(DSMLAI) 2021 - Report

The International Conference on Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, or in short (DSMLAI), which were held virtually due to the extraordinary condition generated by COVID-19.  This Conference is organised by the Namibia University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Computing, and Informatics, in association with the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Windhoek and Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI) Windhoek Chapters and the African Strategy for Fundamental and Applied Physics (ASFAP).

The International Conference seeks to provide some answers and explore several areas within the Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence field, new developments in studies and proposals for future scientific projects.

The goal is to offer a worldwide connection between Computer scientists, researchers, and lecturers, from a wide range of academic fields interested in exploring and giving their contribution in an area that is fertile in new perspectives, ideas and knowledge in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Industry 4.0.

DSMLAI 2021 received 75 submissions from more than eight different countries from all over the world, reviewed by a double-blind process. Submissions were prepared to take the form of Virtual Presentations 48 submissions (overall, 64% acceptance rate) were accepted for presentation at the Conference.


The Conference DSMLAI set out to propose new technologies, share experiences, and discuss future solutions for the design of Intensive Data Applications, Intelligent Systems and Interaction, Robotics, Learning and Adaptation, Machine Learning, and AI in Healthcare.

Over 150 participants and experts from Namibia, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, United States, Ethiopia, Egypt, and the United Kingdom participated.

DSMLAI feature a high-quality technical program across a wide range of research areas in Data Science. The Conference included an Inaugural Session, Seven Invited talks, 11 technical sessions, Research Day, two workshops and a valedictory session.

All accepted and presented papers will be submitted to the prestigious ACM Digital Library portal for publication and will become part of the world’s highest quality body of technical literature in Computing, Informatics, Science, Engineering and Technology.

Eighteen (18) invited Speakers, two ACM Distinguished Speakers and two IEEE Computer Society’s Distinguished Visitors Program (DVP) Speakers from four (4) continents AFRICA, ASIA, AMERICA AND EUROPE  presented ground-breaking work on trends in Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.


The Conference officially opened by Honourable Minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, MHETI. On this occasion HE Mr Prashant Agrawal, High Commissioner of India to Namibia, Dr Erold Naomab, Vice-Chancellor, NUST, Fr Roderick April, Secretary-General: NNC for UNESCO, Prof Anicia Peters, Chair Person:4IR Task Force, Pro Vice-Chancellor, UNAM  Prof Mike Hinchey, President IFIP, Dr Amit Joshi, InterYIT Chair, IFIP have given remarks. Dr Colin Stanley, Acting Dean, FCI was Director of Ceremonies, Prof Dharm Singh Jat, TPC Chair of DSMLAI given the overview of Conference and Prof Jose Quenum, Local Chair given the Vote of Thanks.


Inauguration Session

The Inauguration of the Conference was anchored and started by the Director of Ceremonies, Dr Colin Stanley, Acting Dean, Faculty of Computing and Informatics.

Dr Erold Naomab, Vice-Chancellor of NUST, delivered his Inaugural Welcome Address to the guests and participants.  During his speech, Dr Naomab recognised, Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, Minister of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation, who will deliver the keynote remarks and officially open this Conference and appreciated the Ministry’s unwavering support of higher education in the country with a special emphasis on Technology and Innovation. He wholeheartedly welcomed His Excellency Mr Prashant Agrawal, High Commissioner of India, to Namibia. He appreciated his support in High-Performance Computing (HPC) research infrastructures facilities at NUST, which have provided resources and services to the research communities to foster innovation. Dr Naomab also expressed his sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General: Namibia National Commission for UNESCO, Fr Roderick April, who supported the establishment of UNESCO Chairs, such as the (1) Gender and Digital Technologies and (2) Smart and Secure Environment.

TPC Chair Prof Dharm Singh Jat provided all conference-related information to the participants, ensuring that the Conference runs without glitches.

Fr Roderick April stated that AI has the potential to address some of the biggest challenges in education today. Innovative teaching and learning practice ultimate accelerate the progress towards SDG goal number 4 and national development. The national commission with UNESCO and its partners are committed to supporting discussions on this nature, and plough the constitution of the presidential Namibia 4IR  task force and will definitely harness the potential of AI technologies for achieving the education 2030 agenda.

Chairperson of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Task Force Prof Anicia Peters has stated that ICT and 4IR are the key enablers, and technological advances will perform certain tasks more efficiently and faster. The conference programme really shows a good mixtures  of some core 4IR technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, blockchain, deep neural networks, AI, IoT, Internet of Medical things, and cyber security. But very important is also that we are also showcasing how it is deployed in real-world applications.

His Excellency Mr Prashant Agrawal, stated that most of the issues in the Conference talking about AI are very sound and futuristics. It is extremely important that developing countries we fully take charge of the issues of DSMLAI because we are looking for the 4IR, and as a developing country, we largely missed the first IR and second IR and the consequence were absolutely devastating the after effects of those ambitions have been felt for decade across the continents of Asia and Africa.  It is important that the developing country are fully a part of this process. Digital divided we have heard  for long back but its essential that  this divide is narrowed and eventually bridged.  AI and ML these are the technologies which  allows developing countries is to leapfrog in to the future. Many of these issues sound very futuristic but we have to ensure that we don’t remain in the realm  of academic but they are very firmly rooted to development. COVID 19  was one  of the example where lot of  AI and data science applications  were put to use like contact tracing applications for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inaugural keynote speaker Prof Mike Hinchey, NASA Expert and Former Director of the NASA Software Engineering Laboratory; shared NASA & Army Experiences and presented a broad spectrum of emerging topics about applications revolving around the fields of artificial intelligence (machine learning) and data science.

Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Honourable Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi addressed the gathering by her inspiring speech.  She stated that I am happy to know that the NUST is virtually hosting the workshop on Computing and Fourth Industrial Revolution (C&4IR) in conjunction with the Conference. The workshop initiative aims at producing a long-term strategy of Computing and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C&4IR) for reforming and transforming the fundamental research and application, higher education, and scientific research systems in Africa to energise and unlock the minds for brighter economic prospects.  The deliberations in the Conference will be very useful for the participants as they will serve as future guidelines for Computing and the fourth Industrial revolution (C&4IR)T development in Namibia. This is a very meaningful and productive academic exercise where members of the faculty and students will benefit from the experience and expertise of experts from all over the world.

The inaugural section concluded with a vote of thanks by Prof José Quenum, Local Chair.


Day one on 9th August:

On 9th August The Conference began with the inaugural session followed by two keynote speeches, a technical session.

In the Afternoon, a Workshop on Data analytics and machine learning in the Julia programming language was organised.

Day Two: 10th August 2021

It is essential that we engage in discussion about artificial intelligence from a developing country perspective in order to better understand how emerging technologies impact regions and countries differentially depending on social, economic, and political conditions.

On the second day of the Conference, the Faculty Research Day consisted of an inaugural session, four Keynote speeches, and the African Research Symposium (ARS). The African Research Symposium program included invited talks and oral contributions from African researchers. 


Day Three: 11th August 2021

Before noon of Day Three, three technical sessions were organised for paper presentation.  A workshop on Computing and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C&4IR)  in association with  African Strategy for Fundamental and Applied Physics (ASFAP) took place in the Afternoon.

The workshop consisted of presentations by notable experts,  IEEE Computer Society’s Distinguished Visitors Program (DVP) Speaker in each area of Computing and 4IR. Further, the workshops had a panel discussion and presentation of template for Community Contribution by convenors of ASFAP Computing and Fourth Industrial Revolution (C&4IR).

Day Fourth 12th August 2021:

On 12th August,  Day four, three technical sessions were held for paper presentation, and a Google speaker delivered his talk .

The Draft Recommendations of the Conference are:

  • AI with ML is one of the most important technologies today and is transforming the economy and society.
  • From the perspective of sustainability, Computing and 4.0 IR technologies can bring fundamental improvements in the industry by addressing the issue of scarce resources and improving productivity.
  • Furthermore, it emerged that AI/ML algorithms present a wide array of applications that provide an opportunity for sustainable development.
  • AI has great potential in healthcare applications and can be used for various applications to improve people’s overall health.
  • Honeypot is a powerful deployment tool to create security events detection system and successful mitigation ecosystem.
  • Neural networks and machine learning are novel technological paradigms to successfully implement multi-disciplinary research in various areas like contextual conversation and automated emotion systems.
  • Utilising participatory design practices like co-design may see greater success in adherence to co-created cybersecurity best practice frameworks.
  • Computing and 4IR have enabled machines to learn, making machines & tools smarter.  
  • Industry 4.0 may create considerable opportunities to join the physical and the digital world. It can develop the public and private sector’s effectiveness, expand financial benefits and improve the standard of living.
  • The intelligent Edge is a foundation for future digital business and its ecosystems. It brings powerful computing capabilities closer to the Edge where data originates and is processed with machine learning, helping to accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  
  • Edge Computing and Blockchain technology paradigm may provide data filtering at the Edge, security, data integrity, and privacy with the help of a decentralised and distributed ledger of trust.
  • Machine learning plays a vital role in tackling data scarcity and scalability challenges and can support survey data processing and eliminate manual processing of variables.
  • We should consider the extent to which data will be the next driving technology.  
  • Bio-inspired sensing has strong potential to become a vital component of a practical small target detection system.
  • Machine and Deep machine learning-based tools can be used for an automatic feature marking, cropping, visualisation, detecting intrusions in the computer network traffic, water quality and level, handwritten character recognition, diabetic prediction, Classification of Invasive Plant Species, Early Detection of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Knee, Analyse Reliability of COVID Infodemic, Hyperspectral Image Classification and classification of chest radiographs.

TPC Chair

Prof Dharm Singh Jat

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