Royal Society Discussion Meeting: Communication Networks Beyond the Capacity Crunch

15 May, 2015

Andrew Ellis, UNLOC associate investigator and a professor at Aston University in Birmingham co-organised a two-day scientific discussion meeting on the topic of Communication Networks Beyond the Capacity Crunch at the Royal Society in London in May. The meeting attracted much attention from industry experts, engineers and policy makers, and received a wide coverage by national media

Few had heard or used the term "capacity crunch" before the scientific discussion meeting which took place in the Royal Society on May 11-12 this year. Jointly organised by Prof. Andrew Ellis (Aston University), Prof. Sir David Payne (University of Southampton) and Prof. David Saad (Aston University), the meeting brought together prominent international figures from science, technology, economics and the entertainment industry to discuss the imminent and potentially disastrous "capacity crunch" facing global communication networks. The public interest in the meeting was overwhelming and the extensive media coverage that followed reflect the rise in public awareness about the challenges faced by both the scientific and industry communications technology communities.

UNLOC director, Prof. Polina Bayvel was among the invited speakers and many of UNLOC's research fellows presented at a satellite meeting which followed the main discussion on May 13-14. Putting the spotlight on cutting-edge research conducted by early-career researchers, the satellite meeting provided a platform to UNLOC fellows to discuss recent progress by the UNLOC team in information theory, DSP, novel all-optical technique and more that shed light on the fundamental limits of nonlinear fibre communications systems and provide methods to achieve these limits.

The scientific discussion featured diverse topics from information theory for nonlinear optical systems, radically novel network architectures and advanced optical material science, to impact of possible capacity crunch on media networks, and the social value of high-bandwidth network for art, health and science. Speakers included academics from institutions across UK, Europe and the USA as well as representatives from British Telecom, BBC, Alcatel-Lucent and more.

The meeting program, abstracts and speakers' profiles are available on the Royal Society website. You can also listen to the audio recording of most talks. The papers presented at the meeting will be published in an upcoming issue of the Philosophical Transactions A scheduled to appear online on Jan 25, 2016.