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06 marzo 2015Campus Bilbao

ForoTech delivers the Second Ada Byron Award to an artificial intelligence researcher

Asunción Gómez (Badajoz, 1967) is one of the world's top three women in semantic web technology research.

The third edition of ForoTech's Engineering and Technology Week began on 4 March with the delivery of the Ada Byron Award for Women in Technology to Asunción Gómez, PhD in Computer Science and a world renowned researcher in semantic technologies, which form part of the artificial intelligence field.The award, sponsored by the Sabadell Foundation, supports the role of women in science.

The awards ceremony took place at the University of Deusto and was attended by José María Guibert, Rector of the University of Deusto; Marta Ajuria, Councillor of the Economy and the Treasury, representing Bilbao Mayor Ibon Areso; Inés Jacob, Dean of the Engineering Faculty at the University of Deusto  and the majority of the jury members who chose the prize winners.Asunción Gómez Pérez (Azuaga-Badajoz, 3/9/1967) is an expert in artificial intelligence.  She received her Licenciatura in Computer Science at  the Madrid Polytechnic (UPM) in 1991 and completed her PhD studies at the same university in December 1993. She did her postdoctoral studies at the prestigious Knowledge Systems Laboratory at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.   She speaks French and English and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and another in Knowledge Engineering. She has been Chair in Artificial Intelligence at the UPM Computer Science Faculty since 2007 (she was the first Spanish woman chair) and had previously been a temporary lecturer (1991-1995) assistant lecturer (1995-2007) at the same university.She has supervised 18 doctoral dissertations and 47 degree final projects, is the founder and leader of Ontology Engineering Group, formed by some thirty experts and widely known as one of the most outstanding in computer science research in Spain.  

Researcher and principal investigator on 21 international projects and over 400 in Spain, with more than a hundred books and publications in journals, she has taken part in congresses, courses, seminars and conferences in Spain and abroad. She has registered a total of 15 patents and has worked on over thirty R&D projects with companies and government, with a research budget of nearly a million euros. Her focus areas are the field of ontology, web semantics, linked data and knowledge management. She has three daughters, two of whom are twins. She recently received the distinction as one of the world's top three women in semantic technology research.The term ontology in computer science refers to communication and information exchange between different systems and entities and is set within the field of artificial intelligence and knowledge representation. Computer programmes can use ontology for a variety of purposes, including inductive reasoning, classification, and different problem-solving techniques. 


 The semantic web is an extension of the Internet designed for use by computers.  The Internet has too much content and browsers provide links but do not analyse the information they contain and certainly do not select the most suitable link or compare the content of different pages.  Introducing semantics in the web opens up the possibility of computers processing and interpreting content, comparing it and aggregating it, making it easier for users to search and analyse existing information.The jury chose Begoña García-Zapirain, from Biscay, as the runner up in the Second Edition of the Ada Byron Awards.   She holds a degree in Telecommunications Engineering (1995) and a PhD in Computational Science and Artificial Intelligence (2004). She wrote her dissertation on an algorithm to regenerate the esophageal voice of laryngectomees.  She began her career in software development engineering at the Basque firm ZIV from 1995-1997 and went into teaching and research at the University of Deusto.  

She created the e-Vida research team in 2001. Formed by some thirty researchers, it focuses on digital processing of biological signals and development of new applied technologies to improve health and the quality of life. She is Principal Investigator of the team.  With the e-Vida team, she has received different distinctions for her work. These include the 2007 UD-Santander Research Award, the 2007 ONCE Euskadi-Solidarity Research Award, the award for the best paper at the International CGAMES’09 Congress and for the best poster at the International ISIVC’08 Symposium. She has led the Deustotech-LIFE research unit since 2007 and is associate lecturer in Signal Theory and Electronics at the Engineering Faculty. She speaks four languages, has worked as a social education volunteer with drug addicts and has completed different Master's and postgraduate courses, sat on scientific committees at various international congresses and has performed peer reviews for different international scientific journals.

The University of Deusto Engineering Faculty created this award last year to publicly recognise and make women in technology visible. Their work in this field has not been duly recognised although women are contributing to advances in numerous fields of knowledge.   The award also looks to bring technology closer to women and encourage them to enter this field.The award is named after Ada Byron (1815-1852), the daughter of the poet Lord Byron and one of the leading women in the history of engineering.  Mathematician and writer. She is mainly known for her work on mechanical calculators and as the author of the first machine-processed algorithm, making her the first computer programmer.The winner was chosen from among 10 candidates shortlisted from the 44 entrants for the second Ada Byron Award.  The jury was formed by:

  • Inés Jacob, Dean of the Engineering Faculty, University of Deusto (Chair)
  • Alberto García Erauzkin, President of Innobasque.
  • Begoña Goiricelaya, Director General of Gaiker-IK4.
  • Carmen Vela, Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation.
  • Cristina Garmendia, former Minister of Innovation and CEO of Genetrix
  • Estibaliz Hernáez Laviña, Deputy Councillor of Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness.
  • Guillermo Dorronsoro, Dean of Deusto Business School.
  • Izaskun Artetxe, Technical Economic Secretary of the Department of Economic Promotion, Biscay Regional Council.
  • María Ferreras, Strategic Alliances Manager of  Youtube
  • María Garaña, CEO of Microsoft Spain.
  • Miquel Molins Nubiola, President of the Sabadell Foundation.
  • Oihane Agirregoitia, Delegate Councillor of the Equality, Cooperation and Citizenship Department, Bilbao City Council.

The third edition of FOROTECH opened on 4 March. It is promoted by the University of Deusto and looks to foster a passion for science and a view of the world which lies ahead of us. A programme of conferences, debates, workshops, laboratories, cultural activities and a technology exhibition were held from 4 to 6 March.Debate on the Big Data revolution and cyberbullying at ForoTech 2015ForoTech featured a debate on 5 March attended by various experts on Big Data. This revolutionary new business model for all types of companies is based on analysis of huge amounts of data provided by the so called Information Society.The Big Data concept covers analysis, administration and handling of huge amounts of data in order to make better more effective decisions.  Technologies linked to Big Data can generate profits in many areas of industry, ranging from increased energy efficiency in plants to improved processes, by optimising products, production systems, etc.José Luis del Val, Chair in Telecommunications Engineering at the University of Deusto, moderated this debate together with Alex Rayón, Director of eCampus at the UD.  

The following speakers took part: Carlos Hernández Paradela: Senior Manager of Accenture Digital; Oscar Guadilla Jiménez of EJIE; Oscar Rozalen, Head of the Strategic Technology Assessment Department at Deloitte; Javier Venero, a member of Panda Security; María Teresa Alba, Director General of  Bilbao Municipal Computer Centre (Cimubisa); Marco Arevalo of Entelgy; Joseba Díaz of HP; and Ignacio Gómez of Media Post.The Garate Room was the venue for a cinema forum at 6 pm the same day. The Cinema and Technology Series focused on cyberbullying among children and adolescents on the Internet.  This problem is causing increasing concern as some studies estimate that 50% of the population from 12 to 18 have suffered  coercion, threats, insults, false rumours or posting of photographs or videos without their consent on the Internet, some of which had sexually explicit content.  

The prevalence of these practices, their grave consequences and the difficulties involved in establishing preventive measures and intervention have made this the biggest digital threat to children and adolescents.  The roundtable discussion particularly targeted parents and primary and secondary school teachers. Several short films on cyberbullying were shown before the discussion.Closing session, 6 MarchThe closing session included a debate forum that brought together experts on the so called “Industry 4.0" and its prospects for 2020. This new industrial model is already a reality in the most advanced nations, which are immersed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, resulting from the application of new information technologies to production processes.

The First Industrial Revolution began at the end of the 18th century with the steam engine while the second came with the division of labour and electricity in industrial plants a century later. The third took place in the 1970s with automation.  A new revolution is now taking place in industry as factories introduce interconnected cyber-physical systems.ForoTech invited companies, technology centres and industrial designers to discuss this new scenario and give their opinions about new phenomena such as the Internet of Things, flexible individualised manufacturing systems, intelligent packaging, customised design or the sharing economy.The Forum began at 10 o´clock in the Garate Room at the University of Deusto and was moderated y Marcelo Leslabay, lecturer on Industrial Design at the UD.

The following speakers took part:Eva Salcedo, Manager of Business Promotion at Bilbao Ekintza, The Economic Agency of the Bilbao City Council; Ibon Miranda (Maier Group), Brigitte Sauvage, founding partner and co-director of Design at ADN DESIGN; Unai Extremo (Baigorri Virtual Ware), Xavier Verdaguer (Imagine Creativity Center), and Benicio Aguerrea, Coordinator of the Designers Association of the Basque Country EIDE.Following a break, the second part of the forum was moderated by the Director General of the Association of Electronic Technologies and Information Industries of the Basque Country (GAIA), Tomás Iriondo. The speakers were Manu Salaverria (Euskaltel), Jorge Posada (Deputy Director of Vicomtech IK-4), Liher Irizar (R&D Director of Research for the Vidrala Group), Agustín Sainz (Director of the Industry and Transport Division of Tecnalia) and Alfonso Ganzabal (Managing Director of the Sisteplant Innovative Technologies Department).