Previous Departmental Seminars

2017

Satellite Integrated Networks for Ubiquitous Broadband Communications

Monday 27 November 2017

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

Nano-spintronic devices

Thursday 16 November 2017

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

UAV Networking: Challenges, Modelling and Applications

Monday 13 November 2017

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

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

Monday 30 October 2017

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

Spectrum Sharing for 5G and beyond-5G

Monday 2 October 2017

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

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

Monday 15 May 2017

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

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

Monday 8 May 2017

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

Power balance and diffusion models for electromagnetic shielding

Monday 13 March 2017

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

5G Vehicular Communications

Monday 6 March 2017

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

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

Monday 27 February 2017

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

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

Monday 20 February 2017

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

Overview of Communication Technologies Research at the UK National Physical Laboratory

Monday 13 February 2017

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

Deep Meta-Learning

Monday 30 January 2017

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

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