Two UK universities launch 6G centre

August 04, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Two UK universities launch 6G centre
Bristol and Kings launch 6G Futures centre for research into next generation wireless technologies and applications in the UK

A virtual research centre, called 6G Futures, has been launched by the University of Bristol and Kings College, London.

The centre has access to over 400 world-renowned experts in telecommunications networks, cyber, Artificial Intelligence, digital humanities, social sciences and arts to help shape the future of mobile technology for individuals and society.

“The public is only beginning to see first-hand the enormous potential of 5G networks, an area which we have been working on for many years. Through this new centre, we will now focus on the next generation mobile networks – 6G and beyond – and the truly awe-inspiring capabilities these will bring,” said Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Director of the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab and Co-Director of Bristol Digital Futures Institute.

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"6G will be inherently human-centric, and will establish a cyber-physical continuum by delivering real time sensory information, supporting haptics and holograms. This takes us far beyond future-forecasting: crucially, this is about having the specialist knowledge and expertise to transform visions into deliverable solutions, accelerate innovation, and make a positive difference to society worldwide,” she said.

“As adoption of 5G accelerates around the world, it’s important the UK is prepared for 6G as the next generation mobile technology. The creation of this centre is a notable moment for the UK technology sector. We will be developing novel architectures, incorporating federated exchange and self-synthesising mechanisms, advance the internet of skills, and embed blockchain, quantum and federated AI technologies,” said Professor Mischa Dohler, Professor in Wireless Communications at King’s.

“But it’s not just pure tech - we’ll be working on co-creation with verticals toward some truly exciting and societally impacting use-cases, while contributing to policy, alliances and global standards.”

Both institutions research Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, and King’s specialises in mobile networks and the University of Bristol has particular expertise in wired/wireless technology and network layers.

With projected download speeds 10 times faster than 5G, 6G will also harness the ability of trillions of connected machines to transfer sensory information as part of the communications experience, creating a whole new cyber-physical continuum. Furthermore, 6G will comprise networks which design, organise, and sustain themselves, offering previously unchartered levels of efficiency.  

“This multi-disciplinary centre will fill a real national leadership gap on 6G here in the UK,” said Professor Phil Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol. “Not only will be the focus be on technology but also on the development of solutions that could transform sectors spanning health, energy and transport. It will provide an opportunity for industry and international collaborators to come together with the best and brightest minds, here in the world-renowned tech clusters of London and Bristol.”

“If the UK is going to play a major role in realising the potential of 6G, we need a national centre that brings together the very best minds in communications technologies, cyber, AI, digital humanities, the arts and social science. The formation of this centre is a very exciting moment in the trajectory of 6G evolution,” said Professor Reza Razavi, Vice President & Vice Principal (Research) at King’s.

The Centre builds on the £100m Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol with 200 researches working on 5G radio/wireless, optical communications and networks in areas such as IoT, 5G & Beyond, Future Transport Networks, Smart Cities, Autonomous Networks, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Network Convergence, Mobile Edge Computing and Network Software.

The Centre for Telecommunication Research (CTR) at Kings College London also has 3200 researchers working on applications domains including the automotive, healthcare, emergency services, and creative industries. Currently research is centred around: wireless communication and networking; information and data processing; RF devices; multimedia and immersive technologies; quantum, AI and blockchain technologies.

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