Combining Animal and Computer Science at the International Summer School at ETU "LETI"

Combining Animal and Computer Science at the International Summer School at ETU

An international online school on Animal-Centered Computing attended by students of leading universities from 19 countries in Europe, Asia, as well as the USA and Australia, took place at ETU "LETI."

03.09.2020 92

On July 27, a weeklong international online school on Animal-Centered Computing organized by ETU "LETI" together with the University of Haifa (Israel) and University of Salford (Manchester, UK) ended. Professors from North Carolina State University (USA), the University of Bristol (UK), the University of Bologna (Italy) also took part in the development of the program.

The participants of the school were 68 students from Georgia Tech, KU Leuven, the University of Melbourne, Hokkaido University, and other world-leading higher education institutions. These are students who decided to learn more about the new field of application of computer science and gain skills in using modern tools of machine learning and data analytics.

"Our summer school brought together researchers and experts from such diverse fields of knowledge as animal science and computer science. In particular, the school involved 4 out of 5 key research and academic areas of LETI: bioengineering, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and wireless technologies. Besides, students from many of the world's top-100 universities, as well as researchers with a PhD,participated in the work of the school."

Dmitry Kaplun, Head of the Program, Associate Professor of the Department of Automation and Control Processes of ETU "LETI"

The program aims to introduce and engage students in activities to improve animal health and animal welfare using information technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Students learned how to develop technological solutions that will improve animal health and welfare, enable more effective communication between people and their pets, and help develop veterinary science.

"The school was very successful. Thanks largely to the online format, we were able to attract a large number of students from different countries with different experiences and knowledge, who, at the end of the school, presented their solutions in computing technologies that will improve the quality of life of animals teamed up in three groups under the guidance of leading experts. Despite the large time difference with some students, they participated in all the activities. Among these students are Sarah Webber from the University of Melbourne (Australia), Haruka Kosuga from Hokkaido University (Japan), and Ceara Byrne from Georgia Institute of Technology (USA). As a result, the jury decided that all three solutions deserve to be presented as poster presentations at the Seventh International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, which will take place November 10-12, 2020 in Milton Keynes, UK."

Anna Zamansky, Program Supervisor, Associate Professor of Information Systems Department at the University of Haifa.

The program of the School was divided into several tracks. ETU “LETI” researchers Ivan Tyukin and Evgenia Novikova, together with Admela Jukan (TU Braunschweig, Germany) and Eyal Misha (ENGS Dairy Company, Israel) supervised the track on the use of computer vision tools and the Internet of Things to monitor animal health. Robert Young from the University of Salford (UK), Eleonora Nannoni from the University of Bologna (Italy), and Oren Forkosh from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel) taught students animal science and veterinary. One more direction will focus on human-animal relations and methods for designing and developing interfaces for animals. Orit Hirsch-Matsioulas, an anthropologist on human-animal relations (Kinneret College, Israel), Alexandre Rossi, veterinarian, zootechnician, and well-known TV presenter for the popular Latin American program on animals (Brazil), as well as experts in designing for animals Clara Mancini (Open University, UK), Patrick C. Shih (Indiana University of Bloomington, USA) and Daniel Metcalfe (Technion, Israel), presented the direction.

Students participated in practical classes on the use of video data and ML tools for animal behavior analysis and discussions on the topic, presented their ideas and developments, and received reviews from leading researchers.

Thanks to very strong teaching staff, interesting lectures, and a well-thought-out timetable, the school received excellent feedback from the participants:

"I just wanted to say a big congrats to the team who have put this great event together, and enormous thanks to everyone who has contributed and shared their expertise. It has been great to catch up with people, find out what's been going on in this sphere, and hear some wonderful talks."

Sarah Webber (University of Melbourne, Australia), a school participant.


"I've enjoyed this week so much - I have been excited and delighted by the talks. I hope you'll keep the recordings up for a little while to give us a chance to catch up with anything we missed!"

Fiona French (London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom), a school participant.


"I am proud of being a part of an amazing team that came up with the idea of "Dog Whisperer" for Tech4Animals Lab summer school. It is a system that recognizes dogs' behaviors using machine learning models and sensors in order to enhance the communication between dogs and owners."

Ashkar Lawrence (University of Haifa, Israel), a school participant.


Taking into account the interest that the summer school aroused, as well as the successful holding of all planned activities within the school, the organizers have decided to hold it offline next year at ETU "LETI."