The Project Táctica, presented by atlanTTic research centre from the University of Vigo, aims to promote the knowledge generation and transfer hub created in Galicia around the School of Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Vigo. Táctica is focused on the ICT sector and it is presented as a series of enabling lines of research, whose results are clearly transferrable to the industry. This is endorsed by the extensive track record of technology transfer to the Galician companies from the groups within atlanTTic research centre and by the alignment of atlanTTic’s lines to the interests of the sector.
The business demands of R&D in Information and Communication Technologies and the long history of transfer from the research groups in atlanTTic, have allowed the definition of several subprojects or lines of work that should work as enhancing elements of this transfer from the centre to the enterprises in the ICT sector. Each of the lines of work completely fits in some of the major areas of the Galician companies.
Line 1: Software-defined radio and cognitive radio systems
This line of work researches and develops transferrable solutions based on the flexibility provided by the software in emerging communications systems. From the physical layer to the network layer, the paradigms of software-defined radio (SDR), cognitive radio (CR) and software-defined networking (SDN), enable to address solutions adaptable to very diverse scenarios, from the support of intelligent services to the integration of terrestrial and satellite networks for a better utilization of the spectrum, as well as the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication systems.
atlanTTic has several patents and publications in this field and it also features state-of-the-art SDR hardware and a carrier-grade IMS core to give support the project.
Line 2: Development and validation of an integrated system for personalised diagnosis and quantification of disease risk factors, based on ambulatory measures
Our aim is to develop and validate clinically a system that, by combining hardware and software, remotely enables:
1. To quantify, in a personalised manner, the risk of cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, heart failure) and cerebrovascular accidents (ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke); the risk for developing a diabetes and the risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
2. To diagnose, in a personalised manner, pathologies associated with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, metabolic and renal risk, among others, including hypertension and impaired renal function.
3. To perform a personalised monitoring of the patients to evaluate the influence of potential therapeutic interventions on the personalised value of risk, beyond the specific control of biomarkers and diagnostic variables of interest.
This system, with regard to the hardware necessary for its implementation, must satisfy the appropriate conditions of reliability, security, convenience and acceptability for the patient, and ease of use and programming for the health staff; all this taking into account its key feature as ambulatory monitoring system. On the other hand, the software tools to be developed must remotely provide a standardised report easy to interpret by its end users, namely, health professionals in charge of therapeutic decision-making.
Line 3: High-capacity data transmission systems in extreme environments
This project aims to contribute to the design of technologies for the future 5G mobile networks, which will begin to be used after 2020. It is expected a more flexible use of the spectrum to ensure a better service quality, scalability and integration between different networks. The millimetre-wave band will play a key role due to the large spectrum available, either for communication between base stations or for communication with terminals. At such high frequencies, the technological challenges are diverse in nature and they are present in the different aspects of communication, such as:
– Studies of propagation and blocking for a correct modelling of the communication channel and user interaction with mobile devices.
– Design of specific antenna arrays
– Design of MIMO system for this band, with its precoding and channel estimation stages.
– Development of cooperative diversity schemes for 5G systems.
– Development of multi-hop cooperative schemes.
– Studies on mobility problems
The integration of the space segment with the terrestrial network seems also inevitable to address part of the 5G challenges. Being the satellite an essential element, it is also necessary to rethink the current waveforms for an asynchronous and flexible access; thus, the multicarrier waveforms, currently under study for the future terrestrial 5G, should be also considered for the space radio interface.
Line 4: Multimedia forensics
In recent years the emergence of powerful easy -to-use editing tools of digital multimedia content, even for non-professional users, has significantly reduced the confidence we have in such contents. It is common to see in the newspapers images that have been modified, often completely changing their meaning, for political, recreational or aesthetic reasons, among others. Given the evidence of the easiness on making those changes, the multimedia content is ceasing to be accepted as evidence in court, and, in general, our mistrust in its content is continuously growing.
Multimedia forensics attempts to estimate the processing that has been applied to a particular content. This estimation provides us with information, for example, about the networks used for the distribution of content, its encoding history, the programmes employed for editing it or the capture device used. In addition, the information extracted by the forensic tools can be exploited to detect tampering in the content or to ensure its integrity, thus contributing to restore the confidence in multimedia digital contents.
Line 5: Development of polarimetric radar applications
Over the last two decades, the meteorological agencies from developed countries have implemented Doppler radar networks for the detection and monitoring of meteorological phenomena. The success and benefits (storms and tornadoes early warning, flood and overflow forecasting, water resources control, etc.) resulting from the operation of these networks have led to their expansion and updating.
At the same time, research and work have been done on the development and improvement of estimation and prediction algorithms for weather phenomena of interest. As a consequence of this work and the results achieved, it is recommended the incorporation of polarimetric capabilities, without diminishing the Doppler capabilities they already have.
This line has as objective the development of the digital reception/transmission module and the real-time algorithms for processing the measurements obtained with the 3-PolD method, previously designed by the research group.
Line 6: Advances in multimedia Cloud
The line of cloud analytics studies the aggregation, processing and analysis of large-scale data in the cloud, such as social media. The huge amount of multimedia information accessible in the cloud requires an advanced analysis of audio, video and text contents, to be able to display it in a structured way, to enable intelligent searches and to categorize the information according to various criteria of consumer interest
The main focuses of this line are business intelligence, multimedia information processing, and the new paradigms of service architecture. It integrates the capabilities of the groups GTI (business intelligence, service paradigms) and GTM (multimedia analysis). It is strongly oriented to obtain transferrable assets. Among the problems taken into account nowadays we have the efficient management of multimedia streams in the cloud, social networks’ data integration in distributed structures of analytical support, scalable algorithms for business intelligence analysis, distributed analysis of multimedia information in the cloud, and cognitive visualisation.
Line 7: PET: Privacy Enhancing Technologies: design and evaluation
Since 2010, the European Commission is urging governments and regulatory bodies from the EU to apply the Privacy by Design concept in their jurisdictions. This concept imposes privacy requirements in the development of any new product; nevertheless, there are no minimally satisfactory trade solutions, therefore there is a window of opportunity to design and implement products that offer the required guarantees. This project will be devoted to transform the knowledge acquired during several years of research into a productizable suite of tools and with high privacy and security guarantee, as well as the benchmarking of available techniques with regard to the requirements established by the existing regulations. The suite developed will be used as a base to create products that provide the desired functionality while protecting users’ privacy, beginning with Smart Metering and Pay-as-you-drive.
Line 8: Material characterisation using time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS)
The frequency band between 100GHz and 3THz – halfway between microwave and optical frequencies – has been one of the least explored regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. On the one hand, electronic devices (amplifiers, oscillators …) work properly up to approximately 100GHz; on the other hand, the available optical technology (solid-state lasers, optical detectors …) are available over the tens of THz, however, none of them are optimised to work in the THz band. This has led to a technology gap in this frequency band. Nevertheless, once overcome the technical difficulties that, in the middle of the last decade, questioned the commercial viability of THz technology, the first devices have been commercialised in these frequencies, so that the enormous potentiality that the THz band offers in terms of resolution (much higher than in microwave frequencies), classification and penetration (transparent materials in THz) can be materialised in a wide variety of areas:
– Security (identification of materials such as drugs, explosives…)
– Health (disease diagnosis)
– Food (non-destructive detection of foreign materials in food…)
– Pharmaceutics (non-destructive detection of impurities in medicines)
– Manufacturing / chemical Industries (irregularities in materials such as plastics or ceramics…)
– Technological (determination of the properties of semiconductor wafers…), etc.
Taking advantage of the capabilities of the Antennas, Radar and Optical Communications Group, the main focuses of this line of work are:
To advance in the knowledge of the behaviour of different materials in the presence of electromagnetic waves in this frequency band, both with simulations and measurements in the laboratory.
Development of systems in this frequency band which allow both the characterisation and identification of materials.
Development of systems which allow non-destructive detection of spurious elements in food, …
Line 9: Semantic indexing and search in multimedia contents
The consumption of multimedia content in any of the distribution channels (television, internet, mobile phones, digital advertising circuits…) requires more intelligent analysis and indexing tools to enable users and content or product providers to effectively search and select specific and tailored contents. In this project we will address the analysis, description and recommendation of multimedia contents in different contents, and we will extract metadata compatible with the major standards, to ensure the interoperability, usability and sustainability of the proposed solutions. The information extracted will enable a more natural interaction between user and contents, facilitating very diverse semantic searches, as well as recommending content tailored to the user’s profile and interests. The semantic content and users modelling will be performed in different application domains (TV programmes, educational contents, e-commerce, tourism contents, YouTube, digital signage), employing some tools developed by the research groups GTM and GSSI, such as video, audio and speech analysis tools, as well as semantic recommenders for text and metadata. Other tools will be also developed in order to complete the analysis suite necessary for the semantic modelling.
The project has components of oriented basic research, a great deal of algorithmic development and a clear aim of carrying out functional solutions transferrable to the business network.
Line 10: SPED, Signal Processing in the Encrypted Domain
Over the last years we have witnessed the coincidence of several key issues, such as the popularisation of social networks and the development of multiple web services which store and process personal data in environments beyond the control of the data owners. These facts have raised serious issues with regard to the protection of the privacy of sensitive data, questioning the legality and morality of the use of such data by untrusted entities. Furthermore, the European Directives on data protection require a high level of protection for personal and sensitive data in almost any context.
In this scenario arises the Signal Processing in the Encrypted Domain, an emerging field of research which in a very short time, has earned in Europe a prominent place among the lines of research developed by the Signal Processing, Multimedia Security and Cryptography Scientific Communities , where there is great scope for improvement and technological innovation. From atlanTTic, the role of GPSC is to fill that range, improving the state-of-the-art in the research on processing techniques in the encrypted domain, and advanced tools for homomorphic encryption and secure signal processing, producing models of privacy and primitives that enable the provision of services in a completely private manner, without access to the data by any of the untrusted parties involved in the processing. Therefore, this models and primitives turn out to be of great practical applicability in the secure processing of sensitive data and signals in uncontrolled or unreliable environments.