Monday 26th of February 2018
On 22nd November 2010

An Exclusive Interview with Dr. Constantino Malagón, from Nebrija University, Madrid, Spain

"I think the most successful moments happen during these classes when you experiment an amazing connection between you and your students. Any professor who really loves to teach has this feeling."

I am Constantino Malagón, and I work as an associate professor at Nebrija University in Madrid, Spain. I obtained my PhD in Computer Science with a PhD dissertation about Machine Learning applied to Very High Energy Gamma Ray Astrophysics. In this work, I developed a representation method for the classification of gamma rays that are gathered in the MAGIC Cherenkov telescope located in the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, on La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. This huge data give us valuable information about the sources that originated those gamma rays: supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei, GRB (gamma ray bursts) or pulsars.

What are the current research projects you are working on?
Currently, I co-lead the Mmedis research group, which is carrying out a cutting edge research project with researchers at Purdue University, Nebrija University, and in collaboration with researchers from other interdisciplinary fields.
The main objective of the MMEDIS project is to develop a system of semi automatic and assisted palaeographic transcription of medical documents of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. In particular, the project is focused on the automatic detection and transcription of specific abbreviations that can only be found in this kind of documents.

How did you gain interest in the automatic transcription of medieval documents?
My interest in this project is mainly due to its complexity and peculiarities. And there are many researchers in medical fields who are studying how documented illnesses in Middle Ages were treated. Now we know that some of them were quite similar to, for example, some type of actual diseases like the skin cancer, for example.
Another important reason is that this is an interdisciplinary research, and it's really exciting to work with researchers in very different fields, from pattern recognition to medieval historians and palaeographers. In fact, we have organized an international conference focused on interdisciplinary research, the AHLiST (Association of History, Literature, Science and Technology) conference. The second edition of AHLiST conference will be held at the University of Houston, USA, on next May 20-22, 2011.

What did you investigate in your last publication?
My last paper appeared in the book Advances in Data Mining, a special issue of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, published by Springer Verlag. This issue has published a selection of papers accepted in the 10th Industrial Conference on Data Mining, ICDM 2010. In this conference we presented the results we have obtained from our work in a one year research project. The paper is entitled "Event prediction in network monitoring systems: performing sequential pattern mining in monitoring tools". We propose a machine learning based technique by which we can predict sequential events produced by any system that are being monitored, in this case, by using the Osmius monitoring tool. Osmius is an open source network monitoring tool which is able to monitor any system or device connected to a network.
This prediction is based on events that are being gathered by this monitoring tool. Therefore, we can anticipate future failures that are more likely to occur because, by using data mining algorithms, the algorithm could find a previous relation among them. This prediction helps network and system administrators in their decision making processes.
Finally, we chose this conference because we wanted to show not only our results, which can be really applied to any monitoring tool, but its implementation in Osmius.

What topics have you been teaching until now at Nebrija University?
I have worked at Nebrija University since 2001, so I have had the opportunity to teach many different subjects and, most important, to many students. Among these subjects I have taught Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IT Security and Applied Physics courses, all of them in Computer Engineering.

What was your most successful moment?
I think the most successful moments happen during these classes when you experiment an amazing connection between you and your students. Any professor who really loves to teach has this feeling. In the same way, doing research gives you similar moments, specially when you get those results that you have been searching for so long.

Were you inspired by a famous scientist or engineer?
I really admire not only scientist or engineer but authors from other disciplines that seemed to be far apart from my research. And I mean "seemed" because I think that now, we are being aware that interdisciplinary research can lead to a really innovative and creative research. So I'd say that people like for example, Bertrand Russell, are those who really inspire me.

What is your feeling about open-access publication? Do you recommend it?
Yes I do. I think that open-access publication will play an important role in research in the very next years. In fact, I think that it could lead to a new revolution in how research results are going to be published. Of course, the main condition is a rigorous peer review process, as the International Journal of Computer Science Issues has.

I am a music lover, and regarding to the question below, I also find people in Music who really inspire me. I like people that really knows how to spread their knowledge and make it available to people who are not specialist in their fields. People like Leonard Bernstein or Simon Rattle, for example, who have tried to bring classical music to common people. And this is the idea on which my confidence in open-access publication is based.

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