CW TEC 2018 - The inevitable automation of Next Generation Networks

Brought to you by CW (Cambridge Wireless)

The CW Technology & Engineering Conference 2018 explores the role of artificial intelligence in delivering Next Generation Network performance. Is automation no longer a nice-to-have but essential for operating the network?

About the event

As with all CW events, academic institutions, students, not for profits and professionals working in the sector but unable to afford the ticket price can apply for free tickets. Please contact to explore this opportunity.

Communications networks are perhaps the most complex machines on the planet. They use vast amounts of hardware, rely on complex software, and are physically distributed over land, underwater, and in orbit. They increasingly provide essential services that underpin almost every aspect of life. Managing networks and optimising their performance is a vast challenge, and will become many times harder with the advent of 5G. The 4th Annual CW Technology Conference will explore this challenge and how Machine Learning and AI may be applied to build more reliable, secure and better performing networks.

Is the AI community aware of the challenges facing network providers? Are the network operators and providers aware of how the very latest developments in AI may provide solutions? The conference will aim to bridge the gap between AI/ML and communications network communities, making each more aware of the nature and scale of the problems and the potential solutions.

This one day conference, held at the University of Cambridge Computer Lab on September 27th 2018, is aimed at data scientists and network engineers in universities, infrastructure suppliers, and software providers.

What is it that makes communications networks so hard to manage?

  • They use a wide range of technologies ranging from physical transmission through switching and networking to high-level applications and distributed computing.
  • Wireless access is becoming preferred both by human users and for machines, using local and wide-area networks including cellular and satellite and bandwidth from a few kilobits to gigabits per second.
  • Multiple systems have to interwork - multinational IP and cloud; national fixed and mobile networks; local networks at home; shared neutral host networks; fixed and wireless in-building networks; cellular networks with roaming.

But users naturally expect to all these to frictionlessly work together, all the time, and give a great experience. End to end services are expected to work irrespective of the networks that deliver them and require widely varying performance characteristics, from low-latency real-time control to high capacity data transmission. And all of it requires high levels of security. The move to virtualisation and integration of local and self-built networks is making the picture even more complex. Somehow network operators have to manage, control, configure, and maintain all of this.

Automation is therefore no longer a nice-to-have but essential for operating the network.

The move to distributed computing, and technologies around data collection, mining and management bring opportunities to solve these problems. How can machine learning and AI tools build more reliable, secure and better performing networks?

You can follow @CambWireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWTEC.

Hosted by Digital Technology Group, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

We are one of the research groups within the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.

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Sponsored by

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Supported by Beyond Media

Inbound marketing agency.

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In collaboration with UK5G

The new 5G national innovation network

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration and networking with refreshments


Welcome to the event

Welcome from CW (Cambridge Wireless)
Robert Driver, CEO, CW
Welcome from our host The Computer Labs
Dr Ian Wassell, Senior Lecturer, University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory


Scene setting / Intro to the day

Stephen Unger, Independent, Chair of CWTEC Committee


Can networks think?

Session chaired by Mary-Ann Claridge, Founder, Mandrel Systems

What practical techniques exist now, or are being developed, for the automation of complex systems? How can we apply these to the specific challenges associated with next generation networks?

Dean Bubley, Founder, Disruptive Analysis
AI in Networks: The Broader Context for Telecoms
AI has the potential to be a gamechanger in telecoms – but it’s important to balance opportunity against hype and realistic expectactions, and understand how it intersects with numerous other trends. This session examines AI’s key use-cases, such as its role in 5G – is it an enabler or a hard pre-requisite? Should we expect it to better at controlling costs or generating new revenues first? And at the same time the network is being automated, the apps/devices will be automating how to use it (or abuse it). There will be both synergies & tensions – and this session will aim to help both software developers and network specialists understand the wider business & technology context for deployment

AI Ops – getting value from real-time data
Dave Salam, Director of Mobile Networks, BT
This session will explore how BT is addressing the increasing need for intelligent real time Insight in the design and operation of its Mobile Network

Machine Learning – what’s in it for communication networks
Tero Rissa, Chief Architect, Machine Learning, ATF, Mobile Networks, Nokia
This session will explore how can we classify the different techniques available for machine learning and what are they capable of achieving, now and over the next few years. What might go wrong? Why now?


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Refreshments and networking


Managing complexity in end-user devices

What types of new devices will be used with next generation networks? As these devices become more complex, what is the potential for simplifying their operation using embedded AI / ML?

Device-level AI for 5G and beyond
Yue Wang, Principal 5G Researcher, Samsung Electronics R&D Institute, UK
The session will explore the benefit and challenges when applying device-level AI to 5G networks, and what needs to be considered, now and in the future.


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Lunch and networking


Improving end-to-end quality of service

What performance data do next generation networks generate? Can this be used to continuously optimize network performance? What improvement could this deliver over current network management techniques (SON etc)?

AI with a human-touch - application to Network Performance
Mansoor Hanif, CTO, Ofcom
Inevitable indeed, but how fast and how deep is Machine Learning and AI being applied to building better, more reliable and more secure networks? What is "AI with a human touch" - how close can we get to Zero touch (full automation) and what is the continuing relevance of humans in network optimization?

Transformation of mobile network management with machine learning
Dr Chris Murphy, Research Director, VIAVI Solutions
To deliver its promise of ubiquitous, highly reliable, low latency communication for a wide range of subscriber and device types requires a radical shift in the way that networks are built and operated. Machine learning is one of the technological pillars that will be needed to realise this transformation and allow us to build what could be amongst the most sophisticated autonomous systems in existence.

Uses of AI to create high value Mobile Services
Derek Long, Head of Telecoms & Mobile, Wireless and Digital Services, Cambridge Consultants
This session will cover the application of ML to improve the quality of service experienced in wireless communications networks and will focus on how ML can be applied in virtualised networks to create operator differentiation.


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Security and privacy by design

How effectively can automated tools identify and mitigate cyber-attacks on networks? Can such tools identify vulnerabilities ahead of any attack? Can they provide greater protection of privacy - or do they create new risks for privacy?

Future challenges and opportunities in Cyber Defence
Dr Ben Azvine, Global Head of Security Research & Innovation, BT
Cyber Security is one of the greatest man-made challenges of our time. In this talk I’ll focus on why businesses need to think differently about security to meet the challenges. I’ll also cover the positive and negative impact of a number technologies such IoT and AI on Cyber Security, and demonstrate our latest tools and technologies being developed at our labs.

Prof Carsten Maple, Professor of Cyber Systems Engineering & Director of Research in Cyber Security, University of Warwick

Automated security: the Beauty and the Horror
Peter Haigh. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
This talk will look at why automation is essential for the security of next generation networks, but also the dangers of automation to sustaining critical systems.


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Refreshments and networking


Understanding network availability

What data is generated on network availability, either by the networks themselves, or crowd-sourced applications on devices? Can application of AI / ML to these datasets provide a better understanding of KPIs such as mobile coverage, network outages, broadband speeds?

Toby Simpson, Chief Technology Officer,

Automated HetNet Design
Iris Barcia, COO, Keima
The talk will cover the challenges faced by network planning and strategy teams designing modern wireless networks. Examples will show how automation is already used to overcome them, and how could it be in future.

Title to be confirmed
Richard Baker, CEO, Geospock
Narrative to be confirmed


Panel Session with audience Q&A


Closing remarks

Stephen Unger, Chair of CWTEC Committee


Event close


Mansoor Hanif - CTO, Ofcom, UK5G Advisory Board Member, UK5G

Mansoor has 24 years experience of planning, building, optimising and operating mobile networks around the world.

In 2011 Mansoor joined EE as Director of Network Integration and LTE, accountable for the technical launch of 4G as well as the Integration of the 2G/3G Orange and T-Mobile networks. From 2013 he was Director of RAN, with responsibility for all of the EE radio access networks. Mansoor was a board member of MBNL (the joint venture of EE with H3G) until 2016.

At BT Mansoor was Director of the Converged Networks Research Lab from 2016 to 2018, and led deep and wide collaboration with UK Universities, innovators, and government bodies. He provided regular inputs to calls for evidence from the UK Government in relation to connectivity: ranging from 5G deployment pilots, rail connectivity and transport strategy to vertical industries.

Mansoor was closely involved in the foundation of several cross-industry initiatives to accelerate innovation with disruptive technologies: in the UK, he co-founded the Scottish Innovation Partnership, and also globally with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), founding the Europe’s 1st TIP ecosystem acceleration centre in the UK.

Mansoor is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the UK5G Innovation Network and a member of the UCL Electrical and Electronic Engineering Industry Advisory Board.

Ben Azvine - Global Head of Security Research & Innovation, British Telecommunications

Ben is responsible for setting direction and strategy for Security research, identify innovation opportunities and lead a strong international team of researcher to develop new capabilities in collaboration with industrial and academic partners. Ben has 30 years’ experience in both academia and industry. His previous roles included leading the IT research centre and head of business intelligence & customer analytics research at BT Group Chief Technology Office. He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, an MSc in Control Engineering, a PhD in Intelligent Control Systems from Manchester University and an MBA from Imperial College, London. Having held research fellowship and lectureship posts in several universities, he joined BT in 1995 to lead a research programme to develop and exploit novel Artificial Intelligence technology to support next generation IT systems. Since then he has held senior, principal, chief research scientist posts at BT’s global R&D headquarters in Adastral Park, Ipswich where he is currently based. He has edited two books and published more than 100 scientific articles on novel application of intelligent systems. He is an inventor of 50 patent applications, has won 4 BCS and an IET gold medals for IT innovation, holds visiting professorship positions at the Universities of Bristol, Cranfield, Suffolk and Bournemouth. Ben is a current fellow of Institute of Telecom Engineers (FIET) and has acted as the chairman of the European network of excellence for Uncertainty management techniques from 1998 to 2001. His current research interests include the application Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Cyber security, protection of critical national infrastructure, data analysis and information & knowledge management. His current projects include Visual Analytics for Cyber defence, cloud & Internet security, machine learning and anomaly detection in network data and future identity and access management.

Iris Barcia - COO, Keima

Iris Barcia is Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of Keima, an innovative software company delivering disruptive wireless design solutions worldwide. Iris is an innovator and forward-looking technologist working with the executive teams and engineers at Tier 1 network operators, network infrastructure vendors, neutral-host vendors, government organizations, and international services companies. She has been involved in the proposal and assessment of novel HetNet strategies for nation-wide 4G, 5G, IoT and public-safety networks, with a focus on future capacity provision and multi-technology evolution. Prior to Keima Iris has worked on RAN design, optimization and deployment projects at Telefonica and European rural broadband wireless initiatives. She has a BSc and MSc in Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Vigo (Spain) and an MBA from Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK).

Yue Wang - Principal 5G Researcher, Samsung Electronics R&D Institute UK

Yue Wang is a Principal 5G Researcher at Samsung Electronics R&D Institute UK. Over the past 10 years in her career, she has held various roles in the US and the UK, and has worked on a number of technical subjects in wireless communications research and standards. Her current interest is on the strategy and innovation of applying AI in communication networks. She leads the research activities of AI within the 5G team, is the Samsung delegate of ETSI ISG ENI (Experiential Networked Intelligence), and the Secretary and Rapporteur of ENI. She also sits in the Industry Advisory Board of two Universities, and is the industry supervisor of a 5-year research program, all on the area of AI in 5G and beyond.    

Ian Wassell - Senior Lecturer, Digital Technology Group, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Dr Ian Wassell joined the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory as a Senior Lecturer in January 2006. Prior to this, he was with the Department of Engineering for six years. He received the PhD degree from the University of Southampton in 1990 and the BSc., BEng. (Honours) Degrees (First Class) from the University of Loughborough in 1983. He has in excess of 25 years experience in radio communication systems gained via positions in industry and academia and has published more than 200 papers. His research interests include broadband wireless networks, wireless sensor networks, radio propagation, coding, communication signal processing, compressive sampling, and image processing and classification.

Toby Simpson - Co-founder and CTO,

Toby is a pioneer in AI, autonomous agents and shared virtual world technology. He produced the cult hit Creatures series and was one of the initial team at DeepMind looking at nature’s contribution to Artificial General Intelligence. It was the investigation into P2P distributed ledger technology and blockchain which led to the realisation that the Fetch’s vision is within reach.

Chris Murphy - Director of Research, Viavi Solutions

Chris has nearly 20 years of commercial experience in telecommunications covering network performance measurement, optimization and SON, particularly in cellular RAN including LTE, UMTS, CDMA and 5G.  His focus has been on the modelling, simulation and optimization of next generation technologies to build a revenue stream early in the life cycle of each new generation of telecommunication systems.  He has contributed to various industry and standardisation bodies including 3GPP, NGMN, ATIS and the WiMAX Forum. Chris holds a degree in Mathematics and Computing and a Ph.D. in the calibration of oceanic remote sensing satellites for improved models of climate change. He has authored numerous journal and conference papers and has filed 16 patent applications.

Tero Rissa - Chief Architect, Machine Learning , Nokia

Tero has over 20 years of industrial experience of scaling new technologies from research and concept engineering into commercial products. He started working with artificial neural networks in 2009, and has since held senior positions in both engineering and management. Most recently before joining Nokia Networks, he was a director of R&D at Microsoft and the lead architect of OZO in Nokia Technologies.

Tero holds MSc in CS/EE, Digital and Computer Systems from TUT Finland, and PhD in Computing from Imperial College London UK. He is also an emeritus member of the Nokia CEO Technology Council and Bell Labs Distinguished Member of Technical Staff.

Key topics:
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Theory and practice
Software frameworks
Hardware architectures for training and inference (CPU, GPU, ASIC, TPU, FPGA, etc)
Academic & research collaboration; most important future research directions from industrial point of view

Stephen Unger

Steve Unger was until recently CTO of Ofcom, and a member of the Ofcom Board. Whilst at Ofcom he was responsible for understanding technological change in the comms sector, and developing practical strategies to promote the interests of people and businesses in the UK. Before joining Ofcom, Steve worked in industry, for various companies looking to exploit new wireless technologies. He has a Physics MA and a PhD in Astrophysics.  


Peter Haigh - Technical Director for Telecoms, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

Peter Haigh is Technical Director for Telecommunications at the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre. He is responsible for understanding and reducing the cyber security risk to the UK’s telecommunications networks and works with major operators and vendors on improving cyber security practice in the industry.

Carsten Maple - Director for Cyber Security Research, University of Warwick

Professor Carsten Maple is Director of Research in Cyber Security and Professor of Cyber Systems Engineering in the Cyber Security Centre at the University of Warwick, where he leads the GCHQ-EPSRC Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.  He is the Privacy and Trust stream lead and lead the project constellation in Transport & Mobility in PETRAS, the UK Research Hub for Cyber Security of the Internet of Things. Professor Maple has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers has provided evidence and advice to governments and organisations across the world, including being a high-level scientific advisor for cyber security to the European Commission.  He is a member of various boards and expert groups.

Derek Long - Head of Telecoms & Mobile, Cambridge Consultants

As head of telecoms and mobile at Cambridge Consultants, Derek leads the company’s collaboration within the sector. Central to Derek’s role at Cambridge Consultants is helping create breakthrough innovation that transforms the delivery of high-performance communication for their partners; from mobile carriers and ISPs, to vendors and component manufacturers. With over 20 years’ experience in mobile technology, Derek has held a range of multinational senior management roles and has a wealth of expertise across all generations of mobile and broadband technology, including LTE-A and 5G. Derek holds a PhD in telecommunications from the University of Bristol.

David Salam - Director of Mobile Networks, British Telecommunications, Director of Mobile Networks, EE

Dave Salam is Director of Mobile Networks at BT, with overall responsibility to Design and Build the leading Mobile Network in the UK.  Dave has a 25-year history is Mobile Technologies working across Network Strategy, Architecture, Design and Operations both in UK and Internationally.  Recently, Dave has also led teams in Big Data technologies with a specific focus on developing real-time Customer Experience Insight and Operational simplicity.


Richard Baker - CEO, GeoSpock

Richard serves a Chief Executive Officer of Geospock, as well as serving as Non-Executive Director for Falcon Media House, a London Stock Exchange listed global Internet Media Group. He is the Chairman of TAB U.K. Ltd, a Data Science company based in Cambridge. Formerly, Richard was the joint founder and CEO of Cleartrade Exchange (CLTX), incorporated in Singapore, an electronic execution exchange for cash-settled, cleared derivatives and futures contracts. CLTX is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as a Recognised Market Operator (RMO) and as a Foreign Board of Trade (FBOT) in the USA by the CFTC. CLTX provides a specialised order matching engine giving access to an anonymous central limit order book and block traded futures across multiple asset classes and contracts. CLTX was subject to a 100% majority acquisition by the European Energy Exchange, a Deutsche Bourse company in late 2016.

Richard has held several senior executive positions in technology, media and telecommunications. He has served as a non-executive board member in the internet technology solution sector and has directed and co-founded a digital media consulting services firm.

Richard has a passion for people, innovation, driving high standards and achieving high results. Richard holds qualifications in technology and communications and is a frequent speaker at conferences and roundtables.

Dean Bubley - Analyst & Futurist, Disruptive Analysis

Dean Bubley is the Founder of Disruptive Analysis, an independent technology industry analyst and consulting firm. An outspoken analyst & futurist with over 25 years’ experience, he specialises in communications, mobile, and telecoms fields. He is one of the leading market observers covering network infrastructure & software, telecom business models, voice/video communications and broadband/spectrum policy. He is known as a contrarian and visionary, often with challenging opinions that go against industry consensus. His present focus is on 5G network technology, WiFi, spectrum policy, blockchain & distributed ledgers, the “future of voice and video”, mobile broadband, developer platforms and contextual communications. He also advises on trends in telco service creation & monetisation, mobile devices, IoT, applications ecosystems, broad futurism and telecoms regulation/policy. He provides clients with advice and analytical opinion on topics such as business model validation, technology innovation and go-to-market strategies, "addressable market sizing", planning and due diligence. His clients include many of the world’s leading telecom operators, vendors, regulators and industry associations. Mr Bubley was formerly an equity analyst, covering communications stocks, with the UK arm of investment bank Robert W. Baird. Prior to that, he spent eight years at UK research firm Datamonitor, where he co-founded the company's Technology business, managed the Internet & Networking area and custom consulting operations, with roles of Chief Analyst & Director of Consulting. He holds a BA in Physics from Keble College, Oxford University.

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University of Cambridge - The Computer Laboratory, William Gates Building, 15 J J Thomson Ave, Cambridge CB3 0FD

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