Research career: What I've done

Major research projects

In my hypertext/hypermedia research projects I've always tried to combine fundamental research with applied research. In order to obtain a Ph.D. in computer sciences, I worked for more than 5 years on the design and development of IKON (Intelligent Knowledge Objects Navigator), a so-called "third-order" or knowledge-based hypermedia system. Although IKON never got beyond the prototype stage, I learned a lot about the use of knowledge engineering techniques to enhance and extend the capabilities of hypermedia systems. Our MIPS research group used these insights in a number of applied research projects for European companies, resulting in knowledge-based hypermedia tools for materials engineering and corrosion prevention. One of these tools, IKEM™ (Interactive knowledge-based system for materials properties), later became a successful commercial product sold by VARTEC nv. untill 2002.

OCEAN (Open Corrosion Expertise Access Network)
function: head XML standards expert / chairman of Taskgroup A ("Corrosion Information Exchange Standardised Data Formats")
a Thematic Network of leading European corrosion organisations aiming to develop Web protocols for the exchange of standardised metadata on corrosion information, and planning to construct a central directory site for the efficient access to this information
1998 - 2001, a European Brite/Euram Thematic Network project
See also: OCEAN web site
MatWeb
function: head researcher hypermedia system architectures
an on-line hypermedia information service based on World-Wide Web technology, supporting a virtual center of competence and documentation for corrosion and materials experts
1995 - 1997, an in-house MIPS group applied research project (K.U.Leuven)
GRACE (Global Reading & Accessing of Corrosion Expertise)
function: head researcher hypermedia system architectures
a first attempt at making a large body of knowledge and expertise on materials & corrosion engineering problems and their possible solutions available on-line using the World-Wide Web
1994 - 1995, an in-house MIPS group applied research project (K.U.Leuven)
Read also: presentation Intelligent hypermedia corrosion information tools [PDF 730 KB]
STREAMER (Shell Text Retrieval Engine for Advanced Materials Engineering Research)
function: head researcher hypermedia document retrieval
a prototype hypertext-based document retrieval front-end for materials research
1993 - 1994, a feasibility study in co-operation with Shell Billiton Research, Arnhem (The Netherlands)
PolDoc (Polysius Documentation system)
function: researcher hypertext document management
a prototype hypertext-based documentation system for industrial installations
1991 - 1992, a feasibility study in co-operation with ThyssenKrupp Polysius a.g., Beckum (Germany)
IKON (Intelligent Knowledge Objects Navigator)
function: researcher fundamental hypertext theory
a prototype knowledge-based hypermedia system for electronic documentation
1989 - 1995, an in-house MIPS group fundamental research project (K.U.Leuven)

Scientific functions

As my reputation as a hypertext/hypermedia researcher grew, I was invited to become a referee for a number of scientific conferences and scientific journals in this research field. As one of the founding members of the Belgian-Luxemburgian SGML User's Group (SGML BeLux, established in 1994), I was not only editor-in-chief of their quarterly "SGML BeLux Newsletter", but I was also editor of the electronic proceedings of the first 3 user conferences ever organized on SGML in Belgium. The Belgian-Luxemburgian SGML User's Group changed its name into the Belgian-Luxemburgian SGML/XML User's Group (XML BeLux) in 1998, in order to start advocating the use of XML technologies and related structured information standards for smart document/data management and enterprise application integration.

Referee for ICEG 2006: The 2nd International Conference on e-Government
12 - 13 October 2006, Pittsburgh (USA)
Editor of the SGML BeLux '96 conference proceedings
Third annual SGML BeLux Conference: "A decade of SGML power"
30 - 31 October 1996, Brussels (Belgium)
Editor of the SGML BeLux '95 conference proceedings
Second annual SGML BeLux Conference: "Putting SGML to work"
25 October 1995, Antwerp (Belgium)
Referee for HICSS-28: 28th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Minitrack on Hypermedia in Information Systems and Organizations
3 - 6 January 1995, Maui (Hawaii)
Editor of the SGML BeLux '94 conference proceedings
First annual SGML BeLux Conference: "Experience the power of SGML!"
12 October 1994, Leuven (Belgium)
Invited member of the expert panel "Expertext in practice: Medicine, Engineering and Computer Science"
Second World Congress on Expert Systems
10 - 14 January 1994, Lissabon (Portugal)
Referee for HICSS-27: 27th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Minitrack on Hypermedia in Information Systems and Organizations
4 - 7 January 1994, Maui (Hawaii)
Invited co-chairman of the session 3A "SMiRT and KBS-related research supported by the Commission of the European Communities" and the session 4A "Tools"
SMiRT 12 Post Conference Seminar 1993: Expert Systems and AI Applications in the Domain of Power Plant and Structural Engineering
24 August 1993, Konstanz (Germany)
Referee for the scientific journal "International Journal of Man-Machine Studies"
1992 - 1995, Leuven (Belgium)
Referee for the scientific journal "Information Processing & Management"
1992 - 1995, Leuven (Belgium)

Scientific grants

During my early research career I got a number of research grants, primarily to cover some of the travel costs I had to make in order to participate in scientific conferences abroad. I also quite early got a special IBM grant for a 3 month stay at the University of Stuttgart (Germany), performing advanced research into the integration of expert systems and hypertext/hypermedia systems for supporting materials selection and corrosion prevention in nuclear power plants.

Travel grant C 17/5 - DB. D 13 161 of the National Fund for Scientific Research
to Online Information '91: 15th International Online Information Meeting
10 - 12 December 1991, London (United Kingdom)
IBM grant D 3/42 - VDP. D 3785 for advanced computer sciences research
to Fachgruppe Expertensysteme, Staatliche Materialprüfungsanstalt, Universität Stuttgart
1 May - 30 June and 1 - 30 September 1991, Stuttgart (Germany)
Travel grant C 17/5 - DB. D 12 725 of the National Fund for Scientific Research
to Online Information '90: 14th International Online Information Meeting
11 - 13 December 1990, London (United Kingdom)
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