Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 21

not make them profitable, perhaps
due to the little time that I could allocate as well as the distance. As it
turns out, businesses, very much like
relationships, are quite difficult to
manage from a distance.
I also started a company offering mobile live video streaming on
demand and tested the operation in
18 major cities in Europe, wherein I
had staff assisting me. The company
was the first of its kind and very
much ahead of its time. As it was before we had Skype on cell phones,
my staff carried backpacks with
laptops and modems and held camcorders. The connectivity was most
unreliable and the software would
hang, needing frequent reboots. Although the company was not profitable in the end, these enterprises were
exciting, and I learned a lot.
My favorite quote from Fridtjof
Nansen describes my experience
well: "Have you succeeded? Continue!
Have you not succeeded? Continue!"
I am now looking forward to two
new ventures, one related to health
care for the elderly and one related to
space exploration.
SMC Magazine: Who are your role
models? Why?
Stoica: I do not think I had role
models per se, but I do have great admiration for some exceptional personalities. Each of them has been a symbol and inspiration for people, both
scholars and layman alike, and can be
thought of as models. As a model for a
man of the people, I think of Mahatma
Gandhi, a symbolic figure and leader,
who was able to change the world
by nonviolent means. As a model for
a man of intelligence and wisdom,
I think of Albert Einstein, daring to
challenge fundamental concepts of
science and yet modest in daily life. As
a model for a man of culture, I think
of Prince Dimitrie Cantemir of Moldavia: philosopher, historian, composer,
musicologist, linguist, ethnographer,
geographer, speaker of 11 languages,
elected member of the Berlin Academy, and, in the later part of his life, advisor to tsar Peter the Great of Russia.

As a model for a man who led many
in dreaming of space and making a
reality of space exploration, I think
of Wernher von Braun. These are the
individuals I grew to appreciate most,
but there are many more such models,
great people across many cultures
and disciplines.
SMC Magazine: How did you get
started as a volunteer (in IEEE and
elsewhere)?
Stoica: I started volunteering as a
student in the mid 1980s in Iasi, assisting my mentor at the time, Prof. HoriaNicolai Teodorescu. He was involved
in many activities; he was a cofounder
and president of the Romanian Society of Fuzzy Systems, affiliated with
the Romanian Academy of Sciences,
and of the Balkanic Union of Fuzzy
Systems Associations. In addition, he
was editor-in-chief of several publications and organized international conferences. I felt satisfaction in helping
and seeing things get accomplished.
In the process, I learned a great deal
from him.
Later on, after moving to JPL, I
founded a nonprofit society and started our own conference series. In 1999,
I founded the NASA/Department of
Defense Conference on Evolvable
Hardware, later renamed NASA/European Space Agency Conference
on Adaptive Hardware and Systems,
which is still the leading event in its
field. Around 2006, I kick-started two
other conference series: Emerging
Security Technologies and Advanced
Technologies for Enhanced Quality
of Life.
During the 2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Anchorage, Alaska, my
former JPL colleague Eddie Tunstel,
the elected general chair of the 2011
IEEE SMC Conference, recruited me
to serve as program chair. I was given
the mission to increase the quality of
accepted articles. A simple indicator
was to reduce the acceptance rate,
and I pushed for that, but I will refer
also to another measure later in this
article. It was a challenging assignment that included about 1,000 subO c tob e r 2016

missions, and I must acknowledge
the help I received from the program cochairs.
I also dealt with a number of authors who were unhappy with the
result of the reviews and authors who
tried to plagiarize. The hardest task
was dealing with articles that had
borderline reviews. I believed that
many of them could be improved, and
I decided to ask authors to resubmit
for a second round of reviews. This
was a rather unusual procedure and
could have gone badly, but luckily it
worked due to the cooperation of the
authors and the help of additional volunteer reviewers. The resubmitted
papers were noticeably better. In the
end phase, I remember printing all of
the articles that were to be accepted
(around 600, I believe) and lining them
up on the floor of a long hallway in
JPL. I walked along and briefly looked
at each one before sending out the notifications. Overall, it required a lot of
work, but I felt a serious responsibility
and in the end, great satisfaction.
Regarding the improvement of article quality: I recently saw reports
of past conferences and was very
pleased to see that 2011 brought the
highest return in royalties of the period, even with the smallest number of
articles. We certainly achieved the objective of significantly improving article quality. This has been my greatest
challenge and biggest achievement so
far in serving SMC.
That year, I realized that much
more can be accomplished when I was
affiliated with a larger professional
society, and I decided to give full attention to IEEE and, in particular, to
focus on SMC. Not long after, Chris
Nemeth, vice president for human-
machine systems (HMS), asked me
to be the coordinator for the sector. I
accepted and gave my support for two
years in that role, which provided me
an opportunity to better understand
the sector.
I have research interests, friends,
and collaborators in three SMC sectors. Most of my early research was
in cybernetics and more recently
in robotic and unmanned systems,

IEEE SyStEmS, man, & CybErnEtICS magazInE

21



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - Cover1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - Cover2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 4
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 5
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 6
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 7
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 8
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 9
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 10
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 11
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 12
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 13
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 14
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 15
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 16
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 17
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 18
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 19
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 20
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 21
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 22
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 23
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 24
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 25
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 26
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 27
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 28
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 29
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 30
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 31
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - 32
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - Cover3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2016 - Cover4
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