Academic Positions

  • Present 2015

    Senior Technical Trainer

    FDM Group, Toronto, ON

  • 2015 2010

    Ph.D. candidate in Cognitive Robotics

    Umeå University, Computing Science Department

  • 2012 2012

    Exchange Ph.D. student in Cognitive Robotics

    Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Informatics Department

  • 2010 2003

    Lecturer and JEE Group Leader

    Aptech Institute, Tehran IIDCO Branch

Education & Training

  • Ph.D. 2015

    Ph.D. in Cognitive Robotics

    Umeå University

  • M.Sc.2006

    Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

    Tehran IA University

  • B.Sc.2003

    Bachelor of Science in Computer Hardware Engineering

    Arak University

Honors, Awards and Grants

  • 2010-2013
    Marie Curie Actions Fellowship
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    I was a Marie Curie fellow, on a 3-year Initial Training Networks (ITN) program awarded by the EU Commission under the FP7-People Marie Curie Actions Program, at the Department of Computing Science, Umeå University.
  • 2006
    Aptech Best Faculty Award
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    I was awarded as the best faculty of the year in 2005-2006 at Aptech Tehran IIDCO branch.
  • 2002
    4th Khwarizmi Young Award
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    I won second place in Engineering section of the 4th Khwarizmi Young Award for designing and implementing the First Iranian Intelligent Humanoid Robot (Firatelloid). The awards are given to individuals who have made outstanding achievements in research, innovation and invention, in fields related to science and technology. This award was shared with my good friend and colleague Mohammad Shayganfar.

Other Research Projects

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    Rational-Emtional Agent

    The research on believable agents focuses on creating interactive agents that give users the illusion of being human.

    The research on believable agents focuses on creating interactive agents that give users the illusion of being human. Application domains included among others human-computer interaction, interactive entertainment, and education. Believability is accomplished by convincing the humans interacting with the agents express their emotions in their behavior and equip the agents with clearly distinguishable personalities. This has consequences for the agent's internal model of deliberation. It has to have knowledge of both emotions and know how these can be expressed. If social behavior is of importance in the domain in which the agents act, the agents also have to have knowledge of norms and values and how these may be expressed. The rationality means acting appropriate in the various situations. This topic has been a subject of many studies and searches that have produced remarkable turn outs. However, it enables applications to have more believable interactions between man and machine which is the most important consideration of these agents. Combination of emotions, rationality and personality will yield to believable agents. A constructed agent can be assigned with so many different roles. The guide in a museum, assistant professors or the actor on a stage are very good examples that should be thought "credible" from who finds itself to interact with them. A well-formed agent is an agent which makes decisions according to its perceptions, rational and emotional states. Because they simulate men's rationality, it would be necessary to learn from their own experiences, manifest personality and eventually modifying their features. In agents of this type rationality, emotions, personality and behavior are closely legacies between them and their influence in many ways. This job, then, inquires the simplest relations that have place between these various aspects and also on the base of the reading of previous studies and proposes.

    The fundamental objective of this project was the improvement of interaction between man and machine mainly in the domains applied to humans in which does not centralized on the oral communication. In this kind of projects the visual mediums are the main channels of interaction between the man and robot.

    Rational-Emotional Agent application screenshot
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    Robot Navigation

    Applying GA to reduce GPS error rates.

    Automated robot navigation via GPS has high error rates especially by using low quality receivers. This project headed for optimizing the navigation process and reducing the error rates using Genetic Algorithms.

    Robot Navigation application screenshot
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    Firatelloid Project

    Designing and developing first Iranian intelligent humanoid robot.

    Firatelloid (First Iranian Intelligent Humanoid Robot) is the first Iranian android which has won the best Iranian scientific award, Khwarizmi Young Award, and paved the way for other Iranian roboticists to build humanoid robots. I have done this project as my bachelor's thesis together with one of my best friends, Mahni Shayganfar. Please check Firatelloid's official website by clicking here.

    Firatelloid Logo
    Main Goals:

    Designing and developing mobile robot controller with various functionalities including:

    • Image Processing
    • Speech Recognition
    • Sensor Interfacing
    • Parallel Actuator Manipulation
    • Wireless Communications
    • Master-Slave microcontroller Architecture Design

    Hardware Specifications:
    • Modular Hardware Design
    • Wireless serial data/command transmission (Freq. = 433.92 MHz)
    • Wireless Video Transmission (Freq. = 2.4 GHz)
    • Wireless Audio Transmission (Stereo)
    • Local Controlling Unit's parallel port hardware interface
    • microcontroller based Master-Slave architecture
      • Philips 68 pins 80C552 PLCC microcontroller as Master
      • ATMEL 40 pins 89C51/52/55 DIP microcontrollers as Salves
    • Sensors
      • Ultrasonic
      • Microwave
      • Force Sensing Resistor (FSR)
      • Infra Red
    • Motors
      • Stepper Motors
      • DC Motors
    • LCDs
      • Character
      • Graphical
    • Batteries
      • Sealed-Lead Acid
      • Li-ion

    Software Specifications:
    • Developed with Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0
    • Image Processing
    • Local Controller Software for send/receive commands
    • Speech Recognition capability by using Microsoft SAPI
    • Multi Language User Interface
    • Multithread Design
    • Video & Audio capturing with VFW
    • Image Filtering
    • microcontroller programs:
      • Handling External Interrupt
      • Handling Serial Port
      • Handling Parallel Ports
      • Handling Timers
      • Handling PPTs, PITs and ADC operations
      • Handling external memories
      • Handling Digital Serial Transmitters
      • Handling Master-Slave operation

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    Jimbo Forex Project

    Developing intelligent algorithms to generate trading signals.

    The need for intelligent monitoring systems for financial markets especially Foreign Exchange has become a necessity to keep track of this market. Financial markets conform to some mathematical concepts and cause it to be analyzed with different Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms. Data Fusion has been applied in different fields and the corresponding applications utilize numerous mathematical tools. Jimbo Forex Project headed for applying data fusion techniques in order to support trading decisions based on technical analysis in Foreign Exchange Market.

    Features
    • Integrated with Meta trader 4.0
    • Integrated with most data providers
    • Ability to embed any mechanical strategies
    • Ability to run up to 7 strategies simultaneously
    • Ability to add up to 7 decision modules
    • Internal decision making algorithm based on Data Fusion techniques
    • Ability to fuse decision modules data (Decision Fusion)
    • Email notification system
    • Ability to tune learning parameters
    • Ability to limit monitoring time according to market activities
    • Built in strategy tester
    • Export results in Microsoft Excel format
    • Export results for Meta trader 4.0

    Jimbo Forex Project has embedded the most powerful Artificial Intelligence algorithms to help traders make better trading decisions. JFP is a signal generator which monitors current market state by checking different indicators values depending on chosen strategy.

    Jimbo Forex Project application screenshot
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    Breast Cancer Expert System

    Developing an expert system to diagnose breast cancer using decision trees.

    One of the most malignant and popular cancers in the world is a breast cancer. This research project headed for finding a solution in order to calculate probability of having breast cancer and the need for mammography by means of expert systems and decision trees methodologies.

    Breast cancer expert system application screenshot
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    Natural Language Processing

    Developing a system to process English language.

    This project was implemented for understanding speech and analyze sentences using Grammars, Semantics and SAPI. Vocabularies can be categorized to different groups such as verbs, nouns, adjectives and etc. All these information will be stored and retrieved from the database.

    Natural Language Processing application screenshot

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Priming as a Means to Reduce Ambiguity in Learning from Demonstration

Fonooni, B., Hellström, T., Janlert, L.E
Journal Paper International Journal of Social Robotics, 8(1), 5-19, 2016

Abstract

Learning from Demonstration (LfD) is an established robot learning technique by which a robot acquires a skill by observing a human or robot teacher demonstrating the skill. In this paper we address the ambiguity involved in inferring the intention with one or several demonstrations. We suggest a method based on priming, and a memory model with similarities to human learning. Conducted experiments show that the developed method leads to faster and improved understanding of the intention with a demonstration by reducing ambiguity.

On the Similarities Between Control Based and Behavior Based Visual Servoing

Fonooni, B., Hellström, T.
Conference Paper 30th ACM/SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC), Salamanca, Spain, April 2015

Abstract

Robotics is tightly connected to both artificial intelligence (AI) and control theory. Both AI and control based robotics are active and successful research areas, but research is often conducted by well separated communities. In this paper, we compare the two approaches in a case study for the design of a robot that should move its arm towards an object with the help of camera data. The control based approach is a model-free version of Image Based Visual Servoing (IBVS), which is based on mathematical modeling of the sensing and motion task. The AI approach, here denoted Behavior-Based Visual Servoing (BBVS), contains elements that are biologically plausible and inspired by schema-theory. We show how the two approaches lead to very similar solutions, even identical given a few simplifying assumptions. This similarity is shown both analytically and numerically. However, in a simple picking task with a 3 DoF robot arm, BBVS shows significantly higher performance than the IBVS approach, partly because it contains more manually tuned parameters. While the results obviously do not apply to all tasks and solutions, it illustrates both strengths and weaknesses with both approaches, and how they are tightly connected and share many similarities despite very different starting points and methodologies.

Applying a Priming Mechanism for Intention Recognition in Shared Control

Fonooni, B., Hellström, T.
Conference Paper 5th IEEE CogSIMA 2015, Orlando, FL, USA, March 2015

Abstract

In many robotics shared control applications, users are forced to focus hard on the robot due to the task's high sensitivity or the robot's misunderstanding of the user's intention. This brings frustration and dissatisfaction to the user and reduces overall efficiency. The user's intention is sometimes unclear and hard to identify without some kind of bias in the identification process. In this paper, we present a solution in which an attentional mechanism helps the robot to recognize the user's intention. The solution uses a priming mechanism and parameterized behavior primitives to support intention recognition and improve shared control for teleoperation tasks.

Cognitive Interactive Robot Learning

Fonooni, B.
Thesis Ph.D. Thesis, December 2014
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Abstract

Building general purpose autonomous robots that suit a wide range of user-specified applications, requires a leap from today's task-specific machines to more flexible and general ones. To achieve this goal, one should move from traditional preprogrammed robots to learning robots that easily can acquire new skills. Learning from Demonstration (LfD) and Imitation Learning (IL), in which the robot learns by observing a human or robot tutor, are among the most popular learning techniques. Showing the robot how to perform a task is often more natural and intuitive than figuring out how to modify a complex control program. However, teaching robots new skills such that they can reproduce the acquired skills under any circumstances, on the right time and in an appropriate way, require good understanding of all challenges in the field.

Studies of imitation learning in humans and animals show that several cognitive abilities are engaged to learn new skills correctly. The most remarkable ones are the ability to direct attention to important aspects of demonstrations, and adapting observed actions to the agents own body. Moreover, a clear understanding of the demonstrator's intentions and an ability to generalize to new situations are essential. Once learning is accomplished, various stimuli may trigger the cognitive system to execute new skills that have become part of the robot's repertoire.

The goal of this thesis is to develop methods for learning from demonstration that mainly focus on understanding the tutor's intentions, and recognizing which elements of a demonstration need the robot's attention. An architecture containing required cognitive functions for learning and reproduction of high-level aspects of demonstrations is proposed. Several learning methods for directing the robot's attention and identifying relevant information are introduced. The architecture integrates motor actions with concepts, objects and environmental states to ensure correct reproduction of skills.

Another major contribution of this thesis is methods to resolve ambiguities in demonstrations where the tutor's intentions are not clearly expressed and several demonstrations are required to infer intentions correctly. The provided solution is inspired by human memory models and priming mechanisms that give the robot clues that increase the probability of inferring intentions correctly. In addition to robot learning, the developed techniques are applied to a shared control system based on visual servoing guided behaviors and priming mechanisms.

The architecture and learning methods are applied and evaluated in several real world scenarios that require clear understanding of intentions in the demonstrations. Finally, the developed learning methods are compared, and conditions where each of them has better applicability are discussed.

Applying Ant Colony Optimization Algorithms for High-Level Behavior Learning and Reproduction from Demonstrations

Fonooni, B., Jevtić, A., Hellström, T., Janlert, L.E.
Journal Paper Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 65, 24-39, 2015

Abstract

In domains where robots carry out human’s tasks, the ability to learn new behaviors easily and quickly plays an important role. Two major challenges with Learning from Demonstration (LfD) are to identify what information in a demonstrated behavior requires attention by the robot, and to generalize the learned behavior such that the robot is able to perform the same behavior in novel situations. The main goal of this paper is to incorporate Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithms into LfD in an approach that focuses on understanding tutor's intentions and learning conditions to exhibit a behavior. The proposed method combines ACO algorithms with semantic networks and spreading activation mechanism to reason and generalize the knowledge obtained through demonstrations. The approach also provides structures for behavior reproduction under new circumstances. Finally, applicability of the system in an object shape classification scenario is evaluated.

Towards Search and Rescue Field Robotic Assistant

Kozlov, A., Gancet, J., Letier, P., Schillaci, G., Hafner, V., Fonooni, B., Nevatia, Y., Hellström, T.
Conference Paper 11th IEEE SSRR 2013, Linköping, Sweden, October 2013

Abstract

INTRO is a 4 years project dealing with the development of integrated capabilities for autonomous robots. The work presented here covers a scenario of field robotic assistant for Search and Rescue applications. This was carried out as an integration project between academic and industrial partners, and demonstrated on a mobile outdoor robot equipped with a manipulator.

Robot Learning and Reproduction of High-Level Behaviors

Fonooni, B.
Thesis Ph.D. Licentiate Thesis, September 2013
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Abstract

Learning techniques are drawing extensive attention in the robotics community. Some reasons behind moving from traditional preprogrammed robots to more advanced human fashioned techniques are to save time and energy, and allow non-technical users to easily work with robots. Learning from Demonstration (LfD) and Imitation Learning (IL) are among the most popular learning techniques to teach robots new skills by observing a human or robot tutor.

Flawlessly teaching robots new skills by LfD requires good understanding of all challenges in the field. Studies of imitation learning in humans and animals show that several cognitive abilities are engaged to correctly learn new skills. The most remarkable ones are the ability to direct attention to important aspects of demonstrations, and adapting observed actions to the agents own body. Moreover, a clear understanding of the demonstrator's intentions is essential for correctly and completely replicating the behavior with the same effects on the world. Once learning is accomplished, various stimuli may trigger the cognitive system to execute new skills that have become part of the repertoire.

Considering identified main challenges, the current thesis attempts to model imitation learning in robots, mainly focusing on understanding the tutor's intentions and recognizing what elements of the demonstration need the robot's attention. Thereby, an architecture containing required cognitive functions for learning and reproducing high-level aspects of demonstrations is proposed. Several learning methods for directing the robot's attention and identifying relevant information are introduced. The architecture integrates motor actions with concepts, objects and environmental states to ensure correct reproduction of skills. This is further applied in learning object affordances, behavior arbitration and goal emulation.

The architecture and learning methods are applied and evaluated in several real world scenarios that require clear understanding of goals and what to look for in the demonstrations. Finally, the developed learning methods are compared, and conditions where each of them has better applicability is specified.

Towards Goal Based Architecture Design for Learning High-Level Representation of Behaviors from Demonstration

Fonooni, B., Hellström, T., Janlert, L.E.
Conference Paper 3rd IEEE CogSIMA 2013, San Diego, CA, USA, February 2013

Abstract

This paper gives a brief overview of challenges in designing cognitive architectures for Learning from Demonstration. By investigating features and functionality of some related architectures, we propose a modular architecture particularly suited for sequential learning high-level representations of behaviors. We head towards designing and implementing goal based imitation learning that not only allows the robot to learn necessary conditions for executing particular behaviors, but also to understand the intents of the tutor and reproduce the same behaviors accordingly.

Learning High-Level Behaviors From Demonstration Through Semantic Networks

Fonooni, B., Hellström, T., Janlert, L.E.
Conference Paper 4th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence (ICAART), Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal, February 2012
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Abstract

In this paper we present an approach for high-level behavior recognition and selection integrated with a low-level controller to help the robot to learn new skills from demonstrations. By means of Semantic Network as the core of the method, the robot gains the ability to model the world with concepts and relate them to low-level sensory-motor states. We also show how the generalization ability of Semantic Networks can be used to extend learned skills to new situations.

Sequential Learning From Demonstration Based On Semantic Networks

Fonooni, B.
Conference Paper Umeå's 15th Student Conference in Computing Science (USCCS), Umeå, Sweden, January 2012

Abstract

Most of the humans day to day tasks include sequences ofactions that lead to a desired goal. In domains which humans are replacedby robots, the ability of learning new skills easy and fast plays animportant role. The aim of this research paper is to incorporate sequentiallearning into Learning from Demonstration (LfD) in an architecturewhich mainly focuses on high-level representation of behaviors. The primarygoal of the research is to investigate the possibility of utilizingSemantic Networks in order to enable the robot to learn new skills insequences.

Applying Induced Aggregation Operator in Designing Intelligent Monitoring System for Financial Market

Fonooni., B., Mousavi, S. J.
Conference Paper IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence for Financial Engineering (CIFEr), Nashvile, TN, USA, March-April 2009

Abstract

Financial intelligent monitoring system is emerging new research area and also has great commercial potentials. Traditional technical analysis relies on some statistics including technical indicators to determine turning point of the trend. Despite the fact that financial markets conform to some mathematical concepts and cause it to be analyzed with different Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, this paper headed for applying Induced Ordered Weighted Averaging (IOWA) operator in order to support trading decisions based on technical analysis in Foreign Exchange Market.

Automated Trading Based On Uncertain OWA In Financial Markets

Fonooni, B., Mousavi, S. J.
Conference Paper Recent Advances in Mathematics and Computers in Business and Economics (MCBE), Prague, Czech Republic, March 2009
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Abstract

During the past decade, the Financial Services industry has been transformed though the applications of computer-based analytics for forecasting, product design, portfolio optimization, risk management and intelligent advisory systems. This paper introduces trading system for financial markets, which is designed for improving trader's decision making process. The paper headed for applying Uncertain Ordered Weighted Averaging (UOWA) operator as a decision making algorithm (DMA) and compare the results with regular trading (Manual) based on technical analysis in Foreign Exchange Market.

Designing Financial Market Intelligent Monitoring System Based On OWA

Fonooni, B., Mousavi, S. J.
Conference Paper Applied Computing Conference 2008, Istanbul, Turkey, May 2008
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Abstract

The need for intelligent monitoring systems for financial markets especially Foreign Exchange has become a necessity to keep track of this market. Financial markets conform to some mathematical concepts and cause it to be analyzed with different Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms. Data Fusion has been applied in different fields and the corresponding applications utilize numerous mathematical tools. This paper headed for applying Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) operator in order to support trading decisions based on technical analysis in Foreign Exchange Market.

Applying Data Fusion in a Rational Decision Making with Emotional Regulation

Fonooni, B., Moshiri, B., Lucas, C.
Book Chapter 50 Years of Artificial Intelligence , ISBN: 978-3-540-77295-8, pp. 320-331, December 2007
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Abstract

This paper focuses on designing a goal based rational component of a believable agent which has to interact with facial expressions with humans in communicative scenarios like teaching. One of the main concerns of the proposed model is to define interactions among rationality, personality and emotion in order to fulfill the idea of making rational decisions with emotional regulation. Our research aims are directed towards improving decision making process by means of applying Data Fusion techniques, especially Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) operator as a goal selection mechanism. Also the issue of obtaining weights for OWA aggregation is discussed. Finally the suggested algorithm is tested and results are provided with a real benchmark.

Rational-Emotional Agent Decision Making Algorithm Design with OWA

Fonooni, B.
Conference Paper 19th IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI), Patras, Greece, October 2007
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Abstract

This research project is headed for designing a rational believable agent with a goal based rational- emotional architecture which has to interact with humans in communicative scenarios by facial expressions. The proposed model defines interactions among rationality, personality and emotion to make rational decisions with emotional regulation and improve decision making process by means of applying Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) operator as a goal selection mechanism.

Applying Data Fusion in a Rational Decision Making Architecture of a Believable Agent

Fonooni, B., Moshiri, B., Lucas, C.
Conference Paper 50th anniversary summit of Artificial Intelligence, Monte Verita, Switzerland, July 2006
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Abstract

All Intelligent creatures that we know of have emotions. Humans, in particular, are the most expressive, emotionally complex, and socially sophisticated of all. There have been many computational models of artificial emotions using different techniques to implement the concept of emotional agents through these years. In this paper, we propose applying Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) operator in the procedure of both internal and environmental assessments of releasers, which all are considered with respect to the robot’s wellbeing and its goals according to the architecture of the MIT’s sociable robot (Kismet).

Applying Data Fusion in a Rational Decision Making Architecture with Emotional Regulation in a Believable Agent

Fonooni, B.
Thesis M.Sc. Thesis, September 2006

Abstract

This thesis is heading for creating a believable agent which able to decide rationally and use emotions to regulate decisions that has been made. As we look inside the general architecture, it is obvious that agents which are equipped with emotions will deliberate processes that assumed to be their best choices. The rationality means acting appropriately in the various situations. However, it enables applications to have more believable interactions between man and machine which is the most important consideration of these agents. Combination of emotions, rationality and personality will yield to believable agents. The fundamental objective of this research work is the improvement of the decision making algorithm using Data Fusion mainly in the domains applied to humans in which both rationality and emotions have effective roles in decision making process.

Grade

Passed with the topest grade (20/20).

Designing First Iranian Intelligent Humanoid Robot (Firatelloid)

Fonooni, B.
Thesis B.Sc. Thesis, January 2003

Grade

Passed with the topest grade (20/20).

Currrent Teaching

  • Present 2015

    Core and Advanced Java

    This course gives an overview of fundamental and advanced topics in Java.

  • Present 2015

    Java Enterprise Frameworks

    This course reviews the most popular Java enterprise frameworks including: Servlets, JSP, JPA, Hibernate, Spring and Spring MVC.

Teaching History

  • 2014 2013

    Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence

    Lab assistance

  • 2010 2007

    Java Enterprise Frameworks

    This course reviews the most popular Java enterprise frameworks including: Struts, Spring, Hibernate, Ant and Maven.

  • 2009 2003

    Fundamentals of Java programming language

    This course gives an overview of core Java.

  • 2009 2003

    Advanced topics in Java programming language

    This course contains topics in J2EE including: GUI design with Swing, JDBC, RMI, Networking and Beans.

  • 2009 2005

    Enterprise application design with J2EE

    This course contains topics in J2EE including: Servlets, JSP, JSTL & EL, EJB and JSF.

  • 2009 2005

    Java and XML

    This course contains integeration of XML and Java, XMLBeans, AJAX and Java web services.

  • 2007 2003

    Principles of web design

    This course gives an introduction to HTML, CSS and Javascript.

  • 2006 2003

    C/C++ programming language

    This course gives an introduction to C and object oriented programming with C++.

  • 2004 2004

    8051 Microcontroller

    This course gives an introduction to Atmel 8051 microcontroller.

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