Research on the fairness of networked multimedia to appear in FAT/MM WS at ACM Multimedia 2019

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Basil, A. et al., A Software Defined Network Based Research on Fairness in Multimedia, FAT/MM WS, 27th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (ACM MM 2019), France. 10/2019

The demand for online distribution of high quality and high throughput content has led to a non-cooperative competition of network resources between a growing number of media applications. This causes a significant impact on network efficiency, the quality of user experience (QoE) as well as a discrepancy of QoE across user devices. Within a multi-user multi-device environment, measuring and maintaining perceivable fairness becomes as critical as achieving the QoE on individual user applications. This paper discusses application- and human-level fairness over networked multimedia applications and how such fairness can be managed through novel network designs using programmable networks such as software-defined networks (SDN).

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This work is supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under EPSRC Grant EP/P033202/1 (SDCN).

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Smart Campus project – part 1

Dr. Mu Mu

Most research in communication networks are quite fundamental such as sending data frame from point A to point B as quickly as possible with little loss on the way. Some networking research can also benefit communities indirectly. I recently started a new collaboration with our University IT department on a smart campus project where we use anonymised data sampled from a range of on-campus services for service improvement and automation with the help of information visualisation and data analytics. The first stage of the project is very much focused on the “intent-based” networking infrastructure by Cisco on Waterside campus. The SoTA system provides us with a central console and APIs to manage all network switches and 1000+ wireless APs. Systematically studying how user devices are connected to our APs can help us, in a non-intrusive fashion, better understand the way(s) our campus are used, and use that intelligence to…

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Data science and network management at IEEE IM 2019, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Mu Mu

IEEE IM 2019 – Washington DC, USA
Following IM 2017 in the picturesque Lisbon, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, this year’s event was held in the US capital city during its peak cherry blossom season.

The conference adopted the theme of “Intelligent Management for the Next Wave of Cyber and Social Networks”. Besides the regular tracks, the five-day conference features some great tutorials, keynotes and panels. I have pages of notes and many contacts to follow up.

A few highlights are: Zero-touch network and service management (and how it’s actually “touch less” rather than touchless!), Huawei’s Big Packet Protocol (network management via packet header programming), DARPA’s Off-planet network management (fractionated architectures for satellites), Blockchain’s social, political, regulatory challenges (does not work with GPDR?) by UZH, Data science/ML for network management from Google and Orange Labs (with some python notebooks and a comprehensive survey paper of 500+ references.)…

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We are taking VR and art research to ACM TVX 2019

Dr. Mu Mu

I have been a regular visitor of ACM TVX since it first became an ACM sponsored event in 2014 (previously known as EuroITV). This year, the conference will be held at MediaCityUK, Salford in early June. We’ll bring two pieces of early-stage research to Salford: understanding the user attention in VR using gaze-controlled games by Murtada Dohan (a newly started PhD candidate), and a demo of abstract painting in VR by a fine art artist Dr Alison Goodyear. You might have guessed that we have plans to bring these two together and experiment with new ways of content creation and audience engagement for both the arts and HCI communities.


Dohan, M. and Mu, M., Understanding User Attention In VR Using Gaze Controlled Games.
Abstract: Understanding user’s intent has a pivotal role in developing immersive and personalised media applications. This paper introduces our recent research and user experiments towards interpreting…

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Digital Northampton “Merged Futures”

The SDCN project will be co-organising and sponsoring the opening event Merged Futures of the newly established initiative Digital Northampton.

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“Digital Northampton is a collaboration between the University of Northampton, Northamptonshire County Council and local digital businesses designed to support digital innovation in and around Northampton. Its aims include:

  • To connect Bringing together individuals looking to enhance their business through digital transformation with the best minds working on innovative digital solutions
  • To collaborate Unlocking the potential of the local digital economy in Northamptonshire by inspiring, educating and supporting digital innovation in our county
  • To grow Creating a digital hub for Northampton to enable growth of small digital industries and job opportunities for digital talent in Northamptonshire”

The aims echo SDCN project’s objectives on social and economic impact. We believe our research and experimentation at University underpin digital innovations for the business and communities in Northamptonshire and elsewhere.

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Merged Futures is a free, one-day Digital Northampton event bringing together experts in emerging technologies to showcase the great work taking place in Northamptonshire.
We will explore the potential to further develop and innovate for the benefit of our businesses, students and residents.”

When and where
Friday 14 June, 10:00am – 6:00pm with after-show
Learning Hub, Waterside Campus, University of Northampton, NN1 5PH

SDCN at Westminster HE Forum – Technologies in higher education

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I had the great pleasure of joining a Westminster Higher Education Forum event today as a speaker. My session was chaired by the Labour MP Mr Alex Sobel and the main theme of the session is around the opportunities and challenges in adopting new technologies in colleges and universities in the UK. The venue was packed with 100+ delegates from over 60 institutions and businesses across England. I spoke about our research findings on the use of VR in education and shared my views on how technologies can empower human educators in Education 4.0. The transcript of my talk is available here.

Introducing PhD Student Ahmed

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Ahmed Osama Basil is an international PhD student who received the PhD grant and will be working on the Software Defined Cognitive Networking advertised project as a new member of the team.

Education: Ahmed finished his American Diploma with Cairo American College in 2015. Later on he finished BEng Computer Systems Engineering with a First Classification certificate from the University of Northampton in 2018.

Technology Experience: Ahmed has worked for two years as a part time Professor Assistant for the Computer Communications, Operating Systems, and Software engineering modules within the university. He has experience with numerous programming languages, mathematical modelling software, and made a couple of graphical user interfaces focused on Quality of Service and user-end feedback.

Other Skills: Ahmed has other skills like leadership, shown when he led his IT & Computing Society as its president, IEEE Student Branch founder within the university, and by being Chair of the Student Union of the UoN. From all of these experiences and past activities, Ahmed become comfortable with public speaking, presentation, organising events, leading projects and helping students within his societies and assistance classes.

To know more about Ahmed and his technological history including his projects, activities, qualifications, certifications, and programming skills click here to visit his Linked-In portfolio.

Moving in Portfolio Innovation Centre

While most University staff members are setteling in our new and modern Waterside campus, we have also welcomed a new workshop space at the Portfolio Innovation Centre on University’s Avenue Campus. The workshop has just had the furnitures moved in but it will soon see lots of research, development, testing, and experimentation. The workshop will support SDCN project as well as any of my reseach students who require short-term R&D space (for final-year projects, MSc projects ,etc.). So I’ll be an interesting place of oscilloscopes, VR goggles, Raspberry PIs, drones, network switches, media streamers and most importantly talented young people. I’ll encourage them to post stories of their research here.

(and yes, a coffee machine is ready and whiteboards are coming soon.)

Post-doctoral Research Assistant position

The vacancy can be accessed directly via https://jobs.northampton.ac.uk/vacancy/research-assistant-fixed-term-361582.html and will remain active until 11.59pm on 12 September 2018.

We wish to appoint a Research Associate to work on the EPSRC-funded project “Software Defined Cognitive Networking (SDCN)”. The SDCN project aims at enhancing online video distribution, which takes the vast majority of internet traffic. We seek to develop new context-aware network models to improve the user experience and network efficiency using software-defined networks.

We invite applications from enthusiastic individuals with experience in relevant aspects of communication networks. The ideal candidate will be a proficient programmer in languages appropriate for scientific computing (e.g. Python, Java), have knowledge of statistical modelling. The role will require you to engage with external partners and stakeholders, and therefore you should possess excellent communication skills with evidence of working effectively as an individual and within a team. You will have strong project management skills and have an ability to write up research for peer-reviewed conferences and journals.

You will work at the University of Northampton’s new Waterside Campus. A dedicated lab at the university’s Avenue Campus will also accommodate research and experimentation activities. The University promotes continuing professional development (CPD) and provides access to development for staff at all levels.

The candidate should possess a PhD in computer science or closely related field. This is a fixed term appointment of 12 months.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Mu Mu, email: mu.mu@northampton.ac.uk

Project-associated PhD student to start in October 2018

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Our project-associated 3.5 year PhD studentship received 9 strong applications. The applicants came from the UK, Europe, Asia and America. After careful reviewing process, we shortlisted 3 applicants (two male and one female) for the interview. It was not an easy decision for the panel and we really hoped that we could give an offer to each of them!

The successful candidate has now received the unconditional offer and due start October 2018. Hopefully we’ll see a post from the student soon.