Sussex Professors win EPSRC grant for “adventurous” research
By: April Yeatman
Last updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2022
A prestigious Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) New Horizons grant for “adventurous” research has been awarded to Professor Luc Berthouze and Professor George Parisis, from the Department of Informatics at Sussex. The New Horizons scheme provides funding for high-risk, researcher-led projects to test radical new ideas and create transformative knowledge. Berthouze and Parisis’ New Horizons-funded project proposes to rethink the management of large-scale networks through the lens of neuroscience, building on the fact that ICT infrastructures are large-scale interconnected systems that share many characteristics with the brain.
In neuroscience, uncertainty around how the brain works has led to the development of network-based methodological frameworks to understand brain function. The project will use and adapt these neuroscientific frameworks to identify unknown complex interdependencies in ICT networks and provide the means for network management to detect anomalies and facilitate root cause analysis.
The shared conceptualisation of brain and ICT networks as complex systems aims to enable the development of a new generation of management frameworks. It marks a radical departure from existing network data analytics, and could help in preventing and solving network outages in modern ICT infrastructures.
Professor Berthouze said:
“What I liked about this call was the opportunity to think big and be risky. Our project brings together two disciplines that do not typically interact. It's exciting to get the opportunity to see if our theory can be put to the test."
EPSRC Executive Chair Professor Dame Lynn Gladden said:
“The adventurous thinking displayed in these new projects underlines the ingenuity and imagination of our research base, taking novel approaches to tackle major challenges. The discovery-led science we support is at the heart of the research and innovation ecosystem. Engineering and physical sciences underpins and advances research across all disciplines, catalysing the breakthroughs and technologies that deliver benefits and prosperity for all of society.”
Professor Luc Berthouze’ s research develops and applies mathematical methods across disciplines, including epidemiology, neuroscience, and communications networks. His multidisciplinary work on complex systems has been recognised with awards (e.g., Machine Vision Applications 2013, Kansei Engineering Society 2003) and an honorary Professorship at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.
Professor George Parisis’ research is on networked systems, particularly on applying information and graph theory and machine learning techniques in developing network protocols and management systems. He has a track record of driving blue-sky research from a high-level vision into concrete research outputs with impact. He developed Blackadder, the first in-kernel information-centric network stack that has since been used in numerous research projects by academic organisations (e.g., Cambridge, MIT) and the industry (e.g., Ericsson).