Triennial Report (1999-2002)

Barcelona, Spain, 24 July 2002





1. Status of the BIOMED Committee


1.1 Membership


There are currently 55 members of the BIOMED Committee, drawn from 25 countries. This number of countries being represented on the committee is slowly growing with the spread of interest in, and increase in the importance of, biomedical applications of modelling and control. Surprisingly a number of countries where there is substantial activity, including Canada and the Netherlands, are not represented. (A full listing of the membership is given in the Appendix to this report.)


1.2 Scope of the Committee


The subject matter covered by the BIOMED TC includes the applications of modelling, systems, informatics and control concepts, methods and techniques in medicine, biology and cognate subjects. As such it draws on, and brings together, disciplines of engineering, information science and technology, medicine and the clinical and biological sciences. Medicine  benefits through the application of modelling and control in the solving of clinical problems. By such applications in a challenging environment, limitations of modelling and control methods can be highlighted, thereby identifying opportunities for methodological research.


The scope of the BIOMED TC is as follows:

Application of systems, modelling, informatics and control concepts, methodology and techniques to medicine, biology and health care. Physiological modelling, simulation, identification, experimental design, control and knowledge-based methods. Modelling and control of structure and function in cellular, neuromuscular, neurosensory, metabolic, endocrine and physiological organ systems, both in healthy and diseased states. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, drug delivery for optimal therapy, control of physiological and clinical variables in intensive care and in the management of chronic disease. rehabilitation engineering, health care delivery and human-machine interactions.



2. Activities 1999 - 2002


2.1 IFAC Sponsored Events


In addition to full participation in IFAC World Congresses, the BIOMED TC is responsible for the organisation of the triennial series of Symposia on Modelling and Control in Biomedical Systems which constitute a component of the Master Plan. The 4th Symposium in this modern series (which discounts the pioneering events of the 1970s) was held in Greifswald, Germany from 30 March – 1 April 2000, attracting over 120 participants.


Normally, the BIOMED TC meets annually. In years when there is neither a World Congress nor an IFAC BIOMED sponsored event, the committee meets during one of the events which it is co-sponsoring (see below).


2.2 Events Co-sponsored by IFAC


Events co-sponsored by the BIOMED TC included a range of events organised by IMEKO and the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS). Such co-sponsorship follows a long-standing agreement between these three organisations holding meetings involving the applications of measurement, modelling, systems and control ideas in medicine and biology. Hence it is normal practice for an event organised by one of the three to be co-sponsored by the other two. Co-sponsored events during the past triennium have been:


21st Annual IEEE EMBS Conference (held jointly with the Biomedical Engineering

       Society), Atlanta, October 1999 (approx. 1000 participants)

22nd Annual IEEE EMBS Conference (incorporated within the World Congress in

        Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics)  (over 2000 participants)

3rd  IEEE EMBS ITAB (IT Applications in Biomedicine) Workshop,

       Washington DC, November 2000 (100 participants)

23rd Annual IEEE EMBS Conference, Istanbul, October 2001 (approx. 800 participants)


During the triennium there were no Symposia sponsored by IMEKO TC 13 (Measurement in Medicine and Biology), which would have been events attracting IFAC co-sponsorship. There were, however, two IMEKO Congresses attracting IFAC co-sponsorship which included sessions organised by IMEKO TC13:

IMEKO XV, Osaka, June 1999

IMEKO XVI, Vienna, September 2000.


2.3 Publications


Following the 4th IFAC Symposium on Modelling and Control in Biomedical Systems, a selection of the best papers, suitably modified and extended, were published as a special section of an issue of Control Engineering Practice. The Editorial Team of CEP was to be congratulated on their efficiency and professionalism in producing this publication. A total of 11 contributions from the Symposium were deemed to be worthy of inclusion in CEP and of these 6 articles constituted the published special section.


In my report at the end of the previous triennium, I expressed concern regarding marketing arrangements for such volumes.  I believe that some of these concerns should still stand. The IFAC BIOMED community looks upon these as an exceedingly expensive volume, purchased by very few, with little marketing effort being expended. For example, it is reasonable to expect that all contributors to a symposium should be informed of the publication details, including page numbers, of their paper as published in the Proceedings. I am not aware that this is happening. There would appear to be the need for a further review of the whole IFAC policy regarding Proceedings of Symposia.


2.4 Commentary on Activities


As is evident from the scope given above, the remit of the BIOMED TC is very much interdisciplinary, with specific projects typical involving individuals from a wide range of technical and clinical backgrounds and disciplines. This means that the most successful events tend to be those which are attractive not only to control engineers, but also to members of the clinical professions with whom biomedical modelling and control projects are undertaken. In this regard, the IFAC BIOMED sponsored Symposia and the IEEE EMBS will inevitably be more attractive than the IFAC World Congresses to many of the active workers in this field. Even here, however, it is difficult to attract large numbers of clinicians, and regrettably even fewer representatives of the health care/ICT industries.


Nevertheless, it has proved possible to generate sufficient high quality material, largely having a methodological focus, to provide three sessions at the Barcelona Congress (a level of presence that is higher than has been the norm in relation to most of the recent Congresses). However, the particular nature of the scope of the BIOMED TC is such that the major focus must be on the provision of interdisciplinary fora for the dissemination of new results.


Equally, in general IFAC journals are unlikely to be the first choice for publication for many members of the community. The exception is the special issue or section of CEP where the concentration of high quality biomedical material can be sufficient to attract leading researchers in the field.


3. Future Plans


3.1 Scope of the Committee and Working Groups


The scope of biomedical applications of modelling and control continues to expand and includes much of what is now regarded as mainstream medical/health informatics (and eHealth). Modelling and control approaches in relation to health care knowledge management are also emerging. Examples of recent developments include: the provision of decision support systems for adoption within a telematic health care framework; the application of a wider range of advanced knowledge-based and statistically-based methods for the interpretation of biomedical signals (again with the prospect of their adoption within an information management and decision support context); and the use of modern multimedia information technologies to facilitate modelling, simulation, visualisation and control of complex biomedical systems. The BIOMED TC will ensure that the scope of activities continues to reflect such developments in methodology and in biomedical and health care application.


In the past, in addition to holding Symposia, BIOMED TC has organised a number of specialised Workshops, in essence corresponding to the interests of particular Working Groups. However, given the very large number of events taking place each year within specialised areas of biomedical engineering and medical informatics (which essentially overlap with the BIOMED remit), it was agreed at a BIOMED TC meeting in 1998 that there was currently little scope for the provision of IFAC BIOMED sponsored Workshops and there is no evidence to date to reverse that decision. It is therefore more appropriate to complement activities such as the Symposia on Biomedical Modelling and Control with the co-sponsorship of events organising by other major international organisations such as the IEEE and IMEKO. This is the policy which the BIOMED TC will continue to adopt.


3.2 Future Events


Plans are in hand for the next two Symposia on Modelling and Control in Biomedical Systems which form part of the IFAC Symposium Master Plan. These are as follows:


5th IFAC Symposium on Modelling and Control in Biomedical Systems. This is scheduled to take place in Australia in August 2003. Since the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE) will be holding its triennial World Congress in Sydney in August 2003, it is planned that the IFAC BIOMED event should take place immediately prior to or following the IFMBE event. The possibility of having the IFAC Symposium recognised as a satellite meeting of the IFMBE Congress is to be explored. It is proposed that the National Organising Committee should be chaired by Dr Dagan David Feng, who is currently Vice-Chairman of the IFAC BIOMED TC.


In addition, it is intended that the current pattern of co-sponsorship should be maintained. Forthcoming events likely to be included in this category are:


24th  Annual IEEE EMBS Conference, Houston, October 2002 (being held jointly with

        the Biological and Medical Engineering Society)  

4th   IEEE EMBS ITAB Workshop, Birmingham UK, March 2003

26th Annual IEEE EMBS Conference, October 2004


together with any appropriate IMEKO sponsored events (no details are available at the present time). The IEEE EMBS Conference in 2003 takes place in the month following the IFAC BIOMED Symposium, so co-sponsorship may not be appropriate given this juxtaposition of dates.




4. Summary


During the past triennium, the activity of the BIOMED TC has continued to develop, reflecting developments in the subject domain (including not only biomedical engineering but also medical/health informatics) The Symposium series on Modelling and Control in Biomedical Systems is now firmly established as part of the Symposium Masterplan, and plans for the next event are well advanced. This Symposium activity is complemented by an active, on-going programme of co-sponsorship of relevant meetings organised by other leading international organisations. In this way,  a wide range of high quality conferences is being made available in an efficient and effective manner to the international biomedical modelling and control community



Ewart R. Carson





Appendix – Committee Membership


The IFAC BIOMED TC comprises 55 members drawn from 25 countries. The full list of the members (with email addresses where these have been provided) is as follows.


Chairman Prof Ewart Carson (UK)   []

Vice Chairman Prof David Dagan Feng (Australia)   []



Prof Branko Celler   []

Prof David Dagan Feng   []


Dr Germot Kronreif   []

Prof Peter Lugner   []


Prof Francis Cantraine   []


Prof Walter Celso de Lima

Dr Carlos E. Pedreira

P.R. China

Prof Aike Guo   []


Dr Stanko Tonkovic   []

Czech Republic

Ing Jaromir Cmiral

Prof Petr Vysoky   []


Prof Torben Knudsen   []


Prof Niilo Saranummi   []


Dr Noureddine Manamanni   []


Dr Ing Steffen Leonhardt

Dr Eckhard Salzsieder   []

Prof Juergen Werner   []


Dr Zoltan Benyo   []

Dr Bela Szucs


Prof Claudio Cobelli   []

Prof Antonio Pedotti   []

Prof Mario Stefanelli   []


Dr Akira Sano   []

Prof Tatsuo Togawa  []


Prof Zeungnam Bien   []


Prof M Nalecz


Prof Jose Valente De Oliveira   []

Dr Maria da Graca Cristo dos Santos Lopes Ruano


Prof Ion Dumitrache   []


Prof Nicolay A Kuznetsov   []

Dr Vladislav F Martynenko   []

Prof Dr C Zuev


Ing Igor Horsky  


Prof Pera Caminal

Prof Francisco del Pozo


Prof Torgny Groth   []

Prof Per Hagander   []

Prof Jan Sternby


Dr A Erkmen

Dr Hailil O Gulcur   []

Dr Mehmet Ozkan   []

Prof Boler Platin      []

Dr E Yazgan

United Kingdom

Prof Ewart R Carson    []

Prof Keith R Godfrey   []

Prof Derek Linkens      []


Prof Howard J Chizeck    []   

Dr David Z D’Argenio     []

Prof Peter G Katona         []

Prof William S Levine     []

Dr Vasilis Z Marmarelis  []

Dr Brett Palmer                []

Dr Chi-Sang Poon            []

Prof Joe J DiStefano III    []