within CAS will emerge, some will be reaching their peak, and some may be fading out.

I the past two years, I collected the mission and vision of each technical committee, with the purpose of charting the vision which is most likely to be the one pursued by CAS. On suggestion of then CAS President, Gianluca Setti, I formed the CAS Vision Committee which I am chairing. The task of the Vision Committee is to produce a document that will outline the CAS vision for the next 10 years. I have chosen to call it “Vision 2020”, assuming that it will be valid until about 2020 at which time there will most likely, be a need for further revision and rewrite. The members of the Vision Committee are: Dr. Gianluca Setti, Past President of CAS, Dr. Eduard Alarcon, Dr. Mario di Bernardo, CAS Administrative VP, Dr. Enrico Macii, CAS VP of Publications, Dr. Wouter Serdijn, past editor of Transactions on CAS, Dr. Mani Soma, Past President of CAS, and Dr. David Skellern. In addition I have also consulted with a number of prominent and longtime CAS members for their ideas and input. We produced a short working document to be shared with the CAS members and I hope to publish it in one of the next issues of the CAS Magazine. I would also like to solicit input from the CAS membership. You can write to me at: vojin@ieee.org

I thank you all for your support, your confidence and your involvement in CAS.

Vojin G. Oklobdzija,
January 29, 2012
IEEE Circuits and Systems Vice President for Technical Activities