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Keynote Speakers - VTC2021-Spring Helsinki

Peter Vetter, Head of Access & Devices Research Lab, Nokia Bell Labs

Title: 6G – the essential infrastructure to augment human potential at scale

Abstract: 5G will increase human productivity thanks to the critical connectivity between man and machines or vehicles. The deployment of sensors and augmented intelligence closes the loop and increasingly automates operations, thereby freeing humans to focus on the tasks that they do well. A digital world that perfectly captures the past and current states of the physical world is emerging, however, the connectivity with the human biological and cognitive worlds still needs to be addressed. We anticipate that in the 6G era, there will be a need to deploy sensors and cognitive technologies at a much larger scale with stringent deterministic connectivity requirements. The 6G era will be defined by the symbiosis of digital, physical, and biological worlds with the goal to augment human potential and well being. And the 6G network will be the essential infrastructure for the integration of these future capabilities.

Bio can be found on the Speakers page.


Wen Tong, CTO, Wireless Network, Huawei

Title: The Directions for 6G

Abstract: In this talk, we present our view on 6G technologies, its trends and research directions.  We highlight the six foundational pillars which will define the emerging 6G wireless. In general, 6G is the next-generation advanced mobile communications system, but it will go far beyond communications. 6G will serve as a distributed neural network that provides communication links to fuse the physical, cyber, and biological worlds, truly ushering in an era in which everything will be sensed, connected, and intelligent. This in turn will a truly societal fabric for Intelligence of Everything in the decades to come. We discuss the 6G innovations and associated research challenges in the following areas:

 (1) Native AI: 6G air interface and network designs will leverage E2E AI and machine learning to implement customized optimization and automated O&M. Each 6G network element will natively integrate communication, computing, and sensing capabilities. A distributed machine learning architecture built on deep edge intelligence will be key to meeting the large-scale intelligence requirements

(2) Networked Sensing: 6G communications systems will integrate wireless sensing capabilities to explore the physical world through radio wave transmission, echo, reflection, and scattering. They will also provide high-resolution sensing, localization, imaging, and environment reconstruction capabilities to improve communication performance and support a broader range of network service scenarios.

(3) Extreme Connectivity: 6G will provide universal high-performance wireless connections and ultimate experience with speeds comparable to optical fibers. Tbs peak rate, 10–100 Gbs experienced rate, sub-millisecond level latency, a tenfold increase in the density of 5G connections, centimeter-level localization, millimeter-level imaging, and E2E system reliability.

(4) Integrated Terrestrial and non-Terrestrial Networks: 6G will integrate terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks with mega satellite constellation. These “airborne wireless internet” will provide the ultimate coverage complementary to the terrestrial cellular infrastructure. To provide continuous high-quality services to users anywhere on earth.

(5) Native Trustworthiness:  The 6G network will integrate various capabilities such as communication, sensing, computing, and intelligence, making it necessary to redefine the network architecture. The novel network architecture should support native trustworthiness and can be flexibly adapted for tasks such as collaborative sensing and distributed learning to proliferate AI applications on a large scale. Data, as well as the knowledge and intelligence derived from it, is the driving force behind 6G network architecture redesign, wherein new features will be developed to enable E2E native trustworthiness. These include new data governance architectures supporting data compliance and monetization, as well as advanced privacy protection in the post Quantum era.

(6) Sustainability and Humanity Good: Green and sustainable development are the core requirements for network and terminal designs in 6G. By introducing the green design concept and native AI capability, 6G aims to improve the overall energy efficiency by 100 times across the network, while also ensuring optimal service performance and experience. As the core infrastructure of digital economy, 6G will make unique contributions to the sustainable development of humankind.

The above six directions will be the key technological focus for shaping the 6G and generate a vast space for research and innovations.

Bio can be found on the Speakers page.


Muriel Médard, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Title: It’s all in the noise – universal noise-centric decoding.

Abstract:  Claude Shannon’s 1948 “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” provided the basis for the digital communication revolution. As part of that ground-breaking work, he identified the greatest rate (capacity) at which data can be communicated over a noisy channel. His proposed algorithm used on random codes and a code centric maximum Maximum Likelihood (ML) decoding, where channel outputs are compared to all possible input codewords to select the most likely candidate based on the observed channel output. Despite its mathematical elegance, his code centric decoding algorithm is impractical from a complexity perspective and much work in the intervening 70 years has focused on co-designing codes and decoders that enable reliable communication at high rates.

In collaboration with Ken Duffy and his group, we introduce a new algorithm, Guessing Random Additive Noise Deceasing (GRAND) for a noise-centric, rather than code-centric, ML decoding. The receiver rank orders noise effect sequences from most likely to least likely, and guesses accordingly. When inverting, in decreasing order of likelihood, noise effect sequences from the received signal, the first instance that results in an element of the code-book is the ML decoding. Our results show that, with GRAND, even extremely simple codes, such as CRCs, match or outperform state of the art code/decoder pairs, indicating that the choice of decoder is likely to be more important than that of code.

We illustrate the practical usefulness of our approach and discuss its hardware implementation, done with Rabia Yazicigil and her group. The complexity of the decoding is, for the sorts of channels generally used in commercial applications, quite low, unlike code-centric ML and the chip is able to decode any linear code.

Bio can be found on the Speakers page.


Gerhard P. Fettweis, Professor, Communications Technology, Dresden University of Technology

Title: 6G Research Challenges – Enabling Collaborative Personal Consumer Robotics

Abstract: 5G is enabling the beginning of the Tactile Internet for business verticals, and 6G will make this available for consumers, enabling collaborative personal mobile robotics. A vision found in the science fiction literature already 100 years ago!

We have seen the performance of cellular networks increasing over time. This is measured e.g. in increasing data rate, reduced latency, increased reliability, increased spectral efficiency, and increased capacity per area. When addressing 6G, again most white papers think along the same line, again increasing the performance of the KPIs. Does this make sense in light of what we are learning from Tactile Internet applications within the 5G Lab Germany’s nine 5G campus network testbeds? In this talk I will therefore take on a different viewpoint.

Firstly, I do not believe that increasing all KPI’s performance is unnecessary when taking today’s understanding of what we want to achieve with 6G. Secondly, we are missing some major new KPIs to address, as e.g. Trustworthiness, Resilience, and Joint Communications and Sensing,. Thirdly, e.g. requiring an increased energy efficiency of a complete network and simultaneously an increased as spectral efficiency we seem to be out of luck. Given the fact that Moore’s law has slowed down, an increased spectral efficiency in bits/s/Hz comes at the cost of requiring higher Eb/N0, doesn’t it?

Therefore this talk touches first thoughts on a differing view compared to “the current industry and sciences standard”. But we must not forget, we will need 5 more years of 5G experience to really know what 6G should look like. It is too early to judge which view is correct.

Bio can be found on the Speakers page.