Google exploreCSR Summer School
on Machine Intelligence

Department of Computer Science, University of Jaffna

14-16 June 2024

Speakers’ Biography

From the University of Melbourne, Australia

Professor Eduard Hovy

Eduard Hovy is the Executive Director of Melbourne Connect (a research and tech transfer centre at the University of Melbourne), a professor at the University of Melbourne’s School of Computing and Information Systems, and a research professor at the Language Technologies Institute in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2020–2021 he served as Program Manager in DARPA’s Information Innovation Office (I2O), where he managed programs in Natural Language Technology and Data Analytics. Dr. Hovy completed a Ph.D. in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) at Yale University in 1987 and was awarded honorary doctorates from the National Distance Education University (UNED) in Madrid in 2013 and the University of Antwerp in 2015. He is one of the initial 17 Fellows of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) and is also a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). Dr. Hovy’s research focuses on computational semantics of language and addresses various areas in Natural Language Processing and Data Analytics, including in-depth machine reading of text, information extraction, automated text summarization, question answering, the semi-automated construction of large lexicons and ontologies, and machine translation. In early 2024 his Google h-index was 106, with over 60,000 citations. Dr. Hovy is the author or co-editor of eight books and around 400 technical articles and is a popular invited speaker. He regularly co-taught Ph.D.-level courses and has served on Advisory and Review Boards for both research institutes and funding organizations in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, Singapore, and the USA.

Professor Rajkumar Buyya

Dr. Rajkumar Buyya is a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Director of the Cloud Computing and Distributed Systems (CLOUDS) Laboratory at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is also serving as the founding CEO of Manjrasoft, a spin-off company of the University, commercializing its innovations in Cloud Computing. He has authored over 850 publications and seven textbooks including "Mastering Cloud Computing" published by McGraw Hill, China Machine Press, and Morgan Kaufmann for Indian, Chinese and international markets respectively. Dr. Buyya is one of the highly cited authors in computer science and software engineering worldwide (h-index=167 g-index=365, and 148,500+ citations). He has been recognised as a "Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher" for seven times since 2016, "Best of the World" twice for research fields (in Computing Systems in 2019 and Software Systems in 2021/2022/2023) as well as "Lifetime Achiever" and "Superstar of Research" in "Engineering and Computer Science" discipline twice (2019 and 2021) by the Australian Research Review. Software technologies for Grid, Cloud, and Fog computing developed under Dr.Buyya's leadership have gained rapid acceptance and are in use at several academic institutions and commercial enterprises in 50+ countries around the world. Manjrasoft's Aneka Cloud technology developed under his leadership has received "Frost New Product Innovation Award". He served as founding Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing. He is currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Software: Practice and Experience, a long-standing journal in the field established 50+ years ago. He has presented over 700 invited talks (keynotes, tutorials, and seminars) on his vision on IT Futures, Advanced Computing technologies, and Spiritual Science at international conferences and institutions in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. He has recently been recognized as a Fellow of the Academy of Europe.

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Dr. Caren Han

Caren Han is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Prof. in U.S. System) at the University of Melbourne and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney and University of Edinburgh, teaching and researching Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence. Her research expertise lies in Natural Language Processing, encompassing multi-modal (Visual-Linguistic) Learning, Explainable and Refinable NLP, sentiment analysis, abusive language detection, dialogue systems, and language understanding. This research interest has led her to successfully secure multiple international and national research and industry grants, including NASA, Google, Thales, Microsoft, Hyundai, Bank of Korea, the Australian government, the Hong Kong government, and the Korean government. She is the winner of several teaching awards and research awards, including Australia Young Achiever 2017, Teacher of the Year 2020, Supervisor of the Year 2021, and Early Career Research Award 2023 (Physics, Math, and Computing).

From the University of Southampton, The United Kingdom

Niranjan Mahesan

Professor Mahesan Niranjan

Mahesan Niranjan is Professor of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, UK. Prior to this appointment in 2008, he held academic appointments at the Universities of Sheffield and Cambridge. At the University of Sheffield he also served as Head of the Department of Computer Science and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. He earned his BSc (Engineering) at the University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka (1982), Masters in Electronics at Eindhoven, The Netherlands (1985) and PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK (1990). His research and teaching interests have been in the subject of machine learning for nearly 40 years, working on the algorithmic and applied aspects of the subject. Most recently, his interests have a strong focus on inference problems encountered in Biological and Health Sciences.

From Google, San Francisco, The United States

Dr. Amir Yazdanbakhsh

Dr. Amir Yazdanbakhsh ( joined Google DeepMind as a Research Scientist in 2019 following a one year AI residency where he is co-leading the machine learning for computer architecture team. His work also revolves around hardware-software co-design for the next generation of Google accelerators for generative AI. He obtained his PhD in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His work has been recognized by one honorable mention in IEEE Micro Top Picks, one nomination for CACM Research Highlights, and a Distinguished Paper Award in HPCA 2016. He has received the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship Award (2016) and Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship (2015).

Mr. Νikhil Sarda

Nikhil Sarda is a software engineer in Google Labs, where he works on building new products using generative AI. He is also an active researcher with an interest in making AI systems cost effective. He has published papers in conferences such as NSDI, OSDI, PACT and MLSys. He completed his graduate studies from Columbia University and his undergraduate studies in Mathematics from IIT Kharagpur.

From 99x, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Mr. Samudra Kananke Arachchi

Samudra Kananke Arachchi, the Director of Technology at 99x, is a seasoned professional with a remarkable focus on driving technology excellence. With a strong background in leading offshoring teams and a wealth of expertise in various domains, Samudra brings valuable insights and a proven track record to his role. Throughout his career, Samudra has held diverse positions ranging from solution architect to hardcore coder, showcasing his versatility and deep technical knowledge. With over 18 years of experience in working with high-profile Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) in Norway, he has developed a deep understanding of the unique challenges and requirements of the industry. Samudra's expertise extends to a wide range of tech stacks relevant to the job, including Microsoft Full Stack, AI Technologies, GPT, and OpenAI. His high-level proficiency in these areas allows him to provide strategic guidance, drive innovation, and deliver exceptional solutions. With a keen interest in GPT and AI technologies, Samudra is at the forefront of driving adoption and integration within organizations. He possesses strong skills in AI technologies, particularly in developing LLM integration and architecting GPT-based solutions, enabling companies to harness the power of AI and drive innovation. As the Director of Technology at 99x, Samudra is committed to leveraging his expertise, leadership skills, and passion for technology to guide the team towards excellence. With his strategic vision and deep technical insights, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the technological landscape and driving growth for the organization. In summary, Samudra Kananke Arachchi, as the Director of Technology at 99x, brings a wealth of experience, technical expertise, and a proven track record to the table. His dedication to driving technology excellence and his ability to deliver innovative solutions make him an invaluable asset to the organization.

From WSO2, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Mr. Arshardh Ifthikar

Mr. Arshardh is a Technical Lead based in WSO2. Before he joined WSO2 as a full-time Software Engineer, Arshardh worked as an Intern at WSO2. He was responsible for several projects in WSO2 API Manager and Ballerina teams during his internship. Arshardh has a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from the University of Westminster, UK. As a part of his final year project, he developed a system to identify accident-prone locations and their relevant causes, by analyzing historical accident data.

Mr. Anjana Supun

Mr. Anjana is a Senior Software Engineer in WSO2. He initially joined WSO2 as an intern where he was part of both Ballerina and Cellery teams. He was responsible for designing and implementing distributed cache using Ballerina and several Cellery projects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from the University of Westminster, UK. As part of his final year research project, he developed a definition language to define serverless compositions and orchestrations.

From the University of Colombo School of Computing, Sri Lanka

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Professor K. P. Hewagamage

Professor K. P. Hewagamage obtained his B.Sc. special degree in Computer Science (First Class Honors) from the University of Colombo and his Doctor of Engineering in Information Engineering from Hiroshima University in Japan. He is a senior professor in Computer Science in the Department of Information Engineering at the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) and the former director of the UCSC. Professor Hewagamage has key research interests in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction, Software Engineering, e-Learning, and ICT for Education and Development. He was the author or co-author of more than 180 research publications during the last 24 years, and his h-index is 16 (2023), according to Google scholar. He also received more than 20 national and international awards for his scholarly work in research. Those awards include the Professor Mohan Munasinghe Award for the outstanding computer science graduate in 1994 at the convocation of the University of Colombo, the best paper award at IEEE International Conference of Visual Languages in 1999, the research excellence award by the University of Colombo in 2004, 2006 and 2012, UNESCO award ICT for education in 2007, and the excellent paper award at the IEEE Ubi-Media conference in 2018. He is a senior member of IEEE and ACM, and an academic advocate of ISACA. He was a chair of IEEE Computer Society Chapter in Sri Lanka. Dr. K. P. Hewagamage was the Head of the Department of Information Systems Engineering, of UCSC and Coordinator of e-learning Centre of UCSC. He was also coordinator of the National e-Learning Project funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and was the principal investigator of many international projects funded by international agencies. At the same time, he has helped the University of Colombo to establish international collaboration with many foreign universities and agencies. He was a visiting researcher of Stockholm University, Sweden, and Shimane University, Japan.


Dr. Ruvan Weerasinghe

Dr. Ruvan Weerashinghe is a former Director of the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC), and has also served as a Visiting Professor at the Management & Science University of Malaysia, visiting Faculty at the Umea University of Sweden and Dean of the Informatics Institute of Technology, Sri Lanka. He was also an ERCIM Fellow at France’s INRIA Labs and a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Language Technology Institute in Pittsburgh, USA. Dr. Ruvan served on various committees and boards at the University Grants Commission, Ministries of Education and Higher Education, the NSF, the ICTA of Sri Lanka, the LEARN, the Lanka Software Foundation, the LK Domain Registry, the Sectoral Committee on ICT of the Sri Lanka Standards Institute, the ICT Advisory Committee of the Export Development Board and Sri Lanka CERT. His research interests are in Computational Linguistics including Machine Translation, and particularly in techniques employing data-driven methods on large datasets. Dr. Ruvan’s research interests expand naturally to Artificial Intelligence and to Bioinformatics. He is currently Head of Data Science at the Informatics Institute of Technology, Sri Lanka.

From the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

Professor Gihan Dias

Prof. Dias graduated from the University of Moratuwa in 1985 and was awarded a doctorate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from The University of California, Davis in 1992. He is a Professor in Computer Science and Engineering and Director, NLP Centre at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. He also serves as the Domain Registrar of the LK Domain Registry. He was inducted to the Internet Hall of Fame in 2013. He has been active in several areas of computing, including computer networking, language technologies, e-learning, security, Internet identity and cloud.

From the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Professor Roshan G. Ragel

Roshan G. Ragel is a prominent figure in computer engineering, serving as a professor at the University of Peradeniya since October 2017. With professional membership in the IEEE and IEEE Computer Society since 2005 and Senior Member status since 2014, he has made significant contributions to the fields of the Internet of Things, Wearable Computing, Bioinformatics, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning. He has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed articles and has been recognised as the top computer scientist in Sri Lanka by the AD Scientific Index from 2021 to 2024. Prof. Ragel's expertise in AI and GenAI is not only well-regarded, but also actively applied in his leadership roles. He leads the National Research and Education Network of Sri Lanka (LEARN) and is a core Group member for Higher Education at the Presidential Task Force for Education. His service on the UGC Standing Committee on IT Infrastructure and Online Education and as a key member of the Presidential Committee to Formulate the AI Strategy for Sri Lanka further demonstrate his capabilities. As a founder of the AI Forum for Academics (AIFA), based at the University of Peradeniya, he is at the forefront of exploring the opportunities and challenges of Generative AI in higher education. Prof. Ragel has been a visiting research scholar at several prestigious institutions, including UNSW Sydney, QUT Brisbane, UIUC Illinois, and ANU Canberra. His contributions to AI and GenAI in education and research make him a sought-after speaker and thought leader.

Dr. (Mrs.) Damayanthi Herath

Dr. Damayanthi Herath is a Senior Lecturer at Department of Computer Engineering, University of Peradeniya with expertise in Computer Engineering, Machine Learning, and Computational Biology. Her research interests are in Explainable AI, Computer Vision, Machine Learning and -omics data analysis. Further, she is passionate about exploring innovative ways for education including edutainment. Dr. Damayanthi earned her B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Computer Engineering from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and PhD from Melbourne School of Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Australia. She is currently leading the Data Engineering and Research (DEAR) group and Computational Biology (CompBio) group at Peradeniya.

From the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka


Dr. S.M. Vidanagamachchi

Dr. S.M. Vidanagamachchi is a senior lecturer and the Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka. She obtained her B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC), Sri Lanka, and holds a PhD in Computer Engineering from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She was a visiting academic at the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom for one year. Her current research interests include utilizing FPGAs and AI models for big data processing, as well as cyber security.

From the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka

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Prof. Manivannan Siyamalan

Professor Siyamalan holds a BSc (Hons) Special Degree in Computer Science from the University of Jaffna, an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Nice, France, and a PhD from the University of Dundee, UK. He has authored several high-impact factor journals and received numerous prestigious awards, including the President's Award for Scientific Research twice. His research includes Deep Learning and Medical Image Analysis. Currently, he is serving as a Professor in Computer Science at the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science, University of Jaffna, and is a member of IEEE at the senior level since 2021.

Dr. Thanikasalam Kokul

Thanikasalam Kokul received his B.Sc. Honours degree in Computer Science with a First Class from the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, in 2009. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia, in 2019. He is currently a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Jaffna. His research interests include object tracking, computer vision, Human-Computer Interaction, and deep learning. Throughout his academic and professional career, Dr. Kokul has contributed significantly to the field of computer science, with a focus on advancing technologies in object tracking and computer vision through deep learning methodologies. He has supervised several postgraduate students in Computer Science. In recent years, he has started working on Vision Transformers, especially utilizing them in object tracking.

In partnership with:

"This Work is Funded by an Unrestricted Gift from Google Under exploreCSR Award 2023/2024"