Our 3rd year researcher Dimitris attended the Microsoft’s Future Decoded 2016 (https://futuredecoded.microsoft.com) event, which took place at Excel in London, on November 1 and 2, 2016. The first day was focused on digital transformation of businesses and the benefits it can bring in for stakeholders and customers alike. A number of well-known speakers presented the steps from conception to the implementation of the digital business and approaches to smooth out this -sometimes steep- transitional period.

 Keynote speakers such as Dr. Ian Levy, the Technical Director of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) (https://www.ncsc.gov.uk) and Mike Bugembe who is currently the Chief Analytics Officer of JustGiving (https://www.justgiving.com) used a number of examples to demonstrate what are the gains from keeping up with the trends in the digital era, but also the potential dangers and pitfalls if misused. The day was concluded with an inspirational speech from Martine Wright, a 7/7 survivor discussing about how an instantaneous event can change entirely the way we think and perceive life and could motivate people to grasp opportunities.

The second day was much more technical, where distinguished experts, like Chris Messina, the inventor of hashtag and current Developer Experience Lead at Uber, introduced the technologies of the future, either it being the upcoming augmented reality (AR) revolution, the evolving intelligent messaging platform bots or the expanding blockchain technology. Microsoft has invested significantly in realising these ideas and bringing the tangible results to the public, as either commercial products or services through the cloud.

Although most of the demonstrated concepts have already been in the market for quite some time, we had the opportunity to take a glimpse from several world-leading researchers’ work of today, which will be the disruptive technologies of tomorrow. As an example, Dr. Abe Davis, a post-doctoral researcher from Stanford University demonstrated his work on “the visual microphone”, which will enable recovering sounds and noises from silent videos and could potentially have numerous groundbreaking applications.

In other side-talks over the two days, Microsoft evangelists and engineers from third-party companies presented the infrastructure, the algorithms and the tools they work on to provide customers with insightful data analytics, prediction models and increase productivity. Several case studies were presented, mainly from the healthcare and the business-to-business sector, to demonstrate the variety of applications that can potentially benefit. In parallel to the main and breakout sessions, more than 50 exhibitors demonstrated their solutions to facilitate the digital transition, offering IT collaboration toolkits, cloud integration services, intelligent IoT-oriented platforms, and virtualisation support. Highlights of the exhibition floor included a real-size replica of the Bloodhound SSC (http://www.bloodhoundssc.com) (photo 1), the British supersonic land vehicle aiming at breaking the world’s land speed record and a, also real-size, model of the legendary DeLorean (photo 2)! Dimitris was lucky enough to try out the new HTC Vive VR headset as well and watch a live demo of Hololens, Microsoft’s high-promissing AR kit..!

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Photo 1. The Bloodhound SSC

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Photo 2. The DeLorean!

 With an attendance of 4000+ people each day and a selection of more than 200 sessions, Microsoft managed to successfully pull through one of the biggest events of this year on the erupting digital evolution and accurately identify the challenges and highlight the motives for a business to consider the big leap of faith. The total experience is definitely something we are looking forward to repeating next year, and is a must for researchers who seek to be ahead of the market.

Following on from the success of last year’s ‘Future Factory’ Conference The MTC held its second conference on Digitising Manufacturing. This year the conference themes were Policy, End Users and Society with the conference strands designed to address the most important barriers in the path towards digitisation of the UK manufacturing sector.

Opening the conference was Prof Tim Dafforn, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. He presented a real-world example of how he has seen the 4th industrial (r)evolution impact individuals and change business models. Throughout the day there was debate as to whether we are seeing evolution rather than a revolution. The following sessions focussed on policy aspects with speakers from Germany, Sweden and the UK highlighting the achievements and visions for the future. The second session of the day was looked at education and training, which is very close to our hearts. Speakers from Siemens, Bosch Rexroth Academy and TUC gave examples of best practice in their organisations for addressing the challenges faced and new skills required for digitisation, this was not limited to new graduates but also providing new skills and training to existing employees to meet the requirements of changing workplace.

“The engineer of the future will spend more time in the virtual world than the physical world” Alan Norbury, Siemens


A blog post by Cohort 2 Researcher Melanie Zimmer

According to some interesting statistics from the year 2015, 64% of engineering employers in the UK state that the current shortfall of 55,000 engineers with the appropriate skill set threatens their business. Additionally, 32% of companies across multiple sectors currently find it difficult to recruit experienced staff in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); a similar 20 % deficit gap applies at graduate level. As a possible solution, the UK could look to drastically increase the number of people with engineering skills in the future.

This shortfall raises question such as: How is this shortage created? And how can we as a society work towards solving this issue? Is this due to a lack of unawareness of STEM and its potential? And what is or are the potential root causes?........

Read the rest of Melanies LinkedIn blog post here

Prof Paul Conway recently visited Seoul, Korea, for an invited talk at the 15th International Symposium on Microelectronics and Packaging. There were many relevant EI challenges evident in the keynotes – wearable electronics for medical, military and health and well being, driving big data, services and physical packaging challenges for high reliability and challenging operational environments. Paul is Professor of Manufacturing Processes and Head of The School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufactuing Engineering at Loughborough University as well as being the Director of our Centre.

Our cohort 1 researchers Dimitris and Adrian attended the 14th International Conference on Manufacturing Research (6-8 September 2016, Loughborough) (http://www.icmr.org.uk/) where they had the opportunity to present their paper entitled “An application of autoregressive hidden Markov models for identifying machine operations”. The paper introduces a novel application area for a well-proven machine learning algorithm, aiming at intelligent monitoring of energy consumption of production machines. The proposed method will facilitate the rescheduling of production operations with reduced energy waste and can result in significant electricity cost savings for the industry.

This work is part of a bigger picture project undertaken by the Intelligent Systems research group, following the European Union 2020 directives to improve the energy efficiency by 20% and reduce greenhouse gases by the same percentage, compared to the 1990 levels. The group also participated with two more papers in the conference, outlining their work on component traceability under the aspect of the upcoming Industrie 4.0.

Our researchers’ work was presented under the thematic area of advanced manufacturing technology, while researchers from leading universities and research institutes from all over the country presented advances in a range of topics such as additive manufacturing, product design and manufacturing materials. Being UK’s main manufacturing research conference for over 30 years, ICMR 2016 was a great opportunity for networking and forming of cross-disciplinary collaborations. The conference concluded with a JCB factory tour in Rochester.

Cohort 3 research Orange Gao (left in image below) attended the Women in Machine Intelligence in Healthcare Dinner.

RE.WORK, an all-female company which is a strong advocate for supporting female entrepreneurs and women working towards advancing technology and science, organized an evening dinner event of discussions & networking around the progress and application of machine intelligence within healthcare on Wednesday 12th October 2016 in London. Dinner and presentations commenced at 7pm and finished at approximated 10pm. RE.WORK invited 50 attendees from leading academics, industry experts and entrepreneurs. During the dinner, speakers gave wonderful and insightful presentations about the new trends and ideas around the Machine Learning in health. Dr Kathy Goetz, VP partnerships & solutions from IBM Watson Health mentioned “The future of Healthcare is cognitive.” Dr Alice Gao, research scientist and engineer from Deep Genomics shared her work about “developing a scalable workflow for training molecular phenotype models.” Dr Razia Ahamed from Google DeepMind gave a speech about “Getting support for new ways of delivering healthcare.” People had the chance to openly discuss emerging and advancing techniques and the speakers enjoyed the lively discussion that followed.

The event was a great success. RE•WORK provided a unique mix of technology, from the exploration of latest scientific findings to startups that can make them a reality. Attendees can gain knowledge and skills from collaboration and brainstorming with global experts.


CDT-EI researchers Jorge Garcia-Armenta and Ian Park from the Wolfson School at Loughborough University report on the conference....

The Institute of Physics (IOP) hosted at University of Leeds the most important optics and photonics conference in UK, the PHOTON 16. In this conference the latest technologies in optics and photonics are communicated to the scientific and academic community. The main topics in the sessions were Advances in lasers, sensing and imaging, light matter interaction, quantum optics, devices and systems, ultrafast and attosecond optics. This event also reunite worldwide recognized plenary speakers from the most important universities and research centres around the world.

The Synthetic Aperture Interferometry (SAI) group from Loughborough University participated in two talk sessions to speak about the main progresses in this optical project. Rob Middleton, a research assistant presented the work Design of a compact digital holographic camera with large numerical aperture. Meanwhile Ian Park, a CDT-EI postgraduate student, presented his project titled Characterisation of the reference wave in digital holographic camera, which describe an algorithm to find the correct position of the reference wave. That wave would be used to create the inference with the object wave to retrieve a holographic image of the object under study. Both scientific talks were well accepted by the audience which questioned the speakers about specific details of the addressed topics.

In summary, Loughborough University and the PhD students from the CDT-EI are being part of the scientific divulgation of their high level research on the most important international conferences. Additionally, this is a perfect way to make a recognition to the institutions that are part of the research projects and maintain a position within the top universities in UK and the rest of the world.

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