Inaugural Cisco Chair in Digital Transport announced at UNSW

Professor Flora Salim has been appointed to the Cisco Chair in Digital Transport in the School of Computer Science at UNSW.

The Research Chair is part of a partnership between UNSW and Cisco with a focus on industry-led research in digital transport and areas such as mobile networks, behaviour analysis, multi-vehicle planning, resource allocation, and transport modelling.

It will focus on the digitisation of transport, and builds on UNSW’s strengths in data science and transport systems engineering, and Cisco’s global technology leadership in the digitisation of transport.

Professor Salim, currently the co-Deputy Director of RMIT Centre for Information Discovery and Data Analytics (CIDDA) at RMIT University, is recognised in the use of machine learning on stream and sensor data for human behaviour modelling.

She was recently appointed as a member of the Australian Research Council (ARC) College of Experts.

Salim is an Associate Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Automated Decision Making and Society and her current research focus is on developing data-efficient machine learning and fair and explainable AI techniques for applications in mobility data science and personalised recommender systems.

“I am very thrilled to join UNSW in the new role of Professor and Cisco Chair of Digital Transport, Centre for Critical Digital Infrastructure,” she said.

“There are a couple of things that make me really excited about this role. Firstly, UNSW’s strong commitment to research excellence coupled with direct opportunity to translate the research for impact and transformation in the industry sector.

“The role will provide a platform for me to generate more impactful research in the field of data science and ubiquitous computing, particularly on human behaviour modelling and machine learning for time-series and spatio-temporal data, coupled with the opportunity to apply them across multiple emerging technologies, such as IoT, digital twins, and automation, viewed from the lens of transport and mobility.

“Secondly, there has never been a better time to do research in this important area of transport and mobility,” said Salim.

With more data available to fuel the research in mobility data science, Professor Salim also acknowledged the further multi-prong impact from this kind of research area into multiple other areas such as pandemic management, supply chain, digitisation in infrastructures and energy systems, the future of work, the future of retail, future energy systems, spatial intelligence and defence, and sustainability.

The role will bring numerous opportunities for close collaboration between Innovation Central Sydney, Transport for NSW, Cisco and other partners in the ecosystem.

“I am also very keen to expand the collaboration further to include other stakeholders in the digital transport and mobility that form larger smarter cities and IoT ecosystems, other technology providers and end user groups that will reap the benefits,” said Salim.

“Using this role to do more excellent and impactful research, I hope to see more practical knowledge and applications of fundamental research along with a streamlined translation pipeline, towards more human-centric, effective, efficient, sustainable, safer, and fairer systems in our cities.”

The new Research Chair aims to help create opportunities to develop the technology agenda and support the acceleration of digitisation and data-driven decision making in Australia’s transport sector.

The future transport system could reduce delays due to vehicle breakdowns, or detect potholes, bumps and potential hazards on the road, making travel easier and safer for everyone.

“We are delighted to welcome Professor Salim to the Research Chair in Digital Transport; this work is especially important in our rapidly evolving world, where the need for integrated and dynamic transport systems for people and products has never been more critical,” said Dean of UNSW Engineering, Professor Stephen Foster.

Professor Salim obtained her PhD in Computer Science from Monash University in 2009 and has received more than $10 million in research funding in the last ten years.

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