Tyndall National Institute opens new research facility in Dublin

Lab headed by ICT researchers to develop next generation communications systems

Tyndall National Institute (TNI) has opened its first research facility outside of Cork in Dublin. It will develop next generation information and communications technology, in areas such as "internet of things"; artificial intelligence, 6G networks and systems capable of processing vast amounts of data with "low latency" – ie minimal delay in transmission.

The lab, which has been set up remotely for now because of Covid restrictions, will host a wireless communications team focussing on "future deep technologies" and delivering innovations enabling ultra-flexible, ultra-fast, and ultra-reliable networks, according to TNI chief executive Prof William Scanlon.

This will involve “helping industry partners to innovate and create high value start-ups with global impact”, he added.

A total of 50 new research jobs will be created in the lab by 2025. TNI employs 600 researchers at its base in UCC. The expansion is part of its plan to double the size and impact of the national ICT research institute.

The Wireless Communications Research Laboratory will be headed by Dr Holger Claussen, who previously led the wireless communications department at the renowned Nokia Bell Labs located in Ireland and the US. It created the foundations for many of Nokia's next generation products and pioneered "small cell networks" – now a €6 billion a year market. He will be joined by former Nokia colleagues Dr Senad Bulja, and Dr Lester Ho.

The lab will help to increase collaboration between universities and corporate partners in wireless; AI, robotics and quantum computing systems, Prof Scanlon said.

Increased demand

Over the past decade, demand for capacity has increased exponentially by more than 100-fold, driven by human demand to connect, access the internet everywhere, and ubiquitous video streaming which accounts for 75 per cent of traffic.

“While this trend will continue, future demand will be mainly driven by machines and real-time applications with significantly different requirements. Future networks will provide instant access to all information and near-infinite computing resources and reliable low latency communication will become even more important than capacity,” he added.

The team will initially be based at CONNECT – the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications in TCD which includes leading telecommunications researchers from Irish higher education institutes.

“Wireless networks will bridge in real-time between the emerging digital, physical and biological worlds,” Prof Scanlon predicted. “This will allow us to predict the future, substantially augment human capability, and create time by automating even more aspects of modern life.”

As a result, wireless communications would be at the heart of Ireland’s future economy, “essential for many industries including IT, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, transport, maritime, energy and carbon mitigation”, he pointed out.

“Dr Claussen and his team will be instrumental in developing ground-breaking wireless technologies and will allow Ireland to take the lead in solving the fundamental problems in wireless communications across many domains such as industry 4.0 machine-communications, virtual and augmented reality and mobile broadband.”

Dr Claussen said: “My team and I are excited to continue with our innovative work in shaping the future of wireless networks to enable exponential growth in mobile data traffic and reliable low latency communications on behalf of Tyndall and Ireland.”

CONNECT director Prof Dan Kilper said the team's expertise in wireless communications "is an ideal complement to our own ground-breaking work in this field".