• Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece


Mohamed-Slim Alouini

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia

"A light in digital darkness: Free space optics to connect the unconnected"

Despite the ubiquitous digital connectivity that we experience all around us, it is a fact that almost half of the population of the world is still “offline” due to the lack of a robust Internet and communications infrastructure in many places on the globe. The reason why such digitally dark spots still exist in the world is mainly two-folds. For one, economically backward or thinly scattered populations are not viable for relatively larger investments in communications infrastructure. Secondly, a hostile geography/terrain raises the cost of installing optical fibers and other equipment. Thus, its no wonder that many big Internet giants such as Amazon, Facebook, and SpaceX, have attempted to reach the hitherto “digitally inaccessible” regions by providing connectivity through satellites or high altitude platforms (HAPs). A constellation of satellites/HAPs provides a more cost-effective and reliable alternative to the deployment of optical fiber and related equipment in such locations of the world. Because of the large chunks of relatively unlicensed bandwidth available in the optical spectrum, there is a great opportunity to use lasers for ground gateway station-satellite/HAPs, and inter-satellite or inter-HAP communications, a communications model known as the free-space optics (FSO). Towards that end, this talk examines the FSO communications from the perspective of satellite and HAP communications. In this regard, some new pointing, acquisition and tracking aspects are presented. Furthermore, this talk goes also through the adaptive optics and relaying schemes that are needed to deal with atmospheric turbulence which affects such kind of networks.

Mohamed-Slim Alouini was born in Tunis, Tunisia. He received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1998. He served as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota then in the Texas A&M University at Qatar before joining in 2009 the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) where he is now a Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prof. Alouini is a Fellow of the IEEE and OPTICA (Formerly the Optical Society of America (OSA)). He is currently particularly interested in addressing the technical challenges associated with the uneven distribution, access to, and use of information and communication technologies in rural, low-income, disaster, and/or hard-to-reach areas.

Constantine Dovrolis

Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

"Evolution of network architectures and protocol stacks"

It is well known that many complex systems, both in technology and nature, exhibit hierarchical modularity: simple and general modules (or “protocols”), each of them providing a certain function, are used within more complex modules that perform more sophisticated functions. This is the case for instance with protocol stacks in computer networking. What is not well understood however is how this hierarchical structure (which is fundamentally a network property) emerges, and how it evolves over time. We propose a modeling framework, called Evo-Lexis, that provides insight to some fundamental questions about evolving hierarchical systems. We show that deep hierarchies emerge when the population of top-layer modules evolves through tinkering and mutation. Strong selection on the cost of new top-layer modules results in reuse of more complex (longer) nodes in an optimized hierarchy. The bias towards reuse of complex nodes results in an “hourglass architecture” (i.e., few intermediate nodes that cover almost all source–target paths). With such bias, the core nodes are conserved for relatively long time periods although still being vulnerable to major transitions and punctuated equilibria. Finally, we analyze the differences in terms of cost and structure between incrementally designed hierarchies and the corresponding “clean-slate” hierarchies which result when the system is designed from scratch after a change.

Dr. Constantine Dovrolis is a Professor at the School of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). He is a graduate of the Technical University of Crete (Engr.Dipl. 1995), University of Rochester (M.S. 1996), and University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ph.D. 2000). His research combines Network Science, Data Mining and Machine Learning with applications in climate science, biology, neuroscience, sociology and machine learning. More recently, his group has been focusing on neuro-inspired architectures for machine learning based on what is currently known about the structure of brain networks. He is currently on sabbatical at the KIOS Research and Innovation Center of Excellence, in Cyprus.

Melike Erol-Kantarci

Ericsson & University of Ottawa, Canada

Deep and Reinforcement Learning in 5G and 6G

The next generation of wireless networks, also known as Beyond 5G and 6G, will need a very high level of automation. This is both because of the increased complexity, and also thanks to the availability of more data, advanced Machine Learning (ML) algorithms and strong processing capabilities. When it comes to automation of networks, intelligent control algorithms that allow turning the knobs and optimizing system parameters become essential. Reinforcement learning and deep reinforcement learning algorithms have shown great success in other areas in AI and ML. In this talk, we will provide an overview of the state-of-art in reinforcement and deep reinforcement learning algorithms and their applications to wireless networks, in addition to their challenges and the open issues in terms of their applicability to various functions of the next-generation wireless networks.

Melike Erol-Kantarci is Chief Cloud RAN AI\ML Data Scientist at Ericsson and Canada Research Chair in AI-enabled Next-Generation Wireless Networks and Associate Professor at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa. She is the founding director of the Networked Systems and Communications Research (NETCORE) laboratory. She is also a Faculty Affiliate at the Vector Institute, Toronto. She has over 180 peer-reviewed publications which have been cited over 6700 times and she has an h-index of 41. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, and has delivered 70+ keynotes, tutorials and panels around the globe and has acted as the general chair and technical program chair for many international conferences and workshops. Her main research interests are AI-enabled wireless networks, 5G and 6G wireless communications, smart grid and Internet of things. She is an IEEE ComSoc Distinguished Lecturer, IEEE Senior member and ACM Senior Member.

Nancy Alonistioti

National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Digital Twins and 5G+ for the digital transformation strategy

Bridging the physical and virtual worlds using 5G-enabled sensors will lead to powerful connections to deliver smart cities and smart industry solutions.

The new trend for public and local administration for smart cities is to adopt digital twins to assist them in taking a long-term view of cities. Interactive digital twins allow them to understand the impact of development decisions, energy needs, climate change adaptation. They are also helping to make better decisions on maintenance and where to make investments in infrastructure. Moreover, the near-real-time analysis of event management and more accurate forecasting by modelling traffic congestion and population service needs are important aspects for smart and multi-modal mobility. 5G-enabled digital twins can collect near real-time feeds from devices, sensors, citizens, and infrastructure to provide this information instantly and more accurately than before.

Furthermore, digital twins technology offers companies, cities and administrations the opportunity to test out new 5G environments and conduct maintenance on existing rollouts without significant disruption in infrastructure deployment. This has major impact in an overall digital transformation strategy. There is significant potential for telecommunications and other distributed systems to leverage digital twins technologies. 5G continues to roll out and combined with the interactive digital twins technology, will be important tools for the transformation of smart cities, industry4.0 and other domains.

Αssoc. Prof. Nancy Alonistioti has a B.Sc. degree and a PhD degree in Informatics and Telecommunications (Dept. of Informatics and Telecommunications, UoA). She has over 20 years of experience in numerous national and European projects, including project/technical management experience. She is currently leading the SCAN group activities in the National Kapodistrian University of Athens. She has also served as Vice-Chair of the Dept. of Informatics and Telecommunications. She is member of the ETSI Experts group and the Greek standardization group ELOT (5G, smart citiy autonomic communications). She is Chair of One6G Board. She has over 200 publications in the area of mobile networks, IoT, NGI, SDN/NFV, autonomic communications and reconfigurable mobile systems. She is coauthor of 4 WO Patents and has more than 2500 citations in her work.