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An ambitious programme geared to create a radically new architecture for the UK’s internet and telecommunications infrastructure

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2022 Thought Leadership series...

A new series of linked talks in 2022 by Academic Researchers on the NG-CDI project, hosted by the BT Thought Leadership programme...

Exploiting uncertainty in decision-making

Professor David Leslie.
Statistics, University of Lancaster.

19th January 2022, from 13.00 - 14.00.
Introduced by Stephen Cassidy. System Science, BT Applied Research

The general theme of this talk is how uncertainty is your friend when trying to work out what to do in sequential decision-making problems. We introduce the concepts through Thompson sampling in contextual bandit problems, where uncertainty about action values drives the explore/exploit decisions through time. We then move on to recent extensions of this work on the apple tasting problem, which has applications in adaptive fault monitoring and fraud control.

David is Professor of Statistical Learning at Lancaster University. His general research focus is combining statistical inference with decision-making, and he has particular interests in reinforcement learning, game theory, and bandit algorithms.

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Modern agent-based control for digital infrastructures

Dr Marco Perez Hernandez.
Computer Science, University of West England Bristol.

16th February 2022, from 13.00 - 14.00.
Introduced by ...TBC

Digital infrastructures are complex, elastic and inherently distributed. Various research efforts have addressed the use of agent-based systems in the control of critical infrastructures. One of the key promises of such systems is to enable distributed autonomous decision-making without compromising flexibility, scalability and portability. However, it has been only until the last decade that developments in virtualisation have enable real distribution of intelligence along the digital infrastructure and new challenges have emerged for the engineering of these control systems. In this talk we will review core concepts of the agent control systems and the current trends with application to control of modern digital infrastructures.

Marco is Lecturer of Computer Science at the University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol and Research Collaborator of the Distributed Information and Automation Lab (DIAL) of the University of Cambridge, and his research has addressed challenges related to the design and evaluation of agent-based supervisory control architectures for the network infrastructure.

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Intent-driven network testing and monitoring

Dr Charalampos Rotsos.
Lecturer in Computer Networks and Networked Systems, Lancaster University.

16th March 2022, from 13.00 - 14.00.
Introduced by ...TBC

Autonomic network management can greatly improve service delivery times and reduce operational costs for telecommunication providers. Nonetheless, automation mechanisms are far from perfect, and they can occasionally have a negative effect on network functionality (sub-optimal or incorrect network configurations, delivery delays).

In this talk, we are going to discuss the challenges to validating and monitoring autonomic network management. Motivated by the design of our business intent layer, we are going to discuss how intent-based networking can be used not only to drive service deployment but can equally define precise network testing and monitoring goals. Furthermore, we are going to present the design of new tools, that can support automated network testing and monitoring. NEAT is a multi-layer network testing platform, providing a holistic environment to validate the correctness of a network configuration in realistic network conditions. Unimon is a novel service monitoring framework providing just-in-time lightweight service monitoring.

Charalampos is a Lecturer in Computer Networks and Networked Systems at Lancaster University. His research focus is in network service management and orchestration, network programmability and monitoring and cloud operating systems. 

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Automation in 5G Network Slicing: Challenges on resource control and service assurances

Professor Ning Wang.
Networks, University of Surrey, 5G Centre.

10th May 2022, from 13.00 - 14.00
Introduced by ...TBC

This talk will mainly focus on the technical challenges relating to network automations in supporting resource control and service assurances in the context of 5G network slicing. In particular, we will discuss key strategies in performing resource optimizations within/across heterogeneous 5G network segments (RAN, Transport and Core) and how they can be coordinated through end-to-end orchestration. Requirements on the end-to-end service assurance in dynamic network conditions will also be elaborated. Towards the end we also discuss network automations for handling on-the-fly user-initiated intents during real-time network operations.

Ning received his PhD degree at University of Surrey in 2004 and he is currently a full-Professor at the Institute for Communication Systems (ICS) at the University of Surrey. His general research interests include 5G and beyond networking, Future Internet, network autonomics, multimedia content delivery, as well as Quality of Services (QoS) and Quality of Experiences (QoE). 

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Dynamic Risk & Governance

Dr Philip Stiles.
Corporate Governance and Co-Director of the Centre for International Human Resource management, Cambridge Judge Business School.

14th June 2022, from 13.00 - 14.00
Introduced by ...TBC

During the NG-CDI research we have developed a model of risk and governance that links enterprise risk and model risk management. This has been informed by a number of use cases as well as drawing on existing research. In this tech talk, we take these ideas forward and look specifically at the distinction between enduring and dynamic risks. This distinction is being used within BT as part of a project to reframe risk and governance away from a predominantly compliance focus towards a more behavioural, culturally embedded, perspective. In our research we have seen similar transitions in other organisations.

We will present the implications of this approach for risk and governance by drawing on examples from our use cases and from discussions conducted within BT, as well as further presenting an overall storyboard that encompasses the various elements of NG-CDI research projects to show how risk and governance maps across them and highlight the interconnections between them. 


Philip is an associate professor at the Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, and Director of the Centre for International Human Resource Management. He has a long-standing interest in technology, culture, and leadership and has worked extensively with a number of public sector, private sector and third sector organisaitions, and  works with boards of directors looking at issues of transformations.

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Differentiable Digital Twins

Digital Twins are typically defined as virtual representations of physical things or processes. Digital Twin (DT) is a sandboxed environment, concurrently updated with the real-world processes or the network which it models.  More recently, DT have emerged as synthetic data generation tools for training deep learning algorithms. In this role, DT can provide potentially infinite amount of labelled data, limited only by the available computational resources. Furthermore, they are indispensable for training reinforcement learning agents. The sandboxed DT can train decision making policies in a safe environment, testing for vulnerabilities, and probing counterfactual decisions. In this lecture, Differentiable Digital Twins will be introduced. DDT are simulation environments which are constructed using deep neural networks. As a result, they can tap into deep learning hardware accelerators (GPU/ TPU /IPS) to achieve massive speed-up in performance. DDT can naturally fuse traditional DT designed by experts, with the data from the real environment or a network. 

Rob is a Professor at the University of Bristol. His research expertise is in the areas of Connected Intelligent Systems, Wireless & Self-Learning Networks, Information and Communication Theory, Statistics and AI. He has published over 200 papers in international journals and conferences and holds 13 patents in these areas.  

Professor Robert Piechocki.
Wireless Systems, University of Bristol, and Turing Fellow.

13th July 2022, from 13.00 - 14.00
Introduced by ...TBC
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