Upcoming Invited Seminars 2024

Emma Robinson


19th February 2024


Room: 55.309


Title: Computational methods for brain imaging analysis

Abstract: Dr Robinson's research focuses on the development of computational methods for brain imaging analysis,  and covers a wide range of image processing and machine learning topics. Most notably, her software for cortical surface registration (Multimodal Surface Matching, MSM) has been central to the development of  of the Human Connectome Project’s “Multi-modal parcellation of the Human Cortex “ (Glasser et al, Nature 2016), and has featured as a central tenet in the HCP’s paradigm for neuroimage analysis (Glasser et al, Nature NeuroScience 2016). This work has been widely reported in the media including Wired, Scientific American, and Wall Street Journal). Current research interests are focused on the application of advanced machine learning, and particularly Deep Learning to diverse data sets combining multi-modality imaging data with genetic samples. We are particularly interested in building sensitive models of cognitive development and developmental outcome for prematurely born babies from data collected for the Developing Human Connectome Project (dHCP)

Silvia Budday


19th February 2024


Room: 55.309


Title: Exploring brain mechanics

Abstract: Brain tissue is not only one of the most important but also the arguably most complex and
compliant tissue in the human body. While long underestimated, increasing evidence
confirms that mechanics plays a critical role in modulating brain function and dysfunction.
Computational models based on nonlinear continuum mechanics can help understand the
basic processes in the brain, e.g., during development, injury, and disease, and facilitate
early diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. This presentation will show how we
develop computational models that capture both biological processes on the cellular scale
and macroscopic loading and pathologies by closely integrating biomechanical experiments
on human brain tissue, microstructural analyses, continuum mechanics modeling, and finite
element simulations.

Rubén Bonet


5th March 2024


Room: 52.219

Title: Fractus, the Deep Tech pioneer


In its academic origins at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC Barcelona Tech), Fractus emerged as a pioneer in antenna technologies, with revolutionary advancements in the field. Extensive research and development, coupled with a dedicated focus on R&D, have launched Fractus' technology to global recognition, accumulating adoption by a majority of mobile phone OEMs and network infrastructure operators. An exemplary manifestation of the advantages offered by Fractus technology is the absence of external antennas in today's mobile phones.

Nevertheless, the journey has not been without its challenges, including pivotal moments that demanded strategic decisions. Notably, the company underwent a significant transformation, shifting its business model from product-centric to a licensing approach. This transition, though demanding, reflects the resilience and adaptability required in the dynamic landscape of cutting-edge technology. As we consider the implication of Fractus' trajectory, we gain insights into the intricate interplay between academic innovation and real-world industry evolution, offering valuable lessons for PhD students navigating their own paths of research and development.



Past Invited Seminars 2023

Modelling in Biomechanics


24th November 2023


Room: 55.309

Title: Modelling in Biomechanics

Abstract: We have the pleasure to announce a new edition of BCN-MedTech Seminars. Three colleagues will present each month with a common topic. Dissemination and possible collaborations within our environment will be the bases of the seminars to enrich our research! 

The first session will be about Modelling in Biomechanics and the two selected speakers are: 

- Zerihun G. Workineh (Postdoctoral researcher)

- Morteza Rasouligandomani (Postdoctoral researcher)

They are both from the Biomechanics and Mechanobiology team of the SIMBIOsys research group.

At the beginning of the session Gemma Piella will give a short introduction to the BCN MedTech group and its research.

This first seminar will take place at 55.309 on the 24th of November at 15:30 CET. We will share more information about the speakers the days before the seminar. 

Machine Learning Scientists from Amazon


28th November 2023


Room: 55.309

Title: Machine learning that powers Amazon Alexa

Abstract: In this presentation you will learn how machine learning is applied in industrial settings at scale. We will explain how Alexa works and what ML algorithms enable you to get a reply in less than a second. We will also talk about opportunities for students in Amazon and the hiring process for internships 2024.

Name of the speakers: Antonio Bonafonte (Senior ML scientist), Guillermo Cambara Ruiz (ML scientist), Elena Sokolova (ML science manager)

Nicolás Escudero

25th October 2023


Room: 55.309

Title: Computer-based inventions: how to patent in the fields of software and artificial intelligence

Abstract: What is the best strategy to protect our research results? Can we patent software? And algorithms? Our guest speaker Dr Nicolàs Escudero is an experienced European patent agent who will be sharing his experience with us and talking about the following aspects:

·         How software is interpreted in patents

·         How to patent software

·         Can artificial intelligence be patented?

·         Where to patent SW/IA

·         Recommendations and conclusions

Biography:  He holds a Ph. D. in physics (UAM, 2008) and is a European patent attorney (EQE 2014). He has worked as scientific researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (IFT-UAM/CSIC, 2003-2008), had some short research stays at KAIST (South Korea, 2005) and University of South Paris (France, 2007). He is the CEO of TRBL Services, a company specialized in computer based inventions protection, both in Europe and USA.

Researchers from the Institute for Ethnomusicology of Kunstuniversität Graz (KUG)

19th October 2023


Room: 52.019

Title: Computational Methods in Ethnomusicology: Case Studies from Kunstuniversität Graz (Austria)

Abstract:  Ethnomusicologists have always been prone to the use of technology for their research, from the recording equipment during fieldwork to the use of mechanical and more recently computational tools for music analysis. However, the wide spectrum of research objects and questions which ethnomusicological research engage with, the lack of reliable tools for culture-aware, high-level analyses, and the scarcity of large-enough, well curated datasets still present many challenges for the consolidation of computationally aided methodologies within the discipline of ethnomusicology at large. In the case of the Institute for Ethnomusicology at Kunstuniversität Graz (KUG), Austria, many of their members have found value in the use of computational methods for their research. In this seminar, we will present four ethnomusicological research projects carried out at our Institute which rely on these methods. The FWF funded project Tango-Danceability of Music in European Perspective, led by Kendra Stepputat, made use of motion capture technologies for dance movement analysis and the study of tango music danceability. In his PhD research on the Balinese improvisatory solo drumming tradition kendang tunggal, Kurt Schatz has developed a program to record, transcribe, analyze, generate and synthesize drum patterns in order to understand the inherent grammar of this tradition. Babak Nikzat and Rafael Caro Repetto are in the process of building the KUG Dastgāhi Corpus, containing solo recordings of vocal and instrumental performances of Iranian dastgāhi music, with the aim of contributing with quantitative information to the musicological study of the modal entities of this tradition. Finally, Sarah Weiss, who has been applying computational methods on symbolic data for her long-term research on Javanese pathet, will present her future project on the study of perceptions of similarity in different linear modal traditions, in which these methods will have a central role. In each of these case studies we will focus on the research questions and goals that motivated the use of computational tools, and we will reflect on the benefits and expectations of these methods, but also on the difficulties and limitations in their implementation.

Gemma De les Coves

27th October 2023


Room: 53.309

Title: Universality in physics, computer science and beyond

Abstract: Certain spin models are universal, meaning that they contain all other models when seen in the appropriate light [GDLC & T. Cubitt, Science 351, 1180 (2016)]. What is the relation between universal spin models, universal Turing machines and notions of universality in neural networks? And what is their relation to forms of unreachability such as uncomputability or undecidability? In this talk, I will explore these questions in light of our recent framework for universality (arxiv:2307.06851) and share some philosophical perspectives on these structures.  

Biography: Gemma De les Coves is an Associate Professor in Theoretical Physics at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. With her research group, she works on understanding the reach of notions of universality and their limitations across disciplines, as well as mathematical physics topics at the intersection of quantum information theory and noncommutative algebra.

Roger Assaker

2nd October 2023


Room: 51.100




The talk covers the entrepreneurial journey using innovative Computer Modeling & Simulations (CM&S) technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to solve a market need and create value. This journey will be illustrated by 2 cases: 

·  e-Xstream engineering - where we took advanced research on multi-scale material modeling from the university and developed it - Technology & Business - to become the leader in advanced material modeling technology used by the top Fortune 500 Industrial customers all around the world

·  MDsim - a cross-industry innovation using Computer Modeling & Simulation (CM&S) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve the quality of life of millions of patients suffering from spine degeneration and deformity

The talk will cover the technology stack (high-level) but also the business and other, less-tangible, items used during this journey. We will end-up by highlighting the similarity and differences between the use of CM&S in the industry (Aero, Auto, …) and in Medicine (i.e. In-Silico Medicine).

Biography: Roger Assaker got his PhD in the civil engineering from University Catholique de Louvain (1998). He is currently the chief executive officer in MDSIM company, Luxembourg. MDSIM is a health-tech start-up active in the in-silico medicine. The company is focused on using computer modeling and simulation (CM&S) combined to data sciences and AI to help improving the quality of life of millions of patients around the globe. The company is developing Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) aimed at helping medical device companies and surgeons to develop and use optimal medical solutions for a better patient care. Roger is also a technology entrepreneur and a passionate for customer engagement and people leadership. He tackles challenging problems using innovative technology and business models. He co-founded e-Xstream engineer in 2003 and he grew it to become the world leader in ICME before selling it to MSC Software in 2012. He Joined MSC as Chief Material Strategist while continuing to be the CEO for e-Xstream engineering.

Dr. Aleksei Tiulpin

21st of September 2023 


Room 55.309

Title: Osteoarthritis progression modeling and what we have been missing 

Abstract: He will discuss his past and recent research on modeling the progression of knee osteoarthritis using different modalities and methodological approaches, culminating with his lab’s recent work on active surveillance.

Biography: Dr. Aleksei Tiulpin is an assistant professor at the University of Oulu, where he leads the Intelligent Medical Systems (IMEDS) research group. Additionally, he is a visiting professor at Aalto University in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Prior to this, Dr. Tiulpin conducted postdoctoral research at the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University and the Department of Electrical Engineering at KU Leuven. Dr. Tiulpin holds the title of docent (habilitation) from the University of Oulu in Machine Learning for Medical Imaging, and he is a member of ELLIS. He has published in MICCAI, IEEE TMI, PNAS, and other top venues. Currently, Dr. Tiulpin is broadly interested in building medical AI systems that can estimate their own uncertainty, process high-dimensional multimodal medical data, interact with users, and optimize clinical utility in general. 

John J. Costi

5th of July 2023 

10:30 h

Room 52.119 (Roc Boronat building)

Title: A multiaxial and multiscale assessment of lower back injury mechanisms

Abstract: Chronic low back pain (LBP) is a crippling condition that affects quality of life and is a significant burden on the health care system and the workforce. The mechanisms of LBP are poorly understood; however, it is well known that the loss of intervertebral disc height due to degeneration is a common cause of low back and referred pain.

Poor vascularity and slow repair of the disc render it susceptible to circumferential tears, which are present from the teenage years and arise from the delamination of adjacent lamellae within the annulus fibrosus. These tears are associated with disc degeneration and likely increase the risk of herniation (aka ‘a slipped disc’) via either a single overload or repetitive lifting events.

The major underlying microstructural components contributing to these tears are collagen and elastin, which are found within the extracellular matrix in the annulus fibrosus. However, there is limited understanding of how degeneration affects the mechanical properties of collagen type I individual fibre bundles (microscale), and of isolated fibrils (nanoscale). Furthermore, there are significant gaps with respect to both the ultrastructural organisation and mechanical properties of the elastic fibre network between adjacent lamellae (i.e., interlamellar matrix: ILM). Taken together, a new understanding of the role that the ILM plays during progressive loading to disc herniation, and the internal disc deformations during repetitive simulated lifting motions is required.

This presentation will discuss my program of research on the multiscale assessment of the effects of disc degeneration and herniation. A sophisticated multiaxial hexapod robot was developed for simulating lifting loads on cadaver lumbar segments, together with the measurement of internal disc deformations for determining a lifting injury threshold.
Current research that extends on these findings will also be discussed.

Biography:  John is a Mechanical Engineer who completed his PhD on the biomechanics of the intervertebral disc in 2004 at Flinders University. In 2005-2006 he undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, USA. In 2009, he joined The College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University in his current position as an Academic staff member where he teaches Solid Mechanics and Biomechanics. From 2009-2011 he led a collaborative team to design and develop a novel, award-winning, six-degree-of-freedom hexapod robot for the three- dimensional loading of biological joints and tissues. His program of research aims to understand the fundamental
multiscale properties of normal, degenerated, and injured discs, and their mechanisms of failure, and to develop medical devices to treat these problems. He has been working in the field of orthopaedic biomechanics research for almost 30 years.

He holds several leadership roles: Vice President and President-Elect of the Spine Society of Australia, Head of the Biomechanics and Implants Laboratory and Director of Flinders Surgical Lab. John is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia (Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering Colleges, 2015-), Fellow of International Orthopaedic Research of the International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies (2019-), and was a recipient of the Spine Society of Australia Spinal Research Award (2017, 2019).

Adrian Galdran 

Thursday, 15th of June 2023 

Room 51.100 15:00 h

Title: A Tutorial on Model Calibration for Neural Nets 

Abstract: A calibrated machine learning model produces probabilistic predictions that are well-aligned with real probabilities: it tends to be more certain when it is correct. Unfortunately, the unique characteristics of modern neural networks, e.g. over-parametrization or iterative training dynamics, can often result in overfitting the training data and generating over-confident predictions. The goal of this talk is to introduce machine learning practitioners to the main ideas and methods of modern model calibration: its formal definition, how we can measure it, and how we can improve it. This talk is part of a tutorial (accepted to MICCAI 2023) on uncertainty quantification for medical image analysis, and it will also have a short hands-on code session: we will train a skin lesion classifier in pytorch, measure its calibration, and learn a post-processing transform to improve it.   

Biography:  Adrian Galdran is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona jointly with the Australian Institute of Machine Learning in Adelaide, leading a project on Uncertainty Quantification for medical imaging. Prior to this, he worked as lecturer/post-doctoral researcher in biomedical image analysis at Bournemouth University in the UK, ETS Montréal in Canada and INESC-TEC Porto in Portugal.


Schahram Dustdar 

Friday 24th of February 2023, 14:30 am 52.123 

Title: Edge Intelligence - Research Opportunities in the Distributed Computing  Continuum 

Abstract: As humans, Internet of Things, software services and AI continue to  become the entangled fabric of distributed systems, systems engineers and researchers  are facing novel challenges. In this talk, we analyze the role of AI in the context of IoT, Edge, and Cloud in the co-evolution of distributed systems for the new decade. We  identify challenges and discuss a roadmap that these new distributed systems have to  address in order to bring intelligence to the edge. We take a closer look at how a cyber physical fabric will be complemented by AI operationalization to enable seamless end to-end distributed systems. 

Biography: Schahram Dustdar is a Full Professor of Computer Science at the  Vienna Technical University, heading the Research Division of Distributed Systems at the TU Wien, Austria. He holds several honorary positions: University of California (USC) Los Angeles; Monash University in Melbourne, Shanghai University, Macquarie University in Sydney, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.  

From Dec 2016 until Jan 2017 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Sevilla,  Spain and from January until June 2017 he was a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley, USA.  

From 1999 – 2007 he worked as the co founder and chief scientist of Caramba Labs Software AG in Vienna (acquired by ProjectNetWorld AG), a venture capital co-funded software company focused on  software for collaborative processes in teams. He is co-founder of edorer.com (an  EdTech company based in the US) and co-founder and chief scientist of Sinoaus.net,  a Nanjing, China based R&D organization focusing on IoT and Edge Intelligence. 

He is founding co-Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Internet of Things (ACM  TIoT) as well as Editor-in-Chief of Computing (Springer). He is an Associate Editor of  IEEE Transactions on Services Computing, IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing,  ACM Computing Surveys, ACM Transactions on the Web, and ACM Transactions on  Internet Technology, as well as on the editorial board of IEEE Internet Computing and  IEEEComputer. 

Dustdar is recipient of multiple awards: IEEE TCSVC Outstanding Leadership Award  (2018), IEEE TCSC Award for Excellence in Scalable Computing (2019), ACM  Distinguished Scientist (2009), ACM Distinguished Speaker (2021), IBM Faculty  Award (2012). He is an elected member of the Academia Europaea: The Academy of  Europe, as well as an IEEE Fellow (2016) and an Asia-Pacific Artificial Intelligence  Association (AAIA) Fellow (2021) and the AAIA president (2021).



Past Research Seminars

Seminars take place at UPF, Campus Poblenou, Roc Boronat, 138, Barcelona and will only be streamed/recorded if the speaker has granted permission.  Rooms 55.309 streaming / 55.410 streaming / Auditorium streaming 

EiTIC members: If you are interested in giving a Research Seminar or you would like to invite a speaker, please  contact with Joana Clotet  and fill in the following form RSDetails Form