Previous Departmental Seminars


10th December 2012- REARRANGED from 26th Nov
Embodied Language Learning with the Humanoid Robot iCub

Speaker: Professor Angelo Cangelosi (University of Plymouth)

Location: PL002


Angelo Cangelosi is Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Cognition and the Director of the Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems at Plymouth University (UK). Cangelosi studied psychology and cognitive science at the Universities of Rome La Sapienza and at the University of Genoa, and has been visiting scholar at the University of California San Diego and the University of Southampton. Cangelosi's main research expertise is on language and cognitive modelling in humanoid robots, on language evolution in multi-agent systems, and the application of bio-inspired techniques to robot control (e.g. swarm of UAVs). He is the coordinator of the Marie Curie ITN "RobotDoC: Robotics for Development of Cognition" (2009-2013) and the UK EPSRC project “BABEL: Bio-inspired Architecture for Brain Embodied Language” (2012-2016), and of the FP7 project "ITALK” completed in 2012. Cangelosi has produced more than 200 scientific publications, is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Interaction Studies, and has chaired numerous workshops and conferences including the IEEE ICDL-EpiRob 2011 Conference (Frankfurt, August 2011). In 2012 he was nominated Chair of the International IEEE Technical Committee on Autonomous Mental Development.


Recent theoretical and experimental research on action and language processing clearly demonstrates the strict interaction between language and action, and the role of embodiment in cognition. These studies have important implication for the design of communication and linguistic capabilities in cognitive systems and robots, and have led to the new interdisciplinary approach of Cognitive Developmental Robotics. In the European FP7 project “ITALK” ( we follow this integrated view of action and language to develop cognitive capabilities in the humanoid robot iCub. This will be achieved through experiments on object manipulation learning, and on cooperation and communication between robots and humans (Cangelosi et al., 2010). During the talk we will present ongoing results from iCub experiments. These include iCub experiments on embodiment biases in early word acquisition (“Modi” experiment; Morse et al. 2010), studies on word order cues for lexical development and the sensorimotor bases of action words (Marocco et al 2010), and recent experiments on action and language compositionality. The talk will also introduce the simulation software of the iCub robot, an open source software tool to perform cognitive modeling experiments in simulation (Tikhanoff et al. 2011).


Cangelosi A., Metta G., Sagerer G., Nolfi S., Nehaniv C.L., Fischer K., Tani J., Belpaeme B., Sandini G., Fadiga L., Wrede B., Rohlfing K., Tuci E., Dautenhahn K., Saunders J., Zeschel A. (2010). Integration of action and language knowledge: A roadmap for developmental robotics. IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development, 2(3), 167-195

Marocco D., Cangelosi A., Fischer K., Belpaeme T. (2010). Grounding action words in the sensorimotor interaction with the world: Experiments with a simulated iCub humanoid robot. Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 4:7,

Morse A.F., Belpaeme T., Cangelosi A., Smith L.B. (2010). Thinking with your body: Modelling spatial biases in categorization using a real humanoid robot. Proceedings of 2010 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Portland, pp 1362-1368

Tikhanoff V., Cangelosi A., Metta G. (2011). Language understanding in humanoid robots: iCub simulation experiments. IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development.

3rd December 2012-
Wave Field Synthesis - From Theory to Application

Speaker: Dr Frank Melchior (BBC Research and Development)

Location: PL002


Frank Melchior is head of the audio research team at BBC R&D. He received a Dipl.-Ing. (equiv. to Master of Science) in Media Technology from the Technical University Ilmenau and a doctoral degree on the topic of spatial sound design and acoustics from University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands. Frank worked as a researcher and project manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology. He has spent his professional career developing audio systems including wave field synthesis based system and leading R&D teams on various topics including authoring, live sound applications, automotive audio and motion picture sound. Before he joined the BBC he was the Chief Technical Officer at IOSONO, Erfurt, Germany, who develop spatial audio solutions. Frank's research interests include spatial array signal processing, spatial audio reproduction, user interface technology for audio systems and listening experiments. Dr Frank Melchior is very passionate about finding the best way to bring the emotion and creative ideas embedded in sound to the listener.


This lecture describes the developments from the theoretical concept of Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) invented at the TU Delft to its application in current spatial sound reproduction systems. The engineering steps from a linear array of equally spaces loudspeaker to a real world implementation will be described by highlighting important contribution which can be found in the WFS literature. The role of psycho-acoustic in the development of spatial audio reproductions systems will be discussed.

19th November 2012-
Cognitive Radio Access to TV White Spaces: A Stepping Stone Towards Intelligent Spectrum Sharing

Speaker: Maziar Nekovee, BT Research & technologyLocation: PL002


Maziar Nekovee is a pioneer in research and development of cognitive radio technology for access to white space spectrum, and has been instrumental in establishing this technology as a major R&D activity at BT. He is involved in the FP7 project QUASAR, leading a work package on regulatory and business assessment of secondary spectrum access, well as a number of other EU and international R&D project in cognitive radio/dynamic spectrum access. He has a PhD in quantum physics and a first degree and MSc in electrical engineering (cum laude) both obtained in the Netherlands.

Dr Nekovee has published over 80 technical papers and has 7 patents. He has edited a book entitled “Cognitive Radio Communication and Networks: Principle and Practice” (2010), and has given numerous keynotes, invited lectures, and tutorials in leading IEEE, IET and ACM conferences around the world. He was awarded a Royal Society Industry Fellowship in 2006, and was nominated for the 2011 BT Innovation Award for his pioneering work on cognitive radio access to TV White Spaces.  

His current research focuses on developing coordinated and distributed mechanisms for secondary sharing and co-existence in TV and other white spaces, and performance modelling, algorithm development and feasibility analysis of cognitive radio technology for rural and mobile broadband, smart grid communications and intelligent transport systems. Other areas of his research include theory and modelling of complex social networks, wireless security and quantum communications.



In this talk I will give an overview of the current status and emerging trends in research, regulation standardization and deployment of cognitive radio technology for access to unused portions of TV spectrum, the so-called TV White Spaces.

The “first wave” of R&D in white space technologies has mainly focused on sensing algorithms, and more recently, geolocation databases that were required to enable cognitive radios detect white spaces and use them without causing harmful interference to incumbent systems.

With growing interest from industry in the use of TVWS, e.g in future WiFi, M2M and LTE-A systems, we expect that the R&D focus will shift towards addressing challenges resulting from large-scale deployment of cognitive radio white space challenges, including aggregate interference control, co-existence and secondary sharing , and the so-called tragedy of spectrum commons. I will highlight some of these remaining challenges and discuss possible solutions, based on recent research.

12th November 2012-
An overview of research on Smart grid, M2M, and beyond

Speaker: Zhong Fan (Toshiba Research Europe)

Location: PL002


Zhong Fan is a Chief Research Fellow with Toshiba Research Europe in Bristol, UK. Prior to joining Toshiba, he worked as a Postdoc Research Fellow at Cambridge University, a Lecturer at Birmingham University and a Researcher at Marconi Labs Cambridge. He was also awarded a BT ShortTerm Fellowship to work at BT Labs. He received his BS and MS degrees in Electronic Engineering from Tsinghua University, China and his PhD degree in Telecommunication Networks from Durham University, UK. His research interests are wireless networks, IP networks, M2M, and smart grid communications. He has been actively involved in FP7 and TSB projects and served on the TPC of many international conferences. He is also an external reviewer for Belgian and Portuguese research funding agencies on smart grid and M2M proposals. 


In this talk I will give an overview of some recent research work conducted at Toshiba Research Europe on smart grid and M2M communications. I will cover some background info, challenges and opportunities, a number of examples of technical advances we have made, and visions for future directions.

29th October 2012 -
Games, Privacy and Distributed Algorithms for the Smart Grid

Speaker: Professor H. Vincent Poor (Princeton University)

Location: PL002


H. Vincent Poor is the Michael Henry Strater University Professor at Princeton University, where he is also the Dean of Engineering and Applied Science. His research interests are primarily in the areas of stochastic analysis, statistical signal processing, and information theory, and their applications in various fields, including wireless networking, social networks and smart grid. Among his publications in these areas is the recent book Smart Grid Communications and Networking (Cambridge, 2012). Dr. Poor a Fellow of the IEEE, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a former Guggenheim Fellow. Recent recognition of his work includes the 2010 IET Ambrose Fleming Medal, the 2011 IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award, and honorary doctorates from Aalborg University, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the University of Edinburgh.



Smart grid involves the imposition of an advanced cyber layer atop the physical layer of the electricity grid in order to improve the efficiency and lower the cost of power use and distribution, and to allow for the effective integration of variable energy sources and storage modes into the grid. This cyber-physical setting motivates the application of many techniques from the information and systems sciences to problems arising in the electricity grid, and considerable research effort has been devoted to such application in recent years. This talk will describe recent work on three aspects of this problem: applications of game theory to smart grid design; characterization of the fundamental tradeoff between privacy and utility of information sources arising in the grid; and the design of distributed algorithms for inference and control that are suitable for the topological constraints imposed by the structure of the grid.

22nd October 2012-
On the use of Multiple Antennas with Filter Bank based
Multi-Carrier (FBMC) Systems

Speaker: Professor Didier Le Ruyet (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers)

Location: PL002


Didier Le Ruyet received the Eng. Degree and the Ph. D. Degree from Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) in 1994 and 2001 respectively.  In 2009, he received the “Habilitation à diriger des recherches” from Paris XIII University. From 1988 to 1996 he was a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at SAGEM Defence and Telecommunication, France. He joined Signal and Systems Laboratory, CNAM Paris as a research assistant in 1996.  From 2002 to 2009, he was an assistant professor with the Electronic and Communication Laboratory, CNAM Paris.  Since 2010 he is full professor at CNAM in the CEDRIC research laboratory. He has published more than 70 papers in referred journals and conferences. He was the General chair of the Ninth International Symposium on Wireless Communication Systems ISWCS 2012 at Paris, France. His main research interests lie in the areas of digital communications and signal processing including channel coding, detection and estimation algorithms, multi-carrier and multi-antenna transmission and relaying techniques.


Multicarrier modulation techniques offer many  advantages for current wireless communication systems compared to single carrier modulation.  Due to its simplicity, much of the attention has been paid to the conventional Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing  which is able to avoid both intersymbol interference (ISI) and interchannel interference (ICI) making use of a suitable cyclic prefix. However, OFDM system sacrifices data transmission rate because of the insertion of  the cyclic prefix and the large side-lobes of the  filter's frequency response results in a significant loss of efficiency for cognitive radio or heteregoneous wireless systems. In this talk, we will first review the different classes of  Filter Bank based Multi-Carrier (FBMC)  that offer a promising alternative for the future wireless communication systems.

Then we will  study the combination of multiple antennas with  FBMC systems. We will show that the FBMC orthogonality property is lost due to the presence of interference terms caused by the neighboring transmitted data in time-frequency domain.

Finally, we will propose and  analyze different intersymbol interference (ISI)  cancellation techniques for both FBMC/OQAM and FBMC/QAM schemes associated to  space time block codes and spatial multiplexing.

15th October 2012-
Low Noise Signal Generation and Verification Techniques

Speaker: Michael Driscoll (Northrop Grumman)

Location: PL002


Mike Driscoll joined the Westinghouse Defence Centre (now part of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems) in Baltimore in 1965 after graduating from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Since 1968, he has worked primarily on the design and development of low noise signal generation hardware for use in high performance radar systems and other special applications. He was a Senior Consulting Engineer at Northrop Grumman until retiring in February, 2008. He is currently a Contract Engineer, consulting at Northrop Grumman. His responsibilities include the design and development of high stability oscillators as well as characterization and reduction of phase noise in RF signal processing components and circuits. He is a past Secretary, Treasurer, and President of the Baltimore, Washington, and Northern Virginia chapter of the UFFC. He has been a member of the IEEE Frequency Control Symposium Technical Program Committee since 1987. He is an Associate Editor and Associate Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control (UFFC) and was the Conference Chair for the 2005 and 2006 IEEE International Frequency Control Symposia (IFCS), and he is the Chair of the 2012 IFCS. In 1991, he was elected as an IEEE Fellow, cited for "Contributions to the development of low-noise acoustic resonator-stabilized oscillators". In 1997, he was the recipient of the IEEE UFFC Society CADY award, cited for Contributions to Low Noise Signal Generator Design. In 2006, he was a recipient of the Northrop Grumman Lifetime Achievement Award. He has published and presented over 60 papers in IEEE Journals and at IEEE Conferences. He has presented several IEEE Tutorials and Northrop Grumman Instructional Courses and holds 16 U.S. Patents dealing with the subject of Low Noise Signal Generation.


The need for improved signal detection capability in Communications and Radar System Performance has resulted in requirements for extremely low noise in the signal generation portion of the hardware. Depending on the complexity of the signal generator, the signal path circuitry often includes a cascade of a very large number of non-oscillator as well as oscillator-included components such as amplifiers, mixers, switches, filters, PLL ICs, etc. In addition to the spectral performance of the oscillator(s), the cumulative effect of the residual noise characteristics of the non-oscillator components on output signal noise level and jitter can be significant. Tradeoffs must often be made with regard to maintaining adequate inter-component signal level, linear device operation (to minimize multiplicative noise), and DC power consumption. The use of noise modelling and noise analysis spreadsheets has become a mandatory part of the design process.

Noteworthy strides have been made in order to enhance signal generator spectral purity by employing new technologies and circuit design techniques. These include the following:

  1. Acoustic resonator design and processing optimization and screening for low self-noise
  2. High Q microwave resonators
  3. Noise enhancement, detection, and reduction using carrier nulling and feed-back or feed-forward techniques
  4. Noise de-correlation via use of multiple devices

One result of these improvements, however, is that the output signal at-rest phase noise performance is now degraded by significantly lower levels of vibration and acoustic stress. For this reason, improving the vibration immunity of sensitive components represents a current challenging and important task facing the Frequency Control community. In addition to conventional, mechanical vibration isolation techniques, the successful use of accelerometer-sensed feedback for cancellation of vibration-induced FM in HF crystal oscillators has recently been reported. Here too, the effects of “non- oscillator” component vibration (including mechanical resonances) can be a source of unanticipated signal spectral degradation.

Accurate verification of phase noise performance (especially in the presence of vibration and acoustic stress) of low noise signal generator hardware represents an important, related issue. Measurement results obtained using phase noise measurement equipment can be misleading and lead to erroneous conclusions.

This lecture will cover the aforementioned topics with the goal of acquainting the attendees with both a historical and current perspective regarding the design, performance, and testing of low noise signal generation hardware.

11th June 2012
Efficient two-way relaying schemes for amplify and forward relays with multiple antennas

Speaker: Professor Martin Haardt ( Ilmenau University of Technology)

Location: PL005


Martin Haardt has been a Full Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology and Head of the Communications Research Laboratory at Ilmenau University of Technology, Germany, since 2001.

After studying electrical engineering at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, and at Purdue University, USA, he received his Diplom-Ingenieur (M.S.) degree from the Ruhr-University Bochum in 1991 and his Doktor-Ingenieur (Ph.D.) degree from Munich University of Technology in 1996.

In 1997 he joined Siemens Mobile Networks in Munich, Germany, where he was responsible for strategic research for third generation mobile radio systems. From 1998 to 2001 he was the Director for International Projects and University Cooperations in the mobile infrastructure business of Siemens in Munich, where his work focused on mobile communications beyond the third generation. During his time at Siemens, he also taught in the international Master of Science in Communications Engineering program at Munich University of Technology.

Martin Haardt has received the 2009 Best Paper Award from the IEEE Signal Processing Society, the Vodafone (formerly Mannesmann Mobilfunk) Innovations-Award for outstanding research in mobile communications, the ITG best paper award from the Association of Electrical Engineering, Electronics, and Information Technology (VDE), and the Rohde & Schwarz Outstanding Dissertation Award. In the fall of 2006 and the fall of 2007 he was a visiting professor at the University of Nice in Sophia-Antipolis, France, and at the University of York, UK, respectively. His research interests include wireless communications, array signal processing, high-resolution parameter estimation, as well as numerical linear and multilinear algebra.

Prof. Haardt has served as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing (2002-2006 and since 2011), the IEEE Signal Processing Letters (2006-2010), the Research Letters in Signal Processing (2007-2009), the Hindawi Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering (since 2009), the EURASIP Signal Processing Journal (since 2011), and as a guest editor for the EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking. He has also served as an elected member of the Sensor Array and Multichannel (SAM) technical committee of the IEEE Signal Processing Society (since 2011), as the technical cochair of the IEEE International Symposiums on Personal Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications (PIMRC) 2005 in Berlin, Germany, as the technical program chair of the IEEE International Symposium on Wireless Communication Systems (ISWCS) 2010 in York, UK, and will serve as the general chair of ISWCS 2013 in Ilmenau, Germany.


Relaying will be an important component of future mobile communication systems. In particular, two-way relaying is known to exploit the radio resources in a very efficient manner as it allows for the bidirectional exchange of information in only two time slots while all nodes operate in half-duplex mode. In this talk, we focus on two-way relaying with amplifyand-forward (AF) relays that have multiple antennas. Compared to Decode-and-Forward (DF) relays, AF relays incur less transmission delay, are transparent to the underlying modulation and coding schemes, and require less hardware complexity.

In the talk, we present various approaches for designing the relay amplification matrix in such a setting. We show simple algebraic designs that are in general sub-optimal, yet, they demonstrate a very good performance in numerical simulations. Such algebraic designs are quite relevant in practice, where tedious computations need to be avoided due to hardware constraints in terms of processing power of the relay nodes. For the special case of singleantenna terminals we present polynomial time algorithms to compute the sum-rate optimal relay amplification matrix.

In the second part of the talk, we extend the discussion to the case of multiple communication partners that exchange data bidirectionally via one shared relay with multiple antennas in a two-way relaying fashion using the same spectrum. Such a scenario is, for instance, present in the context of voluntary physical resource sharing between several operators. For such a system we develop a projection based separation of multiple operators (ProBaSeMO) relay transmit strategy, which is a closed-form algebraic solution. ProBaSeMO is generic and can be easily adapted for different system settings, e.g., single or multiple-antenna user terminals. Compared to an orthogonal spectrum sharing approach, ProBaSeMO achieves a significant sharing gain in terms of system sum rate. Moreover, it suffers only a small loss compared to the optimal solution and has a significantly lower computational complexity.

28th May 2012
Chalcogenide glasses: Towards Mid-Infrared Photonics

Speaker: Professor Trevor Benson (University of Nottingham)

Location: PL002


Trevor Benson received a First Class honours degree in Physics and the Clark Prize in Experimental Physics from the University of Sheffield in 1979, a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from the same University in 1982 and the DSc degree from the University of Nottingham in 2005.

After spending over six years as a Lecturer at University College Cardiff, Professor Benson moved to The University of Nottingham in 1989. He was promoted to a Chair in Optoelectronics in 1996, having previously been Senior Lecturer (1989) and Reader (1994). Since October 2011 he has been Director of the George Green Institute for Electromagnetics Research at The University of Nottingham. Professor Benson’s research interests include experimental and numerical studies of electromagnetic fields and waves with particular emphasis on the theory, modeling and simulation of optical waveguides, lasers and amplifiers, nano-scale photonic circuits and electromagnetic compatibility.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering Technology (FIET) and the Institute of Physics (FInst.P). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005 for his achievements in the development of versatile design software used to analyze propagation in optoelectronic waveguides and photonic integrated circuits.


Chalcogenide glasses are based on one or more of the Chalcogen Group (Group XVI) elements of the Periodic Table other than oxygen, covalently bonded to one or more of As, Sb, Ge, Ga or Si in order to enhance glass forming ability. They are promising materials for photonic applications since they offer: a large, composition dependent, transmission window; composition (refractive index) flexibility; high refractive indices; large optical non-linearity and the ability to dope with rare earth ions. In this talk I will describe work at Nottingham aimed at taking advantage of these promising materials properties for potential applications in the mid-Infrared part of the spectrum. This includes: Materials preparation and characterisation, the fabrication of fibres, planar waveguides and microresonators, and associated electromagnetic simulation.

21st May 2012
Biomolecular Electronics: What, Why and How?

Speaker: Dr Steven Johnson (University of York)

Location: PL002


Steve Johnson graduated from the University of York with a BEng. in Electronic Engineering and received his DPhil. from the same institution with a thesis on the study of miniature electron optic devices. His research interests and activities have subsequently become increasingly multi-disciplinary and for the past 5 years, he has been developing hybrid bioelectronic devices with a particular focus on bioelectronic sensors for use in drug discovery and in point-of-care diagnostics.


Biological molecules recognise each other and self-assemble spontaneously into well-defined, nanometre-sale components that work together to perform a wide range of incredibly complex tasks. In contrast, electronic devices are manufactured from inorganic, 'physical' materials and engineered with specific properties, functions and capabilities. The aim of biomolecular electronics is to combine these two worlds and create new devices in which information can flow freely and in both directions across the organic - inorganic interface. The result is a powerful hybrid technology in which the selective and sensitive biological attributes of molecular self-assembly and recognition are combined with the speed, flexibility, and programmability of an underlying semiconductor logic circuitry.  In this talk I will present some recent successes and discuss the challenges, and opportunities, that face this hybrid technology.

14th May 2012
The power of investigating immunology through simulation, and the problem of believing the results

Speaker: Dr Mark Read (University of York)
Location: PT005


Mark's research interests lie primarily on the interdisciplinary boundary between engineering and immunology. He recently passed his PhD viva in Computer Science at York, which focusses on establishing confidence that immunological simulations are representative of their real world systems through modelling and statistics. Mark is currently an RA on the CoCoRo underwater swarm robotics project, here in Electronics at York, where he is developing immune-inspired algorithms for robustness to and recovery from failure at both individual robot and swarm levels.


Computational modelling and simulation is increasingly adopted as a valuable tool in the study of immunology. This constructionist approach allows researchers to piece together the system under study and test hypotheses concerning its operation. As a complement to traditional wet-lab techniques it has the potential to transform the bio-medical industry. However, a critical and under-appreciated challenge in the field is establishing confidence that simulation results are representative of their real-world systems. This talk focuses on the simulation-based exploration of EAE, a mouse model of multiple sclerosis and a complex disease characterised by multiple inter-linked feedback mechanisms. We consider the powerful experimentation that can be performed through simulation, and the key challenge of establishing confidence that results are indicative of the real mouse.

30th April 2012
Characterisation and Applications of Liquid Crystals at MM-wave Frequencies

Speaker: Prof. Dariush Mirshekar (University of Essex)
Location: PT005


Recent research results suggest that a number of tuneable/adaptive RF devices can be developed using materials like liquid crystals (LCs) and ferroelectrics whose electrical properties can be controlled by a bias voltage.

Nematic LCs, which have revolutionised the display technology, are liquid anisotropic materials with variable tensor permittivity controlled with an external electric or a magnetic field. Nematic LCs are cheap and responsive to low voltages which is an advantage over ferroelectrics. Also, they are linear under a relatively large RF field and hence, are superior to ferroelectrics.

This talk will first concentrate on our broadband technique for the measurement of the dielectric anisotropy and losses of nematic LCs at mm-wave frequencies (30-60 GHz). The test device for the measurement purpose has a small volume, hence is highly suitable for measuring LCs developed in small quantities in research laboratories. Results of the characterisation of several nematic LC materials are presented and discussed.

The second part of the talk focuses on our work on the applications of nematic LCs in developing a few mm-wave devices including phase shifters, tuneable resonators, tuneable filters and beam steering antennas.

12th March 2012
Cognitive Radios: A Network Perspective

Speaker: Professor Luiz Da Silva (Trinity College, Dublin)

Location: PT005


Luiz DaSilva currently holds the Stokes Professorship in Telecommunications in the department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at   Trinity College Dublin , where he is a member of   CTVR , The Telecommunications Research Centre in Ireland. He is also a full Professor in the   Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering   at   Virginia Tech , where he has been a faculty member since 1998. His research focuses on distributed and adaptive resource management in wireless networks, and in particular cognitive radio networks and the application of game theory to wireless networks. He currently serves as a principal investigator on research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the Science Foundation Ireland, and the European Commission under Framework Programme 7. Recent research sponsors also include DARPA, the Office of Naval Research, and BBN Technologies. Prof. DaSilva has authored over 100 refereed journal and conference papers and co-authored two books on wireless communications. In 2006 he was named a College of Engineering Faculty Fellow at Virginia Tech.


The design and analysis of cognitive radios and dynamic spectrum access has at first focused on communication issues at the device and physical levels. This talk will describe our current work on wireless network issues brought about by the advent of radios that are increasingly able to autonomously adapt to the environment in which they operate. We use cooperative and non-cooperative game theory to analyse the outcomes of such autonomous adaptations and their effects on network efficiency. We also study how machine learning techniques can be applied to distributed decision making by frequency agile and reconfigurable radios. Finally, we wil discuss how cognitive radios and dynamic use of the spectrum can be incorporated in future generation mobile networks, in 4G and beyond.

9th March 2012
IET Lecture: Cloud Computing

Mr Dai Davis CEng (Director, Percy Crow Davis & Co Ltd)

5th March 2012
Seeking Change Detection with a difference

Speaker: Dr Mohammed Jahangir (TRL Technology)

Location: PT005


Dr Jahangir is a Senior Consultant with the Disruptive Technology group at L-3 TRL Technology. His specialist interest is novel image exploitation techniques. Previously he worked with the radar group at QinetiQ Malvern where he developed a number of patented change detection techniques. He qualified with First Class Honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College. In 2000 he was awarded PhD by University College London for his work on land clutter radar statistics. With L-3 TRL he has been instrumental in building close working relationship with a number of academic groups providing application focus and supporting technology pull-through.


The reality of modern asymmetric warfare is that the foot soldier is still very much at the fore front of operations. Timely situational awareness is critical to force protection and mission success. The huge proliferation of sensors systems has led to abundance of surveillance imagery. The challenge for tactical operations is combining imagery arising from different viewpoints and possibly different sensor type to obtain real-time actionable intelligence without overloading the user with huge quantities of irrelevant data. Conventional change detection approaches can provide rapid alerts through combining different time instances of images of the same scene provided they are from near identical viewpoints. However, when it comes to combining images over wide baselines the change detection problem for this situation remains largely unexplored. The eventual goal is to be able to generate accurate change detection alerts using any available imagery in a robust manger so as to aid tactical situational awareness.

27th February 2012
Numerical Sound Synthesis and Audio Processing using Finite Difference Time Domain Methods

Speaker: Dr Stefan Bilbao (University of Edinburgh)

Location: PT005


Stefan Bilbao, currently a Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Edinburgh, received his BA in Physics at Harvard University ('92), then spent two years at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique Musicale ( IRCAM ) under a fellowship awarded by Harvard and the Ecole Normale Superieure. He then completed the MSc and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University ('96 and '01, respectively), while working at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics ( CCRMA ). He was subsequently a postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford Space Telecommunications and Radioscience Laboratory, and a Lecturer at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at the Queen's University Belfast.


Physical audio synthesis and effect processing is carried out using a variety of techniques---most are developed with efficiency in mind, and especially real time performance on readily available machines. The constraint of efficient performance, however, constrains the set of systems which may be modelled, and rules out various more complex acoustic systems---and in particular, those which produce the richest, and most interesting sound output! Finite difference time domain methods are generally applicable to any system; but they are computationally more costly, and require a good deal of design work at the algorithmic level in order to ensure that they behave properly, and do not introduce audible numerical artifacts. Various systems will be discussed, including brass and woodwind models, percussion instruments, electromechanical instruments and effects such as plate and spring reverberation, and the Clavinet, full room acoustics, and modular environments for virtual musical instrument construction. There will be plenty of sound and video, so this talk is suitable for non-engineers!

20th February 2012
Functional and Reliability Modelling of Swarm Robotic Systems

Speaker: Professor Alan Winfield (University of the West of England, Bristol)

Location: PT005


Alan Win?eld is Professor of Electronic Engineering and Director of the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, UK. He received his PhD in Digital Communications from the University of Hull in 1984, then co-founded and led APD Communications Ltd until taking-up appointment at UWE, Bristol in 1991. Alan co-founded, with Chris Melhuish and Owen Holland, the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and his current research is focussed on the engineering and scientific applications of Swarm Intelligence. Committed to the widest possible dissemination of research and ideas in science, engineering and technology, Alan was awarded an EPSRC Senior Media Fellowship in 2009. He led UK-wide EPSRC public engagement project Walking with Robots, awarded the 2010 Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke medal for public promotion of engineering. Web:


A robotic swarm is an example of a stochastic, dynamical and often non-linear system. Developing models that allow overall swarm properties to be predicted from the low-level parameters of the individual robots that comprise the swarm is challenging. For this reason many swarm robotics algorithms are validated with reference to simulation studies or limited real-robot experiments only, with no underpinning mathematical model or proof. This approach is inherently limited since simulation or real-robot experiments can only explore small parts of a system’s parameter space, and hence provide only weak ‘inductive’ proof of a system’s correctness, or reliability. Yet if swarm robotic systems are to find real-world application, especially in safety-critical applications, we need stronger tools for validation.

This talk will introduce the author's work in developing models for both the functional properties and reliability of swarm robotic systems.

13th February 2012
Wireless Network Coding: Physical layer rules, OK?

Speaker: Professor Alister Burr (University of York)

Location: PT005


Wireless Network Coding is a significant new development in multihop wireless networks which can greatly improve the efficiency of some simple networks - for example it straightforwardly doubles the throughput of the two-way relay channel, where two terminals are communicating with one another via a relay.  Application to more complicated wireless networks has even greater potential.  But perhaps ultimately the most significant aspect may be that it effectively extends the physical layer of wireless communications, which deals with signals rather than bits or packets, across the whole network, instead of being restricted to single links between pairs of nodes.  This has potentially dramatic benefits for the efficiency of networks, and could lead to a revolution in the way wireless networks of all sorts are implemented. 

The talk will introduce wireless network coding (a.k.a physical layer network coding) by describing its operation on the two-way relay channel, then discuss its application to more complex networks, along with its potential benefits for next generation wireless broadband networks and wireless sensor networks.  We will then discuss the implications of the distributed physical layer for future wireless commnunications.  Is the OSI layered protocol model dead?

6th February 2012-
Opportunistic use of spectrum – where are we?

Speaker: Michael Fitch (BT Labs)
Location: PT005


Michael Fitch works in the Research and Technology part of BT Innovation and Design, leading a small research team specialising in physical and systems aspects of wireless communications. He has been with BT since 1989 working in various research and development roles, currently working on a number of collaborative projects on emerging wireless technologies such as LTE and Cognitive Radio. In addition he provides engineering consultancy to other parts of BT on wireless matters. Previous experience is with satellite systems and with mobile radio systems. Michael holds a first degree in maths and physics, a PhD in satellite communications and is a member of the IET.


There is a fundamental change in the way spectrum is regulated and made available. Traditionally spectrum has been either licensed or unlicensed, which means that either the interference is under control or it is not. The wireless air interface and MAC layers are different between the two.  The types of services offered are different between the two. Now, however, the concept of opportunistic use of spectrum, or spectrum sharing, has been made possible, through the development of mechanisms for smart radio resource management and through development of key technologies such as software defined radio and cognitive radio. Ofcom is promoting the sharing of spectrum, to start with in the TV bands 470 to 790MHz, but the concept is being expanded into other bands. Within the TV bands, research has been conducted to identify and develop some of the necessary technologies, and some of these are being trialled in Scotland and in Cambridge in the UK and in some other European locations. As well as the technical hurdles, there are also policy and regulatory hurdles, the principal one being the problem of establishing adequate confidence with the regulators and primary users of the spectrum (broadcasters and wireless microphones), through the trials and standards activities. This session will discuss the critical technologies, state of the research and development and trials, and the steps necessary to bring spectrum sharing to a commercial reality.

1st February 2012 - 4:15pm
University Public Lecture : A Greener World with a better LED

Visiting Speaker: Professor Rong Zhang (Nanjing University)

Room P/L002

30th January 2012-
Population-based Algorithm Portfolios for Numerical Optimization

Speaker: Professor Xin Yao (University of Birmingham)

Location: PT005


Xin Yao obtained his BSc in 1982 from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), MSc in 1985 from the North China Institute of Computing Technology (NCI) and PhD in 1990 from USTC, all in computer science. He was a postdoctoral fellow at ANU in Canberra and CSIRO in Melbourne in 1990-92, before joining UNSW@ADFA in Canberra, Australia, as lecturer in 1992. Attracted by English weather, he took up a Chair of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham on the April Fool's Day in 1999 and is still there. His major research interests include evolutionary computation and neural network ensembles. Apart from publishing over 350 refereed papers, he also did some voluntary work in his spare time, e.g., as the Editor-in-Chief (2003-08) of IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation.


In the real-world, we are often given a time budget, within which we have to optimise a problem. In this case, it is essential that we spend our time wisely in order to come up with the best possible solution. Although a wide range of population-based algorithms, such as evolutionary algorithms, particle swarm optimizer and differential evolution, have been developed and studied in recent years, the performance of an algorithm may vary significantly from problem to problem. This implies that there is an inherent risk associated with the selection of algorithms. If we adopt an inappropriate algorithm, we will not be able to find a good solution within the given time budget. In this talk, we propose that, instead of choosing a single algorithm and investing the entire time budget on it, it would be better and less risky to distribute the time among multiple different algorithms. A new approach named population-based algorithm portfolio (PAP), which takes multiple algorithms as its constituent algorithms, is proposed based on this idea. PAP runs each constituent algorithm with a portion of the given time budget and encourages interactions among the constituent algorithms with a migration scheme. As a general framework rather than a specific algorithm, PAP is easy to implement and can accommodate any existing population-based search algorithms. This talk will explain the PAP framework and demonstrate its instantiations on challenging benchmark functions. The experimental results have shown that the PAP algorithms can advance the state-of-the-art by outperforming its constituent as well as other strong algorithms.

Reference: F. Peng, K. Tang, G. Chen and X. Yao, ``Population-based Algorithm Portfolios for Numerical Optimization,'' IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, 14(5):782-800, October 2010.

23rd January 2012-
Planes, Trains, Automobiles, ….. and Boats!

Speaker: Dr Peter Wilson (University of Southampton)

Location: PT005


Dr Peter R. Wilson is currently Reader in Electronics at the University of Southampton, although he has taken a circuitous route to academia. After graduating with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh (his home town), he started as a design engineer at Ferranti, also in Edinburgh on various aspects of Avionics including Fire Control, Inertial Navigation, Power Electronics, Electro-mechanical systems and Radar Systems. After seven years of intensive engineering work, he then took a post with an American company, Analogy Inc., based in Beaverton, Oregon, where he was a technical specialist in the Saber Simulation software, and worked with numerous companies worldwide troubleshooting modeling, Simulation and design problems. During 1999, He decided it was long overdue to complete a PhD, and returned to Southampton where he received his doctorate in 2002, and has remained since as post-doctoral researcher, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and currently Reader in the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Group at the University of Southampton. Dr Wilson has published more than 80 papers in journals and conferences, 2 books (two more in press), is a Senior Member of the IEEE, Member of the IET and a Chartered Engineer.


In the modern world there is a drive towards all electric transportation, with the promise of pollution free and high performance travel, however how realistic is this in practice? In this seminar some of the key issues in achieving useable vehicles for everyday use will be discussed, and how engineering has solved many of the major problems, however discussing where challenges still exist. While there will be a research context, and a serious message, however there is also a place for some fun along the way. Therefore, in this seminar, recent projects will be presented that illustrate how engineering can deliver steps forward with surprising results and in some cases, with surprisingly simple solutions. There will also be illustrations of the highs and lows of converting vehicles to electric drive, with some “thrills and spills” along the way.

16th January 2012-
Current challenges in data cabling

Speaker: Dr Alistair Duffy (De Montfort University)

Location: PT005


Dr Alistair Duffy is currently Reader in Electromagnetics at De Montfort University, Leicester.  He took up his first post there in 1994 after being awarded his PhD from Nottingham University.  He is currently on the Boards of Directors of the IEEE EMC Society and the IWCS Cable and Connectivity Symposium. He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on EMC. His research interests include physical layer components as well as validation of electromagnetics.


Copper data cables have, for a long time, lagged behind fibre in bandwidth and reach.  However, the promise that fibre to the desk is five years away (first made, probably, 30 years ago) does not account for the technology of copper cabling improving to be a close follower to fibre systems.  A current development front for copper data cabling is 40Gbps and possibly 100Gbps. Copper cables have the advantage over fibre of being able to handle power and Power over Ethernet (PoE) and Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) have been with us for some time.  However, there is another development front to develop even higher power systems (PoE++) that can deliver 100 W over 100 m to couple with the transmission of high definition TV over common-or-garden twisted pair cable for home entertainment systems.  Clearly, there are some challenges to be overcome in achieving these aims.  This presentation looks at some of the basic technology in twisted pair data cables and provides an overview of the development of high speed transmission and high power delivery.

Administrative Enquiries:

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


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Student Seminars

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