2015 Seminar Abstracts

Mukesh Mohania

IBM Distinguished Engineering at IBM Research

Modeling and Processing Information in Systems of Engagement

The proliferation of mobile devices has changed the way we consume digital information and measure its efficacy. Personal mobile devices know a lot about their user’s behaviour from the sensors and activities performed. This data can be used to provide personalised information to the user and measure the effectiveness of the information for the information providers. However, there are lot of challenges in the modeling and processing of such data from these systems of engagement to ensure the right balance between storing redundant data and data that is useful for analysis. In this talk, we will discuss:

  • What is a System of Engagement?
  • What is "Contextual Information" and how do we store such information on Big Data Platforms?, and
  • Illustrate the SOE for Education example.


Mukesh Mohania is an IBM Distinguished Engineer at IBM Research, and currently leads the global R&D team across the USA, Japan, Brazil, Africa and India as Chief Architect for Education. He also holds an Adjunct Professor position at the University of South Australia’s School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences and has been linked to the School since 1996.

Mukesh has researched extensively in the areas of Information Management, Big Data Analytics and Autonomic Computing, which has led to the development of new products and influenced several existing IBM products. He has received several awards from IBM, such as the "Best of IBM", "Excellence in People Management", “Outstanding Innovation Award”, "Technical Accomplishment Award", “Leadership by Doing” award, and many more. He has published more than 130 papers, and filed more than 80 patents in these or related areas of which over 40 have already been granted.

He is an IBM Master Inventor, member of the IBM Academy of Technology, ACM Distinguished Scientist and an IEEE Golden Core member. He is also General Co-chair of the 3rd International Conference on Data Science, and Organising Committee Chair of the 42nd International Conference on Very Large Data Bases 2016

Rowena Ball

Mathematical Sciences Institute and the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University

STEM the gap: science belongs to us mob too

Article 27 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) specifically recognises the right of everyone to share in science and its benefits. Yet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are under-represented in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) education and careers, to an extent that could amount to a violation of human rights under Article 27. In this talk I will challenge, deconstruct and bust some of the myths and attitudes that perpetuate this situation, and outline a way forward. Australia has a rich Indigenous scientific and engineering heritage, but it is largely ignored and neglected. Let us celebrate and promulgate this heritage, so that Indi kids in schools can take some ownership of science, see STEM as relevant to their lives and feel empowered to choose STEM-related careers. Let indigenous and non-indigenous scientists together research and document this heritage, creating a broader dimension to science and exciting opportunities to generate new knowledge at the interface.


Rowena Ball is Associate Professor at the Mathematical Sciences Institute and the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University. She is an applied mathematician and physical chemist, with broad research interests in nonlinear and complex dynamical systems in nature and technology. From 2010 to 2014 she held an ARC Future Fellowship. Currently she is leading a collaborative international research initiative on the molecular origins of life on earth. As to human origins, she is connected by descent to the indigenous people of the central Qld highlands and has family in the Qld Gulf country. She is passionate about engaging indigenous students with STEM, and she is partnered with two remote indigenous schools under the CSIRO Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools program.   

Areas of study and research

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