The Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS) envisions, develops and deploys strategic future-aware technological solutions at local, state, federal, and tribal levels. CICS is home to over thirty researchers and subject matter experts, from domains as diverse as climatology, linguistics, religious studies, public administration, international trade, criminology, disaster management, and global security. The center focuses on data acquisition and analytics, social media solutions, strategic mapping, and systems integration and development. CICS deploys computational technologies and domain expertise to evaluate current trends and develop strategies based on evolving content, from advanced visualization to predictive analytics.
LEFT OF BOOM
Proactive Threat Mitigation Strategies
Fifth Annual Conference
"As a member of Congress, I appreciate your efforts in strengthening security through innovative solutions and problem solving. Please know that your achievements and advancements in information analytics are making a difference and are appreciated by the community and the world."
"In a world increasingly facing security, environmental, human health, natural disasters, and other threats, it is most timely and appropriate that the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS) at San Diego State University and the participants of the Left of Boom conference together debate on a platform identifying solutions to mitigate, if not prevent crisis from happening."
"The Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS), as the name implies, is the perfect venue to address emerging threats and propose innovative solutions. In our increasingly uncertain world, bringing together the best and the brightest of the public and private sectors has never been more important."
"Our priority at the District Attorney's Office is public safety, and through the Center's innovative solutions to global challenges through open collaboration among government, industry and academia, you are helping contribute to a more secure society."
"Your hard work and dedication will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the threat mitigation community."
"The Center's success is derived from its international team of researchers and subject matter experts who work collaboratively to find innovative solutions for the plethora of threats facing the world today."
"I commend the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy for its work in creating a platform where organizations and experts can address global challenges, including national security, healthcare, and technology."
"Our priority at the District Attorney's Office is public safety, and through the Center's innovative solutions to global challenges through open collaboration among government, industry and academia, you are helping contribute to a more secure society."
"As a San Diego County Supervisor and Marine veteran I recognize the importance of public safety and security. I appreciate that you have chosen to participate in the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy's event, where you will learn a variety of global challenges and create innovative solutions to solve complex obstacles."
"The partnership in customs research and development is enhanced through the CICS training and workshops with international Customs partnerships, this further creates a common platform towards solving challenges that are often difficult to solve through other methods."
"The Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS) is an excellent resource for the CBP and other regional organizations to meet the objective of government procurement and training."
"The team of SMEs from CICS that is brought together at LOB conferences guarantees thoughtful and open-minded approaches to today's challenging social, economic and environmental issues."
"The extensive team of internationally recognized scholars and industry experts under the leadership of Akshay Pottathil and André Skupin (Co-Directors) hold a vital responsibility of rapidly solving challenges with clever and strategic technology solutions for commerce and security."
"I look forward to discussing with the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy team about all potential projects that can have a positive impact in the Baja California region, especially towards strengthening our regional security and security the international border with the United States."
CICS aims to catalyze the advancement of San Diego State University as a national leader in knowledge-driven, transdisciplinary thinking and solutions. CICS provides original research, practical technology solutions and strategic consulting in these areas:
The CICS work culture offers transparency among government, industry, and academia that promotes innovation through open collaboration. Our researchers are encouraged to constantly challenge themselves and go beyond their previous accomplishments, always striving to stay at the cutting edge of their respective disciplines while offering stable solutions and products to serve our sponsors.
CICS Co-Director Pottathil met and discussed opportunities in geospatial intelligence and collaborative research with several winning teams at the International Space Development Conference (ISDC) organized by the National Space Society. Pottathil emphasized the alignment between CICS' "Left of Boom" series and the development of space technology in connection with ISDC's theme of "Space Travel: Putting People into Space". The student teams he met were representing a vast range of educational institutions, from high schools in India to "Students for the Exploration and Development of Space " (SEDS) at the University of California, San Diego.
CICS Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin were happy to accept an invitation by the Consul General of Azerbaijan to attend a special celebration in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. Among the notable accomplishments of the Republic had been the granting of voting rights to women as early as 1919, the first muslim-majority country to do so. In connection with the event, a congratulatory letter of CICS was presented to the Consul General, Nasimi Aghayev. The participation of the Co-Directors at this celebration follows a series of collaborative activities, including several workshops and student presentations given in Azerbaijan and a keynote given by the Consul General at Left of Boom IV earlier this month.
André Skupin, CICS Co-Director and expert on big data analytics, followed an invitation to speak at a "Health and GIS" conference organized by Texas State University in Round Rock, Texas. Skupin reflected on his experiences in applying natural language processing (NLP), machine learning and visualization to large collections of biomedical publications and patient records. Sponsored by regional medical providers Baylor Scott & White Health, Ascension and Seton Medical Center and Texas Oncology, the event brought together academic researchers and medical and public health practitioners to discuss trends in the application of GIS and related technologies to the medical domain and explore opportunities for novel collaborative partnerships.
Left of Boom, the Annual Conference on Proactive Threat Mitigation, was once again organized and hosted by CICS on the campus of San Diego State University. CICS Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin served as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, with Jerome Joaquin and Lee Wakefield serving as Special Advisors.
The fourth iteration of this conference drew speakers from diverse countries, including Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, to name a few. Several Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives sent letters of support, as did international organizations like the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU) and BORDERPOL.
Topics discussed during the three-day event ranged from trade to security, health, environment, science, and technology, framed by the inaugural production of CICS Global TV, "Breaking News."
Coinciding with the start of Left of Boom IV, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation honoring CICS and declaring May 2, 2018 the "Center for Information Convergence and Strategy Day" throughout the County.
Following a request by the Czech University of Life Sciences, CICS Co-Director Pottathil recently returned to Prague to give a series of lectures on the strategic development of information systems. Topics discussed in this workshop ranged from the evaluation of entrepreneurial activity to strategic marketing efforts that leverage information systems platforms.
CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil chaired the 2018 BORDERPOL annual conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic. Pottathil, who was recently promoted to serve as BORDERPOL's Vice President for Technology, also delivered a presentation titled "Digital Border Challenges for Ports and Borders" at the conference's plenary session.
In other news, BORDERPOL - a worldwide organization of border professionals headquartered in Ottawa, Canada - has granted CICS its "Center of Excellence" status. Previously, CICS had been given the "Affiliate Academic Research Center" status by the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU).
Several CICS researchers traveled to New Orleans to present at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, reflecting the holistic range of approaches within the Center's purview. In the context of CICS' participation in the global Big Data and Emergency Management consortium, Co-Director Skupin presented a scientometric analysis of the intersection of computing technology and emergency management. This is designed to inform curricular development and setting of strategic research directions. Timothy Schempp, winner of the 2018 Esri Development Center Student-of-the-Year award at SDSU, presented his thesis research, applying Skupin's tri-space analytics framework to multi-temporal and multi-spectral satellite imagery. Other CICS researchers presenting in New Orleans included Piotr Jankowski (Chair, Department of Geography), Doug Stow, Atsushi Nara, and Fernando De Sales.
Easter Island's monolithic statues, the moai, have been an enigma for centuries. Using a combination of historic aerial photographs, recent drone imagery, and advanced natural language processing and data visualization techniques, CICS researchers have discovered startling connections between the moai, other iconographic artifacts found on the island, and patterns of human dynamics during a long gone mobile age. Detailed results of the study, though initially planned for publication, are currently being withheld, due to the explosive nature of the findings.
Co-Director Pottathil gave a highly anticipated keynote, titled "Autonomous Motives," at the Smart Parking / Smart Cities Symposium that was held in conjunction with the annual Parking Industry Exhibition (PIE 2018). In front of a packed house Pottathil raised many issues - and some eyebrows - regarding emerging transportation infrastructure, questioning key assumptions and approaches of industry stakeholders. Autonomous vehicles are a case-in-point. As Pottathil put it, someone could "hack in, turn off the engine when you are going 80 mph or, in the case of cars that can park themselves, tell it to park in the middle of the street or on the freeway."
Pictured here are Pottathil on stage with Brandy Stanley (Parking Services Manager, City of Las Vegas) and being interviewed by John Van Horn (Editor, Parking Today).
CICS congratulates Tim Schempp to being named the 2018 Student-of-the-Year by the Esri Development Center (EDC) at San Diego State University. In its nomination letter, the EDC recognized the broad range of Tim's contributions in developing technology solutions for diverse domains. Examples include his development of an interactive data visualization of the social network and socio-spatial dynamics of wild pigs, his work in applying natural language processing techniques to the study of urban agriculture, and his contributions to the project "Relational Analysis International Nexus (RAIN)," a collaboration between SDSU's Center for International Business Education & Research (CIBER) and CICS. The EDC award carries a monetary prize by GIS market leader Esri.
In other news, Tim successfully defended his Master's thesis proposal. In his research, he is developing a system for exploratory visualization of multispectral and multitemporal ssatellite imagery. In the pursuit of this effort, he spent the summer of 2017 at the Carinthia University of Applied Technology in Villach, Austria, on an Austrian Marshall Plan fellowship
Dr. Debbie Fugate, Deputy Director of the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues at the U.S. Department of State, received a tour of CICS from its Co-Directors. Pottathil and Skupin updated Dr. Fugate on the wide range of global initiatives and activities that CICS has been engaged in since her previous visit to the Center in 2016. Of particular interest was CICS' success in seeding innovation in Central Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia. Further points of discussion included the international "Big Data and Emergency Management" consortium, of which CICS is a founding partner, and the annual "Left of Boom" conference series. Later that day, Dr. Fugate gave a presentation in the Geography Department's colloquium series, which is coordinated by Co-Director Skupin. Her talk was well-attended, with audience members from across the SDSU campus.
Co-Director Pottathil, a 2017 recipient of the medal "For Consolidation of Customs Cooperation" by the Azerbaijan State Customs Committee, met with the Consul General of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Nasimi Aghayev, to debate a wide range of collaborative opportunities. The discussion also covered the excellent presentations that CICS leadership and researchers - including several student researchers - have given in Azerbaijan in recent years. The Consul General expressed his interest and support for future CICS initiatives. In related news, Pottathil continues to serve on the Advisory Board of The Journal of Customs & Economics Review (JCER), published by the Azerbaijan State Customs Committee's Academy.
During the Spring 2018 Lecture of the Charles W. Hostler Institute on World Affairs the former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Dr. Michael G. Vickers, discussed national security challenges associated with a return of great power competition (China, Russia), regional powers with growing capabilities and expansionist aims (DPRK, Iran), the continued threat from global jihadist groups (al-Qa'ida, ISIS), and accelerating technological change that is transforming the distribution of wealth and power. He highlighted the changing posture the United States and its allies need to adopt in this new era of international security. Students in Co-Director Skupin's "Knowledge Visualization" seminar (GEOG 780) were invited to this event and took the opportunity to engage in a live concept mapping exercise. Meanwhile, Co-Director Pottathil accepted an invitation to join Dr. Vickers, Mrs. Hostler, Dean Bouchard, SDSU Past President Weber and several former U.S. diplomats for a reception and dinner at the College of Arts & Letters.
Filming of "Breaking News" started over the weekend at various locations across San Diego. This also represents the official launch of CICS Global TV, a production house under the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS). "This maiden project will form the core of our upcoming Left of Boom IV conference, and we are confident that it will have a positive impact on that event and the broader community" said Co-Director Pottathil, who is directing this venture. Shooting will continue through March 2018, followed by post-production in April. The film is going to be screened exclusively for the production team on May 1, 2018. As stated by Co-Director Skupin, "it is impressive how CICS has transformed itself into a center where no idea is beyond reach."
Mongolian Consulate officials were briefed by Co-Director Pottathil on a wide array of CICS security training capabilities, ranging from civil protection to countering human trafficking. The briefing was presented within a visit to San Diego State University by Galbadral Enkhtur (Consul General of Mongolia in San Francisco), Mendjargal Ganbold (Consul), and Sukhbaatar Chuluunbaatar (Vice Consul).
Akshay Pottathil gave an invited presentation titled "Decoding The Internet of Threats (IoT)" to the Independent Cities Association's Winter Seminar, which was held in Santa Barbara. Fellow panelists included FBI Special Agent Ron Manuel and former FBI Special Agent Maureen O'Connell. The session was moderated by Mark Henderson (City of Gardena Council Member and President-Elect, ICA). According to feedback received, elected officials felt that the CICS Co-Director's discussion of emerging cybersecurity threats and associated risk factors was both "scary" and "eye-opening." Pottathil and CICS Subject Matter Expert Greg Spiker also met with Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, following his impactful presentation on the national narcotics crisis.
Within two weeks of the launch of Left of Boom IV, conference registration has been progressing at a record pace, with 75% of available seats already allocated. The CICS leadership team thanks the sponsors and speakers, as well as the numerous conference volunteers, for their support of this important endeavor.
Early registration ended January 15 and regular registration rates are now in force. Please direct any further requests for registration or sponsorship to the organizers via lob.sdsu.edu.
"NO MORE, NO MORE: Women, Girls, ICT & Violence" is a special program hosted by the Social Impact and Innovation initiative at the University of California - San Diego, aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking and contributing to the national conversation on this issue. CICS Co-Director Pottathil
was an invited panelist at the program's most recent event, held at Atkinson Hall Auditorium on the UCSD campus. The event was opened by Pradeep K. Khosla (UC San Diego Chancellor) & Elizabeth H. Simmons (UC San Diego Executive Vice Chancellor), followed by a keynote by Summer Stephan (San Diego County District Attorney) and a panel discussion moderated by Carrie Hessler-Radelet (President and CEO, Project Concern International - PCI). Concluding remarks were given by Suresh Subramani (Distinguished Professor and Former Exec. Vice Chancellor, UCSD). In addition to CICS, other entities invited to the discussion panel include UCSD's Qualcomm Institute, the UCSD Center on Gender Equity and Health, and the FBI.
In his remarks, Pottathil highlighted a number of relevant technology trends, including end-to-end encryption, but also stressed the need for broader societal responsibility in recognizing and countering human trafficking in all its forms. Other CICS participants included Co-Director Skupin and several CICS researchers, subject matter experts, and supporters, highlighting the ongoing commitment of the Center to developing strategic solutions to the illicit trafficking of humans and commodities.
CICS is proud to announce the launch of Left of Boom IV, the Fourth Annual Conference on Proactive Threat Mitigation. It will be held May 2-4 on the campus of San Diego State University. Left of Boom is an invitation-only event that has established itself as a unique venue for the open exchange of ideas from business, government, and academia, spanning a wide range of domains, including national defense, border security, infrastructure protection, emergency management, healthcare, and environment. You can request an invitation at lob.sdsu.edu.
Co-Director Pottathil followed an invitation to visit the Joint Cooperation Center at the Bergen Municipality Office (City Hall) to discuss collaborative opportunities with Mr. Ivar Konrad Lunde (Head) and Mr. Snorre Halvorsen (Special Advisor) of the "Section for Public Safety and Emergency Management." Among the points of discussion were the ongoing BDEM project - a global consortium funded by the Research Council of Norway, with CICS as a founding partner - and possible training missions in connection with the CICS-affiliated Center for Data Analytics and Intelligence (CENDAI) in Prague.
The CICS Leadership team - Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin - traveled to Bergen, Norway, to participate in the second workshop of the international "Big Data and Emergency Management" consortium. Researchers from Norway, Japan, Hong Kong and the United States met with emergency management practitioners from urban administration, fire services, and civil aviation to discuss ways in which education and research activities in the BDEM domain can be developed for maximum real-world impact.
CICS researchers and students of the Geospatial Intelligence course (GEOG 596) taught by Co-Director Pottathil) attended a presentation given by Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok (Consul General of India - San Fransisco) within the lecture series of the Charles W. Hostler Institute on World Affairs. Amb. Ashok spoke about "India-U.S. Partnership: A New Paradigm," covering various aspects of current India-US relations, including political, economic, and cutural topics. On invitation of CICS, two student societies were invited as well, the recently founded Society for Information Convergence and Strategy (SICS; President: Aishwaryaa Dev) and Sanskriti (President: Ankita Chaturvedi). Students also had a chance to interact with Dean Norma Bouchard and Ms. Chinyeh Hostler.
CICS Co-Director Pottathil delivered a keynote titled "Strategic Data Analytics, Visualization, and Social Media Exploration" to the RAI Amsterdam Security Conference and Expo. He offered reflections on spatial intelligence, data fusion, and pattern recognition, focusing on how they can be leveraged into actionable intelligence for public and private sectors. The event included a scenario-based discussion with senior level government and private sector leaders. Pottathil challenged attending professionals to move towards a strategic and collaborative information convergence platform through public-private partnerships. Given the diverse audience, the role of academia in solving such challenges as cybersecurity and organizational capacity building was addressed as well.
Pictured here are Pottathil along with Mr. David Thompson (Event Director, Clarion Defence & Security) and Ms. Nynke Lipsius-Mulder (Director, RAI Amsterdam).
A special event was held in Prague on October 26 to celebrate the inauguration of the Center for Data Analytics and Intelligence (CENDAI), located on the campus of the Czech University of Life Sciences. CENDAI was established at the Faculty of Economics and Management in cooperation with San Diego State University's Center for Information Convergence and Strategy. CICS Co-Director Pottathil will serve as CENDAI Co-Director, while CICS Co-Director Skupin has been appointed as CENDAI's Associate Director for Data Visualization and Analytics. The inauguration was opened by the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management, Dr. Martin Pelikán and the Vice Dean for R&D, Associate Professor Milan Houška.
The opening keynote, highlighting the strategic vision and future activities of the Center, was given by Co-Director Akshay Pottathil. Distinguished guests from the Czech Ministry of Interior, private companies and academia then convened and discussed opportunities for collaboration. CENDAI will serve as a research, consultancy and project platform for developing new ideas and support innovative solutions addressing current challenges in technology, security, trade, finance and public affairs.
More than 40 students participated in CICS' workshop on Systems Integration and Business Information Systems at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. Delivered by Co-Director Pottathil, the rigorous course requirements - including a final paper, exams, and overall contribution - resulted in 22 students receiving a CICS "Certificate of Excellence." During the workshop, students focused their efforts on the global agriculture industry.
The SDSU International Business Society invited Co-Director Pottathil to give a talk on "Trade Facilitation & Security" at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. Several members of the organization previously attended workshops held by CICS in Europe during the summer and are seeking opportunities for ongoing engagement with CICS.
Akshay Pottathil was a special guest at an annual event hosted by the Sanskriti Association of Indian Students at SDSU. This orientation event for Indian students was held at SDSU's International Student Center. Pottathil spoke about the Indian American experience and its impact on a globalized society across multiple domains.
In alignment with the collaborative initiative launched by CICS and CAM earlier this year, Co-Director Pottathil, several CICS researchers and students taking the Geospatial Intelligence course (GEOG 596) were happy to accept a special invitation to an exclusive CAM musical evening. Pottathil, along with Mexican elected officials and business leaders, was also invited to give closing remarks.
CAM and CICS leadership further held a meeting to discuss plans for a large musical project with the working title "ESPERANZA: UN VIAJE MUSICAL" that is is scheduled to premiere in 2018. Pottathil will play an active role in developing this project, which aims at raising awareness of issues of global concern while offering music and digital media as a means for affecting positive transformation. "I trust that my personal knowledge of international challenges and digital technology, along with CICS' special capabilities, can be an excellent resource for CAM, contributing energy and expertise towards successful realization of this project," said the CICS Co-Director.
Akshay Pottathil, CICS Co-Director and BORDERPOL Director of Digital Borders, visited the Czech Ministry of Interior to discuss the upcoming BORDERPOL Prague Conference and CICS' role with Mr. Jiří Nováček (First Deputy Minister), Mr. Ondřej Koutek (Head of EU Unit), and Mr. Jiří Čelikovský (Department of Asylum and Migration). Pottathil was accompanied by Dr. Miloš Ulman (CICS Czech Liaison / Faculty of Czech University of Life Sciences), Mr. Tim Porter and Mr. David Thompson (Clarion Defence & Security).
CICS, in collaboration with the Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS) conducted the inaugural workshop "Continuity of Operations: Threats, Technology, and Trade." The workshop was developed by CICS Co-Director Pottathil, Dr. Vlastimil Černý and Dr. Miloš Ulman. Workshop content and activities included a macroeconomic overview, tax fraud issues, usability engineering, cyber security, e-governance and visits to a usability lab, a major industrial facility (Foxconn), and the Czech Parliament. See video testimonials.
Co-Director Skupin was an invited panelist at the Esri Science Symposium, held in conjunction with the Esri International User Conference. During the Symposium, convened by Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright, an audience of several hundred people witnessed a keynote by Jon Foley, Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences. This was followed by a robust panel discussion touching on issues ranging from science communication to political discourse.
A CICS delegation led by Co-Director Pottathil participated at the 2nd International Student Conference "Contemporary Issues and Challenges in Customs Management" in Azerbaijan. CICS Researchers Colby Tunick and Aishwaryaa Dev presented on "Emerging and Evolving Customs Challenges," while Pottathil's talk was titled "Network of Everything: Future Challenges of Customs Management." Conference participants included multiple Nobel Laureates, directors general of customs organizations from across the globe, as well as representatives of business, academia, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
CICS leadership visited the Center for Musical Arts (CAM) in Tijuana, which has first-class facilities that are specially designed for artistic education, including 60 classrooms for individual and group instruction, 2 rehearsal rooms, an audio library, a concert forum, and a recording studio. The Director of CAM, Ms. Alma Delia Abrego, and CICS Co-Director Pottathil agreed to collaborate on opportunities to promote arts and music in the cross-border region.
Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist of Esri, recently came across CICS Co-Director Skupin's 2005 work "In Terms of Geography" while visiting the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford University. This iconic visualization was among the first to combine natural language processing, machine learning, GIS, and traditional cartographic design principles. This approach has since been developed further, resulting in patent applications and commercialization. SDSU students will be able to learn about visualization techniques in these upcoming courses: Cartographic Design / Data Visualization (GEOG 581, Fall 2017), Knowledge Visualization (GEOG 780, Spring 2018).
Co-Director Pottathil was invited to an expert panel at the International Summit on Borders, held at The Army and Navy Club in Washington, DC. Moderated by Lars Karlsson (Managing Director, KGH Global Consulting), the panel was titled "SAFE, SAFER: The next generation of international security standards needed for the global supply chain." Pottathil introduced a new paradigm for Digital Borders and Customs, highlighting the crucial role of data integrity, knowledge visualization, and domain maps in tackling new challenges in border enforcement and transnational crimes. Further perspectives on enhanced trade and border security were presented by Alan Bersin (Former DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs) and David Widdowson (President, International Network of Customs Universities).
The multi-year tradition of academic exchanges with the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences continued with CICS Co-Director Skupin delivering a workshop to graduate students in the "Data Mining" course within CUAS' Geoinformatics Department. This year's workshop focused on "Spatial Intelligence" techniques. Skupin also gave a research presentation to faculty and students titled "Social Networks of Wild Pigs: A Visual Exploration." The presentation was co-authored with Tim Schempp, a CICS researcher spending the summer of 2017 in Villach on an Austrian Marshall Plan Fellowship.
This year's edition of Left of Boom – again organized and hosted by CICS – featured a jam-packed program, with 30 speakers from 11 countries on 4 continents. Corporate sponsors included entities from North America, Europe, the Middle East, and South East Asia. Among the topics discussed were global trade, border security, public safety, human trafficking, corporate leadership, and social media approaches to well-being, to name a few. Numerous innovative solutions were presented, ranging from e-government to transportation infrastructure, physical security, big data, and bio technology.
International diplomacy, commerce, and humanitarian action were well represented, including through presentations by Amb. Venkatesan Ashok (Consul General of India), Amb. Paul Bekkers (Director of the Office of the Secretary General, Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe – OSCE) and Richard Lake (Director of Global Security, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). The emotionally charged topic of sex trafficking was addressed from a prosecutorial perspective by Summer Stephan, Chief Deputy District Attorney, while Susan Johnson of the Alabaster Jar Project discussed practical solutions in providing safe housing for victims of sexual violence and exploitation. Colleagues from SDSU's College of Arts & Letters, College of Business Administration and School of Public Affairs presented perspectives on big data, network analysis, crime, and global investments.
As in previous years, Left of Boom received several letters of support, including from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters, County Supervisor Bill Horn, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, INTERPOL, BORDERPOL, the World Customs Organization (WCO), and other organizations.
Coinciding with the kick-off of the Third Annual Conference on Proactive Threat Mitigation – Left of Boom – a congressional proclamation was issued on initiative of U.S. Representative Scott Peters (CA-52). The U.S. House of Representatives proclamation enumerates the many contributions made by CICS since its inception, only three years ago, with technological advances in big data, adaptive intelligence and visualization being crafted into innovative solutions, especially in the mitigation of emerging threats. The role of Left of Boom in "bringing together key government, military, academic and civilian experts" is recognized as well. The proclamation concludes that "the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy at San Diego State University be recognized and honored on behalf of the constituents of California's 52nd Congressional District for their continued contribution to the broader international community."
Co-Director Skupin represented CICS at the kick-off meeting of the transnational "Big Data & Emergency Management" (BDEM) project, which brings together partners from Norway, Japan, Hong Kong, and the United States. As one of three U.S. partners and a recognized leader in the domain, CICS will contribute its wide-ranging expertise in the development of practical computing and threat mitigation solutions. With support from the Norwegian Research Council, the project will develop innovative curricular content in response to public and private sector needs. The project includes opportunities for student and faculty exchanges between CICS and the Norwegian partner institutions, the Western Norway Research Institute and the University of Bergen.
Senior members of the law enforcement and judiciary community from Argentina, Austria, Kenya, Lebanon, Macedonia, Philippines, Slovakia, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, and the U.S. were given a CICS capability briefing by Co-Director Akshay Pottathil. The visitors were on an invited tour of the United States under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program.
Co-Director Pottathil delivered a CICS video greeting for Nague Malic Magnawa & Associates, the largest customs brokerage firm in the Republic of the Philippines. The video message was played during the exclusive anniversary celebration event.
Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin announced the launch of a new initiative: the Mars Auxiliary Research Station (MARS) project. Over the next year, CICS will leverage its growing network of public and private partners from around the world, and beyond, in the pursuit of this ambitious project. Launch schedules and further announcements regarding major milestones are expected to be made shortly after the 2018 spring equinox.
Akshay Pottathil met with Dean Martin Pelikán and Vice Dean Dr. Karel Tomšík, Faculty of Economics and Management, Czech University of Life Sciences, to discuss a joint CICS-CULS research center. Dr. Miloš Ulman supported the meeting and will be tasked to lead this joint effort. The center will focus on broad range of solutions leveraging data analytics, visualization, and research in the trade, security, and financial domains.
Co-Director Pottathil taught a week-long "Seminar in Information Systems & Strategy" at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. The seminar explored topics ranging from decision-making to digital technology. As the latest in a series of workshops, which are a testament to the international collaborations developed and nurtured by Dr. Vlastimil Černý and his team.
Ms. Pavla Novotná (Acting Director of International Cooperation and European Union Department, Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic) and CICS Co-Director Pottathil met to discuss preparations for the 2018 BORDERPOL conference, as well as capacity building with data analytics and visualization. Ms. Novotná shared her personal background in developing data fusion projects in the Czech Republic and agreed on the value of a common operating platform.
CICS Co-Director, Akshay Pottathil, and CICS Czech Republic Liaison, Dr. Miloš Ulman, met with Mr. Jiří Čelikovský (Head of Unit for Coordination of Schengen Cooperation and Border Control, Department for Asylum and Migration Policy, Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic) and Mr. Králík Zbyněk to discuss collaborative opportunities with the Czech government and the BORDERPOL 2018 conference.
The President and Vice-President of SDSU's International Security and Conflict Resolution (ISCOR) Society, Roberto Campos-McDonald and Colby Tunick, invited CICS Co-Director Pottathil, to deliver a 90-minute immersion seminar on efforts to counter human trafficking. The seminar was presented to ISCOR students at the Council Chambers in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. Topics of discussion included the roles we individually play in creating a demand for human trafficking, international conditions that foster such trade, global regulations and enforcement, ethics and morality, as well as the potential synergistic impact of integrating the disparate organizations that are addressing the issue, such as OSCE, Interpol, CBP, District Attorneys, Safe Houses, various NGOs, BORDERPOL, CICS, and INCU.
Veteran CICS researcher Gardner Thompson successfully defended his Master's thesis, titled "Exploratory Analysis of Longitudinal Data: Design and Implementation of a Tri-Space Solution." The project considered a range of implications of André Skupin's tri-space framework for multivariate analysis. Thompson applied this approach to crime statistics and a corpus of scientific publications dealing with climate change. CICS Co-Director Skupin served as chair of the thesis committee, with Co-Director Pottathil and CICS Subject Matter Expert Jeffrey McIllwain as committee members.
Initiated by our student researchers, CICS is launching a Youth Forum on May 6, 2017. The invitation procedures and registration fees for this one-day event are separate from the Left of Boom Conference. Please email email@example.com if you are a student interested in participating. The CICS Youth Forum is an invitation-only event - hosted by the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy on the SDSU campus.
The Third Annual Left of Boom Conference has reached maximum capacity. The CICS team would like to thank the LOB III sponsors, speakers, students and other invited guests for their prompt response and registration for this conference that will be held May 3-5. The rate of response and support has been gratifying and motivates the CICS team to propel its various initiatives forward, generating impact from regional to global scale. We look forward to a productive three days in San Diego, California, as we envision diverse approaches to proactive threat mitigation in multiple domains, from global security to infrastructure protection, healthcare, big data, and secure computing.
Co-Director Pottathil and students from the Fall 2016 "Geospatial Intelligence" class (GEOG 596) followed an invitation to attend the 25th anniversary celebration of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan. During the ceremony, Pottathil was awarded a medal "for consolidation of customs cooperation" by the Chair of the State Customs Committee, Aydin Aliyev. This award is a testimony to the unique and productive relationship between CICS and professionals in the global customs and border protection domain.
Akshay Pottathil, in his capacity as CICS Co-Director and Director of Digital Customs of BORDERPOL, gave two presentations titled "The Use of Machine and Human Intelligence in the Border Context" and "Digital Customs and Borders" at the conference "Economic Security: Aspects of Trade Facilitation and Security" that was jointly hosted by the Azerbaijan State University of Economics and the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Akshay Pottathil gave an all-day training session on "Digital Borders and Customs" at the World Customs Organization (WCO) European Regional Office for Capacity Building in Azerbaijan, in connection with the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU) Winter Internship/Fellowship Program.
Now in its 12th year, the Places & Spaces exhibition has been shown in several hundred locations across the globe. Curated by Katy Börner, Director of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at Indiana University, the exhibit features innovative visualizations that provide novel perspectives on diverse data and domains. CICS Co-Director Skupin's visualization "In Terms of Geography" has been one of the signature pieces in the exhibit, which is on display at Vanderbilt University through April 2017.
Several students from the Fall 2016 "Geospatial Intelligence" course (GEOG 596) were invited to travel to Azerbaijan to join a global consortium of students in the INCU Winter Internship/Fellowship Program. During the five-day program, students became immersed in topics ranging from "Tariff Classification" to "Machine and Human Intelligence: Threat Detection Awareness and Non-Verbal Behavioural Analysis in the Border Environment".
Dr. Michael White, Conservation Science Director of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, visited the Center to discuss next steps in the ongoing collaboration between the Conservancy and CICS in the area of wildlife monitoring and modeling. CICS Co-Director Skupin and graduate researcher Tim Schempp took the opportunity to present an interactive visualization of the spatio-social networks of wild pigs. The prototype web application ingests data derived from a grid of motion-triggered wildlife cameras installed at the Conservancy. Participants in the live streamed demo included Tejon Ranch researchers and specialists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) and Conservation Science Partners.
CICS is a founding partner in the “Transnational Partnership for Excellent Research and Education in Big Data and Emergency Management (BDEM)" that recently received funding approval from the Norwegian Research Council. Coordinated by the Western Norway Research Institute, the consortium includes the University of Bergen and partner organizations in the U.S. and Japan. The BDEM research and education network will run for a term of three years. The choice of CICS as one of three U.S. partners, together with researchers at Illinois Institute of Technology and George Mason University, reflects its international reputation in the big data and emergency management domains.
CICS is proud to announce the launch of Left of Boom III, the Third Annual Conference on Proactive Threat Mitigation. It will be held May 3-5 on the campus of San Diego State University. Left of Boom is an invitation-only event that has established itself as a unique venue for the open exchange of ideas from business, government, and academia, spanning a wide range of domains, including national defense, border security, infrastructure protection, emergency management, healthcare, and environment. You can request an invitation at lob.sdsu.edu.
Over the next decade, human trafficking is expected to surpass all other forms of illicit trafficking – including drugs and arms – due to increased vulnerability of economically disenfranchised communities in the context of degrading global economic conditions, global migration, and highly profitable market conditions. CICS Co-Director Pottathil delivered a workshop titled "People Smuggling Counter Strategy" to an audience that included senior leadership of BORDERPOL, customs advisors, trade consultants, and representatives of INTERPOL and Thomson Reuters Special Services.
CICS CO-Director Akshay Pottathil has been appointed as Director of Digital Borders by the BORDERPOL executive committee during its 2016 annual meeting in Budapest, Hungary. This newly created position will enable BORDERPOL to promote the digitization of borders, enhance global security, strengthen the fight against illicit trafficking, provide technology training and consultation, and establish and enhance innovative strategic relationships, while developing sustainable global and regional certification programs in the Internet of Everything era.
On the occasion of World GIS Day, CICS Co-Director Pottathil gave a keynote presentation alongside Mr. Venu Sarakki (CEO, Sarakki and Associates, Inc.) and Mr. Bob Youakim (CEO, Passport, Inc.), both corporate sponsors of CICS' Left of Boom conference series. "GIS DAY QATAR 2016" was sponsored by the local Esri distributor, Mannai Corporation, and the Centre for Geographic Information Systems (CGIS) of the Qatar Ministry of Municipality & Urban Planning. The presentations addressed global trends in smart cities, urban planning, transportation and security, while leveraging geographic information systems platforms.
Following CICS' recognition as an affiliate research center by the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU), Dr. Mikhail Kashubsky, Head of Secretariat, visited the CICS Co-Directors in San Diego on Veterans Day 2016. The discussions centered around collaborative research, training, and student engagement opportunities. Dr. Kashubsky also serves as a CICS subject matter expert for International Trade and Offshore Oil & Gas Security. The visit was followed by a tour of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border crossing in the world, with over 30 million people crossing annually.
In the second of two workshops held at the Czech University of Life Science, CICS Co-Director Pottathil lectured on Business Information Systems (ETEA5E). Topics covered included the theory of information systems, principles of enterprise information systems and criteria for evaluating information used in decision support tasks.
Akshay Pottathil met with Dean Martin Pelikán and Vice Dean Dr. Karel Tomšík, Faculty of Economics and Management, Czech University of Life Sciences, to discuss a wide range of topics, including joint CICS-CULS workshops and the development of a permanent regional center focused on data convergence. Dr. Vlastimil Černý and Dr. Miloš Ulman successfully supported the meeting and added insight to this process.
CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil delivered a week-long seminar on Systems Integration (EIE32E) at the Czech University of Life Sciences. The workshop covered diverse issues ranging from global enterprise strategies and information strategies to business practices in information systems and technology.
André Skupin followed an invitation to give a research presentation in the colloquium series of the Department of Geography at Texas State University. The presentation, titled "Making Noise with Big Data," took the audience on a visual and sonic journey across high-dimensional attribute space. The visit was a chance for CICS Co-Director Skupin to learn about the largest Geography Department in the U.S., with its more than 30 faculty members serving 700+ students majoring in Geography, plus 150 graduate students. Skupin also took the opportunity for one-on-one dicussions with faculty that are engaged in a range of research topics relevant to CICS, from narco-trafficking to emergency preparedness, immigration, genocide, public health, and information visualization.
Akshay Pottathil (CICS-Co-Director) kicked off a research project regarding counterfeiting, commodity trafficking, and smuggling at regional shopping markets. Early research results will be integrated into CICS' January 2017 workshop on "Security and Surveillance," to be held at Philippine National Police headquarters in Quezon City, in collaboration with the Lyceum of the Philippines University, Laguna campus.
Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin just returned from the Philippines, where CICS offered a three-day workshop on Homeland Security Management. The event was held at the headquarters of Philippine National Police (PNP) in Quezon City. Attendees came from a range of backgrounds, including senior PNP officers, emergency response and disaster management professionals, intelligence analysts, and practitioners from the customs and trade sectors. Pottathil lectured on various topics in homeland security and global security, while Skupin focused on spatial intelligence and pattern recognition. CICS researcher and Philippines liaison, Samuel Bautista, coordinated much of the workshop, in addition to lecturing on issues related to customs management and global and regional trade.
The workshop was hosted by the Academy of Developmental Logistics and Lyceum of the Philippines University(LPU). Significant logistic support, as well as catering, was provided by Donate.Philippines, an organization dedicated to the provision of a safe and reliable blood supply in the country. Messages of support for the workshop came from Dr. Peter Laurel (President, LPU - Batangas & Laguna), Mrs. Myrna Reyes (Chair and President, Donate.Philippines), and Chief Ronald dela Rosa (Director General, Philippine National Police).
The event brought together around 100 people, including 60 workshop attendees. It kicked off a series of workshops in collaboration with the Master's in Homeland Security Management Program at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, Laguna. The next workshop, titled “Security and Surveillance,” is scheduled for January 4-6, 2017, and is expected to accommodate more than 200 participants.
Attorney Ferdinand A. Nague (Managing Partner, Nague Malic Magnawa & Associates Customs Brokers) and Attorney Norberto V. Castillo (President, Philippine Association of Customs Brokers in Education – PACBE) present Akshay Pottathil (CICS Co-Director) a Certificate of Appreciation for sharing his knowledge and expertise in the area of "Border Security Management" at a customs brokers event held at the Vivere Hotel.
CICS Co-Director Pottathil discussed global research and development opportunities with several international customs officials, including: Customs Director General of the Customs Department Libya (Mustafa Turjman), Chairman, State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan (Prof. Aydin A. Aliyev), Kingdom of Bahrain - Directorate of Planning and Customs Policies (Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Khalifa), Director General of Tunisian Customs (Adel Ben Hassen).
Current Philippines Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Escalona Faeldon hosted a gala on behalf of the Bureau of Customs for the World Customs Organization PICARD event participants. Pottathil attended the event alongside Commissioner Faeldon and past commissioner Mr. Alberto Lina (who worked positively towards making this event successful during his term in office).
The annual WCO PICARD Conference focuses on the presentation of research and policy analysis by academics and practitioners. The 2016 Picard Conference, hosted by the Philippine Bureau of Customs, took place in Manila September 27-29, 2016. At the Plenary session on day two, Pottathil introduced the collaborative workshops and training program jointly organized between CICS and Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU). The venue also served as the official announcement of the upcoming Master's in Homeland Security Management program at LPU, co-directed by Dr. Peter Laurel and CICS CO-Director Akshay Pottathil, with CICS Co-Director André Skupin and CICS Philippines Liaison Samuel Bautista serving as Assistant Directors.
CICS Co-Director attends a welcome reception hosted by Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), along with Lyceum of the Philippines University President, Dr. Peter P. Laurel (Batangas and Laguna campuses), and Mr. Samuel Bautista (Former Chief of Staff to the Philippines Commissioner of Customs).
Retired Brigadier General Danilo Delapuz Lim meets with CICS Co-Director, Pottathil along with Mr. Lee Wakefield (CEO, Sentir Global, Inc.), and Mr. Guy Poolanui Ontai (President, Alakai Consulting & Engineering, Inc.) in Manila. BG Lim was incarcerated at Camp Crame (Quezon City) for four yeas between 2006-2010. In 2013, he resigned his post as Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence of the Bureau of Customs in protest against corruption.
Crystal English, CICS Researcher and a PhD Candidate in the Joint SDSU/UCSB Doctoral Program in Geography, has been awarded a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The fellowship supports her dissertation research project titled "Development of Advanced Computational and Geographic Visualization Methods for Geospatial and Temporal Strategic Risk Assessment of Crime".
The GRF program has supported doctoral student research for more than 40 years. Ms. English is the first SDSU student to be awarded this fellowship in the last 16 years. NIJ is the entity within the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to improving the scientific understanding of crime and justice issues. The goal of the GRF program is to increase the pool of scholars engaged in research that addresses the challenges of crime and justice in the United States, particularly at state and local levels.
CICS Co-Director Pottathil launched a semester-long "Geospatial Intelligence" course at San Diego State University. Enrollment in this new course (GEOG 596) comprises undergraduate and graduate students in diverse degree programs across campus, including Journalism, Public Administration, Political Science, and Geography. It deals with evolving challenges for building geospatial intelligence, from content visualization to data analysis, remote sensing, and predictive mapping, all meant to address the needs of governmental and non-governmental organizations, domestically and internationally.
Akshay Pottathil was a special guest of the annual Matinee of the Sanskriti Association of Indian Students at SDSU. This orientation event for Indian students was held at SDSU's International Student Center. Pottathil had been part of the initial group of Indian students that founded Sanskriti back in 2001.
The role of CICS as a source of innovative healthcare solutions was recognized by the organizers of a workshop titled "Health Care Transformation through Digital Leadership: Inside and Outside the Hospital Walls in Support of Continuity of Care" with an invitation to Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin to convene a panel on "Big Data in Healthcare." Moderated by Pottathil, the panel discussed a range of healthcare innovations, from Internet of Things (IoT) to medical intelligence and knowledge management solutions using semantic web and analytics techniques. Workshop speakers included executive leaders and healthcare practitioners (e.g., St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Crittenton Hospital), industry innovators, and thought leaders like the Global Health Initiative at Henry Ford Health System. The workshop was held in conjunction with AMCIS 2016, the 22nd Americas Conference on Information Systems.
An international delegation representing 15 different European countries visited CICS for a discussion of a range of solutions in the security domain. The visit included a tour of the Center and briefings by Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin and CICS vendor partner Sentir Global. The visitors had been invited to the U.S. under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. Their geographic and topical backgrounds covered a wide range, from members of parliament to government officials in the national and homeland security domain, as well as international entities, like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In pursuit of CICS's mission as an enabler of global cooperation in enhanced border security, Co-Director Pottathil met for extensive discussions with Mr. Binu M R, Vice President of Mannai InfoTech. This included a visit to facilities at the San Ysidro/Tijuana border port of entry, the busiest border crossing in the Western Hemisphere. This followed a previous meeting with CICS vendor partner and Left of Boom conference sponsor SAI, aimed at providing strategic security solutions to the State of Qatar.
Co-Director Pottathil was an invited guest at a dinner held in connection with the annual Summer Seminar of the Independent Cities Association (ICA), a nonprofit organization representing nearly fifty Southern California Cities. The event was an opportunity to reconnect with Mr. Greg Spiker, CEO of Ken Spiker and Associates (KSA), and Mr. Nathan Berry of mobility platform provider Passport, in continuation of discussions triggered by the annual Left of Boom conference. Both KSA and Passport had been sponsors of Left of Boom II, held in May 2016.
Co-Director Skupin followed an invitation from the Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien). His visit included a research presentation titled "Space[s] and the Cartography of Everything" and a discussion of future collaboration opportunities with his host, Prof. Georg Gartner, head of the Cartography Research Group at the Austrian university.
André Skupin gave a three-day workshop on foundations and applications of Kohonen neural networks within the graduate course on Data Mining at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, followed by a research lecture on his recent efforts at sonifying a 69-dimensional data set of the 200,000+ U.S. Census blockgroups. Meanwhile, Dr. Piotr Jankowski (SDSU Geography Department Chair) gave a workshop on multicriteria decision-making (MCDM) and various location-choice optimization approaches. His research lecture addressed the evolution and current state of spatial decision support systems (SDSS), including a range of applications, such as radioactivity monitoring.
Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin hosted the Second Annual Left of Boom Conference on the SDSU campus. Over the course of three days, conference participants and the thirty speakers at this invitation-only event engaged in a discussion of proactive threat mitigation strategies in domains ranging from global security to law enforcement, health, population, infrastructure protection, and cyber security. LoB II was especially honored to welcome a delegation of twenty members of the U.S. Marine Corps stationed at Camp Pendleton for the duration of the conference.
Keynotes were given by Dennis Cosgrove of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Captain John Love, Director of Medical Services at Naval Medical Center San Diego, and Michael Lowder, Director of the Office of Intelligence, Security, and Emergency Response in the U.S. Dept of Transportation.
One of the distinguishing marks of the conference noted by participants was its extremely interdisciplinary scope and the great variety of institutions represented, from General Charles Jacoby Jr (former commander of NORTHCOM and NORAD, Ret.) discussing the complex relationship of borders and globalization to Summer Stephan (Chief Deputy District Attorney of San Diego County) addressing human trafficking and child prostitution. Other topics covered by speakers hailing from government, business, and academia included global population trends, school safety, biohazard protection, as well as cyber threats to SCADA systems. County Supervisor Dave Roberts spoke as well and presented Akshay Pottathil with a special award recognizing his contributions to the community.
CICS Co-Director Pottathil delivered two seminars on Geospatial Intelligence at the Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units / International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (LEIU/IALEIA) Training Event. Pictured from left to right are Bob Morehouse, LEIU Executive Director, Akshay Pottathil, and Van Godsey, LEIU General Chairman.
André Skupin followed an invitation to present in a workshop held at the UCLA Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM). The organizing committee consisting of Cecilia Aragon (U. Wash.), Katy Börner (Indiana U.), Peter Leonard (Yale U.) and Tim Tangherlini (UCLA) had assembled 30 speakers hailing from six countries and such diverse academic and industry entities as Stanford U., Georgia Institute of Technology, Google, and Microsoft Research, resulting in a spirited discussion of "Culture Analytics and User Experience Design."
Skupin's presentation argued for the continued relevance of centuries of cartographic expertise and geographic concepts in an era of advanced computing, contrasted with the overuse of such buzzwords as big data or heat map. He concluded with the live performance of a symphonic fly-through of high-dimensional attribute space, combining machine learning with visualization and generative sound.
CICS Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin traveled to Mexicali to give a seminar on "Geographic Information Systems: Importance and Societal Impact" to students in the social sciences and humanities at the Centro de Enseñanza Técnica y Superior (CETYS University). CETYS is the only Mexican university holding accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Akshay Pottathil, CICS Co-Director, taught a week-long “Seminar in Information Systems & Strategy” at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. A group of 24 international students attended the 20-hour course, which explored topics ranging from decision-making to digital technology. The seminar follows a previous visit to CICS by administrators of the Czech university's Faculty of Economics and Management.
André Skupin's iconic "In Terms of Geography" is on display at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the most recent installation of the "Places & Spaces: Mapping Science" exhibition. Out of 100 visual artifacts that make up the ten-year Places & Spaces project, Skupin's piece was highlighted as the signature graphic in the media statement announcing the exhibit, which is displayed in the only CDC facility open to the public, the David J. Sencer CDC Museum.
CICS Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin followed invitations to speak at Pediatrics 2040, held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dana Point. Pottathil spoke about the potential that persuasive messaging technology holds for empowering patients and improve health outcomes. Skupin discussed the need for a more integrated pediatric knowledge ecosystem. He provided a first glimpse of an analysis of the pediatric domain, using patent-pending technology that was first conceived at SDSU and is now being developed into a commercial product by the BigKnowledge® start-up. Program chair of Pediatrics 2040 was Dr. Anthony Chang, who previously spoke at CICS' inaugural Left of Boom conference in May 2015.
Co-Director Skupin was invited to an expert panel on "Big Data and the Future of Open Government," where he spoke on the topic of "Data Analytics for Strategic Planning and Understanding the Future Workforce." Moderated by Kathy Dodson (City of Carlsbad, Interim City Manager), other panel members included Maksim Pecherskiy (City of San Diego, Chief Data Officer), Gary Eaton (San Diego County Water Authority, Chief Innovation Officer), and Tom Mullen (County of Riverside, Chief Data Officer). The ensuing discussion ranged from next generation tech solutions to government accountability, and educational needs assessment.
Mr. Venu Sarakki was the featured speaker at the second InnovTalk workshop, hosted by CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil at the University of Dubai. Mr. Sarakki is a registered professional engineer in the state of California and has published over a dozen technical papers in both national and international journals. He was recently presented with the "Entrepreneur of the Year" award by ASEIO. He and his company have received numerous awards for outstanding engineering excellence by both US and Overseas governments. CICS is proud to add SAI to the list of 2015 corporate workshop sponsors.
Hosted by Mannai Coporation, Akshay Pottathil met with the senior leadership of the Ministry of Interior's Information Technology Division in Doha. Discussions centered on collaborative opportunities involving the Center for Information Convergence & Strategy and CICS strategic partners for training and delivery of security solutions to the State of Qatar and beyond.
CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil officially launched the InnovTalk series in collaboration with the University of Dubai. The inaugural speaker, Darryl T. Anderson, offered a workshop on "Change Management". Mr. Anderson is the Founder & CEO of Tr33 Inc. and the Principal of Tr33 LLC and is responsible for strategic planning & operations, with particular focus on client relationship management, as well as general management of the firm. With InnovTalk, CICS is proud to host another public-private partnership workshop internationally and invites organizations seeking collaborative training and research opportunities.
Akshay Pottathil, CICS Co-Director, delivered a keynote titled "Holistic Enforcement: The Amalgamated Role of Customs Officials and Brokers in Securing our Ports & Borders" to a record turnout of attendees for the 25th Anniversary of the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc., in Manila, Philippines.
Jesy Basco of Panahon.TV, a program of PTV Philippines, recorded a series of interviews with CICS Co-Director Pottathil on topics ranging from climate change to disaster relief. They are scheduled to air starting January 2016.
Co-Director Pottathil was invited by Philippines Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina for a discussions of security challenges and customs enforcement solutions in the region and to share global community concerns. Commissioner Lina shared his experience in customs - as the current head of the bureau as well as in his previous role in the business world - and his vision to create a better future for the Philippine nation. In connection with this visit, CICS announced plans to collaborate with regional research leadership to support the needs of Philippines customs and brokers, starting in 2016.
The Lyceum of the Philippines University has won selection by CICS to host a new collaborative research center for the South East Asia region. University President Peter P. Laurel met with CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil to launch the facility commitment and program review. Inauguration of the new center will occur in conjunction with the PICARD 2016 conference. Conference attendees will be able to visit the center and discuss collaborative training and research opportunities. The Lyceum of the Philippines Laguna campus was selected to host this center of excellenceafter a strategic review of the possible locations.
Co-Director Pottathil met with Mr. Samuel Bautista, currently Chief of Staff to the Philippines Commissioner of Customs, to discuss collaborative training exercises and technology integration though international and regional research partnerships. These discussions with CICS leadership are especially timely due to global threats to ports and borders and can also assist the Philippines and the Bureau of Customs with its preparations to host the 2016 WCO PICARD Conference (September 2016) and to maximize its value going forward.
CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil presented a keynote titled "Geospatial Intelligence: Leveraging Technology for Operational Agility" to the intelligence and enforcement group within the Bureau of Customs in Manila, Philippines. The talk emphasized the need for customs operators to embrace strategic missions and build scalable operational solutions to tackle the challenges ahead.
During his recent visit to the Phillipines, CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil was invited for a tour and collaborative discussions with the Lina Group of Companies, a conglomerate of 18 affiliates engaged in industries as diverse as logistics, information technology, food, environment, waste management, business process outsourcing, travel, communications and media.
Akshay Pottathil, CICS Co-Director, delivered a seminar titled "20/20: Twenty Challenges to Tackle by 2020" to the Philippine Society of Customs Administration Students (PSCAS) at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, Manila campus. Students and faculty shared their diverse interests in collaborative research and training opportunities. Pottathil spent time exploring educational and research potential with students and instructors.
CICS Researcher Crystal English was featured in the latest issue of Trajectory Magazine (link). The Scholarship Spotlight section of the magazine traced her passion for crime mapping and analysis, from serving in the U.S. Army Signals Intelligence Service to her educational and professional experience in television/radio production and extensive experience in various aspects of law enforcement and crime analysis. Ms. English - a certified crime and intelligence analyst - recently became the recipient of a United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) scholarship in support of her studies in the joint doctoral program of San Diego State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
On the occasion of the "2015 World GIS Day" CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil gave a keynote at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras campus. His presentation explored the utilization of mapping, GIS and remote sensing for airports, border crossings, public and private spaces, civilian use, law enforcement use, military use, and examined recent developments in technology and regulations.
Akshay Pottathil (CICS Co-Director) delivered the Keynote and Crystal English (CICS Researcher) was an invited speaker for the Annual 20/20 Conference of the Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU). The impact of research at CICS and the subject matter expertise in law enforcement and national security through advanced data analysis and visualization was showcased to an audience of law enforcement and government analysts through their presentations.
CICS Researchers Albert Herrera, Susan Madruga, Crystal English, André Skupin and Garland McNew attended the "Knowledge Day 2015" event hosted by Cymer at its U.S. Headquarters. Since the event focused on data science and its diverse applications from personalized medical care to marketing, it was a natural fit for the CICS team. Key notes were given by Cymer's CEO Emeritus, Ed Brown, and Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Machine Learning, Joseph Sirosh.
CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil kicks off the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) lecture series at the University of Dubai. Further workshops, subsequently titled INNOVTALK, are scheduled to begin in November 2015. During the upcoming months, global industry leaders will be invited to participate in CEI's INNOVTALK series held in Dubai.
Dr. David Widdowson (President, International Network of Customs Universities), Akshay Pottathil (CICS Co-Director), and Dr. Mikhail Kashubsky (Head of Secretariat, International Network of Customs Universities) discuss collaboration between INCU and CICS at the INCU General Meeting held during the World Customs Organization's PICARD conference.
Dr. Eric S. Maskin (2007 Nobel laureate in Economics) and Akshay Pottathil (CICS Co-Director) met to explore opportunities for future research collaboration.
Co-Director Pottathil met with Lieutenant General Aydin Aliyev (Chairman, State Customs Committee, Republic of Azerbaijan) and Abid Sharifov (Deputy Prime Minister, Republic of Azerbaijan).
The Department of Geography received a visit by senior administrators of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Hosted in the CICS lab, the visitors engaged in discussions with researchers from the CESAR, CICS, and HDMA research centers. Pictured here are Dr. Ernest Reith (Deputy Director and CIO, IT Services, NGA), Kenneth Graham (NGA), David Cacner (Director, NSG Expeditionary Activities, NGA), R.W. "Space" Kraft (NGA SPAWAR Liaison), and CICS Co-Directors Pottathil and Skupin.
A big data visualization derived from a dataset containing 8 million social media tags is currently on display in the exhibit "Ephemeral Objects" at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. Organized by SDAI's Curator-in-Residence Andrew Horwitz, the exhibit features 34 contemporary artists from Southern California and Baja California. Marinta and André Skupin (CICS Co-Director) combined natural language processing and machine learning with GIS to produce their "You on Music" installation, which invites viewers to mark their own location in the social media space. The exhibit remains open until September 27.
The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) has selected CICS Researcher and Doctoral Candidate Crystal English as one of five doctoral students nationwide to receive a USGIF Scholarship for the 2015-16 academic year. This followed a highly competitive review by an independent panel of GEOINT professionals. English was previously selected for this national award in 2013. Aside from a monetary award for education and research expenses, the USGIF Scholarship also includes an invitation to the annual GEOINT Symposium held in Orlando, FL, in May 2016.
Akshay Pottathil (CICS Co-Director) unveiled the Behavior Analysis and Intelligence Tools (BAIT) program at the annual Industry Day hosted by the United States Customs and Border Protection for the Service Disabled Veterans Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and the Hub Zone certified companies. Pottathil was part of a six member subject matter expert panel at the CBP Industry Day. The presentation highlighted the vast collaborative opportunities for the disadvantaged and small business community through CICS and the importance of strategic partnerships for meeting government contracting requirements.
Mr. Abdiaziz Shire, Director of Counterterrorism and Maritime Security at the Ministry of National Security (Federal Government of Somalia) visits the CICS lab to discuss potential collaboration with Akshay Pottathil (CICS Co-Director) and Dr. Jeffery McIllwain (CICS Subject Matter Expert). The CICS mission to develop globally deployable national security solutions are strengthened through such meetings as they offer a local perspective into the various challenges in Somalia and the larger African continent.
CICS Researcher Crystal English gave an invited presentation in Christchurch, New Zealand at the Environmental Criminology and Crime Analysis (ECCA) Symposium. ECCA is an informal association of the leading international scholars in the fields of environmental criminology, crime science, situational crime prevention and problem-oriented policing. It meets each year in a different country to discuss the latest developments in theory, analysis techniques (including crime mapping) and policing and crime prevention practice. She spoke about "Strategic Pattern Detection and Visualization for Crime Mitigation.
SDSU's long-standing collaboration with the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences continued this summer with two CICS researchers, Dr. André Skupin and Dr. Piotr Jankowski, traveling to Villach to teach short courses within the Bachelor and Master's programs. Skupin gave a course on self-organizing maps to students in the Master's program in Spatial Information Management, while SDSU Department Chair Jankowski focused on spatial decision support systems. In addition, both gave lectures focused on recent research efforts.
Researcher Garland McNew and Co-Director Dr. André Skupin were honored as the 2015 Outstanding Graduating Senior and the 2015 Outstanding Professor in the Department of Geography, respectively. Their accomplishments were acknowledged during the College of Arts and Letters commencement ceremony and then during the Geography Department graduation ceremony.
After graduating with a B.S. in Geography, with a focus on Geographic Information Science, McNew plans to continue his studies in the Master's program, working closely with CICS Researcher and Department Chair Dr. Piotr Jankowski and other CICS team members.
The Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS) held its inaugural Left of Boom conference May 6-7, 2015. Keynote speakers were General Charles H. Jacoby Jr., former Commander of U.S. Northern Command (U.S. NORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, currently Consul General of the Republic of India in San Francisco. Further highlights included presentations by renowned pediatric cardiologist Dr. Anthony Chang, Chief Intelligence and Innovation Officer at CHOC Children's, and Colonel Joseph Davidson, Commander of the Fort Hamilton Garrison in New York City.
Greetings received included those from U.S. Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters and from the International Network of Customs Universities (INCU). The more than 100 conference attendees reflected a range of backgrounds and expertise, including advanced data analysis, national security, and health informatics. The event concluded with an awards ceremony and the launch of CICS' BIG:DATA initiative.
The County of San Diego officially proclaimed May 6, 2015 to be the "Center for Information Convergence and Strategy Day" throughout San Diego County. The declaration was presented by Vice Chairman Dave Roberts and Supervisor Dianne Jacob and signed by Chairman Bill Horn and all members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. On behalf of the Board, the proclamation was delivered by Evan Bollinger (video), Policy Advisor and Representative of Vice Chairman Dave Roberts, during the inaugural Left of Boom Conference.
CICS Co-Director André Skupin gave two invited presentations in New York City. At the City University of New York Graduate Center he spoke about "Knowledge Visualization: From Abstract Space to Real Impact," hosted by the Earth and Environmental Sciences Program. Later the same day he presented at an event celebrating the 25th Anniversary of GISMO, the NYC Geospatial Information Systems and Mapping Organization.
One of Dr. Skupin's most iconic works, "In Terms of Geography" (2005), was included in an exhibit in the Harvard Graduate School of Design's Frances Loeb Library. The exhibit was featured in an event celebrating the legacy of the Harvard Lab for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis, which made key contributions to the evolution of GIS during 1965-1991. Pictured with Skupin's map are SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus David M. Mark of the University at Buffalo and Professor Patrick McHaffie of DePaul University.
Co-Director Akshay Pottathil welcomed the Honorary Consul of the Philippines, Mr. Audie J. De Castro, for a visit of CICS. Pottathil and De Castro discussed a range of future collaborative opportunities, from engagement of the Philippine community in Southern California to CICS' various activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53), member of the U.S. House of Representatives, visited CICS to learn more about the domain knowledge analysis and pattern recognition efforts spearheaded by its Co-Directors, André Skupin and Akshay Pottathil. The CICS Co-Directors presented advanced visualization and data mining insights for wide range of domains, including health informatics, social media, and governance. Skupin and Pottathil further discussed their personal research challenges and their passion for impacting larger society through novel information systems platforms developed by the Center.
The production of a documentary film kicked off this week at CICS. Produced by AY! Cinema (Los Angeles, CA), the film covers unique methods of data analysis and advanced visualization of Big Data for tackling emerging issues of contemporary society. The film's trailer will be launched at the Left of Boom conference organized by CICS in May 2015 and filming will occur at various locations during the next three months, with post-production scheduled for late June 2015. Appearing in the documentary are several CICS researchers and subject matter experts. The expected commercial release will be announced by AY! Cinema after August 2015.
Dr. Skupin followed an invitation to present his work in a special luncheon organized by Julia Laurin (Thomson-Reuters) and Katy Börner (Indiana University) during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The luncheon, titled "Visualization Metaphors for Communicating the Structure and Dynamics of Science" featured Skupin elaborating on the topic of "Visualizing Knowledge Spaces: Cartographic Perspectives."
Dr. Skupin represented CICS at the expert workshop "Supporting Decision-Making through Geovisualization" held at HafenCity University in Hamburg, Germany. His presentation titled "Spaces Everywhere: Spatialization for Impact" discussed the power of visualization for uncovering non-obvious patterns in heterogeneous data. The CICS Co-Director also reflected on the potential of visual technologies for bringing together diverse practice partners, exemplified by CICS' cultivation of a collaborative network of experts and organizations.
The Center for Information Convergence and Strategy and the University of Dubai are pleased to announce the creation of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (UD-CEI). The new center will act as a research and consultancy platform for students, alumni, and faculty to network, collaborate, and develop their ideas. Situated within the University of Dubai, UD-CEI will support entrepreneurs through various stages of the entrepreneurial and innovation process. CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil is the Center's Director of Innovation & Strategy, while CICS Founder Andre Skupin assumes the position of Associate Director for Data Visualization Analytics.
Dr. Skupin was an invited guest speaker at recent meetings of the Medical Intelligence (MI1) and Medical Intelligence and Innovation (MI2) groups at Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). Hosted by Dr. Anthony Chang - Medical Director of the CHOC Heart Institute and Founder and Medical Director of the recently formed Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (MI3) - the Dec 15 meetings were attended by pediatric doctors, medical informatics specialists and industry representatives, as well as leaders of the Sharon Disney Lund Foundation, which provides funding to MI3. The first of its kind in a hospital, the Institute aims to integrate data science and artificial intelligence into medical practice.
With continuity of operations a key concern in post-disaster recovery, CICS Co-Director Akshay Pottathil visited Los Cabos, Mexico, to gain a first-hand impression of the area ravaged by hurricane Odile earlier this year. Pottathil discussed with local entities his experience in disaster management, from both an academic and business perspective. His visit also included a ceremony reopening an art gallery in Los Cabos that had been destroyed in the disaster. The ceremony included local art patrons, community members, and promoters. The photograph features Pottathil and the owner of the re-opened art gallery.
On occasion of the Geography Department's centenary celebration, SDSU President Dr. Elliott Hirshman toured the Department and its various research centers. Dr. Hirshman's visit concluded at CICS, where co-directors Pottathil and Skupin briefed him on recent activities, including the nascent collaboration with the University of Dubai.
On invitation of the University of Zurich's Research Priority Program (URPP) Language and Space, CICS Founder and Co-Director Dr. André Skupin traveled to Switzerland to present a keynote titled "Visualizing Domain Language: Concepts and Practice" within the workshop "Visualization of Linguistic Data" that was held on November 21. He also discussed prospects for collaborative work with researchers at Zurich's Department of Comparative Linguistics, in particular the Psycholinguistics Laboratory.
The Co-Directors of the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS), Dr. André Skupin and Akshay Pottathil, traveled to Doha, Qatar, on November 19 to give the GIS Day Keynote in an event organized by Mannai Corporation—the local Esri distributor— and the Centre for Geographic Information Systems (CGIS) of the Qatar Ministry of Municipality & Urban Planning. Well over 100 attendees enjoyed a three-hour presentation titled "Beyond GIS" that elaborated on how geographic concepts, cartographic techniques, and GIS technology could move beyond traditional GIS applications. The domains discussed included operational management, customs, civil protection, healthcare, and others.
The SDSU Provost, Dr. Chukuka S. Enwemeka, and the Co-Directors of the Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS), Dr. André Skupin and Akshay Pottathil, recently visited the University of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The SDSU delegation met with senior leaders of the University of Dubai, including its Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Ananth Rao, the University President, Dr. Eesa M. Bastaki, and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Majid Hamad Al Shamsi. The discussion centered on the development of educational and research ties between the two institutions.
CICS was honored to welcome a delegation from the Faculty of Economics and Management of the Czech University of Life Sciences. The Vice-Dean for International Relations, Dr. Karel Tomšík, and the Head of the Department of International Relations, Dr. Vlastimil Černý, learned about the diverse expertise and perspectives offered by the newly founded Center and discussed with the CICS Co-Directors and the Geography Department Chair possible avenues for future collaboration.
Dr. Skupin was an invited guest speaker at the inaugural Pediatric Data/Intelligence Forum, hosted by Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and the Sharon Disney Lund Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (MI3). His talk addressed geographic approaches to the visual representation of biomedical knowledge, based on collaborative research with colleagues at Indiana University, UCSD, and the University of Utah.
In Terms of Medicine: Language, Space, and Computation
Dr. Skupin was the keynote speaker at the Knowledge Mapping and Information Retrieval Workshop (KMIR 2014) held at City University of London as part of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL).
Keynote Lecture: "Managing Domain Knowledge: Ontology, Visualization, and Beyond"
San Diego State University inaugurated a new center that will use data mining and advanced visual techniques to help industry, government agencies and emergency responders.Read More
The GI_Forum 2014 provided a platform for dialogue among technologists and critical thinkers, GIScientists and educationalists in an ongoing effort to support the creation of an informed GISociety.
Keynote Lecture: "A World beyond Networks: Geographic Approaches to Knowledge Visualization"Read More
Co-Director Pottathil speaks at 2018 World Conference of International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations, Manila, Philippines, May 29-31, 2018
CICS researcher Tim Schempp invited to Western Norway Research Instiitute, Sogndal, Norway, June 1 - July 31, 2018
Akshay Pottathil presents on "Emerging Threats and Strategic Solutions" to Lina Group of Companies, Manila, Philippines, June 5, 2018
André Skupin gives data mining lectures at Carinthia University of Applied Technology, Villach, Austria, June 12-14, 2018
Fall semester 2018 courses offered by CICS Co-Directors: GEOG 484 - Geographic Information Systems, GEOG 581 - Cartographic Design/Data Visualization, GEOG 596 - Geospatial Intelligence, San Diego, California, Aug 22 - Dec 31, 2018