FORGE had a very strong presence and contribution to this year’s Future Internet Assembly (FIA). The event took place in Athens, Greece and it attracted over 750 attendees incorporating the leaders of over 150 European projects worth more than half a billion Euros. The event was opened by Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, endorsing the latest research developments within the next generation Internet based upon Cloud technologies and the movement of networks from being a hardware based infrastructure to software founded on multiple layers layers of virtualisation.
Pre-FIA workshops covered, Cloud, data services and Smart Cities. John Domingue from the Open University and Spyros Denazis from the University of Patras organised one of these: “Cross-breeding social networks and networked media in the Future Internet”. This workshop was based upon the observation that users today primarily access video content through social networking sites. The talks explored the synergy between social media analytics and networked media delivery and its impact on user experience leading to a roadmap on how to exploit synergies between these two technologies.
Within FIA proper, John Domingue chaired the session “Beyond MOOCs: The Future of Learning on the Future Internet”, which was co-organised by Spyros Denazis. The session was well attended. Speakers in this session outlined a number of new and emerging learning paradigms based on innovative uses of the Internet and also how large-scale infrastructures could support the new requirements generated. One of the speakers Natalia Arredondo from the University of Newcastle, described a new project funded through a one million dollar TED award, teaching disadvantaged children in India through “Cloud Schools”. This team’s early work apparently inspired the Danny Boyle film “Slumdog Millionaire”. Other speakers covered FutureLearn (given by Rebecca Ferguson, Pedagogic Adviser at FutureLearn), Cisco’s Networking Academy which trains over 1 million network engineers per year (given by Andrew Smith of the Department of Communication and Systems at the Open University), industrial training from a large corporation (ATOS) and SME perspective and how the large ultrafast network infrastructures in the US (GENI) and Europe (GRNET) currently support teaching and learning. More details about this session in this very thorough blog post by Marieke Guy.
Ingrid Moerman from iMinds gave a presentation at the 5G-PPP workshop, promoting FIRE facilities and in particular Fed4FIRE and CREW facilities as a basic enabler for experimental validation of novel 5G PPP concepts. She also contributed to the pre-FA workshop “Testbed Interoperability” organized by the OpenLab and Fed4FIRE projects, as well as the pre-FIA workshop “Evolution of FIRE: Facilities, Services and Collaboration Strategies for Sustainability”, which was organized by the AmpliFIRE, CI-FIRE, and FUSION projects. Additionally, she manned the booths of the CREW and Fed4FIRE projects. Spyros Denazis manned the STEER stand and Johann Marquez-Barja from Trinity College Dublin was on the CREW stand. Finally, John Domingue gave a short interview, which is available on the FIA Athens web site.
The particular highlight for FORGE though was claiming first place for the FIA Poster awards. Competition for this award is very stiff as over 150 projects are eligible to enter. Due credit to the design of the poster should go to Harriett Cornish from the Open University who had to generate the final version under significant time pressure and several conflicting constraints.
The week finished with a FORGE plenary meeting attended from representatives from all project partners.