The successful COST/IEEE-CASS Seasonal Training School in Fractional-Order Systems (COST/IEEE-CASS FRACTAL - http://fractal.utko.feec.vutbr.cz/) was hosted by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication of Brno University of Technology in the capital of South Moravia, in Brno, Czech Republic on November 24-26, 2016. The training school was organized as part of the COST Action CA15225 - “Fractional-order systems; analysis, synthesis and their importance for future design”, a network supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) and Seasonal Schools in Circuits and Systems (SSCAS) initiative of IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS) in cooperation with IEEE Czechoslovakia Section SP/CAS/COM Joint Chapter. 

Fractional-(non-integer)-order derivatives have been studied by mathematicians since the late seventeenth century, when Leibniz, de L’Hospital, Riemann, Liouville and others were involved in their early development. In 2008, the fractional-order continuous-time systems were by Prof. Dr. Manuel Duarte Ortigueira from New University of Lisbon, Portugal labeled as the “21st Century Systems” and since than receive significant interest of scientists and engineers, whereas the deeply rooted mathematical concepts migrate to various scientific disciplines due to their effectiveness for modeling of various processes and systems in the areas of physics, chemistry, biology, material science, circuit theory & electronics, control, and other related topics. Hence, the training school aimed to bring together Bachelor, Masters, Ph.D. students and as well as experienced scientists working in above mentioned various interdisciplinary research areas. In line with this mission statement, COST/IEEE-CASS FRACTAL provided a great chance to 62 participants coming from 22 countries (Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States) to fully utilize all knowledge exchange opportunities offered by the training school and use the gained experience in their professional growth.

Figure 1: Group photo of COST/IEEE-CASS FRACTAL participants

The technical program of the 3 days COST/IEEE-CASS FRACTAL included 6 outstanding plenary keynote speeches given by world-recognized lecturers and followed by thematic PC laboratory exercise, live demonstrations session, and a networking social event. After the opening ceremony the keynote speeches entitled “Foundations of Fractional Calculus for Applications” and “Approximation and Realization of Fractional-Order Circuits” were delivered by Prof. Dr. Igor Podlubny from Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia and Assoc. Prof. Ahmed G. Radwan from Nile University in Egypt, respectively. During the second day, Dr. Riccardo Caponetto from University of Catania, Italy delivered a keynote speech entitled “Nano Structured Material as Fractional-Order Element” that was followed by keynote speech “Fractional-order PID Control: Tuning and Practical Implementation” and thematic PC laboratory exercise utilizing FOMCON toolbox for MATLAB, both given by Dr. Aleksei Tepljakov, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. The fifth keynote speech of the training school was given by Dr. Todd J. Freeborn, University of Alabama, USA, and was related to “Modeling of Biological Tissues’ Properties”. During the second day, also the live demonstrations session offered a unique opportunity for an interactive and tangible form of presenting the most recent research results and/or ongoing works, to support the workability and effectiveness of fractional-order systems, and to create a lasting impression on participants. The last keynote speech of the training school was within the third day by Prof. Dr. Ahmed S. Elwakil, University of Sharjah, UAE, who during his speech entitled “Fractional-Order Modeling of Ultra-High Density Capacitors” has highlighted an importance of this research topic for industry.

Finally, the networking social event included a welcome reception in Technical museum in Brno that was established in 1936, is the largest technical museum in Moravia and presents the heritage of science and technology with expositions of aviation history and modelling, cutlery, historical engines, information exchange from using tamtams to the internet, hall of mechanical instruments, culture of the blind, water motors with a monument to Viktor Kaplan, steam engines, lane of trades, ferrous metallurgy, historical stereovision, time above and around us, cabinet of electron microscopy, and many more.

Figure 2: The keynote speakers at COST/IEEE-CASS FRACTAL with organizers (from left to right: Assoc. Prof. Jaroslav Koton, Dr. Riccardo Caponetto, Dr. Todd J. Freeborn, Assoc. Prof. Ahmed G. Radwan, Prof. Dr. Ahmed S. Elwakil, Assoc. Prof. Norbert Herencsar); view to the audience during lecture; discussion during live demonstrations session; group photo during welcome reception in Technical museum in Brno