On March 17, 2006, I was all smiles when I heard that my paper entitled “Multi-objective Particle Swarm Optimization for Fuzzy Logic Based Active Queue Management” had been accepted for presentation and publication at the IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems Conference (FUZZ-IEEE 2006) which this year was part of the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (IEEE WCCI 2006) along with the IEEE International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN 2006) and IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC 2006). WCCI 2006 was scheduled to be held from July 16 to July 21, 2006 at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
My heart was filled with immense joy not only because I was going to travel to Canada but more importantly because I was going to take part in the largest technical event on computational intelligence in the world with the biggest impact. At such an event, thousands of scientists, engineers, educators and students from all over the world disseminate their new research findings and exchange information on emerging areas of research in the field. Such an event also creates a pleasant environment for making new friends who share similar research interests.After the paper was accepted, I had to make sure that I registered for the Conference otherwise my paper would not have appeared in the Conference proceedings. My School paid for the registration of the paper and processed my travel documents (air tickets and visa).I am really thankful to them.
I left for Canada on 14 July 2006. I flew with Nationwide Airlines from Durban to Jo’burg where I flew with KLM to Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport. I connected to Vancouver on another KLM flight. I arrived at Vancouver International Airport at about 4pm (PacificTime) on 15 July 2006. The authorities at the airport guided me to the YVR Airporter terminal where I boarded a bus which dropped me right in front of Century-Plaza Hotel and Spa, my hotel for the Conference . This hotel is right across the street from the Sheraton.
While still suffering from jet lag, I had to force myself to the conference registration table to do the registration formalities. My presentation was not a major concern at that stage because it was scheduled for Friday, 21 July at 13:40pm. I was of the view that by that time I would have fully recovered from the jet lag. From 16 July, I was attending the sessions with naps here and there when the jet lag seemed to take its toll on me. I really enjoyed the sessions on Swarm Intelligence, Fuzzy Sets Applications and Evolutionary Multiobjective optimization.On the invited and plenary talks, I enjoyed listening to most of them but I single out two talks: A New Frontier in Computation-Computation with Information Described in Natural Language by Lotfi Zadeh, the creator of Fuzzy Logic and 20 Years of Evolutionary Multi-Objective Optimization: What Has Been Done and What Remains to be Done by Carlos A. Coello Coello.I really enjoyed Coello’s presentation because it gave me a complete understanding of the developments in Evolutionary Multi-objective Optimization (EMOO). I have used some EMOO concepts in my MSc thesis. This experience has just heightened my intesest in the field. I hope to do some more work in this field because now I know the exact EMOO research areas.
On Friday, 21 July 2006 at 13:40pm, I had to present my paper in a session entitled Fuzzy Sets Applications to Communications & Signal Processing. My presentation was quite good. I think this time round I improved my timing compared to my novel conference presentation at SATNAC 2005. I enjoyed the experience because the world was listening to me!
On some days, I could take some time off and go around the City with Zhiyong Zhang, a friend I had made at the same conference. We really enjoyed our walks on Robson Street and even down there at Gastown where we saw the famous 29 year old steam clock. On onother day, a friend who studies at the University of British Columbia took me to his University where I had a nice time.
On 22 July at 10 am, I took a flight to Toronto to visit my relatives for three days. While there, they treated me so well.On one of the days, they took me to the Niagara Falls, a major tourist attraction on the Canada-US boarder. I had a good time looking at the Horseshoe and the American Falls.I also had the opportunity to see the Welland Canal along the way. I remembered that some years back in my primary school Geography, I learnt that this Canal links Lake Ontario with Lake Erie.As part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, it allows ships to avoid Niagara Falls by traversing the Niagara Escarpment.
On 25 July at 7:10pm, I flew with Air France to Paris. I had to spend the whole day in Charles de Gaulle Airport while waiting for a late night flight to Johannesburg. It was scheduled to take off at 23:30hrs but unfortunately there was a heavy downpour in Paris such that it had to be delayed by 3 hours. As a result, I missed my flight to Durban such that I had to go on a different one (No big deal as long as I arrive alive).
I hope this gives you a picture of my recent experiences. I would like to thank the Radio Access Technologies Centre in the School of Electrical, Electronics and Computer Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal for sponsoring my trip. More than everything, I thank God for His Grace upon me. I will post some photos on my website once I receive them from Zhiyong.