Previous Departmental Seminars

2013

2nd December 2013
Sound field control with loudspeaker and microphone arrays

Speaker: Dr Filippo Fazi, University of Southampton

Location: PL002

Synopsis:

Loudspeaker and microphone arrays are used in a variety of audio applications. They not only allow to capture and to reproduce the spatial attributes of a sound scene, as in the case of 3D audio, but they are also capable of direction-selective capture of a sound field (beamforming) and they allow for localized reproduction of a desired audio signal, minimizing the sound leakage into neighbouring zones (personalized audio).  In this talk, the fundamental principles of the array technology are briefly reviewed and a theoretical framework for acoustic arrays is presented, with special attention to the mathematics involved. It is explained how the same DSP design strategy, based on a standard least squares minimization technique, can be applied to a variety of problems of practical interest.  A number of audio-related applications and experiments are also presented, which demonstrate the capabilities as well as the limitations of this technology. 

Biography:

Filippo Maria Fazi graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Brescia (Italy) in 2005. He obtained his PhD in acoustics from the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) of the University of Southampton, UK, in 2010, with a thesis on sound field reproduction. He was appointed Lecturer at the ISVR in 2010. In the same year, he was awarded a fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineering and by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.  Dr Fazi’ s research interests include Audio technologies, Electroacoustics and Digital Signal Processing, with special focus on acoustical inverse problems, multi-channel systems, virtual acoustics, microphone and loudspeaker arrays.

25th November 2013
Issues relating to the practical exploitation of ICmetric security technology

Speaker: Dr. Gareth Howells, University of Kent

Location: PL002

Synopsis:

The digital revolution has transformed the way we create, destroy, share, process and manage information, bringing many benefits in its wake with an ever increasing number of embedded consumer and communication devices at the heart of this revolution. However, such technology has also increased the opportunities for fraud and other related crimes to be committed. Therefore, as the adoption of such technologies expands, it becomes vital to ensure the integrity and authenticity of electronic digital systems and to manage, control access to and verify their identity. ICmetrics represents an exciting new approach for generating unique identifiers for embedded electronic devices and online services based on their determinable operating characteristics enabling secure encrypted communication between devices potentially significantly reducing both fraudulent activity such as eavesdropping and device cloning. This talk introduces the technical challenges associated with ICmetric technology and explores some of the practical considerations associated with its successful commercial exploitation.

Biography:

Dr. Gareth Howells is a Reader in Secure Electronic Systems at the University of Kentand Founder and Director of Metrarc Ltd, a joint spin-out company of the Universities of Kent and Essex exploiting novel ICmetric based security technology. He has been involved in research relating to security, biometrics and pattern classification techniques for over twenty five years and he has been awarded, either individually or jointly, several major research grants relating to the pattern classification and security fields, publishing over 150 papers in the technical literature. Recent work has been directed towards the development of secure device authentication systems which has received significant funding from the Technology Strategy Board and dstl and is currently in the process of being commercially exploited.

18th November 2013
Audio in a 3D game world

Speaker: Dr Michael Kelly, Lumin Audio

Location: PL002

Synopsis:

Games present a unique and challenging environment for audio digital signal processing.  The audio processing pipeline is expected to support potentially hundreds of simultaneous sound sources, each employing a range of DSP effects.  This talk examines the model that is used to represent 3D sounds within a game world, and the effects-chain that is used to implement that model.  The talk uses the OpenAL API as basis for the modern game-audio engine and takes a detailed look at the underlying implementation.  The talk is of general interest within the field of media processing and of particular interest to audio researchers who would like to see the detail of how DSP is applied in a demanding application.

Biography:

The talk is presented by Michael Kelly.  Michael is Director, Research and Development at DTS.  Based in London, Michael reports to DTS's R&D facility in Los Gatos, California and is responsible for development of real-time spatial audio algorithms.  Prior to joining DTS, Michael was Senior Audio Engineer at Sony Computer Entertainment and worked on the audio systems and tools for the PlayStation 3 and Vita Platforms.  Michael also worked on Soundblaster products as a research engineer for Creative Labs.  He started his career as a game sound designer, shortly after completing his PhD at York.

21st October 2013
Point-process analysis of neural signals: from frequency coding to temporal coding

Speaker: Dr Luca Citi (University of Essex)

Location: PL002

Biography:

Dr Luca Citi received a degree in Electronic Engineering in 2004 from the University of Florence, Italy. He did his  master's thesis as a visiting student under Riccardo Poli's supervision at the Essex Brain-Computer Interfaces group. In 2005, he enrolled in a PhD program at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Italy) with a thesis about the decoding of neural signals for the control of robotic arm prostheses. He then spent three years as post-doc at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology working on statistical analysis of point processes (stochastic processes representing discrete events in time) applied to heartbeat series and neural spike trains. He is currently a Lecturer in Computational Intelligence at the University of Essex.

Synopsis:

The first part of the talk will show an application of neural decoding for the purpose of controlling a robotic hand prosthesis. In this case the so-called "frequency coding" paradigm was used, which assumes that the neural information is encoded in the firing rate of individual neurons. In the second part, a powerful statistical framework, point processes, will be introduced. Among other applications, point processes have successfully been used for neural decoding, giving access to the so-called "temporal coding" which assumes that the actual time of the spikes carries valuable information in addition to that carried by the rate alone. An application of this method to a functional neuro-muscolar stimulation system will be presented.

14th October 2013
Wireless network coding in the real world

Speaker: Professor Alister Burr (University of York)

Location: PL002

Synopsis:

Wireless (or Physical Layer) Network Coding (WNC) is a new paradigm for communication over multi-hop networks, in which nodes jointly encode incoming data streams instead of selecting between them.  It allows information to be routed through the network via several routes at once, and it exploits signals from other nodes which would otherwise be treated as interference.  It transforms the conventional ‘layered’ approach to communications network design which uses the physical layer only for point-to-point links, effectively extending the physical layer to include routing functions, and giving the potential to greatly increase energy efficiency and reduce delay. 


However, until now WNC has been mainly a theoretical concept, evaluated using information theory.  Recently, the Communications Group has begun two substantial new projects which promise to demonstrate its potential in the real world, in two very different applications. 


The first, DIWINE (Dense Cooperative Wireless Cloud Network) is a European Framework 7 project, involving eight partners across Europe.  It introduces the idea of the ‘Wireless Cloud Network’ which consists of a network of wireless nodes, routing information between user terminals using WNC principles, which is also self-organising so that it offers a completely transparent service to the terminals.  Two demonstration applications will be developed: Toshiba Research will demonstrate ‘smart grid’ applications, while Pepperl+Fuchs will use it for critical industrial process control. 


The second is an EPSRC project “Network Coded Modulation for Next Generation Wireless Access Networks” or “NetCodMod5G” for short, which involves York and the University of Reading, and three industrial partners.  This will apply the approach to fifth generation cellular networks, in which user terminals will connect via a variety of relay and base stations, which in turn have wireless connections to the backbone network, forming a so-called heterogeneous network.  Similarly WNC can be applied to this network, allowing a diversity of routes for each terminal, and again greatly increasing efficiency. 


The talk will outline the principles of wireless network coding, showing how it can provide such performance improvements, then describe the background and aims of the two projects. 

7th October 2013
Getting robots to work: can biology teach us a few tricks?

Speaker: Professor Jon Timmis (University of York)

Location: PL002

Synopsis:

There are many areas of bio-inspired computing, where inspiration is taken from a biological system to construct an engineered solution. This talk will focus on trying to develop novel ways to solve all sorts of problems in a robotics context, from chemical agent monitoring to self-healing in swarm robotic systems.  We will explore how the modelling and engineering work can compliment each other, and pass discuss the thrills and pitfalls of interdisciplinary working.

17th June 2013
A Max-Product EM Algorithm for Reconstructing Markov-tree Sparse Signals from Compressive Samples

Speaker: Dr Aleksandar Dogandzic (Iowa State University)

Location: PL002

Biography:

Aleksandar Dogandzic received the Dipl. Ing. degree (summa cum laude) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1995, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1997 and 2001, respectively. In August 2001, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Iowa State University, where he is currently an Associate Professor.

Dr. Dogandzic received the 2003 Young Author Best Paper Award and 2004 Signal Processing Magazine Best Paper Award, both by the IEEE Signal Processing Society. He is a general co-chair of the Fifth IEEE International Workshop on Computational Advances in Multi-Sensor Adaptive Processing (CAMSAP 2013).

Synopsis:

I will describe our Bayesian expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm for reconstructing Markov-tree sparse signals via belief propagation. The measurements follow an underdetermined linear model where the regression-coefficient vector is the sum of an unknown approximately sparse signal and a zero-mean white Gaussian noise with an unknown variance. The signal is composed of large- and small-magnitude components identified by binary state variables whose probabilistic dependence structure is described by a Markov tree. Gaussian priors are assigned to the signal coefficients given their state variables and the Jeffreys’ noninformative prior is assigned to the noise variance. Our signal reconstruction scheme is based on an EM iteration that aims at maximizing the posterior distribution of the signal and its state variables given the noise variance. This EM algorithm estimates the vector of state variables as well as solves iteratively a linear system of equations to obtain the corresponding signal estimate. We employ a max-product algorithm to implement the maximization (M) step of the EM iteration. We select the noise variance so that the corresponding estimated signal and state variables (obtained upon convergence of the EM iteration) have the largest marginal posterior distribution.

Finally, I will present numerical examples where we compare the proposed and existing state-of-the-art reconstruction methods via signal and image reconstruction experiments.

10th June 2013
Cellular cognitive communications with indirect signalling

Speaker: Dr Keivan Navaie (University of Leeds)Location: PL002

Biography:

Keivan Navaie received his PhD in 2004 and is currently with the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds. His research interests lie in the field of radio resource allocation for wireless communication systems, dynamic spectrum allocation, cognitive radio networks and cooperative communications.  He published more than 80 peer reviewed book chapters, journal and conference papers.  Dr. Navaie is a member of editorial board of the European Transactions on Telecommunications. He has been on the technical program committee of different IEEE conferences, including Globecom, ICC, Infocom, VTC and WCNC, and chaired some of their symposia. He has also served as Co-Chair of Wireless Network Track, IEEE VTC-2012, Yokohama, Japan and the IEEE 8th International Workshop on Wireless Network Measurements WiNMee 2012, Paderborn, Germany. Dr. Navaie is a senior member of the IEEE.

Synopsis:

In this talk recent advances in cellular cognitive communications are briefly reviewed and the concept of indirect signalling is defined.  Results are then presented on the performance evaluation and stability analysis of the cellular cognitive communications systems with indirect signalling.

3rd June 2013
Theories of synaptic plasticity and memory

Speaker: Dr Mark Van Rossum (University of Edinburgh)

Location: PL002

Biography:

Mark van Rossum has a PhD in physics from the University of Amsterdam, and did ostdoctoral work at UPenn and Brandeis University. His research concentrates on computational aspects of learning and memory, using computational and analytic methods from statistical physics. Particular areas include: familiarity memory, biophysical aspects of synaptic plasticity, spike-timing dependent plasticity and memory stability and consolidation.

Synopsis:

Synapses in the brain are presumably continuously subject to increases and decreases as the result of ongoing learning processes. This opens the danger of run-away plasticity (i.e. connections growing without bounds). Using computational models we demonstrate that, rather counter-intuitively, the observed increase in synaptic spine size that accompanies LTP, might constrain synaptic plasticity, leading to 'soft-bound' plasticity. Next, we show the effect of such soft-bound plasticity on receptive field development and we show theoretically how it maximizes the storage capacity of synapses. Finally, we argue how these findings might relate to the aberrant synaptic plasticity found in diseases.

20th May 2013
Genetic Improvement Programming

Speaker: Dr William Langdon, University College London

Location: PL002

Biography:

Bill Langdon gained his PhD at UCL after a career in industrial control software and consulting. After positions in universities and research institutes both at home and abroad, he has recently returned to UCL where he is applying genetic programming to optimising software. He has written 3 books in Genetic Programming, including the recent: A Field Guide to Genetic Programming, which can be downloaded for free. He also maintains a comprehensive and up to date Genetic Programming Bibliography.

Synopsis:

Genetic programming can optimise software including evolving test benchmarks, search meta-heuristics, protocols, composing web services, improving hashing and garbage collection, redundant programming and even automatically fixing bugs. Often there are many potential ways to balance functionality with resource consumption (eg time, memory, energy). But a human programmer cannot try them all. Also the Pareto optimal trade off may be different on each hardware platform and dynamic, e.g. as usage changes. It may be genetic programming can automatically suggest different trade offs for each new market. Recent results include substantial speed up by generating a new version of a program for a special case.

13th May 2013
Design of Energy Harvesting Communication Systems

Speaker: Dr Deniz Gunduz, Imperial College

Location: PL002

Biography:

Deniz Gunduz received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Brooklyn, NY in 2004 and 2007, respectively. Currently he is a lecturer in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department of Imperial College London. Previously, he served as a research associate at CTTC in Barcelona, Spain, as a consulting assistant professor at Stanford University, and as a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University.  He is the recipient of the 2008 Alexander Hessel Award of Polytechnic Institute of New York University given to the best PhD Dissertation, and a recipient of the Best Student Paper Award at the 2007 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory. He serves as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Communications.

Synopsis:

Lifetime of wireless sensor networks depends critically on the energy available at individual sensor nodes. However, constraints on the cost and physical size of low-complexity sensor nodes severely limit the battery capacity. Moreover, battery replacement can be impractical or impossible due to inaccessibility of remote sensor nodes, or their vast numbers. Harvesting the available ambient energy is a promising technology for sensor networks providing theoretically perpetual operation. However, in most cases harvested energy is limited in quantity and sporadic in availability, necessitating novel communication schemes to best exploit this intermittent energy.

Focusing on a point-to-point fading channel, we will assume both energy and data arriving at the transmitter over time, and take into consideration practical system parameters such as battery leakage and energy consumed in the processing circuitry. We will identify the optimal transmission schemes in the "offline optimization" framework, which assumes non-causal knowledge of all future events in the system; as well as in the "online optimization" framework, assuming only a statistical knowledge about the underlying random processes. Finally, we will provide a "learning-theoretic" solution, suitable for practical scenarios in which the statistical properties of the underlying random processes are either not known at the deployment, or vary over time.

29th April 2013
Green Dense Flexible Networks

Speaker: Professor Mérouane Debbah (SUPELEC)

Location: PL002

Biography:

Mérouane Debbah entered the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (France) in 1996 where he received his M.Sc and Ph.D. degrees respectively. He worked for Motorola Labs (Saclay, France) from 1999-2002 and the Vienna Research Center for Telecommunications (Vienna, Austria) until 2003. He then joined the Mobile Communications department of the Institut Eurecom (Sophia Antipolis, France) as an Assistant Professor. Since 2007, he is a Full Professor at Supelec (Gif-sur-Yvette, France), holder of the Alcatel-Lucent Chair on Flexible Radio. His research interests are in information theory, signal processing and wireless communications. He is an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing. Mérouane Debbah is the recipient of the "Mario Boella" award in 2005, the 2007 General Symposium IEEE GLOBECOM best paper award, the Wi-Opt 2009 best paper award, the 2010 Newcom++ best paper award as well as the Valuetools 2007, Valuetools 2008 and CrownCom2009 best student paper awards. He is a WWRF fellow. In 2011, he received the IEEE/SEE Glavieux Prize Award.

Synopsis:

Wireless networks are inherently limited by their own interference. Therefore, a lot of research focuses on interference reduction techniques, such as mutiuser MIMO, interference alignment, interference coordination or multi-cell processing. Although these techniques might lead to considerable performance gains, it is unlikely that they will be able to meet the demand for wireless data traffic in the future. Therefore, a significant network densification, i.e., increasing the number of antennas per unit area, is inevitable. One way of densifying the network consists in cell-size shrinking, such as the deployment of femto or small cells, which comes at the cost of additional equipments and increased interference. Another much simpler, but also less explored, option is the use of massively more antennas at each base station (BS). In this talk, we will discuss the challenges of small cell versus massive MIMO networks.

11th March 2013
Organic Electronics Or Can you make a Computer from Carrots?

Speaker: Professor Michael C Petty (Durham University)

Location: PT006

Biography:

Michael Petty’s higher education was at Sussex University (BSc Electronics) and Imperial College (PhD Electronic Materials). He has been at Durham University since 1976 progressing to Professor in 1994, then Chairman of the School of Engineering from 1997 to 2000.

Mike’s research activities focus on the properties of thin films of organic materials and he has a special interest in the application of these layers to electronic and opto-electronic devices. He has published over 350 papers/books/patents in these subjects. His latest authored book – Molecular Electronics: From Principles to Practice – was published by Wiley in 2007.

Professor Petty is currently a Co-Director of the University of Durham Centre for Molecular and Nano-scale Electronics.

Synopsis:

Most microelectronic devices are based on inorganic semiconductors, in particular silicon. In contrast, organic electronics (or molecular electronics) is concerned with the exploitation of organic compounds in electronic and optoelectronic devices. The subject can be divided into two themes (although there is substantial overlap). The first concerns the development of devices exploiting the unique macroscopic properties of organic compounds. Examples here are electroluminescent displays, plastic transistors and photovoltaic cells. The second strand to organic electronics recognises the dramatic size reduction in the individual processing elements in integrated circuits. Molecular-scale electronics therefore deals with the manipulation of organic materials at the nanometre level. This presentation will provide an overview of organic electronics and describe some of the most recent progress in the development of organic transistors and memories.

4th March 2013
New Projects in the Department: Extreme Electromagnetics – Protection of Critical Infrastructure from Electromagnetic Attack
NASCENCE: Nanoscale Engineering of Novel Computation using Evolution

Extreme Electromagnetics – Protection of Critical Infrastructure from Electromagnetic Attack

Speaker: Dr John Dawson (University of York)

Synopsis:

The presentation will give an overview of the technology that has the potential to allow terrorists and criminals to damage or disable critical infrastructure such as banks, airports, water, electricity and gas utilities and work in the Physical layer group being done to ameliorate the problem.

 

NASCENCE: Nanoscale Engineering of Novel Computation using Evolution

Speaker: Dr Julian Miller (University of York)

Synopsis:

NASCENCE is an recently funded 2.9M euros EU project in Unconventional computation. The aim of the NASCENCE project is to model, understand and exploit the behaviour of evolving nanosystems (e.g. networks of nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes or films of graphene) with the long term goal to build information processing devices exploiting these architectures.

The methodology behind this is called evolution-in-materio. In evolution-in-materio, computers running evolutionary algorithms are used to define configurations and magnitudes of physical variables (e.g. voltages) which are applied to material systems so that they carry out useful computation.

Such a methodology for programming allows the exploitation of physical effects that the human programmer need not be aware of.

The talk describes the NASCENCE project and also gives an overview of past work in evolution-in-materio.

25th February 2013
Identifying repeated speech patterns as a way to monitor progression of Alzheimer's disease

Speaker: Dr Anna Barney (University of Southampton)

Location: PT006

Biography:

Dr Anna Barney is a senior lecturer in the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research at the University of Southampton. Her research interests range from the fluid mechanics and aero-acoustics of vowel sounds in normal and pathological speech to the characterisation of patterns in pathological speech and in breathing. Working with colleagues is the neurology department at St George's, University of London; she has recently developed a research interest in the application of pattern analysis to monitor changes in speech in patients with neuro-degenerative diseases.

Synopsis:

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is predicted to increase in prevalence as the typical life-span of the UK population increases due to a general improvement in health. Much work is in progress to find disease modifying therapies, but for the effectiveness of these to be evaluated we will need firstly, the ability to make accurate diagnosis in the early stages of the condition; and secondly robust, objective measures of therapeutic efficacy in individual patients.

Among the many abnormalities noted by caregivers in patients with AD, one of the commonest is perseverative behaviour - the tendency to make the same statement, ask the same question, or carry out the same action repeatedly over the course of the day. This type of behaviour is likely to be related to a decline in day-to-day memory (the commonest first symptom of AD) and therefore offers a potential way to measure cognitive degeneration.

This talk will describe the development of an automated system to identify whether repeated phrases exist in large datasets of recorded speech. Methods of feature extraction, feature-set optimisation, motif discovery and motif selection will be described and the performance of the system on a trial data set will be presented.

18th February 2013
Engineering Employability Skills

Speaker: Mr Tony Ward (University of York)

Location: PT006

Synopsis:

This talk explores engineering employability skills by considering a supply and demand model for engineering graduates and what happens at the education to employment transition. It looks at destination statistics as evidence to support some of the directions students go upon graduation and the dimensions of the match between the individual and the job. The match is a complex combination of skills, abilities, attitudes and personal circumstances. Which of these can we influence? Which of these should we consider to be part of our job as lecturers within Higher Education and which should we expect to be covered by others and if so who? What can we really certify student competence in? It then looks at higher-level ‘things’ and how we can assess and certify them.

11th February 2013
Coming Down from the Trees. Can Audio DSP Ever Walk on the Ground?

Speaker: Peter Eastty (Oxford Digital)

Location: PT006

Biography:

Peter has worked in London, Paris and San Francisco designing everything from Synthesizers for Pink Floyd to SONY’s most expensive ever product. He now works for Oxford Digital designing audio processors and programming environments that go into the silicon in your pocket.

Synopsis:

There is a desperate dissonance between the algorithms were trying to implement in Audio DSP and the hardware and languages we’re forced to use to do the job.

Kindle, HP, SONY and Microsoft products contain a Different Way.

In this seminar Oxford Digital’s Peter Eastty will describe how this is done at present and where the technology is going in the near future.

Decades ago, low level and systems programming stopped using machine specific languages and as a result the computer industry changed dramatically and for ever. Digital Audio Signal Processing has still to make this step! We’ll briefly examine the history, look at where the best and worst solutions are today, and take a peak behind the curtain at where the market leaders want to be tomorrow.

and how we can assess and certify them.

4th February 2013
A New Perspective on the Connectivity of Dense Wireless Networks

Speaker: Dr Justin Coon (Toshiba Research Europe)

Location: PT006

Biography:

Justin P. Coon received a B.S. degree (with distinction and honours) from Clemson University, USA and a PhD from the University of Bristol (UoB) in 2000 and 2005, respectively. In 2004, he joined Toshiba’s Telecommunications Research Laboratory (TRL) in Bristol, where he now manages the Physical Layer Research Group. In this role, he leads and coordinates all theoretical and applied research on the physical layer.  Dr. Coon also holds a position as Reader in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at UoB, and was a Visiting Fellow with the School of Mathematics at the same university from 2010-2012.  He has published over 70 peer reviewed papers in international journals and conferences, and is a named inventor on more than 30 patents. Dr. Coon serves as an Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications.

Synopsis:

Research in the area of information and communication technology has experienced a number of paradigm shifts over the last two decades. From the discovery of capacity approaching codes to the exploitation of MIMO information theory, the complexity of ICT systems has increased considerably during this period. These advancements have partly been brought on by societal requirements. At present, the focus is shifting from point-to-point communication links to networks in an effort to improve the quality of service to end users both at the consumer level and with regard to infrastructure and society in general. Additionally, a holistic view is being considered, particularly with respect to the integration of ICT into the smart grid and medical applications.

Motivated by these factors, researchers at TRL and the University of Bristol School of Mathematics have embarked upon a study of the connectivity properties of dense wireless networks.  To this end, a new theory has been developed that completely characterises the probability that a network of randomly deployed nodes is fully connected.  In contrast to previously reported theories and results, our new theory is built upon a physical layer probabilistic model of pairwise node connection and is capable of incorporating boundaries, and the effects thereof, into the connectivity model, thus yielding a much more accurate representation of network performance.  Additionally, the new theory has been used to develop methods of enhancing practical network performance.  These include power control mechanisms, diversity scaling rules, and antenna radiation pattern optimisations.  This seminar will seek to provide an overview of the new connectivity theory and its associated implications on practical network design.

28th January 2013
New approaches to blended e-learning and its business model: Ten years of experience of involving students and practitioners in learning

Speaker: Dr Beat Affolter (University of Zurich)

Location: PT006

Biography:

Beat received his MSc. in Business Informatics and his Ph.D. in Banking & Finance from the University of Zurich (UZH). In 2004 (during his studies) he joined the e-learnig project "eCF - get involved in Corporate Finance" of UZH as a technician. During his Ph.D. he was part of an initiative with the goal to expand the project-based e-learning know how to other areas in Banking and Finance and to finance the courses differently since the state financing was going to expire. This resulted in a innovative model of financing student courses through executive courses using the same online material. Since 2011 he is responsible for executive education in finance at the Department of Banking and Finance at UZH.

Synopsis:

How to handle more than 300 students in one lecture and still keep the students involved? And how to finance this? And in the end: Does student involvement through online courses result in better course results? These are three main questions which shall be answered in this talk based upon a ten year experience with blended learning courses at the Department of Banking and Finance at University of Zurich. 

14th January 2013
A-Life for Music: on Making Music with Computer Models of Living Systems

Speaker: Professor Eduardo Miranda (University of Plymouth)

Location: PT006

Biography:

Eduardo Miranda holds an MSc in Music Technology from York and a PhD in Music from Edinburgh. He served as a research scientist for Sony CSL in Paris for a number of years, where he conducted research into speech technology and evolution of language. Currently he is professor and the head of research at Plymouth University. He authored a number of patents, papers and books in the field of computer music and made contributions in the fields of speech, evolutionary modelling of music and artificial intelligence. He is the regional editor for Latin-America of Organised Sound and a member of the editorial boards of Leonardo Music Journal, Contemporary Music Review and IEEE Multimedia. Prof Miranda also is an esteemed composer in his own right.

Synopsis:

The field of Artificial Life (A-Life) studies all phenomena characteristic of natural living systems, through computational modelling, wetware-hardware hybrids, and other artificial media. Its scope is rather large, ranging from the investigation of the emergence of cognitive processes in natural or artificial systems to the development of life or life-like properties from inorganic components. A number of musicians, in particular composers, have started to turn to A-Life for inspiration and working methodology. A number of techniques to compose music with the aid of computers have been developed based on, or inspired, by A-Life models. In this seminar I will briefly review some of these techniques and then I will introduce my own work in this field. I will attempt to demonstrate why I find A-Life useful, inspiring and interesting for music composition. I shall focus particularly on a compositional method that I have developed using an A-Life modelling paradigm known as cellular automata.


2011

12th December 2011-
Using Cognition to Deliver Green Communications

Speaker: Dr David Grace (University of York)

Location: PT005

Synopsis:

The next generations of wireless communication networks promise to support significant increases in data rates. In order to achieve this will require a revolution in the way such systems are designed, as device and network energy consumption will become an ever more important constraint, from both the technical and regulatory perspectives. This talk will explore the critical parameters and also show how the application of distributed artificial intelligence and self-awareness through cognition can be used to significantly improve the energy efficiency of these future networks. The talk will specifically examine the application of different forms of reinforcement learning on spectrum assignment, network routing and topology control, as well as introducing future directions for research in this area.

Friday 9th December - 6.30pm
IET Lecture: Spintronics for the uninitiated

Dr Irene D'Amico, Department of Physics, University of York

5th December 2011-
Intelligent systems for multichannel audio production

Speaker: Dr Joshua Reiss (Queen Mary, University of London)

Location: PT005

Biography:

Joshua D. Reiss is a Senior Lecturer with the Centre for Digital Music in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London . He has bachelor's degrees in both Physics and Mathematics, and received his PhD in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has investigated music retrieval systems, time scaling and pitch shifting techniques, polyphonic music transcription, loudspeaker design, automatic mixing for live sound and digital audio effects. His primary focus of research, which ties together many of the above topics, is on the use of state-of-the-art signal processing techniques for professional sound engineering.

Synopsis:

Multichannel signal processing techniques are usually concerned with extracting information about sources from several received signals. In this talk, we describe an emerging field of multichannel audio signal processing where the inter-channel relationships are exploited in order to manipulate the multichannel content. Applications to real-time, automatic audio production are described and the necessary technologies and the architecture of such systems are presented. The current state of the art is reviewed, and directions of future research are also discussed.

28th November 2011-
Modelling of nanoscale devices

Speaker: Dr Scott Roy (University of Glasgow)

Location: PT005

Biography:

Scott Roy received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, U.K., in 1994, for his investigations into the engineering and architectural aspects of extended single electronic systems. He is a Reader and the Head of Discipline in Electronics and Electrical Engineering, University of Glasgow. His technical interests include high-performance computing and its application to device and circuit modeling. He has extensively worked on codes to simulate and optimize Si/SiGe and III-V field-effect transistors for very large scale integration and radio-frequency applications, and currently concentrates on the effects of micro- and nanoscale device atomicity (including traditional, silicon-on-insulator (SOI), ultrathin-body SOI, and double-gate devices) on device parameter fluctuations and their subsequent impact on system performance.

Synopsis:

Device parameter fluctuations, which arise from from the intrinsic discreteness of charge and matter, are a dominant source of device mismatch in nano-CMOS devices, and a bottleneck to the future yield and performance of circuits and systems. They are also a stimulating challenge for device simulation, requiring the application of an integrated hierarchy of simulation techniques (focussing around Monte Carlo and Drift Diffusion approaches) in order to obtain practical, predictive results. Using a specific exemplar - stability of 6-T SRAM - we explore the use of such simulation tools for nano scale electronics. If time permits, we will also describe the novel application of these approaches to nascent bio-nano devices.

21st November 2011-
Wideband passive and active channel measurements

Speaker: Dr Sana Salous (University of Durham)

Location: PT005

Biography:

Research: Dr Salous has been involved in radio channel characterization for over 25 years. First in the HF band for skywave communication and over the horizon radar, subsequently in the UHF band for mobile radio applications in indoor and outdoor environments and more recently in the mm band for short range communication and for on body area networks. In 2003 she was appointed to the Chair in Communications Engineering at Durham University and the Director for the Centre for Communications Systems. This summer she was elected as the International Vice Chair for URSI Commission C on Radiocommunication Systems and Signal Processing.

Synopsis:

The talk will present different measurement techniques including off the shelf and custom designed radio channel measurement equipment and present results of measurements in indoor and outdoor environments.

14th November 2011-
Electronics Applications of Carbon Nanotubes

Speaker: Professor Bill Milne (University of Cambridge)

Location: PT005

Biography:

Bill Milne FREng, FIET, FIMMM has been Head of Electrical Engineering at Cambridge University since 1999, Director of the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics( CAPE) since 2004 and Head of the Electronic Devices and Materials group since 1996 when he was appointed to the ‘‘1944 Chair in Electrical Engineering’’. He obtained his BSc from St Andrews University in Scotland in 1970 and then went on to read for a PhD in Electronic Materials at Imperial College London. He was awarded his PhD and DIC in 1973 and in 2003, a D.Eng (Honoris Causa) from University of Waterloo, Canada. He was elected as Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2006 and was awarded the JJ Thomson medal from the IET in 2008 and NANOSMAT Prize in 2010. He is a Guest Professor at HuangZhou University in Wuhan, China and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at SEU in Nanjing, China and at NUS, Singapore. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at KyungHee University, Seoul. From 1973 until 1976 he worked at the Plessey Res Co, Caswell after which he joined Cambridge University Engineering Department as an Assistant Lecturer. His research interests include large area Si and carbon based electronics, thin film materials and, most recently, MEMS and carbon nanotubes and other 1-D structures for electronic applications. He currently collaborates with various companies including Thales, Samsung, Nokia, Aixtron, and FEI and is also currently involved in 3 EU projects and several UK Government funded EPSRC projects. He has published/presented ~ 750 papers, of which ~ 150 were invited.

Synopsis:

Over the past several years Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) have been touted as being one of the most promising material systems for future electronic applications. CNTs are a unique form of carbon filament/fibre in which sheets of sp 2 bonded graphite with no surface broken bonds roll up to form tubes. Single wall CNTs can exhibit either metallic-like or semiconductor-like properties and multi-wall tubes generally exhibit metallic-like behaviour. Their future application in the electronics industry is based upon several unique properties which the CNTs possess, e.g. they have the highest thermal conductivity, they can exhibit ballistic electron transport and do not suffer from electron migration. However there are still major problems to be overcome before CNTs can be used in devices and circuits including control of chirality and their selective growth.

This presentation will cover the growth, characterisation and potential electronic applications of both SWCNTs and MWCNTs and will attempt to provide a realistic appraisal of their future in the electronic industry.

7th November 2011-
Innovation in Acoustic Design through the use of the Arup SoundLab and 3D auralisations

Speaker: Seb Jouan (Arup Acoustics)

Location: PT005

Biography:

Seb Jouan is the principal of Arup Acoustics Scotland, as well as the leader of the Arts and Culture Sector for Arup in Scotland. He is also responsible for R&D and relationship with Academia for Arup Acoustics, the spokesman of the Arup SoundLab in Europe and the founding manager of the collaboration between Arup and the Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio.

In 2006, Seb started Arup Acoustics Scotland, which is now a team of 5 people working on projects ranging from performing arts centres, educational buildings, healthcare buildings, offices, public buildings, sonic arts and soundscape design projects. Seb has more worked on more than 100 buildings and  has worked with many architects including Zaha Hadid, Foster and Partners, Amanda Levete, Kengo Kuma, Renzo Piano and many more.

In 2007, Seb also created the new Arup DDS SoundLab, a new generation of SoundLab in collaboration with the Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio (DDS).  The Arup DDS SoundLab is the first of its kind to combine 3D visualisation and 3D sound.

 

Synopsis:

Seb Jouan from Arup will talk about how the SoundLab has transformed the way acousticians design, innovate and communicate with their clients. SoundLab was first created to auralise (auralisation being the sound equivalent to visualisation) concert hall projects. Arup now possess 8 SoundLabs around the world in London, Glasgow, Hong-Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New-York. Arup’s lateral thinking culture and openness to research collaborations allowed them to change the game in the world of acoustic consultancy and create  new business opportunities. A good example is the work undertaken recently in the SoundLab to assess the impact of a new High Speed Rail Line (HS2) which was recently presented to David Cameron at number 10.

31st October 2011-
3D Video: Research highlights and project snapshots

Speaker: Professor Abdul Sadka (Brunel University)

Location: PT005

Biography:

Professor Sadka is the Head of Electronic and Computer Engineering and founder of the Centre for Media Communications research at Brunel University. His research is in visual media processing and communications with particular attention to image/video coding, networked video systems, error resilient video transmissions, search and retrieval as well as augmented reality systems. He has published widely in the area including 150 papers, an authored book published by Wiley in 2002 on "Compressed Video Communications" and 3 filed patents in the video transport/coding area. To date, he has attracted circa £3M worth of research grants and contracts as PI and graduated nearly 20 PhD's. He acts as consultant to major companies in the telecoms sector and serves on several committees and advisory boards of international organisations. He is fellow of the IET and senior member of the IEEE.

Synopsis:

This seminar is aimed at selectively presenting some of the research work undertaken by the Centre for Media Communications Research at Brunel in the area of 3D video processing and communications. The seminar will shed light on findings made in some selected funded research projects in this area and the underlying technologies developed. The talk will also show a number of demos aimed at illustrating the concepts presented and the results achieved in these projects.

24th October 2011-
Biologically-Inspired Massively-Parallel Computing

Speaker: Professor Steve Furber (University of Manchester)
Location: PL002

Biography:

Steve Furber is the ICL Professor of Computer Engineering in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester. He received his B.A. degree in Mathematics in 1974 and his Ph.D. in Aerodynamics in 1980 from the University of Cambridge, England. From 1980 to 1990 he worked at Acorn Computers Ltd and was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor. At Manchester in 1990 he leads the Advanced Processor Technologies group with research interests in multicore computing, low-power Systems-on-Chip and neural systems engineering.

Synopsis:

The SpiNNaker (Spiking Neural Network Architecture) project aims to deliver a massively-parallel computing platform for modelling large-scale systems of spiking neurons in biological real time. The architecture is based around a Multi-Processor System-on-Chip that incorporates 18 ARM processor subsystems and is packaged with a 128Mbyte SDRAM to form the basic computing node. An application-specific packet-switched communications fabric carries neural "spike" packets between processors on the same or different packages to allow the system to be extended up to a million processors, at which scale the machine has the capacity to model in the region of 1% of the human brain.

17th October 2011-
How a PAnDA can help with Electronic Design at Nano-scale Silicon Technology Nodes

Speaker: Dr Martin Trefzer (University of York)

Location: PL002

Synopsis:

Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are widely used in applications where on-line reconfigurable signal processing is required. Speed and function density of FPGAs are increasing when shrinking transistor sizes to the nano-scale. Unfortunately, in order to reliably create electronic designs according to specification time-consuming statistical simulations become necessary due to effects of intrinsic variability.

I will introduce the PAnDA (Programmable Analogue and Digital Array) architecture that allows for correction and optimisation of circuits directly in hardware using bio-inspired techniques. Like FPGAs, it provides a digital configuration layer for circuit design. Accessing additional configuration options of the underlying analogue layer enables continuous, on-line adjustment of circuit characteristics.

Administrative Enquiries:

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

Links:

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Events

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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.