New Robotics Center Will Foster Science Sector Advancement in Armenia, Says Professor Karen Eguiazarian
Dr. Karen Eguiazarian, a Professor of Signal Processing at the Department of Computing Sciences, Tampere University (Finland), is bullish about plans to open an international robotics center in Armenia.
In June, Eguiazarian attended the second annual conference of the recently formed Armenian Society of Fellows (ASOF), in June in the Armenian resort town Dilijan.
The organization, which now includes 253 Armenian scholars, scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs from around the world, adopted a decision to open such a center in Armenia, possibly as early as this fall.
The ASOF’s main mission is to help raise Armenia’s educational and research institutions to world-class levels, and to network them globally.
Eguiazarian, who studied in Yerevan, Moscow and Finland, says the Armenian military defeat in the 2020 Karabakh war revealed a host of problems afflicting Armenia that require immediate attention in an organized, pan-Armenian level.
He tells Hetq there’s an urgent need to develop the sciences in Armenia, particularly in the research sector, focusing on information technology (IT).
Eguiazarian believes it is necessary to be pragmatic, to understand what research can give to the economy of Armenia and how knowledge van provide solutions to existing problems.
He says such a center will help to integrate the knowledge of the ASOF and Armenian universities. The center will help bridge them.
"I think it's time for Armenia to become a leader in the region in this field. That is why it is very important to be a strong research nation. The development of new courses and new specialties will help Armenia reach the international level, to be published in international journals," he says.
Eguiazarian says that if ASOF members can bring their knowledge and experience to Armenia, spend one or two months a year there to advance the project, then the center will achieve its goals.
The scientist says Armenia needs to return to the glory days of the Soviet-era when the country played a major role in robotics.
Eguiazarian says Yerevan’s famed Polytechnic Institute fell on hard times following the collapse of the Soviet Union, mainly due to a “brain drain” that saw many scientists and researchers leave for greener pastures overseas.
He says it’s time to reverse the situation and attract those who studied in the West, particularly in the field of robotics, back to Armenia.
“Why robotics? Because it’s an interdisciplinary field that connects different scientific tracks and fields. There can be a big boom in artificial intelligence," the scientist says.
Eguiazarian notes the experience of Finland, a country with a similar population as Armenia and lacking oil, is adoptable for Armenia when it comes to developing the sciences. Finland has focused on raising the level and scope of its human resources. Armenia must do the same.
The IT sector in Armenia has the potential to serve as a locomotive to advance science and research in the country to western standards.
Eguiazarian believes the new robotics center and the ASOF’s planned Center for Economic Research in Armenia will foster such change.