How IAPR helped me to become Rector of the Belarusian National University #

Sergey Ablameyko#

Scientific communities like IAPR (International Association for Pattern Recognition ) can play an important role in the scientific career of every scientist. It was my case and I would like to tell you, and especially young researchers, about this successful story.

I graduated at the Belarusian State University as mathematician in 1978 and immediately started to work in the Institute of Engineering Cybernetics of National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. My supervisor gave me the task to vectorise automatically scanned maps. These investigations were just beginning in the world and we, in Soviet Union, started to do it also. My first paper appeared in 1979 and in 1984 I published my first book entitled “Methods and algorithms for processing of raster graphical information”. I got the PhD degree in 1984 and then the DSc degree in 1990 for research in cartographical image recognition. It was done for military applications and we could not publish these results widely.

My first trip abroad was in 1988 in Italy, where I visited the Institute of Cybernetics of CNR (Napoli) and met Gabriella Sanniti di Baja and Carlo Arcelli. At that time, I heard about IAPR for the first time. As you possibly know, in 1988 ICPR was moved from China to Italy and fortunately many scientists came to Italy in occasion of the conference. Some of them also visited Napoli and I had the opportunity to meet Gunilla Borgefors, Eji Kawaguchi and other scientists. I did not attend the 1988 ICPR, but learned well about it. Soviet society for Pattern Recognition was accepted as IAPR member in that year but then in 1991 Soviet Union stopped its existence and Soviet IAPR society consequently too.

In Autumn 1992, Belarusians received IAPR agreement to create their own society. We organized all researchers working in the Pattern Recognition area, had a meeting, prepared all documents, and registered the society in our Ministry of Justice. Then, we applied for joining IAPR and, in Spring 1993, Belarusian society was accepted as IAPR member and I became IAPR GB member. At that time, I was head of the image processing laboratory at the Institute of Engineering Cybernetics of National Academy of Sciences.

In 1993, we started to organize the International Conference "Pattern Recognition and Information Processing" that since then is held every two years and starting from 1997 became a IAPR-sponsored conference.

At that time, I started to write the first papers in English language. In mid of 90th I wrote several articles in IAPR Newsletters about the state of PR research in countries of former USSR. From 1994 to 2000 I was a member of Publicity & Publications Committee. In 1998 I became IAPR Newsletters Area Editor up to 2003. My first book in English was published in 1997 in USA by SPIE Press. At that time I already had several good journal papers and many proceedings papers. A really important event for my career happened in 1998: at the Brisbane ICPR I was elected as IAPR Fellow for contribution to document image analysis and service to IAPR. Simultaneously from 1998 I became a deputy director of my Institute.

In 2000, I became a member of IAPR Membership Committee and in 2002 Chair of that Committee. At that time, several new member societies joined IAPR. For my activity within the IAPR Membership Committee, in 2004 I received a IAPR Certificate of Appreciation.

In 2000, a book that I wrote together with T.Pridmore about line-drawing image interpretation was published by Springer. In 2002 I became Director of my Institute. In 2005, I became member of the Presidium of National Academy of Sciences and Chair of Mathematics, Informatics and Physics Division in the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2004, I was elected as IAPR second Vice-President, responsible, besides other duties, for the links between IAPR and IFIP. My position as second Vice-President allowed me to understand from inside all the IAPR activities. In 2006, I was elected as IAPR first Vice-President, responsible for all the IAPR Technical Committees, which required a lot of efforts and time.

Based on my scientific and administrative experience, in summer 2008 I was nominated as Rector of the National University – Belarusian State University (BSU) and in Autumn 2008 I was actually appointed. BSU is the main university in Belarus and has around 35000 students and 8000 staff members. It became immediately clear for me, that this job would have requirered all my time. I was nominated again as first Vice-President for a second term. However, by taking into account that I could have devoted too little time to IAPR, I preferred to withdraw my candidature.

Summarizing, my career evolved along two parallel ways allowing me to grow: 1) within the IAPR community, and 2) at administrative level in my country. Of course, my main achievements are the scientific ones. My area of research started from graphics recognition, namely map processing, then extended to processing of engineering drawings, remote sensing images, medical images, etc. Up to now, I published 13 authored/co-authored books in Russian, English, Polish languages, 40 edited/co-edited books and proceedings, more than 130 journal papers and several hundreds of conference papers. This is the scientific results. But they were also obtained due to my deep involvement in our PR community. Many papers have been published together with my Italian, Japanese, British, Polish, Russian, etc. colleagues.

I would also add that IAPR helped me a lot to understand and work at administrative international level. Moreover, the positions I had within IAPR are regarded as important in our native countries and are very useful for the CVs of all scientists.

Concluding I would strongly recommend young researchers to be active in this direction, to propose themselves in their IAPR Member Societies, work hard in such societies. This will definitely give them many benefits.

Your sincerely

Prof. S.Ablameyko,
IAPR Fellow,
Rector (Vice-Chancelor)
Belarusian State University (
Minsk, Belarus

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