Keynote Speakers & Invited Speakers
Prof. Dan ZhangYork University, Canada | Full Professor
Dr. Dan Zhang is a Kaneff Professor in Advanced
Robotics and Mechatronics, as well as the Chair of the
Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Lassonde
School of Engineering at York University. From July 1st
2004 to December 31 2015, Dr. Zhang was a Professor and
Canada Research Chair in Advanced Robotics and
Automation, was a founding Chair of the Department of
Automotive, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Engineering
with the Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science at
University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He
received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Laval
University, Canada, in June 2000.
Dr. Zhang's research interests include robotics and mechatronics; high performance parallel robotic machine development; sustainable/green manufacturing systems; rehabilitation robot and rescue robot.
Dr. Zhang’s contributions to and leadership within the field of robotic and automation have been recognized with several prestigious awards, within his own university (Research Excellence Award both from university level (2009) and faculty level (2008)), the Province of Ontario (Early Researcher Award in 2010), the professional societies (election to Fellow of the ASME in 2016, the EIC in 2012 and the CSME in 2010), and federal funding agencies (Canada Research Chair in January 2009 and renewed in January 2014). Besides, he was awarded the Inaugural Teaching Excellence by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science of UOIT in 2006 and the Best Professor Award by UOIT Engineering Students' Society in2012.
Dr. Zhang is the editor-in-chief for International Journal of Mechanisms and Robotic Systems, the editor-in-chief for International Journal of Robotics Applications and Technologies, Associate editor for the International Journal of Robotics and Automation (ACTA publisher) and guest editors for other 4 international journals. Dr. Zhang served as a member of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Grant Selection Committee.
Dr. Zhang was director of Board of Directors at Durham Region Manufacturing Association, Canada, and director of Board of Directors of Professional Engineers Ontario, Lake Ontario Chapter, Canada. Dr. Zhang is a registered Professional Engineer of Canada, a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), a Fellow of (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) ASME, and a Fellow of (Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering) CSME, a Senior Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a Senior Member of SME.
Prof. Ian WalkerClemson University, USA | IEEE Fellow, Full Professor
Professor Walker is a Fellow of the IEEE and a Senior
Member of the AIAA. He has served as Vice President for
Financial Activities for the IEEE Robotics and
Automation Society, and as Chair of the AIAA Technical
Committee on Space Automation and Robotics. He has also
served on the Editorial Boards of the IEEE Transactions
on Robotics, the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and
Automation, the International Journal of Robotics and
Automation, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine,
and the International Journal of Environmentally
Conscious Design and Manufacturing. His research has
been funded by DARPA, the National Science Foundation,
NASA, NASA/EPSCoR, NSF/EPSCoR, the Office of Naval
Research, the U.S. Department of Energy, South Carolina
Commission of Higher Education, Sandia National
Laboratories, and Westinghouse Hanford Company.
Professor Walker's research centers on robotics,
particularly novel manipulators and manipulation. His
group is conducting basic research in the construction,
modeling, and application of biologically-inspired
"trunk, tentacle, and worm" robots. Their work is
strongly motivated by the dexterous appendages found in
cephalopods, particularly the arms and suckers of
octopus, and the arms and tentacles of squid. The
ongoing investigation of these animals reveals
interesting functional aspects of their structure and
behavior. The arrangement and dynamic operation of
muscles and connective tissue observed in the arms of a
variety of octopus species motivate the underlying
design approach for our soft manipulators. These
artificial manipulators feature biomimetic actuators,
including artificial muscles based on pneumatic
(McKibben) muscles. They feature a “clean” continuous
backbone design, redundant degrees of freedom, and
exhibit significant compliance that provides novel
operational capacities during environmental interaction
and object manipulation. The unusual compliance and
redundant degrees of freedom provide strong potential
for application to delicate tasks in cluttered and/or
unstructured environments. This work in turn leads to
novel approaches to motion planning and operator
interfaces for the robots. This work is currently funded
by DARPA under the DSO BIODYNOTICS program, by NASA, and
by NASA/EPSCoR Dr. Walker also conducts research in the
area of fault tolerance and reliability of robots. New
work focuses on the creation of animated environments.
This work in Architectural Robotics, a fast-emerging
area, exploits key aspects of engineering and
architecture in exploring how our environments of the
future could morph in real time. Applications being
investigated by Walker's group focus on assisted living
and aging in place.
Prof. Saïd HanafiUniversity of Valenciennes, France | Full Professor
Saïd Hanafi holds a Full Professor position in Computing Science at Institute of Techniques and Sciences, University of Valenciennes and is currently in charge of the computer science department of LAMIH CNRS UMR 8201. His research lies in the design of effective heuristic and meta¬heuristic algorithms for solving large-scale combinatorial search problems. His is interested in theoretical as well as algorithmic modelling and application aspects of integer programming and combinatorial optimization and has published over 50 articles on the topic. His current interests revolve around the integration of tools from hybrid methods mixing exact and heuristics for solving hard problems.