SELF EVALUATION OF THE INFORMATICS INSTITUTE UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM

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1 University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science Informatics Institute SELF EVALUATION OF THE INFORMATICS INSTITUTE UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM Revised version, September 17th

2 Uitgave Instituut voor Informatica Universiteit van Amsterdam Science Park XG Amsterdam Telefoon: Tekst: Peter Sloot, Maarten de Rijke, Andy Pimentel, Bert Bredeweg, Leo Dorst, Christof Monz, Jan-Mark Geusebroek, Alfons Hoekstra, Paola Grosso, Alban Ponse Juli

3 Contents Part A: Documentation regarding the level of the institute A.1 Mission statement 7 A.2 Leadership 7 A.3 Strategy and policy 9 A.4 Researchers and other personnel 11 A.5 Resources, funding and facilities 14 A.6 Processes in research,internal and external collaboration 14 A.7 Academic reputation 16 A.8 Internal evaluation 17 A.9 External validation 18 A.10 Overview of the results 18 A.11 Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the institute 18 Part B: Documentation regarding the level of the research programs Chapter B1. ACSE Advanced Computing Systems Engineering Research Area Leadership Strategy and policy Processes in research, internal and external collaboration Academic reputation Internal evaluation External validation Researchers and other personnel Resources, funding and facilities Overview of the results Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the research program 25 Chapter B2. CSA Computer Systems Architecture Research Area Leadership Strategy and policy Processes in research, internal and external collaboration Academic reputation Internal evaluation External validation Researchers and other personnel Resources, funding and facilities Overview of the results Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the research program 32 Chapter B3. HCS Human Computer Studies Research Area Leadership Strategy and policy Processes in research, internal and external collaboration Academic reputation Internal evaluation External validation Researchers and other personnel 40 3

4 8. Resources, funding and facilities Overview of the results Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the research program 43 Chapter B4. IAS Intelligent Autonomous Systems Research Area Leadership Strategy and policy Processes in research, internal and external collaboration Academic reputation Internal evaluation External validation Researchers and other personnel Resources, funding and facilities Overview of the results Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the research program 51 Chapter B5. ILPS Information and Language Processing Systems Research Area Leadership Strategy and policy Processes in research, internal and external collaboration Academic reputation Internal evaluation External validation Researchers and other personnel Resources, funding and facilities Overview of the results Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the research program 60 Chapter B6. ISIS Intelligent Sensory Information Systems Research Area Leadership Strategy and policy Processes in research, internal and external collaboration Academic reputation Internal evaluation External validation Researchers and other personnel Resources, funding and facilities Overview of the results Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the research program 70 Chapter B7. SCS Section Computational Science Research Area Leadership Strategy and policy Processes in research, internal and external collaboration Academic reputation Internal evaluation External validation Researchers and other personnel Resources, funding and facilities Overview of the results Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the research program 81 4

5 Chapter B8. SNE System and Network Engineering Research Area Leadership Strategy and policy Processes in research, internal and external collaboration Academic reputation Internal evaluation External validation Researchers and other personnel Resources, funding and facilities Overview of the results Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the research program 89 Chapter B9. SSE Section Software Engineering Research Area Leadership Strategy and policy Processes in research, internal and external collaboration Academic reputation Internal evaluation External validation Researchers and other personnel Resources, funding and facilities Overview of the results Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the research program 96 Appendix A: List of names and sections of current Ph.D. candidates 97 Appendix B: Academic reputation and full outcome lists Appendix B1 ACSE 99 Appendix B2 CSA 107 Appendix B3 HCS 115 Appendix B4 IAS 151 Appendix B5 ILPS 175 Appendix B6 ISIS 195 Appendix B7 SCS 216 Appendix B8 SNE 259 Appendix B9 SSE 269 5

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7 SELF EVALUATION OF THE INSTITUTE A. DOCUMENTATION REGARDING THE LEVEL OF THE INSTITUTE Name of the institute: Informatics Institute Date of establishment: 1987 Institutional affiliations, formal responsibilities, formal co-operations and relations with other national and international research establishments: The Informatics Institute is part of the Faculty of Science, which is part of the University of Amsterdam. Various cooperations and relations are stated under the paragraphs of the respective groups. A.1 Mission statement The mission of the Institute is to perform curiosity driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The research in the institute seems to self organize into two large themes: Computational Systems and Intelligent Systems, both with a strong interactive component. We recognize that the only dimension that really matters is the international one. We prefer to select specific topics and pursue them from methods in informatics and engineering, than to make a choice for fundamental versus engineering science. As part of the research mission, the Institute maintains strategic multi-disciplinary research links both inside and outside the University of Amsterdam. A.2 Leadership The current organization of the Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam is shown in Figure 1, this includes the newly implemented professorial advisory board and daily management team. Figure 1: Current organization of the Informatics Institute. The abbreviations denote the current eight sections within the Informatics Institute. CSA: Computer Systems Architecture; HCS: Human Computer Systems; IAS: Intelligent Autonomous Systems; ILPS: Information and Language Processing Systems; ISIS: Intelligent Sensory Information Systems; SCS: Section Computational Science; SNE: System and Network Engineering; SSE: Section Software Engineering. Scientific Director The director is responsible for the scientific program of the institute, its finances and human resource management. The director is assisted by a business/financial manager and the institute office. At the start of 2002 the dean of the faculty appointed Prof.dr. Groen as director of the Institute. His term ended in January Prof.dr. Adriaans took over in For personal reasons Prof.dr. Adriaans had to resign from this function and Prof.dr. Sloot took over in the beginning of The adjunct director function is currently a shared position between Prof.dr. De Rijke and Prof.dr. Bergstra, both are full members of the daily management team, they replace the director in case of absence. The director reports directly to the dean. 7

8 Daily management team As of 2008 the management team (MT) consists of the director and two full professors: Prof.dr. De Rijke and Prof.dr. Bergstra, they currently meet bi-weekly. The director of the institute chairs the management team. The management team mainly discusses all HR issues and prepares the meetings with the Professorial Advisory Board. The Professorial Advisory Board As of 2008 the professorial advisory board (PAB) consists of all the professors in the institute (15) with as default replacement one or more associate professors. The PAB advices on strategic affairs including the yearly research plan, the yearly research report of activities, new directions of research, relationships with research schools, Ph.D.-affairs and educational issues. The meetings of the PAB are prepared by the daily management team. The PAB typically meets 10 times per year. Business Manager During the period being assessed, the business managers of the Informatics Institute were R. Kellermann Deibel (until July 2005), who was succeeded by G. Olthof. In July 2004 A. Collins joined the management team. The business management is responsible for all daily affairs. They report to the director of the institute. Science advisory committee The science advisory committee (WAR) is an advisory body on the scientific and managerial functioning of the institute. The committee consists of three to five members, all with an excellent reputation in disciplines covered by the institute. The committee currently consists of Prof.dr. E.H.L. Aarts (TU Eindhoven and Philips), Prof.dr. P.M.G. Apers (TU Twente), Prof.dr.ir. J. Biemond (TU Delft) and Prof.dr. J. Dongarra (University of Tennessee). The committee aims to meet once every two years after being informed on all issues regarding the institute. In 2006, the WAR provided a mid-term assessment of the Institute. Sections The research programs of the Institute are organized in sections. At the time of evaluation, the Institute is organized in eight sections. Computer Systems Architecture (CSA) (headed by Prof.dr. Jesshope, started in 2004), Human Computer Studies (HCS) (headed by Prof.dr. Wielinga, started in 2004), Intelligent Autonomous Systems (headed by Prof.dr.ir. Groen), Information and Language Processing Systems (ILPS) (headed by Prof.dr. De Rijke, started in 2004), Intelligent Sensory Information Systems (ISIS) (headed by Prof.dr.ir. Smeulders), Section Computational Science (SCS) (headed by Prof.dr. Sloot), System and Network Engineering (SNE) (headed by Dr. De Laat, started in 2005), and Section Software Engineering (SSE) (headed by Prof.dr. Bergstra). Prior to 2005, Advanced Computing Systems Engineering (ACSE) (headed by Prof.dr. Hertzberger) was also one of the sections in the Institute; see Table 1 for an overview. After the retirement of Hertzberger in 2005, parts of ACSE joined HCS, SCS and CSA, while another part formed the new section SNE. Administrative procedures at the Informatics Institute Management of personnel The institute recognizes full professors, part-time professors, extraordinary professors and profile professors, in addition to associate and assistant professors. There is a strong incentive to be very restrictive on the number of part-time and extraordinary professors (currently 3 and 4 respectively) with respect to the number of full professors (currently 7) and even more restrictive on the number of profile professors (goal for 2010: two profile professors). The institute has a permanent committee (UHD committee), chaired in this period by Prof.dr. Sloot ( ) and Prof.dr.ir. Smeulders (2008 ) subsequently, for the appointment of associate professors and lecturers at the highest degree in order to ensure a consistent policy. The committee consists of full-time professors of the institute and an external fulltime professor and explicitly sets targets and quality indicators for the appointment of associate professors. For each appointment of new assistant professors an ad-hoc committee is formed, in which one professor from outside the section in question is present. 8

9 Table 1: Sections within the Informatics Institute, ACSE: Advanced Computing Systems Engineering; CSA: Computer Systems Architecture; HCS: Human Computer Systems; IAS: Intelligent Autonomous Systems; ILPS: Information and Language Processing Systems; ISIS: Intelligent Sensory Information Systems; SCS: Section Computational Science; SNE: System and Network Engineering; SSE: Section Software Engineering. ACSE CSA HCS IAS ILPS ISIS SCS SNE SSE Starting in 2005 for postdocs and Ph.D. students the faculty requires a Personal Development Plan (POP) describing the courses to be followed and actions to be taken for personal development and career. For Ph.D. students there is also an education and coaching plan with a yearly evaluation. The institute may also appoint permanent staff members paid by external funds. Appointments require the special approval of the director of the institute who judges whether the earning capacity and the available funds of the section are sufficient for such a permanent appointment. Financial management The business management of the institute takes care of the financial administration for the primary UvA funding and funding from national research agencies (direct funding and research funds). The large number of EU projects (i.e., research contracts) and the associated financial and administrative complexity resulted in a decision to add professional assistance to the Institute for such projects. The preparation of all appointments in the institute is done by the managers of the institute, where the appointment procedure itself is taken care of by the Personnel office of the faculty. Financial control is based on regular financial overviews, which are then sent to the project leaders and head of section. Budget control is taken care of by the managers of the institute and actions are taken by the director of the institute. Major issues and policy are discussed in the management team and the professorial advisory board of the institute. A.3 Strategy and policy Historically the institute had a very flat organization; with the constant growth of the institute due to its success in acquiring external funds, however, a more hierarchical organization was required. A first experiment with that was to organize the institute s HR into two laboratories (CSP: Computing System Architecture and Programming; ISLA: Intelligent Systems Laboratory). This worked for some time, but with the arrival of the new Human Computer Systems (HCS) group and the further growth and external (faculty) requirements for professionalization, it was decided in 2008 to have more involvement of all professors in managing the institute. The Institute s current structure has a daily management team and a professorial advisory board in addition to a further professionalization of the business office. This management approach is stable, does justice to the complexity and size of the organization and seems to work well. The three sections that make up ISLA IAS, ILPS, ISIS continue to work together under the ISLA umbrella, with shared research, acquisition and teaching activities and a shared set of ISLA-wide performance indicators; see Chapters B4, B5, B6 below. 9

10 The aim of the director is to prepare the Institute for the future by bringing long term organizational stability and financial health. This will be addressed along the following dimensions: A clear managerial structure where all the key players of the Institute can contribute. This will be obtained through the new structure with a Professorial Advisory Board and a Daily Management Team. A deeper involvement of the (younger) associate professors is foreseen, this will guarantee continuity of managerial involvement and expertise. More professional management of large projects with external funding. The institute is very successful in acquiring European and national funding for large projects. The complexity of the management of such projects, especially as coordinators, requires professional support. This way the researchers can focus on the research rather than on the administrative tasks. Limited Growth. The amount of direct faculty funding will not increase in the foreseeable future. If no actions are taken we will end up with too few tenured staff relative to the large amount of Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and EU like projects. Better control and institute wide consensus on what external research funding we aim for is needed. Since, on average, 25% of the institute s direct funding is needed to match such contract- and research- projects in the first place, a clear mechanism for controlling this is essential. Clear lines of responsibility. We will make sure that all the staff members (technicians, PhD students, post-docs, teachers, assistant- and associate professors, as well as extraordinary and part time professors) are assigned under (and report to) one full professor. These core professors will be given the financial and organizational support to run their section. The core professors report to the director of the institute. The institute seems to self organize into two large themes: Computational Systems and Intelligent Systems, both with a strong interactive component. Future choices on research directions, careers and financial stimuli should take this into account. This will be addressed in the yearly research plans and the discussions with the advisory board. In the end it is excellence in scientific output that counts, all the effort in bringing long term organizational stability and financial health should be subordinate to this goal. In an ever changing external environment this can only be obtained by being selective and critical with respect to the actual opportunities and challenges. The above listed organizational dimensions will help the institute in further achieving its goals. The following consequences of these 5 dimensions are being, or will soon be, implemented in the current academic year ( ): Integration of HCS in the sections of the Institute. Two years after the transfer of the HCS group from the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to the Informatics Institute in 2005, Prof.dr. Jones was appointed as a successor of Prof.dr. Wielinga. The idea was that Prof.dr. Jones (working on mobile technology) would further shape HCS together with Prof.dr. Adriaans and Dr. Afsarmanesh. Due to a series of personnel changes (Prof.dr. Jones left after two years, Prof.dr. Adriaans had to reduce his involvement for private reasons), external challenges (HCS was housed in a separate building, away from the Institute; a serious financial cut was announced in 2008), the planned growth and further shaping of HCS was not realized. The director decided to correct this situation by physically integrating HCS in the building of the Institute and intensifying the collaboration between HCS researchers and the rest of the Institute. Plans are currently being implemented for further integration of HCS researchers in the various sections of the Institute. Intelligent Autonomous Systems. The Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS) section is headed by Prof.dr.ir. Groen, who will retire in The management of the institute is convinced of the importance to continue the research and education in this field of robotics and autonomous systems at large, even though currently financial support to hire a successor for Prof.dr.ir. Groen still needs to be obtained. In addition, there are clear links, with a large potential, between some of the research in HCS and the IAS section, this will be stimulated and accommodated by integrating parts of HCS into IAS. Two profile chairs. The Management and the Professorial Advisory board consider research in Federated Collaborative Networks (Dr. Afsarmanesh) and System and Network Engineering (Dr. De 10

11 Laat) of great importance to the future of the Institute. Therefore, two (budget neutral) profile chairs have been defined. It is expected that these will be installed in This will result in two research sections (FCN and SNE). Theory of Computer Science. In the past the groups of Prof.dr. Bergstra (Process and Program Algebra) and Prof.dr. Klint (Software Engineering) were part of one research section (SSE). With the arrival of the group of Dr. De Laat (SNE), the Institute strengthened the engineering components of computer science research. To further shape this section, Prof.dr. Klint s group will join this engineering section. Prof.dr. Bergstra will lead a new section on the Theory of Computer Science (TCS). This leads to the new institutional structure depicted in Figure 2. Figure 2: Organization of the Informatics Institute from 2010 onwards. CSA: Computer Systems Architecture; FCN: Federated Collaborative Networks; IAS: Intelligent Autonomous Systems; ILPS: Information and Language Processing Systems; ISIS: Intelligent Sensory Information Systems; SCS: Section Computational Science; SNE: System and Network Engineering; TSC: Theory of Computer Science. Spearheads The institute makes essential contributions to the UvA spearhead cognition and leads the spearhead escience of the Science faculty. This will stimulate the focus and synergy in the institute, as well as transinstitutional collaborations. Also a strong leadership involvement in the new National escience Research Center (esrc) is expected. Summary The research of the institute in complex information systems at large, seems to self organize into Computational Systems and Intelligent Systems with a strong interactive component. Research into human computer interaction will be further integrated into the various research sections. There will be two profile chairs, one on System and Network Engineering and one on Federated Collaborative Networks. In addition to that there will be a new research section on the Theory of Computer Science. In a large institute such as ours, long term stability and a clear managerial structure are essential. The above mentioned changes will support that and additional managerial measures to further realize this will be implemented in the near future. A.4 Researchers and other personnel The institute currently holds 7 full-time full professorships, 3 part-time professorships, 4 extraordinary professorships and 10 associate professorships. There are 17 assistant professors and 68 researchers in the Institute. 63 Ph.D. students and 39 postdocs in the institute are funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Technologiestichting STW, the Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW), the European Union, NSF and NIH (USA), public-private funding, and industry. Besides the professorships, for each section, the available research capacity funded by the university consists of staff members, a system engineer and a Ph.D. student. The distribution of the personnel over these categories may differ between the sections, given their needs and requires the approval of the director of the Institute. The overall distribution is given in Table 1a, in terms of research input as a fraction of the total appointment in fte (the standard 11

12 fractions are 0.7 research input per fte at the level of PhD student and postdoc, and 0.4 fte per fte for assistant, associate and full professors). This applies to all following tables. Table 1a: Research staff at institutional level Institutional level Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates Total research staff Tabel 1b: Research program level Research program level ACSE Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates Total research staff CSA Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates Total research staff HCS Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates Total research staff IAS Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates Total research staff ILPS Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates Total research staff ISIS Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates Total research staff SCS Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates Total research staff SNE Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates

13 Total research staff SSE Tenured staff Non-tenured staff PhD candidates Total research staff A.4a Ph.D. programs and policies The policy of the institute with respect to Ph.D. students is well established. With every Ph.D. student a clear research plan is set up at the start of his/her PhD project. In addition to the scientific goals and methods this also contains a description on what courses to follow and what involvement in educational duties (e.g. lab assistance) is expected from the Ph.D. candidate. The document also contains clear guidelines and lists expectations. Guidance of the Ph.D. student is often done on a daily basis by one of the Associate or Assistant Professors who assists the promotor (a full professor). The end responsibility is with the promotor. The student is expected to contribute and actively take part in at least 1 2 international conferences in his/her field of research, for that we provide scientific guidance and financial support. Quite often this is the starting point of building a scientific network for themselves. In addition to that we expect Ph.D. students to be actively involved in the various activities of the section and the Institute, like organizing Ph.D. seminars, conferences etc. In general, as a minimal requirement, Ph.D. theses should be based on work published in 3 4 peer reviewed international journals; depending on their discipline, some sections put the minimal requirements even higher than this. Up to two of those papers can be replaced by papers published in peer reviewed conference proceedings or chapters in edited books. PhD committees always have external (outside of the group and outside of the UvA) experts. During the PhD trajectory we help the student to develop his/her presentation and writing skills and to orient themselves on their future career. With the new national and EU possibilities of individual grants after a Ph.D., we put serious effort in preparing selected Ph.D. students for that. For a detailed list of current Ph.D. candidates, please see Appendix A. Success rates of Ph.D. Graduates Table 2 provides the success rates for standard Ph.D. candidates. The relatively low success rates are a point of concern; the fact that we have quite a few externally based Ph.D. candidates, that we set high or even very high standards for the minimal number of publications on which a thesis is to be based, and that many of our Ph.D. candidates go on a three or six month industrial internship partially explains the phenomenon. Table 2. Standard Ph.D. candidates Total no of Starting year candidates started Graduated after 4 years Graduated after 5 years Graduated after 6 years Not yet finished Discontinued % 1 6% 0 0% 13 76% 1 6% % 1 10% 1 10% 2 20% 2 20% % 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 3 25% % 1 10% 1 10% 2 20% 1 10% % 0 0% 0 0% 1 33% 1 33% Total % 3 6% 2 4% 18 35% 8 15% 13

14 A.5 Resources, funding and facilities Table 3a specifies the funding and expenditure at the institutional level (in K ). Three remarks are in order. Due to a change in the financial system of the University in 2006 compared to 2005 the amount of Personnel costs as well as direct funding increased by approximately K Furthermore, for 2002, the division between research funds and contracts is not available. Finally, personnel costs includes all wages, salaries of personnel including social security charges, provision for so-called wachtgelden (= reduced pay in case of unemployment), the cost of temporary workers or agency staff and other personnel costs such as allowances for child care and commuter travel. Table 3a. Funding and expenditure at institutional level in K Funding ke % ke % ke % ke % ke % ke % ke % Direct funding % % % % % % % Research funds % % % % % % Rf + c % 0% Contracts % % % % % % Other 84 1% 106 2% 150 2% 189 2% 540 4% 354 2% 250 2% Total % % % % % % % Expenditure Personnel costs % % % % % % % Other costs % % % % % % % Total % % % % % % % Result In Table 3b we detail the relative size of funding at the research program (section) level. Direct funding for the respective programs is at approximately the same level, so differences between programs are mostly due to research funds and contracts. Table 3b Funding Research program level Program ACSE 27% 28% 22% 5% 0% 0% 0% CSA 0% 0% 2% 5% 7% 7% 7% HCS 0% 0% 13% 20% 18% 17% 14% IAS 21% 23% 16% 15% 15% 14% 15% ILPS 0% 0% 12% 12% 12% 11% 10% ISIS 29% 27% 18% 13% 13% 14% 17% SCS 17% 16% 13% 15% 16% 20% 22% SNE 0% 0% 0% 11% 14% 11% 10% SSE 6% 6% 4% 4% 5% 6% 5% Total 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% A.6 Processes in research, internal and external collaboration In the curricula of Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Information Systems the members of the Institute deliver the majority of courses of the Informatics Education Institute of the faculty. The new Bachelor-Masters structure has required a major effort by the members of the institute. Currently we have three Bachelor curricula; two 2-year master curricula (Grid-computing and AI) and three one-year masters (System and Network Engineering, Software Engineering and Information Systems). The permanent staff spends 40% of their time on education. 14

15 The number of students has been decreasing over a long period of time in the education institute; a point of great concern and action, as the funding of the educational effort is based on the total number of generated ECTS points. The measures taken seem to be paying off. Recently the numbers are going up again. New initiatives are being undertaken, with further initiatives in the pipeline. Interdisciplinary studies are attractive. Examples of these efforts are Gaming, Bio-informatics and new studies in media sciences; the latter are being coordinated within the newly founded Center for Creation, Content and Technology (CCCT) within which three of the Institute s sections participate (IAS, ILPS, ISIS). A large initiative for an International Research Master on Computational Science (IMCS), initiated by the Section Computational Science (SCS) has been taken, with a worldwide involvement. Currently, this Master is subject to National evaluation for accreditation. Quality and presentation of scientifically relevant results Quality indicators may differ from research field to research field. Computer science is among the fields of science frequently requiring more implementation work than average to demonstrate the concept in a working system, or requiring experimental work to demonstrate proof of concept. Quality indicators may also vary within computer science from theme to theme. In one field system reception and acceptance in distinguished conferences is the highest mark of quality one can achieve, whereas in other fields papers in journals and invitations are the best one can do. Depending on the position a research group adopts on the foundations applications -axis, quality indicators shift from scientific papers in journals or high profile conferences to the volume in projects and influence in governing boards, strategic boards and program committees. Also citation-scores are of increasing importance as quality measures. Given these caveats, we set the following goals to strive towards the best possible performance given the significant teaching load. Basic research, Targets specifically for basic research are: A paper per section in the best journal of the sub-discipline per year. Invited and keynote talks, and other honors. Editorships, especially Editor in Chief of journals. Above average volume of funding acquired in open competition. Papers, 2 per staff member, in organs of good reputation. Ph.D. defenses, 2 per section per year. Organization of scientific events, competitions and conferences. Publishing monographs, handbooks and landmark collections. Obtaining personal grants like Veni, Vidi, Vici and ERC grants. Engineering, Targets in the institute for the engineering side of computer science research are: Papers, 2 per staff member, in organs of good reputation. Implementing and exploiting systems demonstrating proof of concept. Above average volume of industrial funding from industry and EU. Above average volume of support by STW or Economic Affairs. Memberships of national and international select committees. Organisation of applied science conferences. Developing state-of-the-art courses. Ph.D. Defenses, 2 per section per year. Impact, Targets for demonstrating the impact of the research in the institute are: Sustained co-operation with leading institutions. Active participation in the research schools of computer science. Memberships of national science foundation boards. Industry and government advisory and consultancy. 15

16 Profile of the institute towards relevant funding organizations The research in the institute spans basic research to engineering. This enables us to apply for a broad spectrum of funding as long as this fits within the focus of the institute and contributes to the targets of the institute set above. In particular there are opportunities for bigger projects, given the national and EU special programs. Summary The Informatics Institute concentrates its research efforts into research groups in the European top league and, when given the means, to expand to the world class. We aim to do so in carefully selected topics rather than to provide complete coverage of the field of Computer Science. To this end a number of choices were made and goals were set with respect to quality and presentation of scientifically relevant results. A.7 Academic reputation The expertise of the staff is internationally acknowledged, as is evidenced by the frequent requests to address audiences as key-note speaker, editorships of leading journals, conferences organized, awards and prices received. Senior staff participate in leading international bodies. Detailed information can be found in the program sections of this report. Particularly worth mentioning are the two individual VICI grants for excellent research granted to researchers from the ISIS and SCS sections. In 2004 the results of year-long investments materialized in the results of the national quality assessment of computer science (QANU). The report indicated that the institute is in good shape. The overall scores of our institute were very good. The ISIS group of Prof.dr.ir. Smeulders in ISLA was awarded the highest rank of all groups in the Netherlands. The Computational Science group (SCS) of Prof.dr. Sloot, also ranked among the highest. Another indicator is the funding of major projects. In 2004 two large BSIK-projects namely VL-e and MultimediaN were initiated at the Informatics Institute. The Institute also participates in a third BSIKproject, ICIS, which was initiated by the D-CIS laboratory in Delft. The projects result in external funding to the amount of 1.4 MEuro per year in the periods. Other main funding sources were EU projects, where the institute was exceptionally successful in obtaining funding. National position After an extensive discussion within Dutch ICT research community the National ICT Research Agenda for the period appeared in July This research agenda gives focus to great challenges in the ICT arena, in order to prepare the ICT researchers for an optimal exploitation of their opportunities in the EU ICT Programs like FP7. The NOAG-ict research agenda identifies nine research themes and identifies the ICT disciplines involved in each of these themes and links well into the European FP7 program. The Institute contributes to all nine themes. The NOAG-ict themes are (associations with our sections indicated between brackets): 1. The computer of the future (CSA, SCS, SSE) 2. The data explosion (ILPS, ISIS) 3. Digital perception (HCS, IAS, ISIS) 4. Digital security (SNE) 5. The networked society (IAS, ILPS, ISIS, SNE) 6. Intelligent systems (HCS, IAS, ILPS, ISIS) 7. Methods for design and building (CSA, SCS, SNE, SSE) 8. The invisible computer (CSA, HCS, SNE) 9. The virtual lab (SCS, SNE) In our own words, in our institute the focus is on complex information systems on the basis of perceptual data, complex interactive systems functioning in a cognitive world, and the design of complex data-intensive and computational systems. The main research topics of our institute are reflected in these themes. The 16

17 topics of the BSIK projects Virtual Lab e-science, MultimediaN and ICIS are directly visible in these NOAG-ict themes. ICT plays an important role in many scientific disciplines. The NOAG-ict identifies four domains of existing collaboration with other disciplines (between brackets our sections involved): 1. Cultural heritage (HCS, ILPS, ISIS) 2. Astronomy (SCS, SNE) 3. Security, police and justice (IAS, ILPS, ISIS, SNE) 4. Bio-informatics (SCS) and cognition (IAS, ILPS, ISIS, SCS) This list reflects the fact that all sections are directed towards multi-disciplinary cooperation. International position The ICT themes in EU FP7, with a foreseen period are currently presented as: 1. Strengthen the ICT pillars : pushing the limits of performance, usability, dependability, cost efficiency 2. Build intelligent environments: integrating multi-technology sets that underlie new functionalities, services and applications 3. Promote innovation from ICT use: ensuring that progress in ICT is more rapidly transformed into socio-economic benefits in a wide range of applications National themes may be classified under these 3 topics. Within our institute CSA, SCS, SNE contribute to the first topic together with HCS in respect to their research to man machine interaction. The second topic directly matches all sections. The third aspect is reflected in the application domains of the BSIK projects in which the institute is involved. The international position of the institute is also reflected in many EU projects, present in all sections. Summary The institute has been very successful in obtaining external funding, securing the level of research during the period of this research plan. The research topics of our institute fit very well in the national research agenda NOAG-ICT and in the topics of the EU FP7 program. The BSIK projects both strengthen the focus of the research in our institute as the link to interdisciplinary applications. A process of focus and synergy in the institute will be further pursued. The financial funding shows a very active entrepreneurship sustained by the spirit of the Faculty. The number of (BSc and MSc) students has to be further increased by new initiatives. A.8 Internal evaluation For measuring success and to assure quality, the Institute uses well-founded academic instruments. These include publications in top-ranked journals, and conferences, citation scores and indexes, keynote and invited talks, accepted peer-reviewed projects grants, and so on. The formal way to evaluate the individual results with respect to the targets is the yearly assessment ( jaargesprek ). In staff meetings at the group level and the professorial advisory board (PAB), the strategy, targets and results are now and then discussed. The evaluation the strategy and research policy is a returning item at the Management team and PAB meetings. Although the minutes of the yearly assessments are confidential, we may conclude from those assessments that in general the members of the IvI are satisfied with management, support, research climate and culture. The fact that teaching facilities are located at the REC and Euclides and the office at the Science Park is not optimal. This holds true both for travel time and the fact that students cannot easily visit staff. This situation will be improved once the new faculty building has been fully realized (2010) and teaching and office will be at the same location. There has been a decrease in the number of Ph.D. defenses in the period This is the result of the policy in the previous period with respect to the ratio between Ph.D.s and PostDocs. We changed that and the current expectation is that the number of Ph.D. defenses will double in the next period. 17

18 A.9 External validation Each group in the institute are member of one or more research schools. The sections CSA, IAS, ISIS, SCS, SNE and SSE are members of the ASCI research school. Sections CSA, SCS, and SSE are members of IPA. Sections HCS, IAS, ILPS and ISIS are members of the SIKS research school. The research schools were accredited with very positive reviews in the previous period. The staff members organize and participate in summer schools and Ph.D courses within these research schools. The knowledge acquired at the Institute is vital to solve many important problems in contemporary society, not only in the general sense, through the development of know-how, solution techniques and tools, but also through the development of specific applications. Examples are HIV decision Support, Grid-based experimental environments and content and interaction technology such as web information access. Interest from industrial side comes from larger partners (Philips, Thales, Elsevier, Unilever, Hoffmann-La Roche) and also from smaller partners (such as Eagle Vision, Hippo, Ilse Media and many more). The work at the Institute has been made public through various channels and cooperation. Among these are close collaboration with CWI, TNO and the DECIS lab. The chairs are very active in a large number of governmental, industrial and scientific organizations. The groups take a leading role in several national (BSIK) and international (EU) initiatives and projects. They also initiate and help coordinate leading international benchmarking efforts (TREC, TRECvid, CLEF, INEX). The groups are strongly embedded in local, national and international networks. Live web demos, while labor intensive, are an important and integral part of the program s research policy. Several groups are involved with, or have given rise to spin-offs. Some patents were granted (i.e., computational HIV drug ranking) and some new ones are currently being evaluated. A.10 Overview of the results Table 4 Aggregated results of the institute sum Academic publications a. in refereed journals b. in refereed procedings c. book chapters d. other academic publ Total Monographs Ph.D. Theses Professional publications and products A.11 Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the institute Strengths IvI The research performance has been highly-rated by the international computer-science review committee of The norm of 2 science publications per staff per year in peer-reviewed journals per year, is met in most sections. We have papers in all major science journals of our fields (including Nature), and obtained a number of prestigious grants (among others KNAW fellowships, VICI and VENI recipients and individual awards). 18

19 Exceptional international recognition has been given to some individuals through the above average number of invitations to deliver keynote talks at major events (some are up to 10 invitations per individual per year). We have a large presence in the popular press and media, through interviews, documentaries, TV presence and the like. We lead national and international initiatives such as VLe (Virtual Laboratory for escience), MultimediaN and ICCS (International Initiative on Computational Science). There are many strategic alliances on a National, European and Worldwide level, both with research institutes (CWI, TNO, NFI, Beeld & Geluid (the national broadcast archive) AMC, ehealth), as well as with Industry (Elsevier, Philips, ACE, Gridwise, ARM, Unilever). Best paper awards, among others, at VLDB, PODS, WorldComp and ACM Multimedia, coordination and best performance in the most important video (TREC) and text (TREC, CLEF) retrieval competitions, best performance in robot-soccer (for simulators). The institute has shown to be very successful in obtaining competitive financial support from all the major scientific sources such as NWO, KNAW, NSF, NIH, EU, and turned the contracts in to successful scientific output. Weaknesses IvI Until recently the management structure of the IvI did not allow for a clear involvement of the majority of the professors, nor for a clear decision making process. The role of the new HCS research group was not clear; their integration in the institute was virtually non-existent. A vision for the future research and HRM was far from complete. For some staff members it was not clear whom to report to. This was due to a series of incompletely implemented organizational changes. The success of the unexpected large amount of funding obtained by research funds (e.g., NWO) and contracts (e.g., EU) created a serious imbalance with the direct funding (the tenured staff), leading to instability. We have had a relatively low average number of Ph.D. graduations (1 Ph.D. per section) so far. A clear research strategy for the institute is needed. Responsibilities in the education institute are not well defined which makes decision making complex. Teaching load is unbalanced; there have been a decreasing number of students. Software emerging from the Institute was often adequate for internal use but too complex or too adhoc for outside use. This may require making software not only available for internal reuse in the own or other groups, but also making software commercially available. Threats IvI The most important threat comes from within our own University: the inadequacy and lack of capabilities to provide support for large national and international projects: this manifests itself in a lack of predictability and many ad-hoc measures. The volume of funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in general is unpredictable. The policy related to the long-term funding requires too much of our attention. With all the modern contemporary topics in computer science there is a risk of a reduction in interest and funding possibilities for the core disciplines and topics outside current hypes. Education is always an issue. Lack of BSc student numbers affects finances. We need to take too many initiatives to be comfortable with this. In addition we face serious financial cuts in the coming years, starting already in This will put a hold on the appointment of any tenured staff, will require a re-orientation of some groups/individuals and will reduce our already relatively low number of staff with respect to research funds and contracts even further. Opportunities IvI There are ample opportunities expected for funding of (very) large projects (FES, EU). The institute has a high potential to be successful in any such competition. For that it is of importance to build 19

20 larger research teams in the IvI, this can be done by further developing the links between the institute chairs. The field of escience is emerging, this is a tremendous opportunity. The section computational science (SCS) and the System Network and Engineering (SNE) research group can play a major role in this area, as can sections that focus on managing large volumes of data such as the Information and Language Processing Systems (ILPS) group and the Intelligent Sensory Information Systems (ISIS) group. This is also in-line with national initiatives with respect to for instance ebioscience. The field of cognitive science is also emerging. The expertise of the IvI in the semantics of text and images (ILPS and ISIS) as well as the research on sensory data (IAS and ISIS) can significantly contribute to this emerging research field. Internationally recognized fundamental questions on understanding complex networks, multi-scale and multi-science modeling, and hybrid computer systems, can be easily addressed within the institute the coming years. There will be significant funding possibilities in EU FP 7 and the new NWO strategic programs. There is a growing interest in Computer Science at large in a plethora of other disciplines. The IvI has always been strong in crossing boundaries to other disciplines; this new interest will give ample opportunities for high profile research in the near future. Analysis The IvI needs mass in critical research areas, a better focus and clear management, in addition to a better balance in direct funding, research funds and contracts. With clear choices and good management the IvI can fully exploit the opportunities in the near future. Adjusted goals For the short term the goal should be to further activate the professorial advisory board, to install two profile chairs in critical topics and to negotiate with the board of the faculty (the Dean) a better financial balance, as well as better support for complex large (EU) projects. The situation with the HCS group needs to be solved. There will be a new section on the Theory of Computer Science headed by Prof.dr. Bergstra. Prof.dr. Klint will join the SNE group. Each IvI staff member needs to be brought under a (core) chair. The groups need to be supported to address the open opportunities in (long-term) research funding. The success rate of our Ph.D. candidates needs to be improved further. A strong involvement of the staff at large in the education and in the recruitment of new students needs to be stimulated. Adjusted strategy The proven strength and flexibility of the Institute will provide a basis to address the issues listed above. Measures to adjust the goals and to address those issues have recently been discussed with the Professorial Advisory Board and with the Dean we are now in the process of implementing most of them. Some early results can already be observed, for instance in the increase in Ph.D. defenses and the increase in new BSc students. The Institute is deeply involved in the University-wide spearheads (like Cognition) and the board of the faculty spearheads (like escience and Systems Biology). This can result in more mass and focus as well as a softening of the financial cuts. Research on Human Computer Systems and Interaction will be fully integrated in the core institute chairs, thus integrating HCS. 20

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