Blog of Random Thoughts and Pictures

Irish Consultation on the next EU research funding programme

March 30th, 2011

This has been cross posted to my TSSG blog.

This was a short 1/2 day workshop I was recently invited to participate in. The Framework Programmes (FP7 and everything before) have to date, been the European Union’s chief instrument for funding research. Preparations for the next programme 2014-2020 (now called Horizon 2020) and the new Common Strategic Framework for Research and Innovation are now underway and the priorities are being discussed at national and European levels. Ireland has the opportunity to influence the direction and balance of European research and so the purpose of this workshop was to provide input to Ireland’s national submission to the European Commission in response to its Green Paper “From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding [pdf]”.

This European wide consultation began in February of 2011, with its purpose to collect opinion on the future of research and innovation funding and co-operation into the next decade in Europe.

The paper itself asks (27) questions about how future funding systems might improve on previous ones, whether new mechanisms are needed and how the elements of the funding system should be balanced, which would have a direct effect on the funding allocated to certain schemes.

This Irish national consultation was led by the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ACSTI) and the drive of the workshop was to refine and develop the views gathered so far from the research and innovation communities in Ireland on the questions put in the European Commission’s Green Paper.

The workshop was opened by the chair Professor Anita Maguire were upon the purpose, structure, key themes and issues for discussion was explained.

  • Benefits of being in the Framework Programmes;
  • Making research and innovation funding more attractive and easy to access for participants;
  • Public-private partnerships;
  • Training and exchange schemes;
  • How to best cover the whole innovation cycle;
  • How to strengthen industry participation;

Once this overview was given the room was split into groups and each group was given the task of commenting on a sub-set of the questions, I was in the group for questions 1 -7. While I though the majority of the responses were fine I was a little concerned with the responses to questions 1 and 2, it seems with group I was in thought so too.

We offered feedback, and in some small way I’m glad to see it was considered as the process is now complete and the final Irish submission to the green paper can be read off this link [pdf] changes to questions 1 and 2 afoot.

In fact there were 13 responses from Ireland, Chemical and Physical Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy, Electricity Supply Board, Forfas, Health Research Board, Irish Research Staff Association, Irish Universities Association, Marine Institute, National Committee for Geographical Sciences, Royal Irish Academy, Science Foundation Ireland, University College Dublin, and one from our very own Jim Clarke, Waterford Institute of Technology for which I also offered some input.

While the process can seem long winded, in fact all the opportunities are there to have your spoke in the programme, you just have to take the time to source those opportunities well in advance.

7th concerntation meeting of Future Networks

February 11th, 2011

This entry is cross posted from my TSSG blog.

Okay time is not being kind to me especially when it comes to completing entries for this blog and while February 2011 is already a lifetime away, but given that I was in Brussels directly after the FIRE workshop, I’d like to report on my attendance at the 7th concerntation meeting of Future Networks.

The main part of the plenary was given over to description of Future Networks research towards standardisation activities. The last part of the session was given over to future research topics in the area as identified by Net!Works, ISI, EIFFEL, NEWCOMM++, BINE and EURO-NF. All presentations can be seen off this link.

The second day of this meeting was split into a number of separate plenaries as the Network of the Future projects are organised into three clusters: Future Internet Technologies (FI Cluster), Radio Access and Spectrum (RAS Cluster) and Converged and Optical Networks (CaON Cluster). I attended the FI Cluster, the agenda and presentations of which you can see off of this link.

There were a number of presentation on the economic and user perspective of Inter-ISP traffic optimization, where ETICS, IBBT, SESERV and SMOOTH-IT made presentations on the matter.

I was quite interested in the session on Information and Execution Automation between the Service and Network planes where GEYSERS, MEDIEVAL, ONE, ONEFIT and  UNIVERSELF gave their view points, however I was left a little perplexed that there was no real concensus on the topic and no plan to reach one.

Okay only a few words it really shouldn’t have taken me this long to post it
, but I hope this gives you a quick overview of the EU activities in the area of the Future Internet, with the next big event FIA Budapest in May.

FIA Ghent and the PII Future Internet award

December 17th, 2010

This entry is cross posted from my TSSG blog.

So with the Pouzin Society meeting coming to a close I took the short train ride over to Ghent for the FIA activities. The assembly is quite big now as compared to FIA Madrid and there were tons of interesting sessions however I spent most of my time in the FIA session II: Smart Infrastructures and FIA session V: Architecture Group.

Three particular items caught my eye “Programmability of the Infrastructure – CHANGE project” and “Resilience in Networks: Elements and Approach for a Trustworthy Infrastructure – ResumeNet project” and the follow up activities of the FI Arch group (on the current internet limitations document [pdf])

Then came the great news that Panlab II had won the Future Internet prize for the best European Future Internet initiative. Wow a great success for the PII team, and especially those in the TSSG which included Eamonn, Shane and Zohra.

Their work focused on PII resource repository, which was implemented using a REST style architecture, the full design of which can be seen below.

The PII Repository Data Model was defined by two data models
* Core Data Model
* Test Suite Data Model

The list of deliverables capturing this work include:
D3.1 System Analysis where a list of the Panlab Community testbeds are maintained and the resources from those testbeds providing PII components are described in UML [pdf].

D3.2 Testbed Service Description Specification in which the specification of the service description system is given. Also requirements are broken down into more refined technical requirements for the specification of the PII testbed services description system [pdf].

D3.7 Implementation Report in which the Service Description, Service Discovery and Service Orchestration of the PII testbed is given. This document also reports on the extensive implementation efforts realised by WP3 PII partners delivering a functional PII framework [pdf].

D4.2 Monitoring requirements and procedures for service level agreement compliance has the functional specification of PII’s quality assurance framework, which hosts the metrics and processes for quality assurance in the PII framework [pdf].

And finally their paper
Eamonn Power, Zohra Boudjemil and Shane Fox. Architecture and Implementation of a Testbeds Repository [pdf]. International Conference on Telecommunications and Multimedia (TEMU) 2010, Chania, Crete, Greece, July 2010.

I’m delighted to see that Eamonn, Shane’s and Zohra’s work has been recognised.

EU – Japan Symposium on Future Internet and New Generation Networks

October 22nd, 2010

This entry is cross posted to my TSSG blog.

Directly from finishing my open source session at the 6th Future Networks concertation meeting I headed for the Brussels airport to catch a flight to Tampere, Finland (via Stockholm) for the 3rd EU-Japan Symposium on Future Internet and New Generation Networks.
The flight was easy going, and the stop off in Stockholm was nice as I got to watch some Champions League football and then relax a little in the Starbucks cafe, catching up on some emails.

Tampere is the third largest city in Finland, and the scene for a number of technological innovations, I was told the first test GSM calls were made here. The actual hotel / conference location was set in a picturesque location by a lake.

Tampere outskirts

The event itself started with some high level presentations on EU Digital Policy, the Digital Agenda for Europe and the ICT Paradigm Shift in this decade. I found the presentation Masahiko Tominaga, Vice President, NICT on NwGN R&D Strategy [pdf] the most interesting of these.

On the next break, it was great to get the opportunity to share lunch with Sasi. Now I know Sasi normally only sits a couple of floors away from me, but it’s times like this we really get a chance to discuss at length a whole miriad of topics.

After lunch the event was broken up into sepereate Tracks and I headed for Internet/Network Architectures session. Sasi presented on the emerging generation of symbiotic networks: Federated Communication Systems [pdf] while I took the opportunity to present on RINA, the Recursive Inter Network Architecture, which is based on the work originated by John Day.

What I took from the whole session was the interesting work of Takeshi Usui (NICT/KDDI Laboratories) on the Virtual Network Mobility:Advanced Mobility Management over Network Virtualization [pdf] and Nao Kawanishi (ATR) on his vision of An Open Mobile Communication System with All Strata Virtualization [pdf].

I was pleasantly surprised by the symposium and people I meet at this event and the first sign of snow, which made the long trip back, via bus to Helsinki and then plane via London Heathrow and onto Dublin a worthwhile one.

Open source software and FP7 research for future networks

October 20th, 2010

The were a number of items I didn’t manage to record from 2010, so here is a catch up session on the Future Networks 6th FP7 concertation meeting, in Brussels, 18-20 October 2010. As I had recieved an invite to put together a small part of the programme, with a panel session that discussed Open Source & FP7 Research, I just wanted to relay its outcome.
Given that open source software is being recognised as a potential exploitation avenue for the FP7 Future Network programme, there are many projects looking to go this route, but there are clearly many items to consider. I must say I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to open source software relam but thankfullly I had the pleasure sharing the sesion with 4 very experienced people in this space.
Image of Open Source & FP7 Research panel session, kindly provided by Johan Myrberger of the Sailors Inn
Richard Graham of the Bird & Bird Law firm, took the first part of the session and through his presentation [ppt] offered his insight on the legal aspects of OSS in proprietary projects and OSS in open source projects, drawing some parallels to the FP7 project environment and gave an interesting overview of the licenses that are out there.
Now next up was due to be Roberto Galoppini, and I hadn’t meet Roberto before, however just through our online conversations he was super enthusiastic about presenting, however due to personnel circumstances he couldn’t phyiscally make it to Brussels. However he did write an excellent piece with his thoughts on EU-funded Projects and Open Source.
Next up was Marko Boger, CEO of Gentleware and Professor for Software Archtitecture at the University of Applied Science Constance (HTWG Konstanz). I was delighted to see Marko really engage the audience with his presentation on Open Source in Business. He also used the Prezi tool to put his presentation together, it really came out well. One major point he highlighted was software quality, and ways to measure it when it came to FP7 projects. Sonar looked extremely interesting for this.
The final speaker was Dr Diogo Gomes of IT Aveiro, and through his slides [ppt] Diogo highlighted the role of managing open source software in ?an academic environment. He showed how his group developed, supported and integrated open source software into the research programme at IT Aveiro.
Finally to say, my contribution to the session was an overview of my experience of open source software when it came to the 4WARD project. The slide set can be seen below.
All the slides can be seen from the Europa site.
Finally just to prove that this event did actually take place, I found that as I was putting this blog entry together there is an entry by Johan Myrberger at the Sailors Inn which nicely records a summary of the session also.

Protection and Trust in Financial Infrastructures

September 24th, 2010

Not one our first projects to start in the FP7 programme, but our first project to finish. PARSIFAL was a coordination action, funded by the European Research Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection. Its objective was to define how to better protect Critical Financial Infrastructures (CFI) in Europe.
There were a limited set of partners on the project ATOS Origin Sae, Spain (coordinators), ACRIS GmbH, Switzerland; @bc – Arendt Business Consulting, Germany; Avoco Secure Ltd, UK; EDGE International BV, Netherlands and of coures ourselves from the TSSG.
The key achievement of the project was to strengthened engagement between the European Commission and the Financial Services Industry in terms of trust, security and dependability. Financial Services are seen as a critical ICT infrastructures and so the purpose of this project was to provide direction for future research programmes, helping to align research in this area to the needs of the Financial Services Industry.
Parsifal has produced a whitepaper to highlight its acheivements [pdf].
There is also a document which gives some further details of the main research gaps in the area such as the classification of identity attributes for on-line and mobile users of financial services. The document points out this these identity attributes should be defined and well understood by providers of these services and their customers and in particular the:
3.1 Classification of identity attributes for online and mobile users
3.2 Trust Indicators for financial services to determine risk level
3.3 Multiple-identity management platforms
With the new dimension of cloud computing/architectural changes and de-perimeterization, can lead to new needs for standardization and regulations (flexible virtual concentration)
4.1 Standard and cross border digital identities in the financial market
4.2 Data-linked security policies
4.3 De-perimeterization of organizations: models and cross order issues:
5.1 Design and implementation of secure platforms and applications
5.2 Model Definition
For the full document read Section 3.1 of the Gap analysis report by clicking here
One of the main research items from the project has been the draft ontology of financial risks & dependencies within and without the Financial Sector (D2.1 – V2.0) [pdf].
The aim of the document is to contribute to a common understanding of the key concepts in risk management and financial infrastructures. It presents a simple model combining the ontologies from both the security and the financial sector.
There are ontologies in three work areas (business continuity, control engineering, trusted sharing of sensitive /confidential information). These ontologies lay the ground for further approaches, while one-page roadmaps illustrate the instant benefits of this approach.
There is an extensive structured glossary in the document too. This glossary is based on a compilation of terms, available from public institutions (like the European Central Bank) or known experts. It includes more terms appearing in the other deliverables of the Parsifal project and being especially relevant to our context.
The main contributors to this work were J.-Yves Gresser, B. Haemmerli, S. Morrow, H. Arendt and Keiran Sullivan (TSSG), with Keiran leading a paper in the area “Risk ontologies – Security or Trust? Terminological & Knowledge Organisation”, TKE 2010, Sept. 2010.
All in all not a bad output from a humble CSA.

Looking back on a project that is 4WARD

September 6th, 2010

The ICT 4WARD project has come to a close and it’s time to reflect on what was been billed as a clean slate project which was to combine sets of radical architectural approaches towards the future Internet, building on a strong mobile and wireless background to design inter-operable and complementary families of network architectures.

4WARD was my first project in the FP7 programme, and was quite different from the FP6 projects that I participated in, FP7 has been an interesting experience to say the least! Work on the proposal started in the summer of 2006, and took 8 months to complete, and then another 8 months were taken with its review and contract negoations with the project itself starting in ernest on Janurary 1st 2008.
30 months later, after 7 project meetings stretching from Lisbon to Stockholm and in excess of 32,000km travelled, upteen conference calls and many many more wiki updates, I come to the end of 4WARD.
Well I have to say I worked with some hugely talented people in the project, with Patsy, Zohra, Chris and Eamonn making huge strides to further our research in component based architecture, domain specific languages and in-network management, and all of this work is reflected in the delieverables of 4WARD, which are the main visable output from a project.
D-2.1 Technical Requirements
D-2.2 Draft Architectural Framework
D-2.3.0 Mechanisms for Generic PathsArchitectural Framework: new release and first evaluation results
D-2.3.1 Final Architectural Framework

D-4.1 Definition of Scenarios and Use Cases
D-4.2 In-Network Management Concept
D-4.3 In-network management design
Papers are also a clear output form the project and I collaborated on 6 specific 4WARD papers:
1. In the paper “Towards a New Architectural Framework; The Nth Stratum Concept“, we presented our new architectural framework called the Nth Stratum concept, which takes a holistic approach to tackle these new needs and requirements on a future communication system.
2. In the paper “A Framework for In-Network Management in Heterogeneous Future Communication Networks“, we proposed the radically new paradigm of in-network management, which targets the embedding of self-management capabilities deep inside the network nodes. In this paper, we focus on our framework for in-network management, which allows management logic to be embedded and executed within network nodes. Based on a specific use-case of bio-inspired network management, we demonstrate how our framework can be exploited in a network failure scenario using quorum sensing and chemotaxis.
3. In the paper “Mobility Scenarios for the Future Internet: The 4WARD Approach”, we highlight the 4WARD research approach to make a vision of a “network of information” reality. New system design methods for customized architectures on flexible network platforms will be combined with the capabilities of virtualization of all network resources including the wireless access. Together with a new generic path concept for flexible interconnection of objects of any type and a new paradigm for naming, addressing and managing mobile objects, the envisaged “network of information” model will be constructed.
4. In the paper “Architectural Principles and Elements of In-Network Management” we propose the in-network management (INM) paradigm, which adopts a clean slate design approach to the management of future communication networks that is brought about by evolutionary design principles. The proposed paradigm builds on embedded management capabilities to address the intrinsic nature, and hence, close relationship between the network and its management. At the same time, INM assists in the gradual adoption of embedded self-managing processes to progressively achieve adequate and practical degrees of INM. We demonstrate how INM can be exploited in current and future network management by its application to P2P networks.
5. In the paper “An Introduction to Network Stack Design using Software Design Patterns” we present our architectural framework which proposes a component-based architecture consisting of building blocks of reusable functionality, components that allow the construction of these building blocks and the composition of complex functionality, control elements facilitating communication between blocks, and a repository of building blocks. The architecture allows for rapid composition of federations of components, enabling an easy transition from present network infrastructure towards the future Internet and realizing the on-demand creation and configuration of protocol stacks for components.
6. In the paper “A Case Study for defining Interoperable Network Components using MDD”, we present a case study using Model Driven Development addressing interoperability requirements in next generation networks. Our approach focuses on the specification of a high level Contract Domain Specific Language we combine Component-based Software Engineering for the design with our long-term experience of network resource management and performance optimisation. Part of our case study is a tool chain that supports the network engineers who deploy next generation networks.
None of these papers would have seen the light of day without the kind support and drive of my co-authors who included Patsy, Zohra, Sven, Chris, Eamonn, Sasi, Dmitri, D. Dudkowski, M. Brunner, G. Nunzi, C. Mingardi, C. Meirosu, S. Engberg, M. Söllner, C. Görg, K. Pentikousis, J. Mª Cabero Lopez, P. Bertin, M. Johnsson, J. Huusko, T. Frantti, F-U Andersen and T-M-T. Nguyen. I have gained many friends going through this process.
Finally the one surprise output from the project has been the open source release on the CBA concept, which has been the seed for OpenTinos. All in all I see the support of OpenTinos keeping me quite busy in the coming months.