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9 Projects, page 1 of 1

  • Canada
  • UKRI|EPSRC
  • 2008

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F042728/1
    Funder Contribution: 224,957 GBP
    Partners: UvA, University of Oxford, McGill University

    I aim to develop high level structures for reasoning about knowledge of agents in a multi-agent system where agents communicate and as a result update their information. All of us take part in such situations when communicating through the internet, surfing the web, bidding in auctions, or buying on financial markets. Reasoning about knowledge acquisition in these situations becomes more challenging when some agents are not honest and they cheat and lie in their actions and as a result other agents acquire wrong information. The current models of these situations are low level: they require specifying untidy details and hide the high level structure of information flow between the agents. This makes modeling a hard task and proving properties of the model an involved and complicated problem. The complexity of reasoning in these situations raises the question: ``Which structures are required to reason about knowledge acquisition?'', in other words, ``What are the foundational structures of knowledge acquisition?''. High level methods provide us with a minimal unifying structure that benefits from partiality of information: we do not need to specify all the details of the situations we are modeling. They also bring out the conceptual structure of information and update, hide the untidy details, and tidy up the proofs. My plan is to (1) Study the foundational structures that govern knowledge acquisition as a result of information flow between the agents and then develop a unifying framework to formally express these structures in a logical syntax with a comprehensive semantics. I aim to use known mathematical structures, such as algebra, coalegbra and topology, for the semantics. The syntactic theory will be a rule-based proof-theoretic calculus that helps us prove properties about knowledge acquisition in a programmatic algorithmic manner. (2) Apply this framework to reason about security properties of multi-agent protocols. Examples of these protocols are communication protocols between a client and a bank for online banking. We want to make sure that such a protocol is secure, that is, the client's information remains secret throughout the transaction. Because of the potentially unlimited computational abilities of the intruder, these protocols become very complex and verifying their security becomes a challenging task. It is exactly here that our high level setting becomes a necessity, that is, in formal analysis of these protocols and in proving their security properties. The semantic structures that I aim to use have also been used to model the logic of Quantum Mechanics. So my model will be flexible enough to accommodate quantum situations. These situations are important for security protocols because they benefit from additional non-local capabilities of Quantum Mechanics, which guarantee better safety properties. I aim to apply the knowledge acquisition framework to Quantum protocols and prove their sharing and secrecy properties. On the same track, similar semantic structures have been used for information retrieval from the web. I aim to exploit these models and study their relationship to my framework. (3) Write a computer program to implement the axiomatic semantic structure and produce a software package. This software will help us automatically verify properties of multi-agent protocols, such as the security protocols mentioned above.

  • Project . 2008 - 2012
    Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E064361/1
    Funder Contribution: 709,954 GBP
    Partners: Filtronic Components Ltd, Broadcom (United Kingdom), NRC Institute for Microstructural Scienc, University of Cambridge

    Since the development of the first Kerr-lens mode-locked lasers in 1990, practical femtosecond lasers in a wide variety of configurations have delivered handsomely to a significant number of major scientific developments. It has to be recognised that the application space remains limited by the cost, complexity, skilled-user requirements and restricted flexibility of the current generation of ultrafast lasers. In this proposed joint project we seek to lead the way in the development of a new generation of ultrafast lasers. By adopting a modular approach for laser design we am aiming to demonstrate a platform from which lasers can be designed to address a wide range of user-specific requirements. By taking this approach, lasers for use in communications, for example, will have the necessary high repetition rates and low peak powers whereas for biophotonics high peak powers will be delivered to take full advantage of exploitable optical nonlinearities. We plan to work with vibronic crystals in both bulk and waveguide geometries and semiconductor quantum dot structures as the primary gain media. Although vibronic crystals have been deployed widely in ultrashort-pulse lasers the flexibility offered by conventional laser designs is very limited. To remedy this situation we intend to revolutionise cavity design to enable electrical control of the laser output parameters. For example, we wish to provide a means to users to change from an unmodelocked status to a femtosecond-pulse regime at the flick of switch. Also, by exploiting waveguiding in the vibronic crystals we are confident that we can introduce a new generation of highly compact lasers that will combine many of the advantages of a semiconductor laser with the most attractive features of crystal based devices. In some preliminary work in the Ultrafast Photonics Collaboration we have shown the potential of semiconductor quantum dot structures as broadband gain media that Can support the amplification and generation of femtosecond optical pulses. We now seek to build on those promising results and make the push towards truly flexible ultrafast lasers that will be amenable to external electronic control of the gain and loss components. Progress is expected to lead to a new generation of lasers that can give applications compatibility that far exceeds that available in traditional laser system designs. Within this strategy we plan to employ hybrid approaches where the benefits of semiconductor lasers will be combined with the energy storage capabilities of crystals to deliver compact and rugged sources having pulse characteristics that cover a range of durations, energies and profiles.A major part of this project effort will be devoted to the development of control functionality in ultrafast lasers. The intention is to use direct electrical control of intracavity components to deliver designer options for pulse shaping, modulated data streams, wavelength tuning and tailored dispersion. To ensure that this research is applicable we will evaluate the laser developments in the context of a set of identified demonstrators. These implementations will be used to show how design flexibility can deliver optimised lasers for biological, medical, communications and related applications.We have put together a research team having complementary of expertise and established track records of international excellence in photonics. This project as a whole will be managed from St Andrews University but all three research groups will undertake interactive research on all aspects of the laser development. We are confident that the work of this team will represent cutting-edge fundamental and translational research and it should represent a world leading strength for the UK in the development of new ultrafast lasers.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F06358X/1
    Funder Contribution: 670,841 GBP
    Partners: CRC, TRTUK, Home Office Sci Development Branch, BAE Systems, BT Laboratories, Boeing Co, UU

    The SUAAVE consortium is an interdisciplinary group in the fields of computer science and engineering. Its focus is on the creation and control of swarms of helicopter UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that operate autonomously (i.e not under the direct realtime control of a human), that collaborate to sense the environment, and that report their findings to a base station on the ground.Such clouds (or swarms or flocks) of helicopters have a wide variety of applications in both civil and military domains. Consider, for example, an emergency scenarion in which an individual is lost in a remote area. A cloud of cheap, autonomous, portable helicopter UAVs is rapidly deployed by search and rescue services. The UAVs are equipped with sensor devices (including heat sensitive cameras and standard video), wireless radio communication capabilities and GPS. The UAVs are tasked to search particular areas that may be distant or inaccessible and, from that point are fully autonomous - they organise themselves into the best configuration for searching, they reconfigure if UAVs are lost or damaged, they consult on the probability of a potential target being that actually sought, and they report their findings to a ground controller. At a given height, the UAVs may be out of radio range of base, and they move not only to sense the environment, but also to return interesting data to base. The same UAVs might also be used to bridge communications between ground search teams. A wide variety of other applications exist for a cloud of rapidly deployable, highly survivable UAVs, including, for example, pollution monitoring; chemical/biological/radiological weapons plume monitoring; disaster recovery - e.g. (flood) damage assessment; sniper location; communication bridging in ad hoc situations; and overflight of sensor fields for the purposes of collecting data. The novelty of these mobile sensor systems is that their movement is controlled by fully autonomous tasking algorithms with two important objectives: first, to increase sensing coverage to rapidly identify targets; and, second, to maintain network connectivity to enable real-time communication between UAVs and ground-based crews. The project has four main scientific themes: (i) wireless networking as applied in a controllable free-space transmission environment with three free directions in which UAVs can move; (ii) control theory as applied to aerial vehicles, with the intention of creating truly autonomous agents that can be tasked but do not need a man-in-the-loop control in real time to operate and communicate; (iii) artificial intelligence and optimisation theory as applied to a real search problem; (iv) data fusion from multiple, possibly heterogeneous airborne sensors as applied to construct and present accurate information to situation commanders. The SUAAVE project will adopt a practical engineering approach, building real prototypes in conjunction with an impressive list of external partners, including a government agency, the field's industry leaders, and two international collaborators.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F064217/1
    Funder Contribution: 480,698 GBP
    Partners: TRTUK, Home Office Sci Development Branch, BAE Systems, CRC, University of Oxford, BT Laboratories, Boeing Co

    The SUAAVE consortium is an interdisciplinary group in the fields of computer science and engineering. Its focus is on the creation and control of swarms of helicopter UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that operate autonomously (i.e not under the direct realtime control of a human), that collaborate to sense the environment, and that report their findings to a base station on the ground.Such clouds (or swarms or flocks) of helicopters have a wide variety of applications in both civil and military domains. Consider, for example, an emergency scenarion in which an individual is lost in a remote area. A cloud of cheap, autonomous, portable helicopter UAVs is rapidly deployed by search and rescue services. The UAVs are equipped with sensor devices (including heat sensitive cameras and standard video), wireless radio communication capabilities and GPS. The UAVs are tasked to search particular areas that may be distant or inaccessible and, from that point are fully autonomous - they organise themselves into the best configuration for searching, they reconfigure if UAVs are lost or damaged, they consult on the probability of a potential target being that actually sought, and they report their findings to a ground controller. At a given height, the UAVs may be out of radio range of base, and they move not only to sense the environment, but also to return interesting data to base. The same UAVs might also be used to bridge communications between ground search teams. A wide variety of other applications exist for a cloud of rapidly deployable, highly survivable UAVs, including, for example, pollution monitoring; chemical/biological/radiological weapons plume monitoring; disaster recovery - e.g. (flood) damage assessment; sniper location; communication bridging in ad hoc situations; and overflight of sensor fields for the purposes of collecting data. The novelty of these mobile sensor systems is that their movement is controlled by fully autonomous tasking algorithms with two important objectives: first, to increase sensing coverage to rapidly identify targets; and, second, to maintain network connectivity to enable real-time communication between UAVs and ground-based crews. The project has four main scientific themes: (i) wireless networking as applied in a controllable free-space transmission environment with three free directions in which UAVs can move; (ii) control theory as applied to aerial vehicles, with the intention of creating truly autonomous agents that can be tasked but do not need a man-in-the-loop control in real time to operate and communicate; (iii) artificial intelligence and optimisation theory as applied to a real search problem; (iv) data fusion from multiple, possibly heterogeneous airborne sensors as applied to construct and present accurate information to situation commanders. The SUAAVE project will adopt a practical engineering approach, building real prototypes in conjunction with an impressive list of external partners, including a government agency, the field's industry leaders, and two international collaborators.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G014124/1
    Funder Contribution: 283,718 GBP
    Partners: University of Birmingham, CNRC

    The ability to control the evolution of a reaction is a long-standing goal of chemistry. One approach is to use the electric field provided by a laser pulse as the guide. Recent work has focused on shaping and timing the pulse so that the field interacts with the molecules in a particular way to influence the energy flow through the molecule and thus eventually the course of a reaction. The optimal pulse shape is achieved by using a feedback loop , focusing on a signal related to the desired outcome and allowing a computer algorithm to change the pulse shape during repeated cycles of the experiment until the signal is maximised. This optimal control scheme has proved to be able to control a wide range of chemical systems, but the complicated pulse shapes provide little insight into the procedure, and the experiments have a black box nature. A different, very appealing, approach to control through a laser field is to use the field to change the shape of the potential energy surface over which the reaction proceeds. This can be acheived using a strong pulse which induces Stark shifting of the surface. By careful timing of a pulse of the appropriate strength, it has been shown that it is possible to control the products from IBr dissociation by effectively changing the barrier height to the different possible channels.The project aims to investigate theoretically this potentially general approach to laser control. The results should start to build up a picture of how the complicated potential energy surfaces of small molecules are altered by interaction with the field. This will help in the development of experiments and in our understanding of how molecules behave in a light field.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E065872/1
    Funder Contribution: 345,767 GBP
    Partners: Ministry of Defence MOD, University of London, Home Office Sci Development Branch, Police Information Technology Organisati, York University Canada

    In current automated face recognition systems, the user is required to cooperate with the system: they must stand in a certain place, face the camera and maintain a neutral expression. Under these controlled imaging conditions, face recognition algorithms perform well. One of the greatest remaining research challenges is to recognize faces in uncontrolled conditions. Now the subject may be entirely unaware of the system, and consequently the position, pose, illumination and expression of their face exhibit considerable variation. In such uncontrolled conditions, all current commercial and academic face recognition systems fail.In this project, we will develop an entirely new probabilistic approach to face recognition that is particularly suited to such uncontrolled conditions. We will develop a series of algorithms to tackle these problems and validate them in laboratory and real-world situations. Potential applications include -ACCESS CONTROL. Current face recognition systems require the implicit cooperation of the user. This research will remove this requirement and increase the effciency, robustness and user-friendliness of access control applications.-SECURITY FOOTAGE. The UK has 4 million CCTV cameras, but current face recognition methods flounder because of the variable capture conditions. This research will permit automated analysis of faces in CCTV footage.-FACE SEARCH. Recognition methods fail on archived images because the faces have variable poses, illuminations and expressions. The proposed techniques are invariant to these factors and allow face search: users provide a probe face image and our algorithms can search the internet, or a set of photos for images of the same person.-FACE SYNOPSES. Current techniques cannot accurately identify how many different people were present in a set of images and where each appeared. Applications include automatically summarizing surveillance footage so it is possible to see at a glance how many individuals entered and left an area and when.-HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION. There are innumerable other situations where it would be useful for a computer or robot to recognize human identity. An important step in making computers more social and easy to interact with is to provide them with a robust and transparent way of recognizing their users.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E059430/1
    Funder Contribution: 312,723 GBP
    Partners: Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd, University of Bath

    Heavy crude oil and bitumen are a vast, largely unexploited hydrocarbon resource, with barely 1% produced so far, compared with more than 50% of conventional light oil (like the North Sea). More than 80% of this heavy, unconventional oil, lies in the Western hemisphere, whereas more than 80% of conventional light oil lies in the Eastern hemisphere (mainly in the Middle East). Over the next 10-30 years, geopolitical factors,and also the emerging strength of Asian countries, especially India and China, will create increasing tensions and uncertainty, with regard to the availability and supply of crude oil. Alongside gas, nuclear and renewables, crude oil will continue to be an important part of the UK's 'energy mix' for decades to come. How will the crude oil we need for industry and transportation be be obtained and will it be as secure as it was from the North Sea?The huge Athabsca Oil Sands deposits in Canada (1.5 trilllion barrels) provides an opportunity for the UK to secure access to a long-term, stable supply. The first step towards this was the development of a new technology,THAI - 'Toe-to-Heel Air Injection', to produce Oil Sands bitumen and heavy oil. It was discovered by the Improved Oil Recovery group at the University Bath, in the 1990's, and is currently being field tested at Christina Lake, Alberta, Canada. In 1998, in collaboration with the Petroleum Recovery Institute (PRI), Calgary, Canada, the Bath goup discovered another process,based on THAI, called CAPRI. The THAI-CAPRI processes have the potential to convert bitumen and heavy crude into virtually a light crude oil, of almost pararaffin-like consistency, at a fraction of the cost of conventional surface processing. A surface upgrading plant has recently been proposed for the UK, at a cost of $2-3 billion.The advantage of CAPRI is that it creates a catalytic reactor in the petroleum reservoir, by 'sleeving' a layer of of catalyst around the 500-100 m long horizontal production well, inside the reservoir. The high pressure and temperature in the reservoir enable thermal cracking and hydroconversion reactions to take place, so that only light, converted oil is produced at the surface. Apart from the cost of the catalyst, which can be a standard refinery catalyst, the CAPRI reactor is virtually free! All that is needed is to inject compressed air, in order to propagate a combustion front in a 'toe-to-heel' manner along the horizontal production well.In collaboration with the University of Birmingham, the project will investigate the effectiveness of a range of catalysts for use in the CAPRI process. The University of Birmingham team, led by Dr. Joe Wood, wiil investigate the long-term survivability of the catalysts,which is critical for the operation of CAPRI. Once the catalyst is emplaced around the horizontal well, it will be expensive to recover or replace it. Previous 3D combustion cell experiments conducted by the Bath team, only allowed catalyst operating periods of a few hours, whereas, in practise, the catalyst will need to survive, remain active, for days, or weeks. The Bath team will undertake detailed studies to characterise the internal pore structure of the catalysts used in the experiments, to obtain fundamental information on catalyst deactivation, which can be related to the process conditions and oil composition. They will also develop a detailed numerical model of the CAPRI reactor. This will provide a tool to explore 'fine details' of the THAI-CAPRI process, which will aid in the selection/optimisation of the most suitable catalysts. The model will be incorporated into a larger model using the STARS reservoir simulator. Preliminary reservoir siumlations will be made to explore the potential operating conditions for CAPRI at field -scale.On a commercial-scale, the THAI-CAPRI process could translate the oil resource in the Athabasca Oil Sands into the world's biggest, exceeding the Middle East.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F057547/1
    Funder Contribution: 23,322 GBP
    Partners: University of Toronto, University of Edinburgh

    A 3 months visit is envisaged, Dr K. Sefiane will spend this period (April-June 2008) in Toronto working in the group of Prof. Charles Ward. The programme of work includes experimental work to be undertaken by Dr K. Sefiane, supported by Prof. Ward research assistants. The aim is to compare some experimental data obtained in two independent previous investigations as well as undetake new experiments in Toronto and draw conclusions about the evaporation of liquids and interfacial conditions.Professor CA Ward has visited Edinburgh twice and Dr K. Sefiane has also visited Toronto twice, the latest being in Novembre 2007 (for two weeks). The above programme of work has been agreed and the necessary equipment is in place to make the best out of the proposed visit. Prof. CA Ward and Dr K. Sefiane have recently published a substantial joint review on the topic of thermocapillary convection (K. Sefiane, CA. Ward; Recent advances on thermocapillary flows and interfacial conditions , Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, 134-135, 201-223, 2007).

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F064179/1
    Funder Contribution: 697,369 GBP
    Partners: TRTUK, Home Office Sci Development Branch, Boeing Co, BAE Systems, BT Laboratories, CRC, University of London

    The SUAAVE consortium is an interdisciplinary group in the fields of computer science and engineering. Its focus is on the creation and control of swarms of helicopter UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that operate autonomously (i.e not under the direct realtime control of a human), that collaborate to sense the environment, and that report their findings to a base station on the ground.Such clouds (or swarms or flocks) of helicopters have a wide variety of applications in both civil and military domains. Consider, for example, an emergency scenarion in which an individual is lost in a remote area. A cloud of cheap, autonomous, portable helicopter UAVs is rapidly deployed by search and rescue services. The UAVs are equipped with sensor devices (including heat sensitive cameras and standard video), wireless radio communication capabilities and GPS. The UAVs are tasked to search particular areas that may be distant or inaccessible and, from that point are fully autonomous - they organise themselves into the best configuration for searching, they reconfigure if UAVs are lost or damaged, they consult on the probability of a potential target being that actually sought, and they report their findings to a ground controller. At a given height, the UAVs may be out of radio range of base, and they move not only to sense the environment, but also to return interesting data to base. The same UAVs might also be used to bridge communications between ground search teams. A wide variety of other applications exist for a cloud of rapidly deployable, highly survivable UAVs, including, for example, pollution monitoring; chemical/biological/radiological weapons plume monitoring; disaster recovery - e.g. (flood) damage assessment; sniper location; communication bridging in ad hoc situations; and overflight of sensor fields for the purposes of collecting data. The novelty of these mobile sensor systems is that their movement is controlled by fully autonomous tasking algorithms with two important objectives: first, to increase sensing coverage to rapidly identify targets; and, second, to maintain network connectivity to enable real-time communication between UAVs and ground-based crews. The project has four main scientific themes: (i) wireless networking as applied in a controllable free-space transmission environment with three free directions in which UAVs can move; (ii) control theory as applied to aerial vehicles, with the intention of creating truly autonomous agents that can be tasked but do not need a man-in-the-loop control in real time to operate and communicate; (iii) artificial intelligence and optimisation theory as applied to a real search problem; (iv) data fusion from multiple, possibly heterogeneous airborne sensors as applied to construct and present accurate information to situation commanders. The SUAAVE project will adopt a practical engineering approach, building real prototypes in conjunction with an impressive list of external partners, including a government agency, the field's industry leaders, and two international collaborators.

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9 Projects, page 1 of 1
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F042728/1
    Funder Contribution: 224,957 GBP
    Partners: UvA, University of Oxford, McGill University

    I aim to develop high level structures for reasoning about knowledge of agents in a multi-agent system where agents communicate and as a result update their information. All of us take part in such situations when communicating through the internet, surfing the web, bidding in auctions, or buying on financial markets. Reasoning about knowledge acquisition in these situations becomes more challenging when some agents are not honest and they cheat and lie in their actions and as a result other agents acquire wrong information. The current models of these situations are low level: they require specifying untidy details and hide the high level structure of information flow between the agents. This makes modeling a hard task and proving properties of the model an involved and complicated problem. The complexity of reasoning in these situations raises the question: ``Which structures are required to reason about knowledge acquisition?'', in other words, ``What are the foundational structures of knowledge acquisition?''. High level methods provide us with a minimal unifying structure that benefits from partiality of information: we do not need to specify all the details of the situations we are modeling. They also bring out the conceptual structure of information and update, hide the untidy details, and tidy up the proofs. My plan is to (1) Study the foundational structures that govern knowledge acquisition as a result of information flow between the agents and then develop a unifying framework to formally express these structures in a logical syntax with a comprehensive semantics. I aim to use known mathematical structures, such as algebra, coalegbra and topology, for the semantics. The syntactic theory will be a rule-based proof-theoretic calculus that helps us prove properties about knowledge acquisition in a programmatic algorithmic manner. (2) Apply this framework to reason about security properties of multi-agent protocols. Examples of these protocols are communication protocols between a client and a bank for online banking. We want to make sure that such a protocol is secure, that is, the client's information remains secret throughout the transaction. Because of the potentially unlimited computational abilities of the intruder, these protocols become very complex and verifying their security becomes a challenging task. It is exactly here that our high level setting becomes a necessity, that is, in formal analysis of these protocols and in proving their security properties. The semantic structures that I aim to use have also been used to model the logic of Quantum Mechanics. So my model will be flexible enough to accommodate quantum situations. These situations are important for security protocols because they benefit from additional non-local capabilities of Quantum Mechanics, which guarantee better safety properties. I aim to apply the knowledge acquisition framework to Quantum protocols and prove their sharing and secrecy properties. On the same track, similar semantic structures have been used for information retrieval from the web. I aim to exploit these models and study their relationship to my framework. (3) Write a computer program to implement the axiomatic semantic structure and produce a software package. This software will help us automatically verify properties of multi-agent protocols, such as the security protocols mentioned above.

  • Project . 2008 - 2012
    Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E064361/1
    Funder Contribution: 709,954 GBP
    Partners: Filtronic Components Ltd, Broadcom (United Kingdom), NRC Institute for Microstructural Scienc, University of Cambridge

    Since the development of the first Kerr-lens mode-locked lasers in 1990, practical femtosecond lasers in a wide variety of configurations have delivered handsomely to a significant number of major scientific developments. It has to be recognised that the application space remains limited by the cost, complexity, skilled-user requirements and restricted flexibility of the current generation of ultrafast lasers. In this proposed joint project we seek to lead the way in the development of a new generation of ultrafast lasers. By adopting a modular approach for laser design we am aiming to demonstrate a platform from which lasers can be designed to address a wide range of user-specific requirements. By taking this approach, lasers for use in communications, for example, will have the necessary high repetition rates and low peak powers whereas for biophotonics high peak powers will be delivered to take full advantage of exploitable optical nonlinearities. We plan to work with vibronic crystals in both bulk and waveguide geometries and semiconductor quantum dot structures as the primary gain media. Although vibronic crystals have been deployed widely in ultrashort-pulse lasers the flexibility offered by conventional laser designs is very limited. To remedy this situation we intend to revolutionise cavity design to enable electrical control of the laser output parameters. For example, we wish to provide a means to users to change from an unmodelocked status to a femtosecond-pulse regime at the flick of switch. Also, by exploiting waveguiding in the vibronic crystals we are confident that we can introduce a new generation of highly compact lasers that will combine many of the advantages of a semiconductor laser with the most attractive features of crystal based devices. In some preliminary work in the Ultrafast Photonics Collaboration we have shown the potential of semiconductor quantum dot structures as broadband gain media that Can support the amplification and generation of femtosecond optical pulses. We now seek to build on those promising results and make the push towards truly flexible ultrafast lasers that will be amenable to external electronic control of the gain and loss components. Progress is expected to lead to a new generation of lasers that can give applications compatibility that far exceeds that available in traditional laser system designs. Within this strategy we plan to employ hybrid approaches where the benefits of semiconductor lasers will be combined with the energy storage capabilities of crystals to deliver compact and rugged sources having pulse characteristics that cover a range of durations, energies and profiles.A major part of this project effort will be devoted to the development of control functionality in ultrafast lasers. The intention is to use direct electrical control of intracavity components to deliver designer options for pulse shaping, modulated data streams, wavelength tuning and tailored dispersion. To ensure that this research is applicable we will evaluate the laser developments in the context of a set of identified demonstrators. These implementations will be used to show how design flexibility can deliver optimised lasers for biological, medical, communications and related applications.We have put together a research team having complementary of expertise and established track records of international excellence in photonics. This project as a whole will be managed from St Andrews University but all three research groups will undertake interactive research on all aspects of the laser development. We are confident that the work of this team will represent cutting-edge fundamental and translational research and it should represent a world leading strength for the UK in the development of new ultrafast lasers.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F06358X/1
    Funder Contribution: 670,841 GBP
    Partners: CRC, TRTUK, Home Office Sci Development Branch, BAE Systems, BT Laboratories, Boeing Co, UU

    The SUAAVE consortium is an interdisciplinary group in the fields of computer science and engineering. Its focus is on the creation and control of swarms of helicopter UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that operate autonomously (i.e not under the direct realtime control of a human), that collaborate to sense the environment, and that report their findings to a base station on the ground.Such clouds (or swarms or flocks) of helicopters have a wide variety of applications in both civil and military domains. Consider, for example, an emergency scenarion in which an individual is lost in a remote area. A cloud of cheap, autonomous, portable helicopter UAVs is rapidly deployed by search and rescue services. The UAVs are equipped with sensor devices (including heat sensitive cameras and standard video), wireless radio communication capabilities and GPS. The UAVs are tasked to search particular areas that may be distant or inaccessible and, from that point are fully autonomous - they organise themselves into the best configuration for searching, they reconfigure if UAVs are lost or damaged, they consult on the probability of a potential target being that actually sought, and they report their findings to a ground controller. At a given height, the UAVs may be out of radio range of base, and they move not only to sense the environment, but also to return interesting data to base. The same UAVs might also be used to bridge communications between ground search teams. A wide variety of other applications exist for a cloud of rapidly deployable, highly survivable UAVs, including, for example, pollution monitoring; chemical/biological/radiological weapons plume monitoring; disaster recovery - e.g. (flood) damage assessment; sniper location; communication bridging in ad hoc situations; and overflight of sensor fields for the purposes of collecting data. The novelty of these mobile sensor systems is that their movement is controlled by fully autonomous tasking algorithms with two important objectives: first, to increase sensing coverage to rapidly identify targets; and, second, to maintain network connectivity to enable real-time communication between UAVs and ground-based crews. The project has four main scientific themes: (i) wireless networking as applied in a controllable free-space transmission environment with three free directions in which UAVs can move; (ii) control theory as applied to aerial vehicles, with the intention of creating truly autonomous agents that can be tasked but do not need a man-in-the-loop control in real time to operate and communicate; (iii) artificial intelligence and optimisation theory as applied to a real search problem; (iv) data fusion from multiple, possibly heterogeneous airborne sensors as applied to construct and present accurate information to situation commanders. The SUAAVE project will adopt a practical engineering approach, building real prototypes in conjunction with an impressive list of external partners, including a government agency, the field's industry leaders, and two international collaborators.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F064217/1
    Funder Contribution: 480,698 GBP
    Partners: TRTUK, Home Office Sci Development Branch, BAE Systems, CRC, University of Oxford, BT Laboratories, Boeing Co

    The SUAAVE consortium is an interdisciplinary group in the fields of computer science and engineering. Its focus is on the creation and control of swarms of helicopter UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that operate autonomously (i.e not under the direct realtime control of a human), that collaborate to sense the environment, and that report their findings to a base station on the ground.Such clouds (or swarms or flocks) of helicopters have a wide variety of applications in both civil and military domains. Consider, for example, an emergency scenarion in which an individual is lost in a remote area. A cloud of cheap, autonomous, portable helicopter UAVs is rapidly deployed by search and rescue services. The UAVs are equipped with sensor devices (including heat sensitive cameras and standard video), wireless radio communication capabilities and GPS. The UAVs are tasked to search particular areas that may be distant or inaccessible and, from that point are fully autonomous - they organise themselves into the best configuration for searching, they reconfigure if UAVs are lost or damaged, they consult on the probability of a potential target being that actually sought, and they report their findings to a ground controller. At a given height, the UAVs may be out of radio range of base, and they move not only to sense the environment, but also to return interesting data to base. The same UAVs might also be used to bridge communications between ground search teams. A wide variety of other applications exist for a cloud of rapidly deployable, highly survivable UAVs, including, for example, pollution monitoring; chemical/biological/radiological weapons plume monitoring; disaster recovery - e.g. (flood) damage assessment; sniper location; communication bridging in ad hoc situations; and overflight of sensor fields for the purposes of collecting data. The novelty of these mobile sensor systems is that their movement is controlled by fully autonomous tasking algorithms with two important objectives: first, to increase sensing coverage to rapidly identify targets; and, second, to maintain network connectivity to enable real-time communication between UAVs and ground-based crews. The project has four main scientific themes: (i) wireless networking as applied in a controllable free-space transmission environment with three free directions in which UAVs can move; (ii) control theory as applied to aerial vehicles, with the intention of creating truly autonomous agents that can be tasked but do not need a man-in-the-loop control in real time to operate and communicate; (iii) artificial intelligence and optimisation theory as applied to a real search problem; (iv) data fusion from multiple, possibly heterogeneous airborne sensors as applied to construct and present accurate information to situation commanders. The SUAAVE project will adopt a practical engineering approach, building real prototypes in conjunction with an impressive list of external partners, including a government agency, the field's industry leaders, and two international collaborators.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G014124/1
    Funder Contribution: 283,718 GBP
    Partners: University of Birmingham, CNRC

    The ability to control the evolution of a reaction is a long-standing goal of chemistry. One approach is to use the electric field provided by a laser pulse as the guide. Recent work has focused on shaping and timing the pulse so that the field interacts with the molecules in a particular way to influence the energy flow through the molecule and thus eventually the course of a reaction. The optimal pulse shape is achieved by using a feedback loop , focusing on a signal related to the desired outcome and allowing a computer algorithm to change the pulse shape during repeated cycles of the experiment until the signal is maximised. This optimal control scheme has proved to be able to control a wide range of chemical systems, but the complicated pulse shapes provide little insight into the procedure, and the experiments have a black box nature. A different, very appealing, approach to control through a laser field is to use the field to change the shape of the potential energy surface over which the reaction proceeds. This can be acheived using a strong pulse which induces Stark shifting of the surface. By careful timing of a pulse of the appropriate strength, it has been shown that it is possible to control the products from IBr dissociation by effectively changing the barrier height to the different possible channels.The project aims to investigate theoretically this potentially general approach to laser control. The results should start to build up a picture of how the complicated potential energy surfaces of small molecules are altered by interaction with the field. This will help in the development of experiments and in our understanding of how molecules behave in a light field.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E065872/1
    Funder Contribution: 345,767 GBP
    Partners: Ministry of Defence MOD, University of London, Home Office Sci Development Branch, Police Information Technology Organisati, York University Canada

    In current automated face recognition systems, the user is required to cooperate with the system: they must stand in a certain place, face the camera and maintain a neutral expression. Under these controlled imaging conditions, face recognition algorithms perform well. One of the greatest remaining research challenges is to recognize faces in uncontrolled conditions. Now the subject may be entirely unaware of the system, and consequently the position, pose, illumination and expression of their face exhibit considerable variation. In such uncontrolled conditions, all current commercial and academic face recognition systems fail.In this project, we will develop an entirely new probabilistic approach to face recognition that is particularly suited to such uncontrolled conditions. We will develop a series of algorithms to tackle these problems and validate them in laboratory and real-world situations. Potential applications include -ACCESS CONTROL. Current face recognition systems require the implicit cooperation of the user. This research will remove this requirement and increase the effciency, robustness and user-friendliness of access control applications.-SECURITY FOOTAGE. The UK has 4 million CCTV cameras, but current face recognition methods flounder because of the variable capture conditions. This research will permit automated analysis of faces in CCTV footage.-FACE SEARCH. Recognition methods fail on archived images because the faces have variable poses, illuminations and expressions. The proposed techniques are invariant to these factors and allow face search: users provide a probe face image and our algorithms can search the internet, or a set of photos for images of the same person.-FACE SYNOPSES. Current techniques cannot accurately identify how many different people were present in a set of images and where each appeared. Applications include automatically summarizing surveillance footage so it is possible to see at a glance how many individuals entered and left an area and when.-HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION. There are innumerable other situations where it would be useful for a computer or robot to recognize human identity. An important step in making computers more social and easy to interact with is to provide them with a robust and transparent way of recognizing their users.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/E059430/1
    Funder Contribution: 312,723 GBP
    Partners: Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd, University of Bath

    Heavy crude oil and bitumen are a vast, largely unexploited hydrocarbon resource, with barely 1% produced so far, compared with more than 50% of conventional light oil (like the North Sea). More than 80% of this heavy, unconventional oil, lies in the Western hemisphere, whereas more than 80% of conventional light oil lies in the Eastern hemisphere (mainly in the Middle East). Over the next 10-30 years, geopolitical factors,and also the emerging strength of Asian countries, especially India and China, will create increasing tensions and uncertainty, with regard to the availability and supply of crude oil. Alongside gas, nuclear and renewables, crude oil will continue to be an important part of the UK's 'energy mix' for decades to come. How will the crude oil we need for industry and transportation be be obtained and will it be as secure as it was from the North Sea?The huge Athabsca Oil Sands deposits in Canada (1.5 trilllion barrels) provides an opportunity for the UK to secure access to a long-term, stable supply. The first step towards this was the development of a new technology,THAI - 'Toe-to-Heel Air Injection', to produce Oil Sands bitumen and heavy oil. It was discovered by the Improved Oil Recovery group at the University Bath, in the 1990's, and is currently being field tested at Christina Lake, Alberta, Canada. In 1998, in collaboration with the Petroleum Recovery Institute (PRI), Calgary, Canada, the Bath goup discovered another process,based on THAI, called CAPRI. The THAI-CAPRI processes have the potential to convert bitumen and heavy crude into virtually a light crude oil, of almost pararaffin-like consistency, at a fraction of the cost of conventional surface processing. A surface upgrading plant has recently been proposed for the UK, at a cost of $2-3 billion.The advantage of CAPRI is that it creates a catalytic reactor in the petroleum reservoir, by 'sleeving' a layer of of catalyst around the 500-100 m long horizontal production well, inside the reservoir. The high pressure and temperature in the reservoir enable thermal cracking and hydroconversion reactions to take place, so that only light, converted oil is produced at the surface. Apart from the cost of the catalyst, which can be a standard refinery catalyst, the CAPRI reactor is virtually free! All that is needed is to inject compressed air, in order to propagate a combustion front in a 'toe-to-heel' manner along the horizontal production well.In collaboration with the University of Birmingham, the project will investigate the effectiveness of a range of catalysts for use in the CAPRI process. The University of Birmingham team, led by Dr. Joe Wood, wiil investigate the long-term survivability of the catalysts,which is critical for the operation of CAPRI. Once the catalyst is emplaced around the horizontal well, it will be expensive to recover or replace it. Previous 3D combustion cell experiments conducted by the Bath team, only allowed catalyst operating periods of a few hours, whereas, in practise, the catalyst will need to survive, remain active, for days, or weeks. The Bath team will undertake detailed studies to characterise the internal pore structure of the catalysts used in the experiments, to obtain fundamental information on catalyst deactivation, which can be related to the process conditions and oil composition. They will also develop a detailed numerical model of the CAPRI reactor. This will provide a tool to explore 'fine details' of the THAI-CAPRI process, which will aid in the selection/optimisation of the most suitable catalysts. The model will be incorporated into a larger model using the STARS reservoir simulator. Preliminary reservoir siumlations will be made to explore the potential operating conditions for CAPRI at field -scale.On a commercial-scale, the THAI-CAPRI process could translate the oil resource in the Athabasca Oil Sands into the world's biggest, exceeding the Middle East.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F057547/1
    Funder Contribution: 23,322 GBP
    Partners: University of Toronto, University of Edinburgh

    A 3 months visit is envisaged, Dr K. Sefiane will spend this period (April-June 2008) in Toronto working in the group of Prof. Charles Ward. The programme of work includes experimental work to be undertaken by Dr K. Sefiane, supported by Prof. Ward research assistants. The aim is to compare some experimental data obtained in two independent previous investigations as well as undetake new experiments in Toronto and draw conclusions about the evaporation of liquids and interfacial conditions.Professor CA Ward has visited Edinburgh twice and Dr K. Sefiane has also visited Toronto twice, the latest being in Novembre 2007 (for two weeks). The above programme of work has been agreed and the necessary equipment is in place to make the best out of the proposed visit. Prof. CA Ward and Dr K. Sefiane have recently published a substantial joint review on the topic of thermocapillary convection (K. Sefiane, CA. Ward; Recent advances on thermocapillary flows and interfacial conditions , Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, 134-135, 201-223, 2007).

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/F064179/1
    Funder Contribution: 697,369 GBP
    Partners: TRTUK, Home Office Sci Development Branch, Boeing Co, BAE Systems, BT Laboratories, CRC, University of London

    The SUAAVE consortium is an interdisciplinary group in the fields of computer science and engineering. Its focus is on the creation and control of swarms of helicopter UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that operate autonomously (i.e not under the direct realtime control of a human), that collaborate to sense the environment, and that report their findings to a base station on the ground.Such clouds (or swarms or flocks) of helicopters have a wide variety of applications in both civil and military domains. Consider, for example, an emergency scenarion in which an individual is lost in a remote area. A cloud of cheap, autonomous, portable helicopter UAVs is rapidly deployed by search and rescue services. The UAVs are equipped with sensor devices (including heat sensitive cameras and standard video), wireless radio communication capabilities and GPS. The UAVs are tasked to search particular areas that may be distant or inaccessible and, from that point are fully autonomous - they organise themselves into the best configuration for searching, they reconfigure if UAVs are lost or damaged, they consult on the probability of a potential target being that actually sought, and they report their findings to a ground controller. At a given height, the UAVs may be out of radio range of base, and they move not only to sense the environment, but also to return interesting data to base. The same UAVs might also be used to bridge communications between ground search teams. A wide variety of other applications exist for a cloud of rapidly deployable, highly survivable UAVs, including, for example, pollution monitoring; chemical/biological/radiological weapons plume monitoring; disaster recovery - e.g. (flood) damage assessment; sniper location; communication bridging in ad hoc situations; and overflight of sensor fields for the purposes of collecting data. The novelty of these mobile sensor systems is that their movement is controlled by fully autonomous tasking algorithms with two important objectives: first, to increase sensing coverage to rapidly identify targets; and, second, to maintain network connectivity to enable real-time communication between UAVs and ground-based crews. The project has four main scientific themes: (i) wireless networking as applied in a controllable free-space transmission environment with three free directions in which UAVs can move; (ii) control theory as applied to aerial vehicles, with the intention of creating truly autonomous agents that can be tasked but do not need a man-in-the-loop control in real time to operate and communicate; (iii) artificial intelligence and optimisation theory as applied to a real search problem; (iv) data fusion from multiple, possibly heterogeneous airborne sensors as applied to construct and present accurate information to situation commanders. The SUAAVE project will adopt a practical engineering approach, building real prototypes in conjunction with an impressive list of external partners, including a government agency, the field's industry leaders, and two international collaborators.