Keynote speakers

The ICCSA 2021 conference will host three keynote lectures:

  • Paul Dumouchel
    "Embodying Artificial Intelligence: Robots, Apps and Humans"
    13 September 2021

  • Sumi Helal
    "Digital Health: Back to the Future"

    14 September 2021

  • Shirin Faraji
    "Databased accelerated on-the-fly hybrid quantum/classical dynamics"

    15 September 2021

All keynote addresses will be streamed live on the ICCSA Youtube channel.

Below is an overview of the invited speakers and their talks.

Opening Keynote Lecture

Monday, 13 September 2021
15:00-16:00 CEST
Link to live stream:

Paul Dumouchel

Embodying Artificial Intelligence: Robots, Apps and Humans

Algorithms, artificial agents, and programs essentially are abstract mathematical and conceptual objects. They can only have an incidence in the world to the extent that they are in some way embodied. That is to say, made material and concrete, applied, incarnated in a material artifact. Embodiment, the fact that the characteristics of the mind are inseparable to the way it materially relates to the world, has in the last few years become a central issue in cognitive science, AI, philosophy, and ethics. How are artificial minds embodied? What is the importance of their different forms of embodiment?  That of an app or any internet agent, of a smart tool, of an implant or of a social robot? What are the social consequences of these many ways of making the mind present in the world? How do they compare to the way in which we humans are embodied?

Ivan Blečić (University of Cagliari)


Paul Dumouchel is Canadian and until recently professor at the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan, where he thought political philosophy and philosophy of science. He is the author of Emotions (Seuil, 1999) The Ambivalence of Scarcity and Other Essays (2014) and The Barren Sacrifice (2015) both at Michigan State University Press. With Reiko Gotoh he edited Against Injustice: The New Economics of Amartya Sen (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Social Bonds as Freedom (Berghahn Books, 2015). His most recent book, with Luisa Damiano, is Vivre avec les robots (Seuil,  2016) The English translation, Living with robots, came out in 2017 and the Italian and Korean translation in 2019. He is presently Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy of the Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada.

Keynote Lecture

Tuesday, 14 September 2021
14:15-15:15 CEST
Link to live stream:

Sumi Helal

Digital Health: Back to the Future

The vision and hope of Digital Health is to transform the current fragmented and reactive primary care system (a point-of-care paradigm) into an integrated, proactive Health Management System – a continuum-of-care paradigm capable of providing personalized and timely guidance and just-in-time interventions, while availing real-time, individual- and population-level health information to individuals, healthcare organizations, governments, and policy makers. In this talk, I will provide a critical review of the key advances achieved in the past 20 years but also the mistakes made, missed opportunities, and in general lessons learnt through research conducted to enable digital health and especially the personal health area. I will present 7 key such lessons and close by summarizing the challenges ahead and potential paths forward.

Chiara Garau (University of Cagliari)
Osvaldo Gervasi (University of Perugia)


Sumi Helal is a Computer & Information Science and Engineering Professor at the University of Florida, USA, and Director of its Mobile and Pervasive Computing Laboratory. He co-founded and directs the Gator Tech Smart House, a real-world deployment project that aims at identifying key barriers and opportunities to make the Smart Home concept a common place (creating the “Smart Home in a Box” concept). His active areas of research focus on architectural and programmability aspects of smart spaces and the Internet of Things, and on pervasive/ubiquitous systems and their human-centric applications with special focus on proactive health/wellness, patient empowerment and e-coaching, and assistive technology in support of personal health, aging, disabilities, and independence. Professor

From 2017 to 2020, and while on leave from Florida, he was professor and Chair in Digital Health at Lancaster University, UK, where he led interdisciplinary research initiatives in digital health in both the School of Computing and Communications (Faculty of Science and Technology) and the Division of Health Research (Faculty of Health and Medicine). As Director of Lancaster University’s Center on Digital Health and Quality of Life Technologies, he led several projects on Connected Health Cities, Healthy New Towns design and implementation, suicide prevention using cybernetics and analytics, Airport Accessibility for the hearing impaired, and intelligent primary care GP-Patient interactions.

Prof Helal served as the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Computer (2015-2018), the Computer Society’s flagship and premier publication. He also served as member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Computer Society, and Chair of its Magazine Operational Committee. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the IET, Fellow of the AAAS, and since July 2020, a member of Academia Europaea.

Keynote Lecture

Wednesday, 15 September 2021
14:15-15:15 CEST
Link to live stream:

Shirin Faraji

Databased accelerated on-the-fly hybrid quantum/classical dynamics

Light-triggered processes, which are ubiquitous in nature and technology, are inherently quantum. Phenomena such as photovoltaic effect, charge migration, and proton-coupled electron transfer require quantum mechanical description. Understanding and optimizing these processes is the key to novel technologies such as optogenetics, photopharmacology, and photoresponsive materials. However, an accurate description of these processes in (supra)molecular systems is still a demanding task due to: i) the need of high-level electronic structure calculations; (ii) coupled electron-nuclear dynamics; (iii) the importance of the environment.
Recent years have seen a continuous growth of the direct dynamics approaches, e.g. semiclassical trajectory surface hopping or on-the-fly quantum dynamics within variational multi-configuration Gaussian, to study coupled electron-nuclear dynamics of photo-active molecules of moderate size. Particularly troublesome for trajectory-based methods is the huge amount of electronic structure calculations that need to be performed during the simulation. In this work, we present an innovative solution, i.e. both semiclassical and quantum direct dynamics formulations are combined with a database, within which the amount of electronic structure calculations is drastically reduced, by employing machine-learning algorithms and methods borrowed from the realm of artificial intelligence. On-the-fly direct dynamics can be further embedded into a quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics, for the explicit inclusion of the environment. The degree of sophistication, which can be achieved by such an implementation will be illustrated with a test system.

M. Noelia Faginas-Lago (University of Perugia)


Shirin Faraji is the Chair of Theoretical Chemistry at Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials at University of Groningen, The Netherlands, since 2017. She received her M.Sc. (with honors) from Iran University of Science and Technology and her Ph.D. (summa cum laude honor) from Heidelberg University, in the group of Prof. Lorenz Cederbaum under the supervision of Prof. Horst Köppel, focused on coupled electro-nuclear dynamics. In 2010, she joined as a postdoctoral research associate the group of Prof. Andreas Dreuw. In 2012, this academic momentum has culminated in her being awarded the Elite-Postdoc Program of the Baden-Württemberg Foundation to start her own research group. In 2014 she has been elected as a fellow of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to visit the group of Prof. Anna Krylov at University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the development and application of hybrid classical/quantum dynamical methods to study light-induced processes and quantum effects in biomolecules and novel materials. As of today, she has published 47 peer-reviewed articles, two invited review articles, and three book chapters. Dr. Faraji has received several prestigious fellowship/awards including the German permanent residence permit as a high-qualified scientist and the Robert Bosch Fellowship for Excellence and Leadership Skills for Outstanding Women in Science. She acts in various scientific boards; Young Academy of Groningen, the CECAM-Lorenz Center Chemistry board, EU Open Research advisory board, and in 2019, she was elected member of the Q-Chem Inc. board of directors, one of the world’s leading quantum chemistry software.