Keynote Speakers

Dr Ayanna Howard (Georgia Tech, USA)
Dr. Ayanna Howard is an educator, researcher, and innovator. Her academic career is highlighted by her focus on technology development for intelligent agents that must interact with and in a human-centered world, as well as on
the education and mentoring of students in the engineering and computing fields. Dr. Howard has made significant contributions in the technology areas of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics. Her published research, currently numbering over 250 peer-reviewed publications, has been widely disseminated in international journals and conference proceedings. She has over 20 years of R&D experience covering a number of projects that have been supported by various agencies including: National Science Foundation, Procter and Gamble, NASA, ExxonMobil, Intel, and the Grammy Foundation. She continues to produce novel research and ideas focused on applications that span from assis ve robots in the home to therapy gaming apps to remote robotic exploration of extreme environments. By working at NASA before entering the academic world, she brings a unique perspective to the academic environment.

Currently, Dr. Howard is the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing. She also holds a faculty appointment in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering where she functions as the Director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab (Humans). In 2015, she founded and now directs the $3M traineeship initiative in healthcare robotics and functions as the lead investigator on the NSF undergraduate summer research program in robo cs. She received her B.S. from Brown University, her M.S.E.E. from the University of Southern California, her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, and her M.B.A. from Claremont University, Drucker School of Management.

To date, her unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in TIME Magazine, Black Enterprise, and USA Today, as well as being named a MIT Technology Review top young innovator and recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider. She is also on the Forbes’ America’s Top 50 Women In Tech. In 2013, she also founded Zyrobotics as a university spin-off and holds a position in the company as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Zyrobo cs, LLC is currently licensing technology derived from her research and has released their first suite of mobile therapy and educational products for children with differing needs. From 1993-2005, Dr. Howard was at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, where she was a Senior Robotics Researcher and Deputy Manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist. She has also served as the Associate Director of Research for the Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Chair of the mul disciplinary Robo cs Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech, and the Associate Chair for Faculty Development in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Prof Russ Taylor (Square Kilometre Array – SKA, UCT)

Prof. Russ Taylor is the Director of the Inter-University Insittute for Data Intensive Astronomy. He is a professor and SKA Research Chair at the University of Cape Town and the University of Western Cape. Russ is the founding Executive Secretary of the International Square Kilometre Array Steering Committee, the founding chair of the International SKA Science Advisory Committee, the vice-chair of the International SKA Science & Engineering Committee, the co-chair of the SKA Cosmic Magnetism Science Working Group and a member of the International Board of the Preparatory Phase Program for the SKA and of the International Board of the SKA Organization. He has published over 200 professional scientific articles and has edited five books. His work through IDIA focuses on the development of techniques and data science solutions for major SKA programs.

Prof Simon Maskell (University of Liverpool)

Simon Maskell is a Professor of Autonomous Systems at the University of Liverpool. His research interests centre on using Bayesian inference to address real-world challenges across a range of different applications. Often, doing so ends up demanding the development of advanced numerical Bayesian methods, e.g., novel extensions of particle filters. Many of the projects Simon works on relate to conventional applications of data fusion (e.g., increasing the ability of track-before-detect to improve the detection performance of a radar and highlighting anomalous long-term behaviours in wide area mo on imagery). However, Simon is also currently engaged in projects that, for example, involve extracted data using machine learning applied to textual records and thereby identifying side effects that result from interactions between drugs. Prior to starting at
the University of Liverpool in 2013, Simon worked for 13 years for the defence and security company, QinetiQ. Simon has also been a non-executive director for an insurance company and is currently an honorary employee of a mental health trust. For many years, Simon has also worked closely with UK government and, in particular, Dstl (the UK Ministry of Defence’s research lab): Simon understands industrial, academic and governmental perspectives on Fusion. Simon was the general chair for Fusion 2010 (in Edinburgh) and was, more recently, co-chair for Fusion 2018 (in Cambridge). Simon has also been on the organisational committee of numerous Fusion conferences, served as a member of ISIF’s Board of Directors (BoD) from 2009 to 2012 and is now serving on the ISIF BoD from 2019-2022.