'A typical problem of Extremal Combinatorics is to maximise or minimise a certain parameter given some combinatorial restrictions. This area experienced a remarkable growth in the last few decades, having a wide range of applications that include results in number theory, algebra, geometry, logic, information theory, and theoretical computer science. There are also many practical fields that were greatly influenced by ideas from Extremal Combinatorics such as, for example, analysis of large networks, ranking of web-pages, or shotgun cloning of DNA fragments.
The Principal Investigator (PI for short) will work on a number of extremal problems, with the main directions being the Tur\'an function (maximising the size of a hypergraph without some fixed forbidden subgraphs), the Rademacher-Tur\'an problem (minimising the density of F-subgraphs given the edge density), and Ramsey numbers (quantitative bounds on the maximum size of a monochromatic substructure that exists for every colouring). These are fundamental and general questions that go back at least as far as the 1940s but remain wide open despite decades of active attempts. During attacks on these notoriously difficult problems, mathematicians developed a number of powerful general methods. PI will work on extending and sharpening these techniques as well as on finding ways of applying the recently introduced concepts of (hyper)graph limits and flag algebras to concrete extremal problems. Since these concepts deal with some approximation to the studied problem, one important aspect of the project is to develop methods for obtaining exact results from asymptotic calculations (for example, via the stability approach).
The support by means of a 5-year research grant will enable PI to consolidate his research and build a group in Extremal Combinatorics.'
Fog computing brings cloud computing capabilities closer to the end-device and users, while enabling location-dependent resource allocation, low latency services, and extending significantly the IoT services portfolio as well as market and business opportunities in the cloud sector. With the number of devices exponentially growing globally, new cloud and fog models are expected to emerge, paving the way for shared, collaborative, extensible mobile, volatile and dynamic compute, storage and network infrastructure. When put together, cloud and fog computing create a new stack of resources, which we refer to as Fog-to-Cloud (F2C), creating the need for a new, open and coordinated management ecosystem. The mF2C proposal sets the goal of designing an open, secure, decentralized, multi-stakeholder management framework, including novel programming models, privacy and security, data storage techniques, service creation, brokerage solutions, SLA policies, and resource orchestration methods. The proposed framework is expected to set the foundations for a novel distributed system architecture, developing a proof-of-concept system and platform, to be tested and validated in real-world use cases, as envisioned by the industrial partners in the consortium with significant interest in rapid innovation in the cloud computing sector.
The goal of LightKone is to develop a scientifically sound and industrially validated model for doing general-purpose computation on edge networks. An edge network consists of a large set of heterogeneous, loosely coupled computing nodes situated at the logical extreme of a network. Common examples are networks of Internet of Things, mobile devices, personal computers, and points of presence including Mobile Edge Computing. Internet applications are increasingly running on edge networks, to reduce latency, increase scalability, resilience, and security, and permit local decision making. However, today’s state of the art, the gossip and peer-to-peer models, give no solution for defining general-purpose computations on edge networks, i.e., computation with shared mutable state. LightKone will solve this problem by combining two recent advances in distributed computing, namely synchronisation-free programming and hybrid gossip algorithms, both of which are successfully used separately in industry. Together, they are a natural combination for edge computing. We will cover edge networks both with and without data center nodes, and applications focused on collaboration, computation, and both. Project results will be new programming models and algorithms that advance scientific understanding, implemented in new industrial applications and a startup company, and evaluated in large-scale realistic settings.
Mechanical forces transmitted through specific molecular bonds drive biological function, and their understanding and control hold an uncharted potential in oncology, regenerative medicine and biomaterial design. However, this potential has not been realised, because it requires developing and integrating disparate technologies to measure and manipulate mechanical and adhesive properties from the nanometre to the metre scale. We propose to address this challenge by building an interdisciplinary research community with the aim of understanding and controlling cellular mechanics from the molecular to the organism scale. At the nanometric molecular level, we will develop cellular microenvironments enabled by peptidomimetics of cell-cell and cell-matrix ligands, with defined mechanical and adhesive properties that we will dynamically control in time and space trough photo-activation. The properties under force of the molecular bonds involved will be characterized using single-molecule atomic force microscopy and magnetic tweezers. At the cell-to-organ scale, we will combine controlled microenvironments and interfering strategies with the development of techniques to measure and control mechanical forces and adhesion in cells and tissues, and to evaluate their biological response. At the organism scale, we will establish how cellular mechanics can be controlled, by targeting specific adhesive interactions, to impair or abrogate breast tumour progression in a mouse model. At all stages and scales of the project, we will integrate experimental data with multi-scale computational modelling to establish the rules driving biological response to mechanics and adhesion. With this approach, we aim to develop specific therapeutic approaches beyond the current paradigm in breast cancer treatment. Beyond breast cancer, the general principles targeted by our technology will have high applicability in oncology, regenerative medicine and biomaterials.
Metasurfaces, thin film planar, artificial structures, have recently enabled the realization of novel electromagnetic (EM) and optical components with engineered functionalities. These include total EM radiation absorption, filtering and steering of light and sound, as well as nano-antennas for sensors and implantable devices. Nonetheless, metasurfaces are presently non-adaptive and non-reusable, restricting their applicability to a single, static functionality per structure (e.g., steering light towards a fixed direction). Moreover, designing a metasurface remains a task for specialized researchers, limiting their accessibility from the broad engineering field. VISORSURF proposes a hardware platform-the HyperSurface-that can host metasurface functionalities described in software. The HyperSurface essentially merges existing metasurfaces with nanonetworks, acting as a reconfigurable metasurface whose properties can be changed via a software interface. This control is achieved by a network of miniaturized controllers, incorporated into the structure of the metasurface. The controllers receive programmatic directives and perform simple alterations on the metasurface structure, adjusting its EM behavior. The required end-functionality is described in well-defined, reusable software modules, adding the potential for hosting multiple functionalities concurrently and adaptively. VISORSURF will study in depth the novel and unexplored theoretical capabilities of the HyperSurface concept. Two experimental prototypes will be implemented: a switch-based fabric array as the control medium; and a Graphene based, making use of its exquisite properties to provide finer control. A real pilot-application will demonstrate the HyperSurface potential to adapt to changes in their environment, to interconnect to smart control loops and make use of Information Technology (IT) programming concepts and algorithms in crafting the EM behavior of materials.
An inspiration for INVADE are the world-wide agreements on minimisation of human caused effects to climate change and energy efficiency targets set at the European Union with ambitious goals for reduction of greenhouse gas emission and for increase of renewable energy share.
To enable a higher share of renewable energy sources to the smart grid and gain a traction in the market place a few critical barriers must be overcome. There is a deficiency of 1) flexibility and battery management systems 2) exploration of ICT solutions based on active end user participation 3) efficient integration of energy storage and transport sector (EVs), 4) novel business models supporting an increasing number of different actors in the grid.
INVADE addresses these challenges by proposing to deliver a Cloud based flexibility management system integrated with EVs and batteries empowering energy storage at mobile, distributed and centralised levels to increase renewables share in the smart distribution grid. The project integrates different components: flexibility management system, energy storage technologies, electric vehicles and novel business models. It underpins these components with advanced ICT cloud based technologies to deliver the INVADE platform. The project will integrate the platform with existing infrastructure and systems at pilot sites in Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands and validate it through mobile, distributed and centralised use cases in the distribution grid in large scale demonstrations. Novel business models and extensive exploitation activities will be able to tread the fine line between maximizing profits for a full chain of stakeholders and optimizing social welfare while contributing to the standardization and regulation policies for the European energy market. A meaningful integration of the transport sector is represented by Norway and the Netherlands pilots – with the highest penetration of EVs worldwide.
PROTECT aims to introduce to the market One step antimicrobial finish processes for polymeric materials used in i) specialty textiles for public areas and hospitals, ii) water treatment membranes, and iii) implantable medical devices. Compared to main existing manufacturing routes, the proposed one-step coating technologies are simple, fast, and reproducible. For this, PROTECT uses as a starting point four existing pilot lines emanated from high successful FP7 projects SONO, NOVO and BioElectricSurface. PROTECT will upgrade the nanocoating One step process platform comprising: two roll to roll (R2R) pilots (sonochemical and spray coating) for functional textiles production, a R2R thermo-embedding pilot for antibacterial/biofilm preventing water treatment membranes, and a batch sonochemical pilot for antibacterial/antibiofilm/biocompatible medical devices. This platform will cover a wide range of applications due to their specific characteristics by the following objectives:
a) Incorporating ‘antibacterial antibiofilm biocompatible novel nanoparticles’(NPs) of the following categories: inorganic (CuxZn1-xO ,5 Ga@C-dots, Si/TiO2 composite) polymer (polypyrrole, PPy)) and biologicals (antibacterial enzymes, functionalized lipids (FSLs), hybrid antibacterials) to obtain ‘biocompatible nanostructured surfaces with antimicrobial and anti-adhesive’ properties.
b) Implementing real time characterization methods for monitoring at the nanoscale to characterise relevant materials, process properties and product features for ‘real-time nanoscale characterization’ to ensure ‘reproducibility’ and ‘quality’ of the nano-coated products
c) Improving ‘coating efficiency, production capacity, reproducibility, robustness, cost-effectiveness, safety and sustainability’ of the processes in relation to the targeted applications.
d) Introducing a Labs Network (PLN) that will include also lab scale processes of the proposed technologies for ‘training and knowledge dissemination.