Events

An Intelligent Approach for Mathematical Morphology on ManyCore Architectures

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Mathematical Morphology (MM) is a non-linear branch of image processing, and computer vision, based on geometry and on the mathematical Theory of Order. It was developed by Matheron and Serra in the 1960s, and its initial applications were in biomedical and geological image analysis problems. Later on, it has proved to be a powerful tool for computer vision tasks involving binary and grey-level images for noise suppression, enhancement, edge detection, skeletonization, segmentation, pattern recognition, multiscale image processing, statistical analysis, and optimal design of morphological filters, just to name a few examples. Finally, in the 1980s its theory was generalized for Complete Lattices, allowing it to be applied to colour images. The basic operators of Mathematical Morphology are dilation and erosion, which can be combined algorithmically to form more complex operators. However, this combination is not trivial, even for a specialist. Moreover, it is very computationally intensive. In the literature, dedicated hardware architectures using FPGAs have been developed, in which the acceleration of the morphological operations is obtained by fine-grain instruction decomposition. Generally, in practice, these architectures are however not flexible for more complex algorithms involving image/video processing. Many-core Architectures (MA) provide large (generally 2D) arrays of computational nodes, where each node contains a powerful processing unit. These architectures represent an attractive choice for developing more complex applications for MM. However, this scenario introduces some conflicts. For example, MM tends towards very fine-grained operations connected in a sequential fashion, whereas MC needs to balance communication in a 2D mapping scenario. These conflicting requirements represent an ideal scenario for the application of multiobjective optimization. Thus, this talk will provide an overview about MM, some dedicated hardware for its acceleration, and discuss the possibility of using intelligent systems for generating appropriate mappings for MA-based systems, for Image and Video applications.

Low Phase Noise Signal Generation utilising Oscillators, Resonators & Filters and Atomic Clocks

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Microwave Lecture on behalf of the IEEE MTT Society Oscillators and clocks are used in almost all electronic systems. They set the timing of operations and clock elements as required. The phase noise, jitter & stability of these oscillators often sets the ultimate performance limit. Oscillators requiring low phase noise are used in communications, control, RADAR and navigation systems and also as flywheel oscillators for atomic clocks, particle accelerator systems and Very Long Base Interferometry (VLBI) systems. This talk will initially discuss the theory and design of a wide variety of oscillators offering the very best performance. Typically, this is achieved by splitting the oscillator design into its component parts and developing new amplifiers, resonators and phase shifters which offer high Q, high power handling and low thermal and transposed flicker noise. Key features of oscillators offering the lowest phase noise available will be shown, for example: a 1.25GHz DRO produces -173dBc/Hz at 10kHz offset and a noise floor of -186dB and a 10 MHz crystal oscillator shows -123dBc/Hz at 1Hz and -149 at 10Hz. New compact atomic clocks with ultra-low phase noise microwave synthesiser chains (with micro Hz resolution) will also be briefly described to demonstrate how the long-term stability can be improved. New printed resonators (and thereby filters) demonstrate Qs exceeding 540 at 5GHz on PCBs and > 80 at 21GHz on GaAs MMICs. These resonators produce near zero radiation loss and therefore require no screening. L band 3D printed resonators demonstrate high Q (> 200) by selecting the standing wave pattern to ensure zero current through the via-hole and new ultra-compact versions (4mm x 4mm) have been developed for use inside or underneath the package. Alumina based resonators demonstrating Qs >200,000 at X band have also been produced. Tuneable versions (1%) have recently been developed. Jeremy presented the first course on oscillators including a lab class at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium in Boston in 09. This was repeated in 2010, 2011. A battery powered lab kit offering 5 experiments with full theoretical and simulation support was provided. The kit also produced the state-of-the-art performance with flicker noise corners around 200Hz. The methodology behind this course will be described. Theory and 5 experiments on the same day was part of the reason for success. This course is being run again in Boston in June 2019. The next generation of oscillators will offer orders of magnitude improvement in performance. Our current attempts to do this will be described.

Healthcare robotics – from intelligent design to AI

Wednesday 30 January 2019

This presentation gives an overview of healthcare robotics portfolio at Bristol Robotics Laboratory that spans from surgical to assisted living robots as well as robotic systems to support radiotherapy. The fast and widespread use of robotic technologies in healthcare applications aims at improving patient outcomes and reducing NHS costs. The robotic technologies include soft sensors and actuators, complex robotic system design and control, haptics, machine learning and sensor processing.

Space vs Medicine: Advances in User-Driven Robotics

Friday 25 January 2019

Advances in Space Engineering and Technology have dramatically revolutionised the way we work and live today. Similarly, intelligent robots have revolutionised terrestrial assembly and servicing processes. Innovative Design Engineering solutions are enabling Space robots to undertake unmanned operations in Earth orbits and on the surface of the Moon, Mars and beyond. In this presentation, Dr. Saaj will talk about her journey through space and her vibrant portfolio of challenging Design Engineering projects for orbital and planetary exploration missions. Furthermore, she will present how she succeeded in securing new research opportunities through spinning-out technology from Space Robotics to Medical robotics. She will conclude by sharing her long-term vision on advancing the capabilities of autonomous space robots and its application to other user-driven application domains.

Turning materials into evolving soft robots

Thursday 24 January 2019

Robots have been successful in the applications which require speed, power and precision, but very limited where soft and delicate interactions are necessary. In this context the use of soft functional materials opened the door to a range of new types of machines, soft robots, that can not only interact with soft objects in the environment but also make robots themselves into soft structures for better adaptability in different situations. We have been exploring a set of alternative technologies to design and construct complex soft robots, such as multi-material 3D printing, electrically conductive elastomers, and model-free design automation processes. With the recent rapid progress of these technologies, we are able to develop new kinds of robots that we can characterised as “morphologically computing machines”. We are exploring how such a new paradigm of design processes can be realised, though there are a number of known challenges such as design of complex mechanical structures, sensing of physical interactions, and modelling, simulation and control in general. In this talk, I would like to introduce some of our recent soft robotics projects in our laboratory and their extension to model free design automation.

Hardware-Based Security Solutions for the Internet of Things

Wednesday 23 January 2019

The internet of Things technology is expected to generate tremendous economic benefits, this promise is undermined by major security threats. First of all the vast majority of these devices are expected to communicate wirelessly, and will be connected to the Internet, which makes them especially susceptible to confidentiality threats from attackers snooping for messages contents. Second, most IoT devices are expected to be deployed in remote locations with little or no protection; therefore they can be vulnerable to both invasive and side channel attacks, malicious adversaries can potentially gain access to a device and apply well know power or timing analyses to extract sensitive data that might be stored on the IoT node, such as encryption keys, digital identifiers, and recorded measurements. Furthermore, with ubiquitous systems, it can no longer be assumed that the attacker is remote. Indeed, the attack could even come from within the system itself, from rogue embedded hardware (e.g. Trojans). A large proportion of IoT devices operate in an energy-constrained environment with very limited computing resources, this makes the use of typical defence mechanisms such as classic cryptography algorithms prohibitively expensive. The challenges for building secure IoT are threefold: 1) How to develop hardware which is inherently resilient to physical attacks 2) How to implement complex security protocols with very limited resources 3) How to detect/diagnose anomalous behaviour of an IoT device This talk addresses the above three questions, as follows. The first part of this talk addresses the first question, it presents two novel approaches for enhancing the security and reliability of physically unclonable functions, one of the enabling technologies designing Tamper resistant Hardware The first technique proposes a physically unclonable function using instruction cache, typically found in all embedded processors. The design is optimised to improve resilience to ageing effects. The second approach aims to enhance the security of physically unclonable functions against modelling attacks by combining these with low cost cryptographic primitives such as permutation and substitution. The proposed techniques make it affordable, secure and reliable to use physically unclonable technology in resources constrained systems. The second part of this talk addresses the second question, it presents a new authentication protocol based on PUF technology, Then power consumption and memory utilization of the proposed protocol were estimated and compared with the existing solutions, namely: DTLS (datagram transport layer security) handshake protocol and UDP (user datagram protocol). Our results indicate that the proposed PUF based authentication saves up to 45% power and uses 12% less memory compared to DTLS handshake authentication. The third part of this talk addresses the final question, it presents a new detection technique for malicious/abnormal behaviour of embedded using data from Hardware Performance Counters (HPCs). Finally the talk concludes with a summary of outstanding challenges

Joint Automatic Gain Control and Receiver Design for Large-Scale Multiuser MIMO Systems with Coarsely Quantized Signals

Tuesday 22 January 2019

This seminar will present recent work on joint design of the automatic gain control (AGC) and a linear minimum mean square error (MMSE) receive filter for large-scale multiuser multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO) systems with coarsely quantized signals. The optimization of the AGC is based on the minimization of the mean square error (MSE) and the proposed receive filter takes into account the presence of the AGC and the effects due to quantization. Moreover, we will also provide a lower bound on the capacity of the MU-MIMO system by deriving an expression for the achievable rate. Numerical results will illustrate the performance of the proposed approach against existing techniques.

Biometrics and engineering: what is still missing?

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Biometrics-based technology is a name we hear everywhere these days. It is basically related to any authorisation or authentication processthat uses a physiologic or behavioural information that is collected from us to make sure we are who we say we are. Despite the fact that we think this is a closed issue, biometrics data holds quite a lot of open problems that still need attention, epecially now, with the "Smart-anything" revolution. In fact, some of the "closed" problems are not so closed as we think! In this talk, we will explore the main biometrics open problems that are related with engineering and discuss possible opportunities of research in this area.

Drone-based hotspot: an internet-on-the-go service for disaster management

Wednesday 28 November 2018

We are living in the era where we all are connected through the internet to connect, share, and access knowledge or entertainment. However, with the assumption that infrastructure is available to keep us connected. In a situation of a disaster (e.g. earthquake, flood, and hurricane) this assumption is not valid, and we will need alternative solutions to connect users (people, objects, and their combinations). These solutions, in general, must support high data rates to entertain large number of users and have low latency for mission-critical or real-time tasks (e.g. remote surgery in a disaster). The vision of new wireless technology, the 5G network (5GN), encapsulates many applications e.g. mobile broadband, connected health, and intelligent transportation. To entertain such a wide variety of applications, the 5GN is required to support high data rates, few Gbps, and latency to a fraction of a millisecond as expected by the research communities, telecom manufacturer, and standardization bodies. Due to the support of the high data rates and the low latency, the 5GN is a suitable candidate to provide a reliable and secure connectivity platform in a disaster. However, how a 5GN or existing networks can be functional without infrastructure during a disaster leads to find new innovative solutions. Previously, consumer drones were used to monitor and record information by operators in applications like media coverage and site survey. The consumer drones are now getting much interest in research communities with the capability to offload network traffic in scenarios like a shopping centre, festivals, concerts and sports stadiums. However, most of the research work is limited to the theoretical aspect and still required validation from the experimental domain to improve and design new and more practical systems, particularly to overcome challenges in the situation of a disaster. To design a drone-based communication system, it is important to understand the radio propagation channel. This talk will provide an overview of the drone-based communication system, requirements and challenges particularly to conduct the radio propagation channel measurements and modelling.

Why EDA?

Wednesday 31 October 2018

Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools enable development of next generation semiconductor devices. Yet few beyond domain experts appreciate the design and algorithm complexity within such tools. Innovation and commitment to software engineering are key requirements for success in this ever-changing product space. In this talk, we will cover what Cadence brings to EDA and why you should consider a role in EDA in your industrial or academic career choices.

Developments in Auditorium Acoustic Design

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Auditorium acoustics is interesting in that objective science and engineering are employed to elicit subjective perceptions and emotions. This lecture discusses the auditorium acoustic design of concert halls, opera houses and theatres. It starts with describing some fundamental requirements for audiences, performers and other stakeholders. Both scientific and other factors are considered. The lecture will then look at how the art and science have developed over the last 35 years. This will include the use of scale and computer modelling, the paradigm shift of auralisation and the integration of architecture and creative digital audio. The scientific and engineering responses to changing artistic and audience needs will be examined.

From circuits to cancer therapy

Tuesday 9 October 2018

The human race has invested about a trillion dollars in the development of semiconductor electronics, and our lives have been improved greatly as a result. Smart devices are now taken for granted and permeate every aspect of our daily lives. One of the important products of this huge investment was the development of EDA, sophisticated design optimization and simulation tools to allow the largely automated design and verification of integrated circuits. Sometimes we in the EDA community do not realize quite how advanced we are in this field, and just how applicable much of the Silicon R&D work is to other areas... This talk will be about one such area, namely that of Cancer Radiation Therapy, where the Radyalis team, working with researchers at the Mayo, Mass General, and St. Jude Hospitals successfully applied knowledge from the VLSI area to radically improve the speed and accuracy of beam dose calculation -a cornerstone of radiation therapy. The result is a commercially viable tool more than 100x faster than the comparably accurate alternative and currently being evaluated by a number of potential partners.

Processing big-data with Nanoscale Memristors

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Recent advancements in nanotechnologies and smart materials have prompted the creation of a new class of devices that compared to conventional CMOS transistors, are capable of achieving ‘more’ functionalities (e.g. multi-bit operation) for ‘less’ energy/space. The ability of memristors to act as electrically tuneable multi-level, non-volatile resistive loads, combined with their inherently scaling-friendly, low power and back-end integrable fabrication processes has rendered them a highly promising candidate for use in emerging memory technologies. Nonetheless, memristive technologies have much more to offer; making the rich landscape of modern electronics design even more diverse. During this talk, I will present some examples from my group’s work on how memristive technologies can be exploited in several practical applications from neuromorphic systems to charge-based computing and even enabling bioelectronics medicines.

Bioelectronic Sensors and Systems

Wednesday 20 June 2018

In this seminar I will describe research at the University of Edinburgh into the development of microfabricated sensors and systems at the interface between biology and electronics. Much of this comes from the IMPACT project (Implanted Microsystems for Personalised Anti-Cancer Therapy) which is developing silicon based sensors to measure the microenvironment within a tumour. In addition I will talk about my other work on biomedical applications of microelectronics and microfluidics, including a drug delivery system, impedance based cellular assays and 3D Lab on a Chip systems.

Low-cost and Open-source Swarm Robotic Platforms

Monday 18 June 2018

Bio-inspired Swarm Robotic is a fascinating topic for collaborative multi-robot research studies. The aim is to control a large number of simple robots by applying mechanisms inspired by nature in order to solve common complex tasks. Due to the hardware complexities and cost of robot platforms, current research in swarm robotics is mostly performed by simulation software. The simulation of large numbers of these robots is extremely complex and often inaccurate due to the poor modelling of physical conditions. Therefore, open-source and low-cost platforms (robots and experimental setup) will increase number of research studies conducted using real-world experiments. Two open-source low-cost robots, Mona and Colias, which have been developed as affordable swarm robotic platforms and two swarm robotic systems including: i) Perpetual Robot Swarm which provides long-term autonomy of mobile robots and ii) COSФ which is an inter-robot communication approach based on the bio-inspired pheromone systems will be presented. Currently we are using a combination of these platforms at The University of Manchester to study long-term uninterrupted scenarios in swarm robotics.

A mechanistic opinion about movement in mammals

Wednesday 30 May 2018

In my group, we have been exploring the rules of plasticity amongst the pathways that govern motor activity, via the spinal circuits, related to the hands and legs. Our focus is on the modulation of these spinal circuits during a task and when in disease or dysfunctional states like spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy or strokes. We take a mechanical view of the nervous system, exploring the interaction between muscles, neuronal pathways and the environment in both animals and humans, examined by studying the functional outputs from these. We have established the role of co-operation and competition between pathways in short and long temporal scales for effective recovery from injuries influencing motor output, especially during cerebral palsy. In this talk, I will provide some basic evidence for the ideas above and how we are currently developing tools to identify the pathways active in people during specific tasks – synergies, but observing changes that occur within a period enough for a single synaptic event to influence the output without the involvement of the brain. I will give you some evidence for the change in inputs to the same muscles during different but almost identical tasks, suggesting tools that could be useful to allow both clinicians and engineers to develop calibration measures for individual patient. In other words, help stratify the population and diagnosis to know their current state of plasticity, allowing better therapeutics. The wishful thinking here is that it is likely to also aid in defining tools that are more effective in carrying out faster recovery from perturbation or adjusting to the demand.

Integrated Lab-on-Chip biomedical diagnostic chips: Printed Circuit Boards, Printing and beyond…

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Lab-on-Chip technology aspires to shrink biomedical laboratories in few cm microchips, in a technological revolution step analogous to the introduction of computer technology in the 20th century. In this presentation Dr Moschou will provide an overview of this technology and its impact on healthcare. She will then focus on manufacturing techniques for integrated Lab-on-Chip biomedical diagnostic chips and in particular the Lab-on-PCB technology that has been the forefront of her work for the past 8 years.

Network-based approaches to large scale biomedical data integration

Wednesday 21 February 2018

In this talk, Prof. Zheng will highlight her recent work in the development of network-based approaches to large scale biomedical data integration. The application to integrated metagenomics analysis and disease subtypes identification will be presented. The presentation will conclude with the discussion of challenges and opportunities in multiscale computing and multiplex networks.

Inaugural Lecture: Measuring ability in generic skills - should we and can we?

Thursday 1 February 2018

In relation to generic skills, Higher Education faces two fundamental questions: Should we be measuring the ability of students?; and secondly if we should, can we? The talk starts with the "should we" by looking at a model of the student first employment transition and what industry declares it needs. Some current research into the analysis of job adverts tells an interesting story in terms of what skills are sought by industry and, more interestingly how level of ability is articulated. The talk then addresses the obvious question of what are the generic skills and discusses the complexities in terminology and definitions. It then turns to the second question of can we measure ability in generic skills and discusses issues of accuracy, reliability, rater bias and fatigue and certification in relation to public speaking as an examplar. The conclusion? Should we and can we? Come along and find out some of the things that affect our ability to answer these questions and do anything.

The minimally manipulative separation of mammalian cells using surface acoustic wave-induced dielectrophoresis

Wednesday 31 January 2018

The ability to separate specific cell types from heterogeneous cell ensembles is fundamental to a growing number of state-of-the-art and emerging medical procedures. The increasing importance of these therapies is overshadowed by technological shortfalls in the efficient, minimally manipulative enrichment of specific, viable cell populations within intra-operative timescales. In particular, stem cell therapies require rapid, label-free enrichment of target populations to enable single-procedure autologous stem cell transplants, and to avoid post-operative cell expansion using Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facilities. Therefore in order to reduce costs, patient morbidity and complications arising from multiple surgical procedures, a fast, label-free cell separation technology is highly desirable. Current separation techniques (e.g. centrifugation or antibody-based selection such as MACS and FACS) are slow, exhibit poor specificity and/or require laborious and expensive labelling. Here we present a new cell separation technology that employs remote dielectrophoresis, in which an electric field is coupled into a microfluidic channel using surface acoustic waves. This produces an array of virtual-electrodes on the microfluidic channel surface, allowing: (a) dielectrophoretic cell separation without the significant drawbacks of conventional electrode-based dielectrophoresis; (b) direction of different cells into physically distinct channels, allowing continuous-throughput separation; and, (c) compatibility with high conductivity, physiological fluids.

Artificial Gene Regulatory Networks

Wednesday 24 January 2018

The behaviour of a biological cell is governed by a complex network of interactions that occur between genes and their protein products, known as gene regulatory networks. These networks are responsible for almost everything that goes on in biological organisms, from low-level metabolic control up to the high-level patterning of an organism’s body. Although gene regulatory networks are quite different to human-designed computers, the problems they solve are often comparable: for example, the need to process diverse incoming signals in an efficient manner, or to reach robust control decisions in the presence of noise. In this seminar, I’ll be talking about two related research topics in the field of artificial gene regulatory network research. First, the design of computational abstractions of gene regulatory networks, and the use of these for directly solving computational problems on computers. Second, the potential for using computer simulations to design artificial gene regulatory networks for use within biological cells, and how these might one day be used to control disease processes such as cancer.

CMOS Microelectronics for DNA detection using Ion-Sensitive Field Effect Transistors

Wednesday 17 January 2018

In the last decade, we have seen a convergence of microelectronics into the world of healthcare providing novel solutions for early detection, diagnosis and therapy of disease. This has been made possible due to the emergence of CMOS technology, allowing fabrication of advanced systems with complete integration of sensors, instrumentation and processing, enabling design of miniaturised medical devices which operate with low-power. This has been specifically beneficial for the application areas of DNA based diagnostics and full genome sequencing, where the implementation of chemical sensors known as Ion-Sensitive Field Effect Transistors (ISFETs) directly in CMOS has enabled the design of large-scale arrays of millions of sensors that can conduct in-parallel detection of DNA. Furthermore, the scaling of CMOS with Moore’s law and the integration capability with microfluidics has enabled commercial efforts to make full genome sequencing affordable and therefore deployable in hospitals and research labs. In this talk, I present how my lab is advancing the areas of DNA detection and rapid diagnostics through the design of CMOS based Lab-on-Chip systems using ISFETs. I will first introduce the fundamentals and physical properties of DNA as a target molecule and how it can be detected using different modalities through the use of CMOS technology. I will then present methods of design of ISFET sensors and instrumentation in CMOS, in addition to the challenges and limitations that exist for fabrication, providing solutions to allow design of large-scale ISFET arrays for real-time DNA amplification and detection systems. I will conclude with the presentation of state of the art CMOS systems that are currently being used for genomics and point-of-care diagnostics, and the results of our latest fabricated multi-sensor CMOS platform for rapid screening of infectious disease.

Satellite Integrated Networks for Ubiquitous Broadband Communications

Monday 27 November 2017

Wireless and satellite communication systems must continually evolve and develop capabilities to handle the coming data transmission deluge arising from smart homes and cities, driverless vehicles, connectivity for countless numbers of sensors and functional assets (the so called Internet of Things (IoT)), broadband services for billions of mobile and fixed communication devices, and a future multisensory Internet that adds tactile and olfactory functionalities to the audio-visual capabilities of today's multimedia Internet. This seminar will explore some of the challenges and enabling technologies in using a fixed-amount natural resource such as is the radio spectrum to continue to support the reliable transmission of an exponentially growing data volume. The niche role of satellites will be emphasised and some of the recent research carried out at the University of South Wales in fade mitigation and bandwidth-efficient modulation will be touched upon. The presentation will include video clips to help visualise satellite orbits and the application of time diversity in live broadcasting.

Nano-spintronic devices

Thursday 16 November 2017

Department of Electronic Engineering open lecture Technology has been reducing in physical size for 50+ years and this has driven the incredible increase, power and sophistication in almost everything we use, from mobile phones to potable computers to future autonomous cars. However, this continued drive to shrink electronic components is reaching its limit, reaching to six individual atoms and new and exciting technologies much be found to help us continue with our never-ending appetite for more functionality. In this lecture Professor Hirohata will give an introduction to the issues we currently face and the new technology of spintronics. He will go on to show how this could be the technology of the future and how it might replace current devices. Finally he will talk about issues that still need to be solved, why our research might not be solving these issues and where he sees the future of spintronics in 10-20 years.

UAV Networking: Challenges, Modelling and Applications

Monday 13 November 2017

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) exhibit exceptional potentials in civilian and military domains. These are particularly useful in the applications where human lives would otherwise be endangered. Groups of UAVs can form an UAV network and accomplish complicated missions such as searching, rescue, patrolling, and mapping. The communications of UAV systems are prone to interference, latency, speed dynamicity and link interruption, which pose significant challenges for designing reliable aerial networks. For instance, the nodes in UAV networks may go out of service due to failure or power depletion; link disruption frequently occurs when UAVs fly out of the coverage; the links could have high bit error rates due to interference. Therefore, how to model, design and optimise the wireless communication networks is an urgent and important issue for UAV systems. This talk will discuss the challenges of UAV networking, elaborate some modelling work and introduce the relevant applications.

Networked-Flying Platforms: Paving the Way Towards 5G and Beyond Wireless Networks

Monday 30 October 2017

Driven by an emerging use of Networked Flying Platforms (NFPs) such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned balloons in future network applications and the challenges that the 5G and beyond networks exhibit, the focus of this tutorial talk is to demonstrate the evolution of the NFPs as a novel architectural enabler for radio access network (RAN) and their integration with the future cellular access and backhaul/fronthaul networks. NFPs are networked, flying and a potential way to offer high data rate, high reliability and ultra-low latent access and backhaul/fronthaul to 5G and beyond wireless networks. Such large scale deployable platforms and frameworks will guarantee the global information and communication requirements in future smart and resilient cities and solve the ubiquitous connectivity problems in many challenging network environments, e.g., coverage or capacity enhancements for remote or sparsely populated, social gathering and disaster affected areas, etc. This tutorial talk will provide balanced coverage on recent trends, challenges and future research and development on the integration of NFPs with 5G and beyond networks. Specifically, this tutorial talk will provide answers for the following: • How NFPs can offer a reliable, high data rate and scalable solution to fronthaul the ultra-dense small cell deployment (NFPs deployment architecture, potential high data rate technologies, and NFP-small cell association)? • What are the economic and regulatory perspectives of deploying NPFs for cellular access and backhaul networks (total cost of operation and some latest regulations)?

Spectrum Sharing for 5G and beyond-5G

Monday 2 October 2017

In this talk an overview is given of the current status of 5G industry standards, spectrum allocation and use cases, followed by initial investigations of new opportunities for spectrum sharing in 5G using cognitive radio techniques, considering both licensed and unlicensed scenarios. A particular attention is given to sharing millimetre-wave frequencies, which are of prominent importance for 5G and beyond 5G.

The CHERI capability model: Revisiting RISC in an age of risk

Monday 15 May 2017

Motivated by contemporary security challenges, we reevaluate and refine capability-based addressing for the RISC era. We present CHERI, a hybrid capability model that extends the 64-bit MIPS ISA with byte-granularity memory protection. We demonstrate that CHERI enables language memory model enforcement and fault isolation in hardware rather than software, and that the CHERI mechanisms are easily adopted by existing programs for efficient in-program memory safety. In contrast to past capability models, CHERI complements, rather than replaces, the ubiquitous page-based protection mechanism, providing a migration path towards deconflating data-structure protection and OS memory management. Furthermore, CHERI adheres to a strict RISC philosophy: it maintains a load-store architecture and requires only singlecycle instructions, and supplies protection primitives to the compiler, language runtime, and operating system. We demonstrate a mature FPGA implementation that runs the FreeBSD operating system with a full range of software and an open-source application suite compiled with an extended LLVM to use CHERI memory protection.

Location and Chaining of Virtualized Network Functions for Caching in 5G Networks

Monday 8 May 2017

The key difference of 5G with previous generations is that 5G cannot be considered as a wireless standard alone. It is true that its heartbeat may still be a 3GPP-based defined radio access network, but the bottom line truth is that in order to deliver commercial benefits to operators and new vertical industries, the core network that inevitably includes high capacity wireline links will be as important as the fronthaul. Therefore, the key difference in 5G is that the required architectural change to support network virtualization and provision to reduce cost and allow vertical markets in the ecosystem will be eventually more important than an updated air interface to provide a higher data rate than LTE-A. In this talk, I will discuss the issue of caching as an important technology for future networks especially when considered within the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) framework which will constitute an important component of future 5G networks. Caching popular content on the edge of the network can be deemed as an effective technique to reduce aggregate traffic in the core network (especially during network congestion episodes) and allowing in that respect other non-cacheable time-critical applications to fully utilize available capacity including traffic related to 4K videos on various mobile devices, massive IoT, haptic communications, drone control or virtual reality to name but a few.

Power balance and diffusion models for electromagnetic shielding

Monday 13 March 2017

Radio communication is a key part of our day to day lives. Most of us have multiple transmitters and receivers in our pocket or on our desk. Yet few give any thought to how intentional signals of our communications devices interact with the other electronic systems around us. All of them generate electromagnetic signals which may interfere with our communications systems and many of them can be affected by the signal strength available from even low power transmitters. Electromagnetic shielding of electronic systems is therefore an important aspect of ensuring that everything works together so that we can achieve Electromagnetic Compatibility between different systems. At high frequencies, full wave numerical modelling of electromagnetic shielding problems requires a large computer resource. The power balance method offers the possibility of a fast and simple computation for coupling into electrically large enclosures and their contents. Energy diffusion models offer a better solution with a little more computational effort. The methods can also be applied to acoustic isolation and coupling problems. In this seminar I will present an introduction and historical perspective on the development of the techniques and an overview of recent research in the Applied Electromagnetics Lab in applying the concepts to evaluation of the shielding effectiveness of enclosures and coupling of energy into printed circuit boards. The complexity and the high demand for real‐time and energy efficient computation of such adaptive dynamic systems can only be solved with parallel and runtime adaptive hardware/software solutions and optimized design‐ and programming tools. Traditional embedded multicore systems can only handle a task migration from core to core in order to balance the workload of an individual processor. However, only migrating software is not sufficient to find the optimal point of operation. Changes of the processor architecture and certainly the communication infrastructure between cores would be highly beneficial. This feature can be provided by heterogeneous reconfigurable multiprocessor systems-on-chip (MPSoCs), where each component can be adapted according to application demands. This presentation shows concepts and realizations for such a modern approach including a novel computer architecture, a simulation environment, the design/programming methods and the runtime management. The importance of such a novel hardware/software solution is shown with several research projects in the automotive and robotics domain.

5G Vehicular Communications

Monday 6 March 2017

This talk will present a number of candidate technologies for vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications. In more detail it will describe 802.11p and LTE applied for vehicular applications. Simulation and emulation results will be presented. Then we will consider the challenges and opportunities of mmWave for vehicular communications. The talk will also present current projects on vehicular communications such as the VENTURER project and a summary of current Bristol CSN group activities.

Reconfigurable Multiprocessor Systems-on-Chip for Cyber-Physical Systems

Monday 27 February 2017

The increasing complexity and adaptive dynamic behavior of cyber-physical systems, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or service robotics, require novel embedded hardware/software solutions. Especially, the dynamic behavior at runtime needs an approach providing adaptation to changing demands in terms of real‐time requirements, data throughput, safety and security. One representative example can be found in robotic systems, where changing situations are handled with image processing algorithms for object detection and tracking. Here, the changing situations would recommend besides the change of the algorithm also a change in the hardware architecture, e.g. the adaptation of accelerators for specific algorithms. The complexity and the high demand for real‐time and energy efficient computation of such adaptive dynamic systems can only be solved with parallel and runtime adaptive hardware/software solutions and optimized design‐ and programming tools. Traditional embedded multicore systems can only handle a task migration from core to core in order to balance the workload of an individual processor. However, only migrating software is not sufficient to find the optimal point of operation. Changes of the processor architecture and certainly the communication infrastructure between cores would be highly beneficial. This feature can be provided by heterogeneous reconfigurable multiprocessor systems-on-chip (MPSoCs), where each component can be adapted according to application demands. This presentation shows concepts and realizations for such a modern approach including a novel computer architecture, a simulation environment, the design/programming methods and the runtime management. The importance of such a novel hardware/software solution is shown with several research projects in the automotive and robotics domain.

Energy-Driven Computing: Rethinking the Design of Energy Harvesting Systems

Monday 20 February 2017

Energy harvesting computing has been gaining increasing traction over the past decade, fueled by technological developments and rising demand for autonomous and battery-free systems. Energy harvesting introduces numerous challenges to embedded systems but, arguably the greatest, is the required transition from an energy source that typically provides virtually unlimited power for a reasonable period of time until it becomes exhausted, to a power source that is highly unpredictable and dynamic (both spatially and temporally, and with a range spanning many orders of magnitude). The typical approach to overcome this is the addition of intermediate energy storage/buffering to smooth out the temporal dynamics of both power supply and consumption. This has the advantage that, if correctly sized, the system ‘looks like’ a battery-powered system; however, it also adds volume, mass, cost and complexity and, if not sized correctly, unreliability. In this talk, I will present a different class of computing to conventional approaches, namely energy-driven computing, where systems are designed from the outset to operate from an energy harvesting source. Such systems typically contain little or no additional energy storage (instead relying on tiny parasitic and decoupling capacitance), alleviating the aforementioned issues. Examples of energy-driven computing include transient systems (which power down when the supply disappears and efficiently continue execution when it returns) and power-neutral systems (which operate directly from the instantaneous power harvested, gracefully modulating their consumption and performance to match the supply).

Overview of Communication Technologies Research at the UK National Physical Laboratory

Monday 13 February 2017

High bandwidth mobile communication is an essential tool for wealth creation. The rapid growth of the civil and commercial wireless communications market coupled with the desired to make optimum use of the available spectrum is driving research into development of affordable novel antenna technologies (e.g. smart antennas, electrically small antennas, body-worn antennas, massive multiple-input-multiple-output antennas, etc.) and novel material (e.g. metamaterials, etc.) and wireless communication technologies (e.g. mm-Wave, massive MIMO, etc.) being investigated. The advancement in these areas enable new applications been constantly developed where complex performance are often required. It is important to have a good understanding of the communication systems as these ultimately affect the coverage and reliability of the network radio links. This talk presents some research highlights in communication technologies carried out at the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL). This includes electrically small antennas, smart antenna, wireless sensor networks, body-worn antennas, metamaterials, multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO), 5G communications, etc. This talk will cover also an overview of NPL as well as research and development for electromagnetic technologies and measurements at NPL.

Deep Meta-Learning

Monday 30 January 2017

Recently deep learning methods have attained super-human performance on a wide range of tasks, from image classification to game playing. A common limitation of these methods is a requirement for a large amount of data from each new task. Meta-learning provides a potential means of overcoming this limitation, where the general principles learnt on one task may be re-used to learn a new task more efficiently than starting from scratch. I shall describe recent work we have done on learning to learn in the context of deep neural networks applied to image classification and reinforcement learning tasks.

Biometrics on Mobile Devices: Opportunities and Challenges

Monday 28 November 2016

Conventional research into biometric systems has focussed on the development of algorithmic solutions to enhance verification and identification of subjects. Typically these solutions have been used in ‘fixed’ implementations, where sensors and systems are deployed in controlled environments, often, during development, in laboratory conditions. Biometric system performance has been shown to drop considerably in public settings due to poor/confusing processes, feedback or instructions given to the user. Minimising environmental effects and interaction problems are critical as biometrics become commonplace on mobile devices – particularly given the wider user-base and usage frequency. Although widely deployed there are a considerable number of research issues that require solutions to ensure accurate performance. The range of sensors within mobile devices raises the possibility of novel implementations for automated identity management, however these opportunities must be balanced by the additional risks and environmental challenges of mobile systems. In this presentation the key opportunities and challenges for research within mobile biometrics will be highlighted, addressing issues such as continuous authentication, multimodality and interaction and vulnerability assessment.

Perspectives on System-level MPSoC Design Space Exploration

Monday 21 November 2016

Embedded systems traditionally have stringent design requirements in terms of (real-time) performance, power consumption, cost and form factor, and system reliability. To provide a good trade-off with respect to these system qualities, embedded systems increasingly use heterogeneous multiprocessor system-on-chip (MPSoC) architectures, deploying components that range from various types of programmable cores to fully dedicated hardware blocks. Designing these complex, heterogeneous systems requires system-level design-space exploration (DSE) technology to support the process of making design decisions. During such DSE, a large variety of different design alternatives can be explored, such as the number and type of processors deployed in the system architecture, the type of interconnection network used to connect system components, or the spatial binding and temporal binding of application tasks to processor cores. Since this process of DSE is highly challenging because the design space that needs to be explored is typically vast, significant research has been performed in the embedded systems community on devising efficient and effective DSE techniques and methods. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the recent advances in our research on system-level MPSoC design space exploration and will present some future challenges that need to be addressed in this domain.

Internet of Things and Data Analytics for Smarter Cities and eHealth 

Monday 7 November 2016

Digital data and the connected worlds of physical objects, people and devices are rapidly changing the way we work and interact with our surrounding environments. New technologies have a profound impact on different domains, such as healthcare, environmental monitoring, urban systems and control and management applications, among others. However, these large volumes of heterogeneous data require new methods of communication, aggregation, processing and mining in order to extract efficient and actionable information from the raw data. This talk will focus on Internet of Things technologies and will discuss the opportunities and challenges involved in using large-scale data analytics in smart city and healthcare applications and services. The talk will also discuss the National Health Services (NHS) funded Internet of Things project for dementia care, called TIHM (https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/innovation/test-beds/tihm/). It is estimated that there will be one million people with dementia in the UK by 2025. Beyond those directly affected, dementia also has a much wider impact on carers, families and health and care services, with social isolation being a key confounding factor. The TIHM project focuses on building the technical and physical infrastructure for an Internet of Things framework to support dementia care and remote monitoring. TIHM uses distributed and secure technologies to capture, analyse and manage the data in order to provide real-time and actionable information to different support groups in dementia care – i.e. clinical, social care, and patients (whenever and wherever appropriate).

4th Engineering Education Research Network Annual Symposium

Thursday 3 November 2016

A two day conference focusing on issues facing engineering education research.

Bio-electronic Medicines – The Pathway to Health

Monday 31 October 2016

The functions and organ systems of our body are, to a significant extent, controlled by the electrical signals that travel along our nerves. Advances in modern microelectronics have paved the way for devices that aim to control these biological processes and treat disease by modulation of electrical impulses. Bio-electronic medicines could allow us to address diseases that have so far been untreatable, and target others with greater efficacy, precision and fewer side effects than with conventional molecular medicines. The CAST (Centre for Advanced Sensor Technology) group at the University of Bath aims to develop novel sensor assemblies for both in and ex­-vivo studies of a wide range of different bio-electronic applications. One project is directly involved with recording neural signals from the peripheral nervous system using velocity selective recording, and aims to significantly improve the state of the art for implantable recording systems and closed loop devices. A second project is centred on the development of electrical biosensors for roles from drug discovery to the detection of cancer biomarkers. This work focusses on the simple modification of conventional CMOS devices for cheap and readily available clinical applications.

Analysis of Information Encoding and Dynamics in Optically Recorded Cortical Circuits

Monday 24 October 2016

In recent years, technology for large-scale recording of neural circuit dynamics, at single cell resolution, has progressed extremely rapidly. Several international initiatives, including the US NIH BRAIN Initiative, mean that we are likely to see further developments, including the ability to manipulate as well as read out neural ensemble activity. As well as enhancing our understanding of numerous basic questions in systems neuroscience, we can hope that these techniques are likely to be of translational benefit, by allowing the characterisation of changes to circuit behaviour in mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders to be studied in great detail and across scales. Scalable data analysis tools capable of taking into consideration patterns of neural ensemble activity, however, become a limiting factor once neural population sizes exceed a few tens of neurons. In the past, I have developed information theoretic methods for analysing how information is represented in spike trains fired by small ensembles of neurons. In this talk, I will describe several approaches we are taking to scale these approaches up to tens and hundreds of neurons recorded simultaneously through two photon calcium imaging. We take two quite different approaches. In the first approach, we consider the calcium time series from the neural ensemble as a multivariate continuous time series, and employ approaches from nonlinear dynamics, together with dimensionality reduction. In the second, we use a calcium transient detection algorithm to instead represent the data as a digitized multineuron spike train, and make strong but testable assumptions about the underlying variability. In the talk, I will describe the application of these methods to data from a number of cortical circuits: neocortical, archicortical (hippocampus) and the cerebellar cortical circuit.

Electronics and Technology in Agriculture - the Next Farming Revolution?

Monday 17 October 2016

Advances in technology, especially electronics, is driving a new revolution in agriculture and horticulure, partly as a response to global challenges such as food shortage, climate changes and increasing population. This is evident by the various terms appearing in the literature and press including "E-agriculture", "Precision Farming", "Agritech", "Connected Farms", "Internet of Agri-things" and even "the Internet of Tomatoes". The seminar aims to show how electronics is at the heart of technological advances and will cover a range of topics including automatic milking machines, robot weed sprayers, GPS, driverless tractors, automated nitrogen sensing for crop spraying, wireless sensor networks, IoT, satellite and airborne remote sensing, LEDs for crop growth control and pest detection. It will conclude with a look at future develoments such as fully automated crop growing.

Natural Solutions to Electronic Systems Design Problems

Monday 3 October 2016

The increasing versatility, performance, compactness and power efficiency of today’s electronic systems is achieved by pushing technology to its physical limits: systems are increasing in size and complexity comprising thousands of subsystems made of billions of devices, requiring sophisticated programming and control; the devices themselves become smaller and smaller and have reached the atomic scale, which leads to stochastic variations when fabricating them. This makes components more noisy and unreliable and designing reliable systems extremely challenging. In this respect, technological systems are far behind biological organisms which have long since accomplished the feat of not only operating reliably with highly variable components, but also maintaining and tuning themselves in changing environments, when faults occur or they are otherwise perturbed. Biological mechanisms enabling this have co-evolved with the organisms, hence, are perfectly adapted to the requirements of their embodiment. In this context, evolutionary hardware is about hardware that offers the capability to change its structure and behaviour in order to automatically optimise its operation for a specific task or environment, taking inspiration from biological organisms with natural evolution as nature’s guiding optimisation principle. In the talk I will give examples of evolutionary computation applied to electronic design optimisation and performance analysis, and how bio-inspired decision making can improve throughput and fault tolerance of networks on chip.

Time-domain measurement of terahertz plasmons in a semiconductor two-dimensional electron system

Monday 6 June 2016

Terahertz measurement of low-dimensional semiconductor nanostructures can reveal a range of physical phenomena. However, the diffraction limit of free-space terahertz (THz) radiation always impede the probe of elementary excitation in individual nanostructures. Here, we demonstrate a planar terahertz frequency plasmonic circuit which integrate on-chip THz time-domain spectrometer with GaAs/AlGaAs heterostructure which contains a two-dimensional electron system (2DES). THz frequency range plasmons are excited by injecting picosecond-duration pulses, generated and detected by a photoconductive semiconductor, into the 2DES channel. Using voltage modulation of a Schottky gate overlying the 2DES, we observe electrostatic manipulation of 2D plasmon resonances in the 2DES plasmonic cavity. With the change of the magnetic field normal to 2DES plane, the evolution of THz frequency range magnetoplasmon resonance in time domain was measured. The experimental results were found to be in agreement with calculations using a mode-matching approach. Our work introduces a generic technique suitable for studying ultrafast carrier dynamics in low-dimensional semiconductor nanostructures at THz frequencies.

User Centric Backhauling for 5G

Monday 16 May 2016

5G Communication Systems will have challenging requirements for data rates, energy efficiency and the end-to-end latency of the system. To design a system that meets all these challenges several advanced signal processing techniques have been proposed that have implications on the backhaul as well as the fronthaul (for distributed antenna arrays). This talk will focus on available backhaul solutions and their suitability for the 5G challenges. We will also discuss the concept of joint radio access and backhaul optimisation. Some recent results will be shared and discussed.

The Human Connectome: Linking Brain Network Features to Healthy and Pathological Information Processing

Monday 9 May 2016

Our work on connectomics over the last 15 years has shown a small-world, modular, and hub architecture of brain networks [1,2]. Small-world features enable the brain to rapidly integrate and bind information while the modular architecture, present at different hierarchical levels, allows separate processing of various kinds of information (e.g. visual or auditory) while preventing wide-scale spreading of activation [3]. Hub nodes play critical roles in information processing and are involved in many brain diseases [4]. Nonetheless, general observations of human brain connectivity, or of patients at the group-level, have so far had little impact on understanding cognition, or deficiencies in cognition, in individual subjects. As a result, human connectome information is not used as a biomarker for diagnosis or a predictor of the most suitable treatment strategy. After discussing the organisation of brain networks, we will show how connectivity can be used to determine the disease type of individual dementia patients. An important aspect of these brain networks is their spatial organisation in terms of the length of fibre tracts and the location of brain regions [5]. However, simply observing connectivity is insufficient as small changes in network organisation might lead to large changes in network behaviour (dynamics) [6]. We therefore show how simulations can be applied to predict regions that are involved in neural processes. For epilepsy, simulations show us which regions are involved [7], which treatment approach should be used, and whether surgical intervention will be successful or not. We conclude with the role of simulations in understanding the developmental origin of diseases as determining these origins will again inform diagnosis and treatment (http://www.greenbrainproject.org/ ). These are first steps towards using connectome-based computer simulations as a tool to understand normal and pathological processing in individuals. Developing models that are based on anatomical information will be crucial to define the most suitable intervention [8].

Hardware-Software Co-design of Energy-Efficient Many-Core Embedded Systems

Friday 6 May 2016

The functions and organ systems of our body are, to a significant extent, controlled by the electrical signals that travel along our nerves. Advances in modern microelectronics have paved the way for devices that aim to control these biological processes and treat disease by modulation of electrical impulses. Bio-electronic medicines could allow us to address diseases that have so far been untreatable, and target others with greater efficacy, precision and fewer side effects than with conventional molecular medicines. The CAST (Centre for Advanced Sensor Technology) group at the University of Bath aims to develop novel sensor assemblies for both in and ex¬-vivo studies of a wide range of different bio-electronic applications. One project is directly involved with recording neural signals from the peripheral nervous system using velocity selective recording, and aims to significantly improve the state of the art for implantable recording systems and closed loop devices. A second project is centred on the development of electrical biosensors for roles from drug discovery to the detection of cancer biomarkers. This work focusses on the simple modification of conventional CMOS devices for cheap and readily available clinical applications.

Engineering Simulations to Understand and Gain Inspiration From Biological Systems

Monday 25 April 2016

In several areas of biological science, computer simulation is increasingly providing researchers with relevant tools to interrogate human biology, rather than a continued reliance on predictions from animal experiments. Our motivation for simulating biological systems is driven by three key objectives: to further understand biological systems, to further reduce animal experimentation, and inspire development of novel bio-inspired engineering approaches. Yet simulations designed to explore complex biological mechanisms capture a range of uncertain factors that impact the relationship between a derived prediction and the real world: factors that together act as a barrier to wider simulation use and acceptance in further research studies or clinical trials. Developing robust, evidence-based approaches to simulation design, implementation, and analysis has been a feature of research conducted in the York Computational Immunology Lab for a number of years now, within significant immunological case studies. In October I joined the Department of Electronics, with the aim of switching the focus of our research from solely capturing individual biological systems of interest to examining the engineering processes by which biological simulations should be composed, implemented, and applied. In this talk I will give an overview of what we are hoping to achieve over the next four years, how we are hoping to characterise, quantify, and propagate the uncertain factors in simulation development, and how we hope our work will impact bio-inspired engineering approaches both in robotics and further afield.

Implantable Microsystems for Personalised Anti-Cancer Therapy

Monday 18 April 2016

A malignant tumour is an uncontrolled growth of cells that can spread (metastasise) to distant organs. The microenvironment of a tumour is key to this spread and also to the tumour’s resistance to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. For example, well-oxygenated human tumours are 2-3 times more vulnerable to RT than are hypoxic tumours and advanced RT technologies can deliver radiation with sub-mm accuracy to a hypoxic volume. This talk will describe a programme to develop in vivo, wireless biosensors of hypoxia and other key parameters of cancer biology that will allow a patient’s tumour biology to be monitored continuously and without further intervention. The sensors are being integrated on a wireless silicon substrate. The initial system will integrate existing sensing technologies on one miniaturised device (estimated to be 7mm500μm500μm to facilitate minimally-invasive insertion) to probe physical characteristics (temperature, pH, O2) of the microenvironment that give an indirect measure of tumour biology. The talk will also describe novel electrochemical sensors of direct and specific tumour biomarkers.

Calibrated Auralizations and Voice Directivity in Perceptual Room Acoustics Studies

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Room acoustic auralizations are a means by which we can create virtual architectural spaces with coherent acoustical information. Often used for publicity or demonstration purposes, there has been little discussion about the realism and accuracy of auralizations. A method for calibrating room acoustic auralizations has been developed and tested for several existing spaces in Paris, including the Notre Dame Cathedral. Objective measures and subjective listening tests have been carried out to examine the similarity and differences between the actual and simulated room acoustic. In addition to the room acoustic model, the acoustic properties of the source also contribute to the realism of the virtual simulation. A study is currently underway examining the effect of directivity pattern for a vocal source, with the aim of creating a dynamic model which will allow for a more natural source rotation and directivity. Results of preliminary subjective listening tests will be presented.

Sequence Analysis Based Hyperheuristics for Search and Optimisation

Monday 7 March 2016

Online selection hyperheuristics are methods that operate at the level above metaheuristics and adapt themselves to the problem during optimisation. These algorithms use learning techniques to determine the best low-level heuristics (which can include evolutionary operators such as mutation) for a particular problem domain during the optimisation. This talk describes a new online heuristic selection algorithm known as the sequence based selection hyperheuristic (SSHH), based on the principles of sequence analysis used in bioinformatics. The method is able to learn the application probabilities of each of the low level heuristics to the problem individually and as part of unlimited-length sequences, creating new optimisation algorithms on the fly. Results will be presented that show that this method produces state of the art performance across a number of optimisation problem domains including operations research, timetabling and real-world water distribution optimisation problems.

Performance and design of MIMO full-duplex links

Monday 29 February 2016

Multi-antenna full-duplex (FD) technology enables simultaneously reception and transmission of data signals, increasing the spectral efficiency of wireless transmission significantly. The immediate penalty of FD operation is unavoidable loopback self-interference that has to be mitigated by using analog and / or digital cancellation techniques. Due to technical limitations in transceiver electronics, however, perfect mitigation may not be feasible in practice and some residual self-interference remains. In this talk, we review some applications of FD-MIMO and consider the achievable rates of large bidirectional systems under the assumption of residual self-interference due to imperfect mitigation. The analysis is based on the replica method and results from asymptotic random matrix theory.

Three - the journey from worst to first

Monday 15 February 2016

Over the past century, telecommunications technology has changed drastically. Consumer demand for faster and more reliable network has impacted the telecommunications industry across the world; and along with it, a new generation of businesses have grown to join the world market. In the UK, Three launched in 2003 with its unique proposition of 3G in an attempt to combine the internet and mobile together. Despite many challenges, the company has rapidly changed within the past few years from the worst mobile operator to the first. This talk will cover the company’s journey, its commercial strategy, changing public perception, continued opportunities, and my role as a financial reporting analyst.

Microelectronics for sensing, imaging and healthcare

Monday 8 February 2016

Microelectronics technology, and especially CMOS, has revolutionised communications, information and computing technologies over the last 30 years. It has also become clear that the same technology can make excellent image sensors, so changing the face of modern photography. In this talk I will discuss further extensions to the capability and application of CMOS technology, achieved by a combination of new chips design, and heterogeneous integration with optical and biochemical technologies. The talk will be illustrated with examples using nanophotonics for filter technologies on CMOS, metamaterials for terahertz imaging, and ion sensitive field effect transistors for using applications such as chemical monitoring, DNA sequencing, and biochemical assay. These examples will illustrate future directions for the ever expanding range of capabilities of CMOS in the years ahead.

Experiences with edge mining the Internet of Things

Monday 1 February 2016

In this talk, I will look at the concept of edge mining --- data mining that takes place at the edge of a wireless sensor network. Initially, we want our sensor networks to be as flexible as possible but as the area matures, automating information extracting into continuous analytics and pushing such analytics to the edge or leaf nodes of a network can reduce the infrastructural cost of the sensor network and thus enable many applications that would otherwise be infeasible. The talk will be rooted in my experience with deploying wireless sensor nets and deriving meaningful information from the resultant data streams.

Signal Processing for Robot Audition

Monday 25 January 2016

Most current robots have only rudimentary capabilities for audition. The list of desirable audio processing functionality includes the detection of one or more talkers, talker localization and tracking, environment mapping and speech recognition. These processing tasks are much more challenging in real-world environments involving noise, reverberation and conversational spontaneous speech. This talk will start with a brief discussion on the potential roles for signal processing in robot audition and the relationship to computational linguistics. A specific example will then be explored in more detail. The talk will then consider the effects due to combinations of noise with reverberation on speech quality, speech intelligibility and speech recognition performance. Recent results will be given showing the state-of-the-art performance of various combinations of noise reduction, beamforming and dereverberation processing. Conclusions will be drawn so as to identify research threads with strong potential to improve robot audition through the use of signal processing approaches in realistic acoustic scenarios.

How to Use Networks to Manage Networks-on-Chip?

Monday 18 January 2016

In the post-Moore’s-law era, the number of cores on a chip continues to grow as it is still far from reaching the physical and technological limits. This capability provides a solid foundation for advances in high-performance computing and embedded systems, enabling applications such as smart sensors and big data crunching. However, the effective management of many-core systems and networks to support high performance and energy efficiency remains a major challenge. Enormous amounts are spent on improving energy efficiency, without which large swaths of chip area cannot operate at full capacity. This seminar presents a novel approach to manage thousands of cores and their interconnections using a smart and embraced network. The network model capturing a new class of dynamic programming in a network formation will first be described. It supports run-time adaptive optimization for the cores and networks-on-chip (NoC) using a parallel network architecture. It is self-contained and only consumes a few percent of the overall device area and power. The seminar will review a number of advances in this technology, including maximizing on-chip communication performance, optimizing energy efficiency of thousands of cores, and fault recovery and wear leveling. Finally, an extension to cover 3-D architectures and to support thermal adaptation will be described.

The Brain Glue Story Comes Unstuck

Monday 30 November 2015

It is widely accepted that the brain’s computational capability is distributed across an interconnecting system of neurons were neurons communicate using a complex web of synaptic connections. However, there are many brain functions which are difficult to explain through neural communications alone and we look to other cells and their functional significance to unravel the complex biophysical processes occurring within the brain. Recent research has highlighted that astrocytes (a sub-type of glial cell in the central nervous system) continually exchange information with multiple synapses and consequently act as regulators of neural circuitry through coordination of transmission at remote synaptic junctions. The regulatory capability of these cells is believed to underpin many high level brain functions such as learning, neuronal synchrony and self-repair. This talk presents a strong case to support the belief that the dynamic and coordinated interplay between astrocytes and neurons is critical to progressing our understanding of brain function and dysfunction.

Aerial Platform based Wireless Communications – Will the Myth now become Reality?

Monday 23 November 2015

Aerial platforms have for many years promised to revolutionise the way wireless communications is delivered, but as yet little technology is available. However, recent advances, especially in aeronautical technology, mean that this promising method of delivery can now be realised using a variety of different types of aerial platform. This talk will discuss the main factors influencing progress, including the aeronautical constraints, the state of the art, the regulatory environment, as well wireless communication system design. These will be placed in the context of the FP7 ABSOLUTE project, and other previous activities. Finally, the talk will explore some future examples of how such technologies can be used, such as to provide 5G wireless communications, along with discussing new projects in the area.

CMOS Ageing: Modelling, Monitoring and Mitigation

Monday 9 November 2015

Advanced CMOS technology suffers from ageing effects that were considered negligible at earlier technology nodes. These effects, including Bias Temperature Instability (BTI) and Hot Carrier Injection (HCI), cause degradation in performance, such as increased propagation delays and worse noise immunity. This talk will provide a brief summary of the causes of ageing, followed by a discussion of the models that are used to predict device lifetime. The second part of the talk will focus on techniques for on-chip monitoring, including double sampling and current monitoring. Finally, circuit and system design techniques for ageing mitigation, particularly within processor cores, will be described. The talk will cover work done at the University of Southampton during the past year.

TV White Space – A current approach to dynamic spectrum access in the UK

Monday 2 November 2015

The increasing number of wireless devices has put greater demands on the radio spectrum to deliver existing and new services. Dynamic management of spectrum coupled with intelligent devices pave the way to free up valuable radio frequency and meet future wireless data demand. This presentation introduces how is UK going to implement an emerging technology, namely TV White Spaces, which allows new wireless devices to share radio spectrum with existing TV users under Ofcom’s regulation.

Spins in C60

Monday 19 October 2015

The charge transfer at metallo-molecular interfaces can be used to manipulate the electronic and magnetic properties of both metals and carbon systems. Here, we will show how this spin polarised charge transfer, or spin doping, induces a magnetisation in C60 and alters the hysteresis loops of 3d ferromagnets. Furthermore, spin ordering emerges when layers of non-magnetic metals, such as copper and manganese, are deposited in contact with the fullerenes. This new magnetisation propagates for up to several nanometers, and is a consequence of changes in the exchange interaction and density of states of the metal induced by the nanocarbon due to charge transfer and orbital hybridization. Finally, we will discuss the effects of spin currents in the spectroscopic properties of C60 layers, and how the optical absorption, vibrational spectrum and photoluminescence can be manipulated using ferromagnetic resonance.

Concepts and ideas in dynamic and flexible wireless resource manipulation

Monday 5 October 2015

A number of trends happening in the wireless telecommunication world are contributing to the creation of increasingly flexible network environments in which all types of network resources (spectrum, RAN and core network) can be fully exploited by a diverse and competitive group of operators. This is profoundly changing the way networks are owned and operated. We examine two different types of approaches to enable a more fluid access to all kinds of resources that compose a network. First, we consider machine-learning based mechanisms for the allocation and opportunistic exploitation of spectrum resources in the context of a three-tier spectrum sharing model with a centralised access control, which is the current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) model for spectrum sharing in the 3.5 GHz band. Then, we discuss auction mechanisms for the combined acquisition of spectrum and infrastructure. These models are highly dependent on the relation between the different resources that compose a network. The results highlight a complex interplay between antennas and spectrum in an auction-based allocation, and show the presence of potential divergent interests between the spectrum and the infrastructure providers.

Sixth Form Electronics Conference - 3 July 2015

Friday 3 July 2015

Subject Conferences give Year 12 students the chance to explore a particular subject in depth and have a taste of what it is like to study at York. The day includes lectures, practical workshops, a campus tour and the opportunity to talk to staff and current students.

Royal Society Lates event "What does Biology have to do with robots"

Wednesday 24 June 2015

You’ve heard of swarming bees, but what about swarming robots? Join Prof Jon Timmis to find out how biology can help inspire robotic design.

Femto-caching and device-to-device collaboration for wireless video networks

Monday 22 June 2015

The ongoing explosive increase in the demand for video content in wireless networks requires new architectures to increase capacity without excessive costs. The talk will present a new architecture for solving this problem, exploiting a special feature of video viewing, namely asynchronous reuse. The approach is based on (i) distributed caching of the content in femto-basestations with small or non-existing backhaul capacity but with considerable storage space, called helper nodes, and/or (ii) usage of the wireless terminals themselves as caching helpers, which can distribute video through device-to-device communications. The talk will discuss the fundamental principles, scaling laws for the throughput, as well as practical implementation considerations. The new architecture can improve video throughput by one to two orders-of-magnitude.

Problems and opportunities for the characterisation of the electromagnetic near field environment

Monday 1 June 2015

Near field measurement and modelling techniques for electronic equipment have been developed for many years. The complexity of modern electronics now require a statistical approach. Efficient modelling tools for describing noisy electromagnetic fields in complex environments is paramount for tackling the development of the next generation of integrated circuits and chip architectures. C2C communication and wireless links between printed circuit boards operating as Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) devices will become dominant features overcoming the information bottleneck due to wired connections. Designing the architecture of these wireless C2C networks will challenge standard engineering design tools. Device modelling and chip optimization procedures need to be fundamentally based on the underlying physics for determining the electromagnetic fields, the noise models and complex interference pattern. In addition, the input signals of modern communication systems are modulated, coded, noisy and eventually disturbed by other signals and thus extremely complex. To simulate the reaction of complex wireless C2C elements, new electromagnetic field simulation techniques are needed to describe a realistic system response for the development of future communication circuits, chips and systems. This presentation will review recent advances both in electrical engineering and mathematical physics make it possible to deliver the breakthroughs necessary to enable this future emerging technology. Increasingly sophisticated physical models of wireless interconnects and associated signal processing strategies and new insight in wave modelling in complex environments based on dynamical systems theory and random matrix theory make it possible to envisage wireless communication on a chip level. This opens completely new pathways for chip design, for carrier frequency ranges as well as for energy efficiency and miniaturisation, which will shape the electronic consumer market in the 21st century and worldwide.

New Vistas in High-Level Synthesis - The Case of Pointers

Monday 18 May 2015

The capabilities of modern FPGAs permit the mapping of increasingly complex applications into reconfigurable hardware. High-level synthesis (HLS) is now a commercial reality, and offers a significant shortening of the FPGA design cycle by raising the abstraction level of the design entry to high-level languages such as C/C++. Applications using dynamic, pointer-based data structures and dynamic memory allocation, however, remain difficult to implement well, yet such constructs are widely used in software. Automated optimizations that aim to leverage the increased memory bandwidth of FPGAs by distributing the application data over separate banks of on-chip memory are often ineffective in the presence of dynamic data structures, due to the lack of an automated analysis of pointer-based memory accesses. In this work, we take a step towards closing this gap. We present a static analysis for pointer-manipulating programs which automatically splits heap-allocated data structures into disjoint, independent regions. The analysis leverages recent advances in separation logic, a theoretical framework for reasoning about heap-allocated data which has been successfully applied in recent software verification tools. Our algorithm focuses on dynamic data structures accessed in loops and is accompanied by automated source-to-source transformations which enable automatic loop parallelization and memory partitioning by off-the-shelf HLS tools. We demonstrate the successful loop parallelization and memory partitioning by our tool flow using three real-life applications which build, traverse, update and dispose dynamically allocated data structures. Our case studies, comparing the automatically parallelized to the non-parallelized HLS implementations, show an average latency reduction by a factor of 2 to 5 across our benchmarks.

FPGA-based acceleration of data applications

Monday 11 May 2015

Over the past 3 decades, many technologies have depended on evolutions in silicon technology defined by Moore’s law, to realise improved functionality. However with state-of-the-art silicon technology at 16nm, power savings are currently slowing and it is now accepted by major players that process scaling may halt at 5nm. Thus, we have seen a shift to different forms of computing architectures and technologies including multi-core, Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) and Field Programmable Gate arrays (FPGAs). The talk will begin with a review of current silicon technology and the challenges that will need to be faced. A brief review of the alternative technologies listed above will then be given. Research into the development of high performance architectures for FPGAs with the aim of providing high performance, low power solutions for a range of applications including wireless communications, image processing and big data analytics will then be presented. In particular, the issue of time to program FPGA technologies will be addressed. A description of how the work has been applied to image processing and other “Big Data” applications will then be covered.

Satellites for Aeronautical Passengers Communications

Monday 27 April 2015

The ability for passengers to remain in touch with the outside world using their own personal devices when travelling by air has now become a reality, thanks to the R&D effort in aeronautical communications across the globe. WirelessCabin was one such project funded by the EU that had contributed significantly to the technological advancement in this area and was regarded by the EU as the flagship project in this area. This seminar will present the work carried out in WirelessCabin. Started in 2002, the WirelessCabin project was set out to provide airline passengers with direct access to business class quality Internet services via their own communication devices, including third-generation mobile phones, personal digital assistants and lap-top computers through state-of-the-art wireless access technologies including UMTS for personal and data communications, a wireless Local Area Network (W-LAN) for Internet services and a Personal Area Network (PAN) using BluetoothTM. Communication with the outside world is achieved through a satellite for interconnection with terrestrial telecommunication networks. The project culminated in 2004 with a series of trials involving a specially adapted A340 aircraft supplied by Airbus. It was the first project of this kind to be carried out anywhere in the world at the time the project was carried. Central to the development of the WirelessCabin project is the technically innovative Service Integrator (SI) which integrated different service streams before they are being transported over the satellite to the ground segment. New protocol concepts were developed for features such as dynamic bandwidth assignment to different access segments and QoS support for the connections in the integrated service stream be supported. The concept developed in WirelessCabin is still applicable for updates to the latest technologies.

Brain-Inspired Computing for Reliability

Monday 20 April 2015

Self-repair is the Holy Grail in hardware design where engineers are challenged with creating systems on technologies that do not have the capability to deliver long term reliable performance. The “reliability” hardware design challenge is rapidly becoming more acute with increasing computer chip sizes and variations in how these chips are manufactured, and is a major global issue. Existing fault tolerance/repair approaches including FPGA-based and traditional ASIC provide limited levels of reliability for computing systems as inherent architectural constraints are placed on the number of faults that can be tolerated and the level of granularity with which repairs can be implemented. Therefore, there is a need to explore new approaches to achieving autonomous computing paradigms that can fault detect, diagnose and self-repair at finer levels of granularity. Neural networks have the potential to emulate repair because each connection supports a fragment of a representation and consequently any repair must modulate or re-create lost connections. This talk will outline progress at Ulster on EMBRACE which is a mixed-signal hardware architecture for the realisation of Spiking Neural Networks. One key challenge for EMBRACE is hardware interconnect and this sets the theme for the talk with a focus placed on Network-on-Chip (NoC) interconnect for large-scale implementations and also on how we can exploit biology in detecting NoC faults.

High performance autonomous sensor networks based on co-located data and power transfer

Monday 2 March 2015

The flexibility and ubiquity of wireless communication solutions has played an important role in the explosive growth in mobile radios used in laptops, smartphones and tablets. With the evolution towards wearable and cyber physical systems, mobile systems promise unprecedented opportunities for monitoring and controlling personal health, cities and the environment. Today, we notice that the promise is only partially fulfilled, and large sensor networks are limited to simple low power sensing applications (<1mW) and low rate low power communication. When we want to target high performance sensing (radar or video surveillance) and high throughput communication, a radically new approach towards sensor network design needs to be taken. In this talk, we will start explaining the capabilities of current energy harvesting networks, and analyse the main challenges (and some solutions) with respect to delivering delay or throughput guarantees. Next, a novel basestation and sensor architecture will be proposed that allows for joint data and power delivery in the downstream, and high throughput data transfer in the upstream. The architecture will be optimized for data and power transfer spectral efficiency, as well as cost by designing the hardware and algorithms for co-located data and power transfer.

New technologies for unlocking spectrum above 6 GHz for 5G

Monday 23 February 2015

A key option to cope with 5G’s anticipated 1000x increase in capacity needs, as well as supporting very high data rate services, such as HDTV/3D streaming and immersion on future mobile devices, is through the utilisation of wide bandwidth systems operating in contiguous spectrum blocks of around 1 GHz. In this talk we will examine technology options for access to such wide bandwidth contiguous blocks of spectrum, focusing in particular on higher frequencies well above 6GHz in the millimetre--wave frequency bands, where analysis and very recent prototyping and demonstration results from Samsung indicate that that the time is becoming ripe for their utilization in next generation mobile communication standards (5G). In this context an overview will also be given of Samsung’s 5G collaborative research activities across Europe and the UK, including the Horizon 2020 5G PPP initiative.

Computation and Polymer Synthesis for Complex Cellular Behaviour and Challenges Ahead

Monday 9 February 2015

Bacteria deploy a range of chemistries to regulate their behaviour and respond to their environment. Quorum sensing is one method by which bacteria use chemical reactions to modulate pre-infection behaviour such as surface attachment. A combination of polymer and analytical chemistry, biological assays and computational modelling has been used to characterize the feedback between bacteria clustering and quorum sensing signaling. We have also derived design principles and chemical strategies for controlling bacterial behaviour at the population level. In this talk I will summarise our work on the utilisation of computational modelling for the design of synthetic polymers affecting QS phenotypes and, , time permitting, the combinatorial DNA library design tool (DNALD) as well as explore some of the challenges ahead.

Quality of experience in next generation wireless multimedia networks

Monday 26 January 2015

Quality of Service (QoS) has been considered until recently the main goal in the design of networks and wireless systems. However, not necessarily QoS is well correlated with the actual quality experienced by the end users. In recent years, the concept of quality of service has been extended towards the new concept of quality of experience (QoE), as the first only focuses on the network performance (e.g., packet loss, delay and jitter) without a direct link to the perceived quality, whereas the QoE reflects the overall experience of the consumer accessing and using the provided service. Experience is user- and context-dependent. However, subjective QoE evaluation is time consuming, costly and not suitable for use in closed loop adaptation, hence there is a growing demand for objective QoE evaluation and control: objective, rather than subjective, QoE evaluation enables user centric design of novel wireless multimedia systems through an optimal use of the available resources based on such objective utility index. Such adaptation may require a specific architecture for signalling the required information and taking decisions. The seminar will describe the research activity ongoing in current projects in the area of QoE-driven system adaptation, with specific examples and results from specific scenarios, and will address recommendations for the design of QoE-aware future wireless networks.

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Please contact Helen Smith, Admissions and Research Student Office, for more information.

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The Department also runs a programme of Research Student Seminars given by PhD students in their 3rd year of study.