Drushbametrics tree and its fruits

 

kim.gif (16450 bytes)

Kim H. Esbensen, Ph.D., professor

Aalborg University, Esbjerg (AUE)
Niels Bohrs vej 8 DK-6700 Esbjerg Denmark
Phone: +45 7912 7688 (office)
FAX: +45 7545 3643
http:www.acacsrg.aue.auc.dk
job e-mail: kes@aue.auc.dk

There is a large and urgent need for getting chemometrics started in Russia. The industrial production apparatus is generally very much worn down and many factories have been shut down instead of contributing to the New Russia's economic self-development. These are typical factories in need of critical upgrading and replacement. Modern process instrumentation is almost totally lacking and the economics for such introduction today often appear far off in the future.

However, instead of simply waiting for foreign capital investments to solve (also) this contemporary Russian problem, there is an immense alternative potential for "smart" upgrading of very many types of both laboratory and plant instrumentations, using chemometric multivariate calibrations a.o. This potential for significant chemometric contributions to the development of Russia's new economy constitute an interesting new niche, the exploitation of which will be mutually beneficial for foreign investment capital and/or foreign scientific involvements and the relevant Russian counterparts. This potential can hardly be overestimated. As such, especially process chemometrics would appear to be destined to become an important growth sector.

Chemometrics, at the beginning of the new millennium, is largely an unknown discipline in Russia however. Only a few handfuls of scientists have so far discovered the potential for chemometrics, largely to be found scattered in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tomsk and Barnaul a.o. All told, there are probably not more than 100 or so scientists, including students, which currently would call themselves chemometricians, but already some 10-15 very active colleagues are trying to establish a national organisation, the Russian Chemometrics Society (RCS). In this endeavour they deserved all possible help and collaboration: this relates to everything concerned with chemometrics: teaching, teaching aids, textbooks, journals, bilateral R&D collaborations, as well as major joint R&D projects (proposals). There is hardly any subscriptions to the two chemometrics journals in today's Russia, due to the present very dire economic realities, indeed the economic means for "standard" hardware/ software and office equipment is also almost non-existent, at least as gauged with contemporary standards in western countries. Russian chemometrics needs all the respectful solidarity to be had!

On the positive side: Russian students entering the natural sciences and the technological universities are of a breed unequalled. Their study discipline is absolutely without comparison, as is their workload - likewise for their teachers. There is no want in the level and quality of the degree of mathematical and traditional statistical basis for the disciplines taught - irrespective of the often very old technical equipment used. As is perhaps not always clearly appreciated in western countries, it is indeed possible to use also the penultimate, to say nothing of even older computer versions, with approximately equal scientific results (- only except calculating speed, naturally) as those pertaining to the ever-latest versions. All it takes is a certain humble attitude towards the present conditions - and a will to make do with less... Russian science and technology students are in a class of their own - from simple survival demands!

The competence and quality of Russian science and engineering/technology is well-known, and is still very much evident, in spite of today's severe brain-drain imposed upon Russia from the younger generations of scientist, which (perhaps understandable - perhaps not) wish to pursue a personal career outside Russia. However, there is still a very large proportion of responsible and patriotic scientists and higher education/university teachers, who choose to stay in their homeland, who dare the present economic and political situation with their civil courage and determination!

This is not to say that there is no wish for further international scientific and mutually beneficial economic collaborations from these aspects of society - on the contrary! There is thus a very positive latent basis for introduction of modern data analytical methods and software equipment in Russia. Chemometrics would appear to be one of the more direct avenues into a sorely needed modernisation of many chemical, industrial and technological sectors, judging from the contemporary success of chemometrics, especially process chemometrics, in comparative western countries a.o. Clearly however, help and collaboration should not be given as aid and gifts (alone).

"Help towards self-help" is the objective here! The following is a distinct "bottom-up", grassroots concept, which is meant to be a complement to today's existing "top-down" bilateral, between government interrelations.

On this background, a visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg in April, 2000, resulted in joint drafting of a new plan in this context, the "DRUSHBA-METRICS" concept for a five-year effort for starting up chemometric teaching and networking in Russia.

This effort is suggested to be supported by the Norwegian Chemometrics Society, the Norwegian Research Council as well as selected Norwegian industrial collaborators. The DRUSHBA-METRICS concept is clearly also oriented towards developing new markets for the participating Norwegian industries and other parties, as the new Russia's economic development gathers momentum in the years 2000-2005.

DRUSHBA = FRIENDSHIP

The main idea behind the DRUSHBA-METRICS concept is that young(er) foreign and Russian chemometricians will get an opportunity to get together while learning introductory chemometrics at a top international level, and to be able to create new, across-borders network-links as well as to start individual scientific collaborations early in their careers, in addition to being introduced to the most relevant western hardware/software products and other information technologies ("relevant" - not necessarily only the most advanced, the most recent...).

Mid-February in the years 2001-2005 will be held the first five Russian-international chemometrics workshops at alternating venues:

The objective of DRUSHBA-METRICS is to offer top-level international introductory chemometrics to a combined group of Russian and foreign students and scientists. The format of DRUSHBA-METRICS consists of four complete days of intensive introductory chemometrics, exercises, product- and services presentations - with additional, equally important, social off-work activities as well. The target audience is students and scientist wanting to start using chemometrics in their studies or research. Every workshop will be led by two internationally recognized chemometricians with experience in introductory teaching, with the aim of gradually letting this leading role be taken over by Russian counterparts during the run of the first three years.

DRUSHBA-METRICS developing towards a self-sustaining economic enterprise - with a three-year startup help from Norway

The concept for DRUSHBA-METRICS #1 calls for starting out with the current party of some 20+, highly motivated Russian colleagues - together with an invited group of foreign participants. As soon as things has gotten well underway, the plans aim for a wide and open participation policy (courtesy of the Russian Chemometrics Society) as interest and recognition grows. It is the stated intention that the quality and usefulness of the DRUSHBA-METRICS workshops shall be such that a significant number of foreign participants will develop. This also forms a gradually developing self-sustaining economic foundation upon which the DRUSHBA-METRICS workshop institution shall rely after the first three years. The objective is that the yearly DRUSHBA-METRICS workshops (which will be able to accommodate any number of participants) shall be able to furnish a yearly profit, which is put at the disposition of the Russian Chemometrics Society for its own scientific and organisational activities.

With this in mind the key principle for every international DRUSHBA-METRICS participant is stipulated as:
PARTICIPATE IN FRIENDSHIP & PAY FOR TWO!

The relative cost loads for one Russian participant versus one western participant is of the order of 1:5 - 1:10. This is where DRUSHBA-METRICS plans to create the opportunity for participation for a rapidly growing number of Russian colleagues (students, staff), otherwise being prohibitively expensive. The RCS shall be charged with all organisational labors as well as with organising all local travel and logistics (at no cost). This shall be the primary Russian contributions. There shall be no salary associated with any of the international teaching at DRUSHBA-METRICS, only travel/lodging costs shall be covered. This shall be the primary international contributions to DRUSHBA-METRICS. For the three first years a relatively small initiating donation is being sought from Norway (and internationally). This is to pave the way for DRUSHBA-METRICS developing into a completely self-sustaining institution. After the first subsidised three years' activities, DRUSHBA-METRICS shall be forced to rely on its own further economic development. With the current Russian costs of living, participatory costs, as seen by any western standards, would appear very reasonable indeed. Thus for a small extra cost only, all western participants will be able to make room for one, or more Russian counterparts.

This plan shall enable DRUSHBA-METRICS to develop (quickly) into the designated economically self-sustained institution - everything depending on the organisational skills involved and the quality and recognition of the workshop curriculum.

 


Oxana Ye. Rodionova, Ph.D.

Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics of Russian Academy of Science
Russian Chemometrics Society
Kosygin St. 4 , 117977,  Moscow, Russia
Phone/fax: +7 095 9397483 (office)
http://rcs.chph.ras.ru
job e-mail:  rcs@chph.ras.ru
home e-mail: O.Rodionova@g23.relcom.ru

2.5 years passed since October 1977, when a group of about 25 scientists from different institutes and universities of Moscow got together and decided to create Russian Chemometric Society (RCS). We made several small but important steps to make Chemometrics known to a wider audience here. Thanks to the members of organizing committee who work with enthusiasm and are interested both in the RCS and Chemometrics itself. And still we don't throw the great cast to spread the spirit of Chemometrics in Russia. The idea of DRUSHBA-METRICS seems to be absolutely fruitful and should help to enlist scientists from different places in Russian (as there are a lot of Universities all over Russia, but not only in Moscow and St.-Petersburg). I think that Winter Schools should be the hart of this project. Bellow there are the proposals for the agenda of the first Winter Workshop

Please, pay attention that these are only preliminary considerations! We will be glad to discuss and amend the context.

Schedule. The whole school will take 5 days. First day (Sunday) is arrival and accommodation day. Monday and Thursday are working days as well as Thursday and first part of Friday. Wednesday is day off. The agenda of working day is

8.00 - 9.00

Breakfast

9.00 - 11.00

Common Lecture

11.00 - 13.00

Free time (skiing and skating)

13.00 - 14.00

Lunch

14.00 - 16.00

Common Lecture

16.00 - 18.00

Separate Workshops (6 groups with computer training)

19.00 - 20.00

Dinner

20.00 - ..       

Free time

Thus there will be 6 lectures and 6*3=18 workshops. At Friday will be big discussion and departure.

Contents. We think that lectures should be theoretical like

  1. Introduction (Review of the main fields Chemometrics deals with)

  2. Design of experiments

  3. Classical linear regression (OLS, PCR, etc.)

  4. Special Chemometrics linear regression methods

  5. Nonlinear regression

  6. Neural networks

but workshops will be absolutely practical like

  1. Unscrambler usage (linear regression and Design of experiment)

  2. Fitter usage (non-linear methods)

We must do our best to find 6 computers that will be used at training. It will be great if listeners suggest their own problems to discuss and solve.

Language. The official language will be English of course. We forecast some troubles for Russian listeners so it would be absolutely necessary for ALL speakers to present us the FULL text of their lectures not later than 1 month before the school. We will copy and send these papers to all Russians (or to all attendees). Workshops will be performed in free atmosphere and need no translation.

Term and Place. Now we suggest mid of February, just after university vacations in Russia. It is calm time when easy to book the hotel. The place should be not far (4-6 hours driving) from Moscow close to the ancient towns like Vladimir, Suzdal or Yaroslavl. We will see.

Social Activities. This school should be absolutely informal meeting and we will spend time with pleasure to the brains as well as to the body. That is why we leave some time every midday (when sun is shining) for winter sports. It will be obligatory to take part in these sports for ALL attendees. Novices will be trained by experienced teacher. Moreover we suggest performing ski competition at the last day (Friday) with a Great Prize for the winner. We must be afraid of situation when our listeners will separate themselves to West and East parts, so some special attempts should be done to avoid it. For example, it may be mixed room occupation. At Wednesday there will be big excursion trip to old Russia. Also, especially for Western attendees we could organize 2-day trip in Moscow (Saturday and Sunday) just after the school. The hotel and excursions may be booked for extra charge if somebody will be interested in Moscow sightseeing.

 


Last modification: 25.05.03