ICECE: A recurrent international research festival for electrical and computer engineering

--Professor SM Mahbubur Rahman and Professor Quazi Deen Mohd Khosru

Mahabubur RahmanKhosru

In the presence of unprecedented growth of the field of electrical and computer engineering during the second half of the 20th century, regular meetings of researchers in the form of peer-reviewed conferences, workshops or symposiums have become one of the effective mediums for rapid dissemination of new thoughts and ideas among scholars, professionals, and policy makers. With this concept in mind, the department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) has established the International Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (ICECE) as the pioneering international conference held in Bangladesh that encompasses all areas of electrical and computer engineering (ECE). The general objectives of ICECE include providing support to exchange the latest research, current practices and future trends of ECE among the scholars from home and abroad. In particular, the ICECE serves as a forum for the scientists, engineers, researchers to interact regarding the problems and prospects of electrical engineering and information technology in Bangladesh, SAARC countries, South-East Asia, Middle East, Asia Pacific Region, EU, and North America. The conference also strengthens the relationship between academia, industry, and government officials as well as fosters the collaboration between the national and international researchers and organizations.

The ICECE has been organized every two years since its inception in 2001. To maximize participation, the conference is usually held in a typical three consecutive days in the winter season of Bangladesh, i.e. in the end of December.

In honor of international distinguished guests and delegates, the venue of ICECE is always chosen in a reputed hotel such as Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka, where the availability of amenities is ensured to be of the highest level. The department of EEE is proud to successfully arrange the 8th event of the series in 2014. In each of the events, the technical contributions are sought with a massive deployment of call-for-papers in almost six months before the actual program. In order to maintain the consistency of the literary contributions, a prescribed format of the paper is always recommended in the submission system. From the very beginning, the ICECE maintains a well-informative permanent web-site as http://www.buet. ac.bd/icece/. In the past years, each event of ICECE has received more than 500 contributory papers from more than 20 countries through the on-line submission system. It is to be noted that the ICECE uses a very standard conference management system to communicate between the submitting authors, reviewers, presenters, and participants. In general, the organizers of the conference seek advice from the eminent scientists as international advisors, who possess rank equivalent to a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the leading professional society for ECE.

In successive events, the ICECE has received a significant amount of technical support from the IEEE. The major supports from the IEEE include the digital archiving of the presented papers in IEEE Xplore with a given ISBN and catalog number for the proceedings of the publication. It is for this very reason of wide accessibility of published papers that the researchers throughout the globe never hesitate to submit their research outcomes in ICECE. The organizers of ICECE greatly acknowledge other supports of IEEE such as the publicity of the conference through the web-site that the organization maintains for their sponsored conferences as well as the licensed software support such as PDF conversion in preparing the documents of articles. The Chair of IEEE Bangladesh Section always associates with the organizers of ICECE. Notable entrepreneurs, industries or organizations take part in partially financing the ICECE as sponsors. In return, the sponsors are allowed to showcase their brands in the conference and at the same time representatives of sponsors are allowed to attend the technical program.

Maintaining high level of technical quality of the accepted papers is of utmost importance to the conference organizers. As per the tradition, the contributed papers undergo the process of multiple numbers of blind reviews. The pool of reviewers is never less than the standard of any reputed international conference. Specifically, the reviewers are assigned for a contributed paper based on the match of the subject matter of the article and the expertise of the reviewers in the area. The academic qualifications of the reviewers of ICECE are not less than holding a PhD degree or equivalent. The quality of a paper is judged by the well-designed scores provided by the reviewers. Nevertheless, the accepted papers undergo plagiarism check with the support of very standard software such as iThenticate, which is usually provided by the IEEE. In the end, the acceptance rate of the submitted papers never exceeds more than 45%. It is to be noted that even some good quality papers are rejected in the conference, especially due to the limited capacity of the resources of the conference. The authors of the accepted papers are requested to register for the conference within a deadline to ensure the inclusion of their paper in the technical program. The ICECE delightfully experiences that almost all the accepted papers, in practice which is above 225, are registered within a prescribed schedule.

In order to have technical discussions in high impact areas of ECE, the full technical program of ICECE includes three different types of special sessions, viz., plenary sessions, invited sessions, and panel discussions. In the plenary sessions, at least two distinguished and eminent scientists holding a position equivalent to a rank of IEEE Fellow present their research achievements and prospects of the area. These independent sessions are the key technical attractions of ICECE, since all the guests and authors become the audience to listen to the life-time achievements and long-sighted visions of these exceptional professionals. The researchers get a significant benefit from these thoughtful talks as well as from the information of resources to start prospective collaborations. In the invited sessions, a number of renowned scholars are invited from home and abroad to present their research studies in a broader dimension. Of course, the area of plenary and invited sessions are chosen in such a way that the state-of-the-art technologies are focused and at the same time the diversities of ECE are well maintained. The prime objective of the panel discussion is to aid the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) in immediate policy formulation in crucial areas of ECE through presentation of well studied research and professional experiences. In this context, a highly qualified panel is formed by choosing experienced members from relevant high officials from the GoB as well as by inviting professionals from academia and industry from home and abroad. Vibrant discussions on the pros and cons of the selected topics on a single theme are always appreciated by the concerned persons. By tradition, the panel discussion is always followed by the inauguration of ICECE. The Honorable President of the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh usually attends the inauguration of ICECE along with the concerned Ministers and Advisors. The panel discussion on a well-thought topic always gets a serious attention in media due to the fact that most of the invited guests continue to be present in the panel discussion.

The research papers in ICECE are usually presented in 35-40 regular technical sessions in such a way that 4-5 sessions are arranged in parallel. The papers presented in a technical session are arranged such that the papers belong to the same area of ECE. The areas include but are not limited to the followings: Algorithms and Computations, Biomedical Signal Processing, Biomedical Engineering, Biometrics and Pattern Recognition, Control and Robotics, Electrical Machines and Servo Systems, Electromagnetics, Engineering Education, High Voltage Engineering and Power Systems, Microwave and RF Engineering, Nanoelectronic Devices, Optical Communication, Optical Waveguides, Photonics, Photovoltaics, Power Electronics, Renewable Energy, Sensors and Instrumentation, Signal Image and Video Processing, Software and Data Analysis, 2D and Emerging Materials, VLSI and Digital Circuits, and Wireless Communication. At the end of every presentation of a paper, the attendees take part in a live discussion which is moderated by the respective session chairs. In order to encourage the scholars to demonstrate their best quality research output in ICECE, two different types of Best Paper Awards, namely, IEEE Bangladesh Section Best Paper and Dr. Fatema Rashid Best Papers, are offered based on the review scores and presentation quality. The awards consist of crests or certificates as well as the prize money.

Every event of ICECE ends with a heart-full thanks given to the honorable guests, distinguished scientists, invited scholars, authors, participants, sponsors, and organizers. In the closing ceremony, a call-for-paper for the next ICECE is announced. Being involved in the very beginning of ICECE and in the last consecutive events in various capacities, we have observed that the participants among different nationalities over the years are increasing. This clearly indicates that the ICECE is increasingly getting its confidence in the international community, for which department of EEE deserves most of the credit for the tireless effort to make every event a success. It is also pleasing to see that most of the attendees from Bangladesh in ICECE are from the age group of 20-35 years, and this portion of young scientists is increasing in the recent years. This fact reveals that the young generation of our nation is increasingly involving in the well-established research festivals such as in the ICECE. Of course, due to the lack of sufficient funds or serious attention from all corners, the ICECE could not be arranged on a greater scale. The department of EEE as the organizer of ICECE is constantly striving to strengthen the reputation of the conference. We sincerely believe that with greater support from the government, academia, industry, and media, the ICECE will be named not just as a reputed international conference, but a grand research festival wherein multiple conferences, symposia or workshops will be held under a single umbrella to meet the challenges of building ‘Digital Bangladesh’ in the 21st century.