The first International Conference on Data Intelligence and Security (ICDIS-2018) was held at South Padre Island (SPI), Texas, USA, from April 9-10, 2018. The conference was organized by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Key people in attendance were from the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies focused on data intelligence and security.

Dr. Parwinder Grewal, UTRGV executive vice president for Research, Graduate Studies, and New Program Development, welcomed attendees to the conference in the open ceremony held on April 9 (Monday) morning. After his opening remarks, MCL Director, Professor Jay Kuo, gave the first keynote speech on the topic, “Why and Why Not Convolutional Neural Networks.” The abstract of his talk is given below.

“The superior performance of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) has been demonstrated in many applications such as image classification, detection, and processing. Yet, the CNN solution has its own weaknesses such as robustness against perturbation, scalability against the class number and portability among different datasets. Furthermore, CNN’s working principle remains mysterious. In this talk, I will first explain the reasons behind the superior performance of CNNs. Then, I will present an alternative solution, which is motivated by CNNs yet allows rigorous and transparent mathematical treatment, based on a data-driven Saak (Subspace approximation with augmented kernels) transform. The kernels of the Saak transform are derived from the second-order statistics of inputs in a one-pass feedforward way. Neither data labels nor backpropagation is needed in kernel determination. The pros and cons of CNNs and multi-stage Saak transforms are compared.”

The South Padre Island ( is a tropical island located in the Mexico Gulf. It is famous for beautiful beaches, warm Gulf waters, fishing, boating, bird watching, and shopping. Sea turtles are also rescued and rehabilitated here.