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Overview of COST TIST Research
COST-TIST covers all COST research activities in the field of Telecommunications and Information technologies, services and applications. COST Actions in this area started in 1971and have successfully contributed to the aims of the European Research Area by bringing a large set of national, industrial and university research activities in the field together into a common framework of research objectives.
These Actions have also assisted in extending the scientific cooperation to all the COST member states and in some cases globally, which is a true evidence of the usefulness and complementarity of COST. There has been many contributions from COST to both technology standards, new products and services and this trend is continuing and growing. In addition to the fundamental contribution to science and technology, COST-TIST activities have been instrumental in bringing together scientists with entrepreneurial spirit who started successful companies in Europe on the frontiers of modern technology. This highly dynamic field is increasingly underpinning the competitiveness of Europe in the global digital and knowledge based economy and the associated Information Society. It is therefore essential to maintain a coherent long term research effort in order to ensure that Europe has a sufficient base of new knowledge and human potential to sustain the future evolution.

As the lifecycle of these developments is very short, effective co-operation is required to achieve critical mass and timely and cost-effective research involving both academic and industrial research. COST is a well placed mechanism to contribute to this effort and to bring together different national and industrial efforts in focussed actions addressing specific problems and issues.

COST TIST Actions involve more than 2000 leading scientists from network operators, technology providers, key research institutes and universities from the 34 COST countries and from non-COST countries.

The Actions are addressing the following research sub domains:



PHOTONICS AND OPTICAL NETWORKING

Overview

Communication based on optical principles has provided a dramatic increase in available bandwidth in the last years and this trend is still increasing. In point-to-point transmission of digital signals over global distances photonic technologies have made tremendous advances. Over a single glass fibre on one wavelength (distinct light colour) a million telephone conversations can be carried over thousands of kilometres without a single voice sample being lost for several hundred years. This transmission capacity has recently been extended by two orders of magnitude by employing up to 100 different wavelengths of light in a single fibre. However, networks consist not only of point-to-point links. They cross at the network nodes that have become the bottlenecks of the modern communication networks. The electronic devices used in today's network nodes are not able to cope with the huge data streams of the future to route them to their destinations. New network infrastructure has to be developed based on photonic technologies applied to both transmission and routing of signals.

The important impact of this is that the overall costs of transporting data channels over long distances are significantly decreasing, with the result that high speed communication can be used in much wider applications, even to the home. This in turn enables the usage of new applications with high potential for society, e.g. health care, education, culture, information access and entertainment.

The underpinnings of this evolution is a sustained research effort into new materials, photonics components, communication protocols, equipment and their integration into the overall communications infrastructure.

Objectives

The objectives of COST TIST Actions in this domain are to investigate the future reliable architectures, components, services and characteristics for Optical communications and components. The trend is to move towards fully optical based infrastructures for both core and access networks and new research is needed to investigate the most optimal solutions for providing increased bandwidth and the necessary protocols and routing to supply new services in a purely optical environment.

The current Actions are addressing research on :

Architectures and photonics components for next generations of optical communication systems Systems and networks designed for the transmission of Terabit/s broadband signals and offering comprehensive access mechanisms, Development of wavelength scale photonics in telecommunications, thereby enabling a faster transition from research prototypes to commercial devices in systems. Example of such devices are Vertical Cavity Semiconductor Lasers (VCSELs), Resonant Cavity Light Emitting Diodes (RCLEDs) and photonic bandgap filters Devising and implementing experimental measurement techniques for the accurate determination of the key parameters for fibers and novel active and passive photonic semiconductor devices, Modeling methods for the simulation of the performance of components, systems and networks, including the models and software tools for analysing and comparing network elements and configurations, Reliability aspects and parameters of optical fibre components for telecommunications.
The following actions are active in this domain:
Action
Title
265
Measurement Techniques for Active and Passive Fibres to Support Future Telecommunications Standardisation
266
Advanced Infrastructure for Photonic Networks
267
Semiconductor Devices for Optical Signal Processing
268
Wavelength Scale Photonic Components for Telecommunications
270
Reliability of Optical Components and Devices in Communications Systems and Networks


ANTENNAS AND RADIOWAVE PROPAGATION

Overview

Today people take for granted that their mobile phone works everywhere inside cities and buildings and that their satellite receiver delivers perfect picture quality in any weather. This situation is only possible due to continuous progress in antenna and radio propagation science. Also the proliferation of wireless communications for many purposes require much more efficient utilisation of the available frequencies and bandwidths in ever expanding geographical areas and this in turn puts new requirements for radio wave propagation and better and more intelligent antennas.

In the last 25 years, antenna modelling, design and technology have become more and more sophisticated. This is particularly true for radar and for terrestrial and space-based communications or navigation.

Every new system requires a dedicated design and antennas have become the key to enhanced system performances and to industry’s competitiveness.

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) is the engineering discipline associated with minimising unwanted interference between electronic systems of all kinds including systems that are not overtly electronic but which contain substantial amounts of electronics (road vehicles or washing machines for example). The European Union EMC Directive 89/336/EEC requires that all such equipment manufactured or imported into the EU should meet its essential requirements. These are being reasonably immune to such interference and of not generating unreasonable amounts of interference. It is recognised that electromagnetic interference can never be eliminated.

The extensive deployment of wireless communication has led to concerns about the possible health implications arising from the transmitters we are surrounded by in our daily life. It is important to continuously examine the possible implications and to trigger appropriate safety regulations where needed. This requires a strong multidisciplinary research collaboration between technology experts and medical experts in order to be able to draw reliable conclusions to difficult questions and COST is well place to bring together the research teams from all the COST countries to work together and compare results.

Objectives

The current Actions are addressing research on new and improved antenna concepts at Ka and Ku bands in order to serve the future needs of wireless communication through mobile and hand-held communication terminals and satellite payloads. The current objectives are to:

Develop and validate theoretical and software models for smart antenna radiating elements, feeding circuits and active integrated components, Develop low cost high performance technology for printed integrated adaptive antenna front ends including multilayer and interconnected radiating, amplification and digital beam forming components, Foster co-operation between users, industry and universities to improve speed and efficiency of related R&D, in order to meet the requirements of emerging applications.
Recent explosion in the demand for broadband (e.g. multimedia) services in telecommunication and broadcasting radio systems leads to the need to optimally use ever higher radio frequency bands (above 20 GHz, with wavelengths expressed in millimetres). Millimetre wave bands, although offering inherently very broad bandwidths, are subject to adverse radio wave propagation conditions due to impact from the atmospheric conditions, causing signal (and thus potential service quality) degradation. The impairment mechanisms have been successfully identified, investigated and quantified in earlier programmes (e.g. COST 255). This led to the next logical step of how can such knowledge be best applied in the design of systems and services in order to mitigate the negative effects in whole or, at least, in part. Objectives are for both terrestrial and satellite systems to look into:
  • Improved channel modelling concerning propagation characteristics and channel models for broadband millimetre wave radio systems
  • propagation impairment mitigation techniques (PIMT), encompassing PIMT concepts, algorithms and simulations leading towards improved broadband multimedia radio services.


Previous COST research work has provided a foundation for a better understanding of the upper atmosphere environment, its structure and dynamic characteristics and their effects on communications systems. Accurate propagation information is essential to support the design, implementation and operation of most modern terrestrial and satellite communication systems taking into account that communications through the upper atmosphere should meet more and more requirements. As a result, the recent COST 271 Action is oriented towards the evaluation of the upper atmosphere effects on the advanced Earth-space communications systems including navigational systems. in order to:

  • perform studies to influence the technical development and the implementation of new communication services, particularly for the GNSS and other advanced Earth-space and satellite to satellite applications,
  • develop methods and algorithms to predict and to minimise the effects of ionospheric perturbations and variations on communications and to ensure that the best models over Europe are made available to the ITU-R,
New electronic systems generate new EMC problems and the COST Action is this domain has the following objectives:

  • To further develop knowledge related to EMC problems in complex, distributed electronic systems such as computer networks or railway systems. These are vulnerable to interference effects if not adequately designed and implemented and safety and economic disruption issues may arise if interference occurs.
  • To act as a co-ordination forum and provide encouragement of research in this area throughout the COST countries.

The increasing deployment of wireless communications warrants careful examination of the potential health implications and there is a need to co-ordinate and advance European research into electromagnetic compatibility in electrical and electronic devices and systems, in particular carrying out research into various current and new fields of application, in order to:

  • foster European co-ordination for national and international research in the area of electromagnetic fields (EMF) biomedical effects,
  • serve as an independent source of scientific advice for industry and policy makers,
  • stimulate multidisciplinary collaboration between experts in the fields of medicine, biology, electrical engineering, physics, etc.,
  • establish a mechanism and a European network for co-ordinated research in the area of biomedical effects of EMF and interactive repercussions on the corresponding standards, and
  • ensure that new European standards relating to the protection of the general public and occupational exposed personnel against EMF exposure have sound scientific bases.


The following actions are involved in this domain:
Action
Title
260
Smart Antennas: Computer Aided Design & Technology
261
Electromagnetic Compatibility in Distributed and Complex Systems
271
Effects of the upper atmosphere on terrestrial and Earth-space communications
280
Propagation Impairment Mitigation for Millimetre Wave Radio Systems
281
Potential Health Implications from Mobile Communication Systems

SATELLITE BASED COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES Overview

Telecommunication networks are moving towards an all-IP environment with unified protocols in both access and core networks. Moreover, the distinction between the wireless and terrestrial environment is becoming less and less evident. In the future it will be expected that services can be delivered anyplace anywhere, independently of the infrastructure involved.

This ambition require that the current systems and communication protocols are upgraded to be able to provide the services in the future. Satellite based services will continue to play an important role for cost effective delivery of broadband access to large parts of the population which cannot be served with land based communication due to geographical or financial constraints.

The demand for broadband, multimedia-type type of services over the few next years will continue to grow and in time it is expected to compete with voice services not only in the traffic volume but also in the share of the service providers’ revenue.

Objectives

Making satellite active and dynamic components of global networks providing transparent services for satellite and terrestrial interconnections is a major topic for research. This area aims at:

  • Identification of technologies supporting IP over satellites and enabling new services and QoS guarantees;
  • Study of suitability to implement IP switching in the sky;
  • Adaptation of protocols and algorithms initially developed for the fixed and mobile terrestrial networks, to make them suitable for the use in satellite segment;
  • Development of new algorithms, designed deliberately for the satellite segment;
  • Evaluation of the suitability of using various optical technologies in the space segment.

The following action is involved in this domain:

Action
Title
272 Packet-Oriented Service Delivery via Satellite

MOBILE AND PERSONAL COMMUNICATION SERVICES

Overview

Mobile communications are evolving through second and third generation (GSM,UMTS) towards further generation systems that offer potential for higher bandwidth, sustainable multimedia capabilities and globally interoperable services.

Communications are becoming increasingly personalised, through the unique opportunities offered by strong penetration of mobile communication, the fast evolution of the enabling technology and the related advanced service provision capabilities.. As a consequence, R&D continues to be a key factor, and the issues relating to the next generations of mobile systems, dealing with broadband multimedia communications (with bandwidths, hence data rates, much larger than the third generation one), are already being addressed by a large number of people in the European R&D community.

Previous COST Actions in this field (COST 235 and COST 259) have successfully built up a European research community, which brings together the key experts in the filed within Europe from academia and industry and these Actions have contributed strongly to the development of the current GSM and UMTS systems.

It has also been recognised, for many years now, that better and faster results are achieved by joint efforts at the European level, rather than countries conducting their national programmes individually.

The main objective is to increase knowledge of the radio aspects of mobile broadband multimedia networks, by exploring and developing new methods, models, techniques, strategies and tools to further the implementation of next generation mobile communication systems.

Objectives

This area aims at:

  • exploration and development of new methods, models, techniques, strategies and tools towards the implementation of 4th generation mobile communication systems.
  • Covering frequencies ranging from the upper UHF up to millimetre waves
  • Delivering data rates higher than 2 Mb/s (probably up to 155 Mb/s).
  • Contributing to relevant standard setting activities and for a.
  • Supporting the deployment of systems that are very close to completion of their standardisation phase, in particular UMTS and HIPERLAN 2.
The following Action is involved in this domain:
Action
Title
273
Towards Mobile Broadband Multimedia Networks

NEW INTERNET AND MULTIMEDIA SERVICES

Overview

The convergence between telecommunications and information technology combined with the extremely rapid increase in available transmission capacity and processing power is driving a fast evolution of new services, capabilities and devices. End to end Internet services with well defined quality of Service across heterogeneous optical, mobile, satellite and cable networks and multi computing platforms are required for the future application environments, combined with pervasive information interoperability and availability.

As anyone who have been using today's Internet will agree, we are however far from having fully reliable and guaranteed services. Further research is needed to introduce new communication protocols, services and management tools to allow for high quality service provision over the Internet.

Speech and facial characteristics are some of the major contenders to be used for bio-metric recognition of users, for security and authentication purposes on the Internet, which is one of the major stumbling blocks for large scale e-commerce and exchange of sensitive information.

Objectives

The objective is to perform research on Internet based multimedia techniques and to study their application to a distributed multimedia information service, based on available and emerging technology. Actions in this area aims to:

  • Study, from the theoretical and the experimental point of view, various possible network schemes with the aim of evaluating their respective technical potential,
  • Improve the design of broadband multiservice switching systems and network architecture by determining optimal traffic control and resource allocation procedures and by evaluating alternative solutions,
  • Enhance existing tools as well as to develop new ones supporting the modeling and simulation of advanced emerging terrestrial and satellite networks,
  • Improve the efficiency of redundancy reduction techniques and develop content analysis for compression of video signals to assist future multimedia applications.
  • Develop techniques for the analysis, design and control of advanced multiservice networks supporting mobility, multimedia and interworking, by means of the development and application of new and better analytical techniques for the mathematical understanding and optimisation of the behaviour of communications equipment, protocols, and network topologies and architectures, and of economic aspects such as pricing principles and network cost estimation,
  • Co-ordinate and provide appropriate focus from a European perspective to concerted Actions among involved European participating organisations and research groups active in the field of Quality of Internet Service, including support for important community events and cinsolidation of inout to international standards bodies,
  • Provide an International forum for researchers and industrialists active in the development of Internet based protocols and services for group communication based on IP multicasting techniques. Conduct experiments to enable a better understanding of multimedia group communications that will be available on various networks in the future and consolidate European contributions to standardisation in the domain.
  • Investigate effective methods for the recognition of people over the Internet based on voice and facial characteristics in order to facilitate, protect, and promote various financial and other services over this growing telecommunication medium.
The following actions are involved in this domain:
Action
Title
211Quad
Redundancy Reduction Techniques and Content Analysis for Multimedia Services
256
Modeling and Simulation Environment for Satellite/Terrestrial Networks
257
Impacts of New Services on the Architecture and Performance of Broadband Networks
263
Quality of Future Internet Services (QoFIS)
264
Enabling Networked Multimedia Group Communication
275
Biometrics-Based Recognition of People over the Internet
279
Analysis and Design of Advanced Multiservice Networks Supporting Mobility, Multimedia and Internetworking

USER INTERACTION, SPEECH TECHNOLOGIES AND SERVICES

Overview

Speech is now considered as the upcoming major user interface to not just computers but also other digital appliances and this has the potential to revolutionise the way we can interact with computer based systems in the future.. However the current state of the art is still not robust enough to be used in normal applications. COST research has been active for a number of years to bring together the best researchers in Europe to further the knowledge and state of the art in speech technology research.

A tremendous amount of work on speech recognition issues has been performed in numerous research laboratories, but many unsolved problems still remain within speech and dialogue processing in telecommunication. In particular, the capabilities of a speech recogniser are still limited with respect to noisy conditions, speaker variability, naturally spoken language and (simultaneous) handling of multiple languages. Also, at the dialogue level, system capabilities are still limited in many cases because of long task completion time, limited error recovery strategy and limited natural language understanding capabilities.

Furthermore, non-linear methods are expected to lead to improved efficiency in future generations of speech coders used in e.g. wireless networks, including packet-based wireless networks.

Objectives

COST TIST Actions in this area intend to:

  • improve the naturalness of computer generated speech in the areas of sound quality and prosody
  • provide higher quality speech synthesis, more efficient speech coding, improved speech recognition, and improved speaker identification and verification through usage of non-linear speech processing methods
  • improve the knowledge of the issues and problems involved in general in spoken language interaction in telecommunication
  • achieve knowledge of issues related to robustness and multi-linguality within spoken language processing, multi-modal communication and to evaluate telecommunication applications that apply spoken language as one out of more input or output modalities
The following actions are involved in this domain:
Action
Title
258
The Naturalness of Synthetic Speech
277
Non Linear Speech Processing
278
Spoken Language Interaction in Telecommunication


INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE DISCOVERY

Overview

The wealth of information and overwhelming volume of data need better support structures to convert the data to useful information and eventually knowledge. The significant advances in computing power and communication speed is rapidly leading to very complex, large scale distributed computing systems where information is scattered.

The scientific community and industry has started to develop the "GRID" concept, in which large scale distributed systems can be constructed through some common fabric of "middleware" which will take care of the basic functionality needed to build the systems and to enable central functions like directories, security etc.

Objectives

COST Actions in this domain are addressing some key aspects of these emerging developments and the Actions in this area are intending to:

Study the semantical and syntactical aspects of relational structures arising from real world situations and enhance current methods of relational qualitative reasoning about physical systems,
  • Investigate automated inference for relational systems, and, where possible or feasible, develop deductive systems which can be implemented into industrial applications such as diagnostic systems,
  • Develop non-invasive scaling methods for the prediction of relational data, and compare and possibly integrate a nominal scaling approach with numerical methods such as fuzzy relations, Bayesian networks etc,
  • Develop advanced multimedia data and knowledge management technologies for personal multimedia communication systems and services
  • Develop and validate specific signal processing and implementation techniques for users' personal terminals, In addition, key system aspects will be considered, such as: system integration, personification of services, usage trials and demonstrations of advanced personal services
  • Develop and implement new computerised systems for extracting previously unknown, non-trivial, and potentially useful knowledge from structurally complex, high-volume, distributed, and fast-changing scientific and R&D databases within the context of current and newly developing global computing and data infrastructures such as the GRID.
  • Develop innovative and well focused approaches to data and information handling, in support of modern research in astronomy and astrophysics. This includes processing and interpretation of data and, more generally, information, at the time of data capture or later ("archival research"), and including aspects of the collaborative work, information visualisation and man-machine environments needed for this.

The following Actions are involved in this domain:
Action
Title
274
Relational Structures as Knowledge Instruments
276
Information and Knowledge Management for Integrated Media Communication Systems
282
Knowledge Exploration in Science and Technology
283
Computational and Information Infrastructure in the Astronomical DataGrid

SPECIAL NEEDS AND USER REQUIREMENTS Overview

It is becoming increasingly clear that the development of new technology and the subsequent introduction into society needs to be interactively associated with socio-economic perspectives in order to develop successful products and services. It is furthermore also necessary that in order for the information society idea to be viable, the whole population needs to be able to use the underpinning technology and services.

Objectives

The objective of this domain is to perform research to help increase the accessibility of information society services and equipment. Actions have the objectives to:

  • study, analyse and propose solutions in order to make services generally accessible to all, make services adaptable when they cannot be made generally accessible and propose special solutions to meet explicit problems,
  • support co-operation between the technical specialists of telecommunications, teleinformatics, standardisation, legislation and the specialists working for elderly people and people with disabilities and promote appropriate research activities,
  • evaluate new technical solutions for providing telecommunication and teleinformatics services to elderly people and people with disabilities,and actively disseminate information to relevant actors and standards bodies,
  • identify the impact of technical, social and economic developments on users, and help define their needs and alleviate their problems,
  • improve knowledge about user behavior and preferences to produce guidelines for meeting the needs of the target groups and influence the development of services and equipment,
  • perform studies to influence the technical development and the implementation of new telecom services, and influence standardisation, regulation and legislation to take into account users present and future needs.
The following actions are involved in this domain:
Action
Title
219bis
Telecommunications for All
269
User Aspects of ICTs
Further Information

Further information about COST activities in Telecommunications and Infornation Technologies requested from the contact persons below:
Function
Contact
Email Address
COST TIST Chairperson Prof. Francesco Fedi
Via Paolo Bentivoglio 29 B
I-00165 Roma
Italy
(email removed)
COST TIST Scientific Secretary Mr. Peter Wintlev-Jensen
European Commission
DG Information Society F4
Av. Beaulieu 33
Office BU33 2/80
B-1160 Bruxelles

Telephone: +32(0)2/299.93.20
Fax :
+32 (0)2/296.91.31

(email removed)

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