BEACON’s China Collaborations Expanding

BEACON Director Erik Goodman just returned from a 2-week whirlwind trip to four cities in China. He was seeking new collaborations and following up on existing ones, including two of long standing. His first stop was Shanghai’s Tongji University, visiting the laboratory of Prof. Lihong Xu, a longtime collaborator on the evolutionary design of greenhouse controllers for the new generation of greenhouses being built across China. MSU Ph.D. student José Llera-Ortiz is preparing to defend his Ph.D. thesis on controller evolution, and Goodman presented their latest results, and also heard from about a dozen Chinese researchers on a variety of topics concerning modern agricultural automation. Prof. Xu’s lab will provide some of the data to be used to validate Llera-Ortiz’s evolved controllers and greenhouse model.

Goodman, Prof. Lihong Xu (to his left) and some of Xu’s students (including Dr. Leilei Cao, a previous BEACON visitor) at Tongji University’s Jiading Campus

The second stop was Shantou University, hosted by Prof. Zhun Fan. He directs the International Joint Research Center “Evolutionary Intelligence and Engineering Applications” which was established between BEACON and the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Digital Signal and Image Processing. Goodman presented seminar for students and affiliated faculty members, and discussed their individual research projects with many of them. He also opened discussions on possible collaboration with the dean of the College of Science.

Stop three was the IDEAL Conference, this year hosted at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), in Shenzhen, very close to Hong Kong. This relatively new and gigantic city (population 20 million) is China’s high-tech capital, and SUSTech is hiring faculty from among the best in the world! Two of BEACON’s collaborators were among the three winners of Best Paper Awards. Goodman gave a keynote lecture at the founding of SUSTech’s new Key Laboratory for Computational Intelligence, directed by Xin Yao, one of the most distinguished researchers and leaders in the field.

Final stop was at the Chinese Academy of Science’s Beijing labs, where Goodman gave an invited talk introducing BEACON’s research on land use planning and on multi-level optimization of logistics. Researchers from the Academy and from Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) are interested in establishing future collaboration on these topics, and Goodman met with the BJUT president and with the director of the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Internet Technology.

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