Previous Departmental Seminars

2015

The Brain Glue Story Comes Unstuck

Monday 30 November 2015

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

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

Monday 23 November 2015

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

CMOS Ageing: Modelling, Monitoring and Mitigation

Monday 9 November 2015

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

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

Monday 2 November 2015

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

Spins in C60

Monday 19 October 2015

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

Concepts and ideas in dynamic and flexible wireless resource manipulation

Monday 5 October 2015

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

Sixth Form Electronics Conference - 3 July 2015

Friday 3 July 2015

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

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

Wednesday 24 June 2015

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

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

Monday 22 June 2015

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

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

Monday 1 June 2015

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

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

Monday 18 May 2015

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

FPGA-based acceleration of data applications

Monday 11 May 2015

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

Satellites for Aeronautical Passengers Communications

Monday 27 April 2015

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

Brain-Inspired Computing for Reliability

Monday 20 April 2015

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

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

Monday 2 March 2015

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

New technologies for unlocking spectrum above 6 GHz for 5G

Monday 23 February 2015

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

Computation and Polymer Synthesis for Complex Cellular Behaviour and Challenges Ahead

Monday 9 February 2015

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

Quality of experience in next generation wireless multimedia networks

Monday 26 January 2015

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

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

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Student Seminars

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