Creating and sharing knowledge for telecommunications

2008/2014 • Square kilometer array (SKA) by Domingos Barbosa

on 04-04-2022

IT joined in 2008 the international efforts to design and construct the Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO) – the world’s largest radio telescope and one of the largest scientific endeavors in history - since its early concept design phase.

IT was the Portuguese node of the PrepSKA project (Preparatory Phase) and currently, IT coordinated the installation of SKA prototypes in the South of Portugal, the design and prototyping of the SKA Telescope Manager cyber-infrastructure, and the inclusion of Green Power solutions in the SKA ICT backbone ICT project through the work within the Enabling Green E-Science with SKA project (ENGAGE SKA), a national Research Infrastructure Consortium with Universities and assisted by an industrial Consortium with SMEs and Multinationals from ICT, Energy and Space sectors.

The technology roadmaps and the sciences cased developed led to a convincing case and in 2019 a major landmark was achieved: the SKA International Convention was signed by the Minister of Science and Technology on behalf of the Portuguese Government on 12 March 2019 in Rome. The ratification process passed through Parliament approval and with its ratification by January 2021 Portugal became one of the Founding Members of the SKA, the first time Portugal participates in a major large-scale big science organization since its creation!

SKAO Construction has since 2021 started with the deployment of about 200 antennas of 15-meter diameter in South Africa Karoo desert and about 139 000 dipole antennas spread over phased array stations in Western Australia desert connected to major supercomputing centers. These centers will preprocess and compress 1 Exabyte of data/year to be sent over a network of submarine cables to regional Data Centres spread around the world. Construction is expected to last until 2026 with the first science happening by 2024. A fact of interest: in the pre-construction phase, IT ENGAGE SKA clusters simulated and supported the Observatory Management and Control (OMC) system, providing resources to a few hundreds of engineers spread in software Scale Agile teams around the world and bringing industry cutting-edge standards of practice into a global science organization.

The SKA will be a science and engineering icon of the XXI century featured in school manuals around the globe: the SKA will be so sensitive that it will be able to detect an airport radar on a planet tens of light-years away and its data flow from the antennas to the on-site signal processor will be transferred 100,000 times faster than the projected global average broadband speed for '2022'. No doubt IT contributed to the science discovery window provided by SKA to Humankind.

Domingos Barbosa (IT Aveiro)


2013/2015 • Steering Board of the European Technology Platform by Rui Aguiar

on 04-04-2022

NetWorld2020, currently the NetWorld Europe, coordinates inside Europe industrial research and development on future communications, with the ambition of sustaining European leadership in mobile communications.

The Steering Board includes manufacturers such as Nokia, Siemens, Ericsson, and Thales Alenia Space, operators such as Telefonica, France Telecom, and Telenor, and research institutions where IT is included, and its actions cover aspects as research topics, interrelation with vertical industries, promoting research in SMEs, and interconnecting with other communities (such as satellite, software or IoT).

After this nomination, IT has been designated in 2016 as Chair of the Steering Board and has seen its mandate renewed in later years. This has been a major event, with an academic leading for the first time the ETP.

Anchored in this context, IT moved to lead a large set of initiatives to structure European Research and led the change of the ETP into a new format, Networld Europe, and higher involvement with standardization bodies (like ETSI and CCSA), and vertical efforts.

A set of international events, the Visions for Future Communication Summit, has been developed, where European researchers share ideas about future topics. These ideas have been expanded formally into a Scientific Research and Innovation Agenda, representing the ideas and priorities inside Europe.

As a corollary to all this international work, IT has been actively involved in the small group writing the work program of the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaken (a cooperation between the community and the European Commission), setting the research priorities inside Europe.

Rui Aguiar (IT Aveiro)