We live in an extraordinary time when information spreads very quickly. What in the past was achieved in decades and hundreds of years, now can be achieved in seconds. The sensor technology provides us with vast amounts of data and information – images and videos, text and sound, wireless network and radar data, to name a few. The International Society of Information Fusion (ISIF) has a tremendous role to create pioneering methods that extract and aggregate meaningful knowledge from the deluge of data available from different channels. Hence, ISIF, being the largest international scientific community has the important mission to develop and promote the advanced fusion approaches.
Theoretical developments of advanced fusion methods and their transfer to industry will be the focus in the coming year. High level fusion and low level fusion will be brought at a new stage, where contextual and multimedia information, e.g. from Twitter and Facebook and social networks will be successfully aggregated for real time decision making.
Big data processing, tracking and data analytics, fusion for enhanced communication systems all need further development as autonomous and connected vehicles continue to grow in complexity. This poses different challenges that require step change approaches. Intelligent robotic systems require efficient methods for very quick aggregation of data, trajectories planning, collision avoidance and methods that deal with swarms of Unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAVs). These are all driven by the industrial sector, with applications ranging from nuclear deconditioning to maritime surveying. Agriculture needs calls for new sensor data fusion methods for remote sensing of satellite images, related with food and energy sectors. With the expansion of cities, there is a demand of fusion methods for intelligent transportation systems and improved mobility.
Security and cybersecurity will continue to be a priority area, especially with the raising cases of organised attacks and threats. There is a necessity of advanced information fusion techniques for intelligence reinforcement to prevent blind terrorism actions. Health is another important area where medics can see beyond the visible thanks to fusing images of different modalities, to perform efficient diagnostics and improve the health care. These are only some of the countless and every growing application areas which create a range of opportunities and call for sustainable solutions.
If you are interested in any aspects of data, information and knowledge fusion (at lower or higher levels) you are in the right place and we encourage you to join ISIF and to attend our main annual international conference. This year it is being held in Xi’an, China. The annual Fusion Conference is a unique opportunity for you to meet and talk with international experts of the field, research engineers as well as young scientists, and to present your information fusion (IF) problems or your new results, and to start fruitful collaborations. So, to stay tuned with the most recent IF advances, there is no better place than ISIF. You are also encouraged to join the ISIF working groups, to set up your own working group, to cooperate via joint projects, to attend the other ISIF sponsored events (workshops, or more specific conferences), and to publish in the ISIF Journal of Advances in Information Fusion.
ISIF was founded in 1998 and has a bright future thanks to all community members and volunteers. Each of us makes the society better by attending and organising conferences, participating in workshops and working groups, and submitting articles for publication.
Welcome to ISIF and I hope to see you at the International Conference on Information Fusion 2017 in Xi’an.
Professor Lyudmila Mihaylova
President of the International Society of Information Fusion