Section News

Message from New IEEE UK and Ireland SMC Chapter Chair, Dr Bala Amavasai

Going forward in 2021

I am extremely honoured to serve as Chair for the IEEE Systems Man & Cybernetics (SMC) Society for the UK and Ireland in the 2021 term. My involvement with the SMC stretches back more than 25 years and has helped shaped much of my professional viewpoint.

The SMC society brings together a diverse community of practitioners and thinkers alike, to promote the theory, practice, and interdisciplinary aspects of systems science and engineering, human-machine collaboration, cybernetics and autonomous and intelligent systems. This diversity hugely promotes lateral thinking, which is what brought me to the SMC in the first place.

As we go forward in this new normal, my executive committee and I are looking to re-invigorate the society, having been caught out by the events of 2020. We acknowledge the current challenges that we face, especially ones with several intersecting dimensions in the geographical region that we are in. These challenges may be medical, political or ecological.

But in uncertainty, we can effect change on the many levels that we are in control off. And I have always believed that change gives us new opportunities to do things better. It is our shared responsibility to create new opportunities driven by the technologies that we espouse.

We have new tools at our disposal to communicate and share with our members. Best of all these tools democratises access to information and events. We are no longer geographically bound, neither do we need to raise budgets for travel. In this sense, the new normal should be an accepted benefit.

We intend to communicate better and to be more accessible to you. This article, for example, is a first, and I do intend to provide regular updates. In return, we ask for participation.

The IEEE, as a whole is, the world’s largest technical organisation, of which the SMC is one of several technical societies. It is driven by volunteers like me and is built on the strengths of its members. We serve them foremost and as an extension of that the community at large. We inspire a global community through our highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities.

We want to serve all areas of the profession. From the technical community to the vast student network. From creating and supporting new standards to organising meetups and conferences. At its heart, the IEEE’s core purpose is to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. And we do so better by collaborating and sharing.

In a way, this is a call to arms. As a member (or even a non-member) of the IEEE SMC society in the United Kingdom and Ireland, what do you feel the society should deliver to you, what are we doing well, and what are we not? How do we thrive in this new normal? I would love to hear back from you either via this survey or directly via e-mail to

More than anything what can you give back to the profession. After all, as volunteers of the IEEE, we do it for the profession.  The IEEE is an awe-inspiring organisation. Work with us to gain personal professional benefit, but even better, work with us to support our community and our profession.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021. We look forward to partnering with you.

Best wishes,