Science Foundation Ireland

Letter from Oxford

Prof. Cormac J. Sreenan, Full Professor of Computer Science at University College Cork and Deputy Director of CONNECT, sends us this letter from Oxford…

Greetings from Oxford!

I have been here on a research sabbatical since March, having previously spent time back at my alma mater, the University of Cambridge, hosted there by Professor Sir Andy Hopper. Of course in Cambridge they refer to Oxford simply as, “the other place”!

At Oxford, I am hosted by Professor Niki Trigoni in the Department of Computer Science, who co-leads the cyber physical systems (CPS) research group. We share two key research interests with the Oxford CPS group. The first is using mmWave radio to scan indoor environments and build a 3D model that can guide, for example, visually impaired people. The Oxford group have especially worked on the scanning side of things, using point cloud capture and scene analysis, while we focused on the relationship between communication and scanning. The second is supporting emergency response personnel, which has been a focus of our work at Cork over many projects, including UAV search and locate, using cognitive radio in disasters, planning robust wireless network topologies, and intelligent simulation and evacuation of buildings. On this visit, we explored opportunities for UAVs and radio communication to gather information about buildings and occupancy. Doing this in an unknown setting, in terms of building topology and materials, creates a challenging problem which, if solved, would mean rescue services could better search previously unknown buildings. The CPS lab here in Oxford has sophisticated indoor localisation technology, which can provide the data to test our solution, and several UAV platforms for in-field experimentation.

Taking time away from the lab, I visited the nearby Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers during WWII, and the adjacent Museum of Computing, with its impressive collection of working machines from the past decades. I’d highly recommend both for CONNECTers!

Oxford is known as the city of dreaming spires, and indeed lives up to this epithet. The Department of Computer Science is conveniently located in the city centre, and I enjoy walking along the famous Broad Street and passing the Bodleian library, en route to the Department. Of course Broad Street is also infamous, as the site of the martyrdom of several high-profile bishops in 1555. If the walls could talk…..



CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

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