UiA Researcher wins Prestigious Awards
Professor John Oommen is a Chancellor’s Professor at the School of Computer Science at Carleton University in Canada. But he is also an adjunct professor with UiA, and since 2005 he has been doing research and teaching for the Faculty of Engineering and Science.
John Oommen works within Artificial Intelligence, with Pattern Recognition and Learning Automata, and probably is among the best researchers in the world within the latter field today. He is also a great friend of Norway and has been here a lot since 1977.
Research Achievement Award
In December 2007, he won a 2008 Carleton University Research Achievement Award, for his work within “Tutorial-like Systems”. This award was reported to the media on April 7, 2008. Apart from a formal award to hang on his wall, John received $15,000 in cash which will be used for writing a research monograph.
- My work here is about how students and teachers can learn and teach in imperfect settings, and the results which can be achieved even under such condtions are amazing, says Oommen.
Best Paper Award
One week later, together with his post-doctoral researcher, dr. Dragos Calitoiu, he won the Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Health Sciences Simulation in Ottawa. Oommen and Calitoiu have devised a simulation methodology that can predict how a disease spreads to infect healthy people in a certain geographical region.
- What brought me to Norway in the first place was my Christian connections. But I have had academic and consulting partnerships with Norwegians since the mid 1980s. I still supervise students with the University of Oslo, and regularly consult with people and companies, says Oommen.
Enjoys Norway and UiA
At UiA, John has published several high-quality papers together with associate professor Ole-Christoffer Granmo, in the most acclaimed journals and conferences. He also gives one-week courses in Pattern Recognition and Learning Systems in Grimstad, open to students registered in relevant Master’s and PhD programmes anywhere in Norway.
- The reason why I came to work as an adjunct with just UiA, even if I could have chosen such a position with several other universities, was my love for the country and the constructive and cooperative reception I got from the faculty management, says Oommen.
Professor Oommen is a FELLOW of the IEEE, and a FELLOW of the IAPR, and he currently has more than 285 refereed publications. Since 1977, when he won the Gold Medal for being the best graduating student at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, he has regularly won awards and prizes. So John works and travels a lot, and does not have much free time. But what does he do when he has?
– I am fairly involved with working within my Christian community, and I love to listen to classical music. Sometimes I listen to a piece many times till I know every note, concludes Oommen.
Text: Stein Bergsmark