Report from the FIRE Engineering Workshop 2012 in Ghent

Recently I co-organised the FIRE workshop on engineering Experimental Future Internet Research that was held at the Creative Media Days in Ghent, Belgium on 6-7 November 2012. The workshop attracted many old and new members of the FIRE community.

Per Blixt, head of unit E4, welcomed the workshop participants. In his opening presentation he gave an outlook to the future role of FIRE in the framework of the next programme Horizon 2020. I think that there are a lot of chances for FIRE stakeholders if they take a look on Horizon 2020 from a non-technical perspective. People with a little entrepreneurial spirit will discover many opportunities.

I liked that the workshop offered a broad spectrum of contributions. The main sessions of the workshop were based on a call for abstracts with a specific focus on results of future Internet experimentation. In addition the workshop gave the floor to the new FIRE research projects that were accepted following FP7 call 8 to present their initial concepts and plans. Finally the existing facility projects presented their recent advances in terms of new capabilities and functionality.

Perhaps the broad spectrum of topics was also the weak point. What does a researcher on resource optimisation in cloud computing care about the communication problems at the air interface of smart sensors due to electromagnetic interference? The two disciplines are quite far appart. Nevertheless both aspects are intrinsic parts of the Future Internet, so that the FIRE initiative cares about both.

The first two sessions were focused on the new research projects and offered an insight into a wide variety of future Internet experiments. These experiments will range from deep network oriented issues like recursive inter-network architecture and programmable networks, including OpenFlow experiments with many dynamic invocations or its application in edutainment. Another genre of experiments cover social interactions of various forms, such as social housekeeping through communicating appliances, cloud computing in community networks, social telemedia applications and 3D live interaction in visual environments. Finally specialised new projects will cover indoor RF localisation, environmental aware cloud computing and dependability for the Internet of Things.

In the afternoon sessions of the first day the experimental facilities presented new capabilities, such as experimental services for research and industry, services experimentation in cloud environments, experimentation in federated wireless/wired testbeds, new experiment opportunities with OpenFlow and experimental research in community networks. In this session Thanasis Korakis, Univ. of Thessaly, presented the progress of the international collaboration of FIRE with Brazil in the context of the FIBRE project. Piet Demeester, iMinds, presented the work of the new FIRE flagship project, Fed4FIRE, which aims to consolidate most control and management frameworks as well as the monitoring options of the current FIRE facilities.

A highlight of the afternoon sessions was the invited presentation of Dr. Udo Bub, managing director of EIT ICT Labs Germany, who offered to support wide collaboration activities between the FIRE community and the EIT ICT Labs in particular in the context of sustainability. I felt that the presentation by Dr. Bub was the most important contribution so far to the FIRE discussions concerning sustainability of the facilities, and I am keen to engage with other FIRE stakeholders to pick up the ball.

At the closing plenary I reminded the audience of the purpose of the work on federation, which is to increase the realism for testing and experimentation environments, while at the same time keeping costs under control. This objective has been at the forefront of the FIRE initiative from the very beginning.

Further information and all presentations are available at

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