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An overview of the recent news about ETRO.

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Paper X. Tan selected for 2021 RFIC Symposium 21.04.2021

The RFIC paper title: A 140 GHz T/R Front-End Module in 22 nm FD-SOI CMOS by Xinyan Tang, Johan Nguyen, Giovanni Mangraviti, Zhiwei Zong, and Piet Wambacq was selected as Best Student Paper finalist to the 2021 RFIC Symposium. Therefore, it will be featured in the RFIC 2021 virtual program event Student Papers Showcase, with the opportunity to submit a three minute video to be hosted for all time on, and inclusion in consideration for the best student paper awards.

BRUFACE | Part 2: Excellence in research and teaching 13.04.2021

Passionate teachers and students from all over the globe

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BRUFACE International Masters in Engineering| Part 1: Who we are 13.04.2021

The Brussels Faculty of Engineering (in short, BRUFACE) is a joint initiative between Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), offering a broad spectrum of fully English-taught Master Programmes in the field of Engineering. ETRO is actively involved in this great programme

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FARI - a new Artificial intelligence institute in Brussels 18.03.2021

VUB, ULB and the Brussels Capital Region government announce the launch of a new Artificial Intelligence for the Common Good Institute during the Belgian AI Week of AI4Belgium.
Today, Annemie Schaus and Caroline Pauwels, respectively rectors of ULB and VUB, were proud to announce the launch of FARI the Artificial Intelligence institute for the Common Good. It was also endorsed by the Brussels Capital Region ministers Barbara Trachte and Bernard Clerfayt.

FARI is a unique structure that aims at gathering over 300 researchers in AI (amongst others the ETRO dept) and associated disciplines, around projects that could benefit the general interest. The institute will promote research on trustworthy, transparent and explainable artificial intelligence. It will also aim at helping the Brussels Region and its inhabitants address some of the challenges they face in various domains. FARI researchers will provide ideas and contribute to projects on transportation, sustainable development, healthcare services, civic consultations on AI and algorithms. Its projects will actively involve citizens and reinforce education on AI and its impacts in the region.

The institute aims at creating a bridge between AI experts, citizens, companies and local organizations. It will have three hubs: an Research & Innovation Hub, a Think Tank on AI, Data and Society, and an AI Test and Experience Hub.

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Jeroen Van Schependom joins VUB vice-rectorate Research policy team. 17.03.2021

Five young academics have been chosen to take on administrative tasks for a year in addition to their academic work to support the rector and vice-rectors. From ETRO, civil engineer Jeroen Van Schependom will take care of the vice-rectorate Research Policy.
These five academic staff members will have the opportunity, with the current management team, to develop their leadership potential and inspire the rectoral policy team. They will devote one day a week within their current tenure to this new role. Each will work closely with the rector or a vice-rector in a specific policy area to gain a tangible view of what leadership and policymaking means in practice.
“By giving young academics the opportunity to hone their policy competencies and weigh in on VUB policy, the university aims to increase its policy capability. The voice and views of our younger colleagues are absolutely essential. After all, they are also the leaders of the future,” says rector Caroline Pauwels.

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Cardiology prepared for the fourth dimension 08.03.2021

DIASTOLE prepares heart surgery by computer simulations in 4D
4D CT scanners add the dimension of time to three-dimensional images and visualise the movement of the heart in detail. The imec.icon project DIASTOLE, involving VUB, UZ Brussel and imec, is paving the way to safely implement 4D scans in heart surgery.
Researchers from the radiology department of VUB-UZ Brussel developed a model to calculate the radiation dose of 4D scans on the skin, and immediately applied it to draw up a safe protocol. For a usable 4D scan, on the one hand the quality has to be sufficient, on the other hand you want to avoid the radiation dose being too high at certain places on the body. Unlike classic CT scans, a 4D scan repeatedly irradiates the same region of the body, so we need to specifically monitor the dose to the skin.

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Bugra Ersu gave a webinar for the Istanbul Project Management Institute 01.02.2021

ETRO's Senior Business Development Manager Bugra Ersu was invited by Istanbul Project Management Institute to give a webinar on problems encountered in technology transfer projects.
A very productive event was held with the participation of more than 100 project professionals from different sectors.

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Other News

Belgian initiative for AI lung scan analysis in fight against COVID-19 goes European 27.01.2021

The Belgian initiative icovid, which supports radiologists in the assessment of CT images of the lungs of COVID-19 patients, has grown into a multicentre European project, co-funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme. icovid was set up in March by UZ Brussel, KU Leuven, icometrix and ETRO, an imec research group of VUB. Professor Jef Vandemeulebroucke of ETRO: “What started as a local project is now being rolled out in 800 hospitals in Europe and supported by excellent research centres all over Europe. With icolung, we can detect COVID-19 patients at an early stage and quantify the extent of lung lesions. Meanwhile, we are further improving the AI software to identify lung damage as COVID-19 even more quickly, and to determine the further care path of the patient faster and better through prognostic models.”

The icovid project was launched in March 2020 as a Belgian pro bono initiative. icometrix, which specialises in AI solutions for medical images, partnered with UZ Brussel, KU Leuven, VUB and imec to investigate how to deploy lung scans in the COVID pandemic and what AI software would be needed to do so. The AI tool icolung was born. Prof Johan de Mey, VUB-UZ Brussel: “At the time, there was insufficient testing capacity to quickly test all patients. With icolung, we wanted to use lung scans as a triage tool. By using CT and with the help of the AI analyses, we were able to trace patients with suspicious lung lesions and have them tested as a priority. During the busiest periods, everyone who entered the UZ Brussel as a patient was scanned, also as a means of preventing COVID-19 outbreaks in the hospital.”

icolung is free for all hospitals in Europe

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Research on fake news in social media @ Belgian Senate 20.01.2021

ETRO Prof Nikolaos Deligiannis was asked for a contribution to the Belgian Senate on Monday Jan 18. The hearing was focused on fake news in social media and representatives of Facebook and Google Belgium as well as from the EC were also present.
(The input from Nikos starts after 2:20h)

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2nd @ FENTEC Crypto Hackathon for Ruben De Smet and team 19.01.2021

Tom Godden, Thibaut Vandervelden and Ruben De Smet (ETRO) participated to the FENTEC Crypto Hackathon This is an end project of a H2020 from ao. KUL en Atos. The team ended on the second place and won 2000€.

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Best Paper Award at the IC3D for Quentin Bolsée 15.01.2021

Quentin Bolsée, PhD student of Prof. Adrian Munteanu, received the Best Paper Award at the IC3D 2020 conference (International Conference on 3D Immersion), with his paper titled “A device for capturing inward-looking spherical light fields”. The technology presented in the paper was developed at Fab Lab ULB as part of the Fab Academy 2020 program.

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Top Viewed Special Session Paper Award @ ICIP 2020 25.11.2020

Dr. Ionut Schiopu and Professor Adrian Munteanu received the Top Viewed Special Session Paper Award at the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP 2020) for their paper “A study of prediction methods based on machine learning techniques for lossless image coding”.
The proposed algorithm is designed to compress high resolution images without any information loss by modifying the conventional framework to employ a deep neural network to replace the traditional prediction method and predict the current pixel based on a large neighboring window.
An outstanding performance gap of almost 50% is achieved compared to traditional lossless codecs, which confirms once again that the Deep-Learning-based tools will play an important role in the design of future lossless image coding standards.”
ICIP 2020 Awards section:

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Whoop whoop for Esther, Boris, Angel and Chiara! 21.10.2020

VUB scored 20 scholarships out of 200 FWO scholarships awarded in Flanders, 4 ETRO PhD students obtained FWO scholarship funding for 2 years!
Hereunder the list of PhD students and the title of their research.
Esther Rodrigo Bonet (prom. N. Deligiannis): Explainable Physics-guided Deep Learning for Air Pollution Inference
Boris Joukovsky (prom. N. Deligiannis): Interpretable and Explainable Deep Learning for Video Processing
Angel Sole Morillo (prom. J. Stiens): Robustified multi-functional photoplethysmography (PPG) monitoring system for continuous vital signs detection: A Global Health challenge
Chiara Rossi (prom. J. Van Schependom): Unravelling cognitive functioning in healthy and multiple sclerosis through the analysis of transiently bursting brain networks at milliseconds time scale.

Prof. Piet Wambacq promoted to imec Fellow. 09.10.2020

Piet Wambacq has recently been promoted to imec Fellow. This position is the scientific equivalent of a vice president and it is given to those people that have a significant impact on the R&D strategy of imec across different research domains, while being recognized as an authority both in- and outside imec. Piet is active in analog, radio frequency and millimeter-wave integrated circuit design in various technologies (CMOS, BiCMOS, III-V) while he is also one of the driving forces behind research at imec on device and packaging technology for 5G and future 6G wireless communication systems and for mm-wave radar and sensing.

IF2020 04.09.2020

Amazing One Policy Place team shows us a beautiful example of how we can pass the hardest obstacles when we believe in things via organizing the largest-ever virtual policy event during these hard times. Bringing together 2,000 people: policymakers, academics, entrepreneurs and experts from across the globe, IF2020 is combining the traditional cultural aspects of a festival with high-level policy discussions focused on the Green Deal, digital transition, and Recovery Plan in order to discuss and present solutions to today’s societal challenges. The festival features a session hosted by Google on AI in Europe and an IBM Computer Scientist will present a short film. The Founder of a Brussels-based startup, LucidWeb will also introduce "LucidAREurope", a New Citizen Engagement Tool to Promote the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) using Augmented Reality. As ETRO we are also proud to be a part of this event with our two ongoing projects:
1. TRM (Transient Radar Method) - Prof. Dr. Johan Stiens, Tuesday 8th September - 13.00-14.00, "Building beyond buildings - the Renovation Wave and its role towards a greener European construction sector."
2. Fake News Detection - Prof. Dr. Nikolaos Deligiannis, Tuesday 8th September - 14.15-14.45, "Make News Great Again: How Algorithms can Break the Fake."

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Tackling Climate Change with Smart Agriculture and Earth Observation Technology 18.08.2020

Climate change with extreme weather conditions in the form of natural disaster such as flooding, drought, forest fire, etc. poses great threat in losses in monetary terms as well as human lives. About 50% of global habitable land are farmlands. Greenhouse gases related to agricultural activities has a close tie with climate change. Sustainable agricultural management methods are vital to tackle greenhouse gases and to provide a greener environment for future generations. A newly selected E+ CBHE project AgriSAT/Innovative curriculum in smart AGRIculture through SATellite and remote sensing data in SEA aims at developing novel curriculum focusing on smart agriculture, IoT, latest Earth Observation technology and local farmer participation in developing countries. The newly selected EU project has a total budget of about €1 million, is coordinated by Dr Jonathan C-W Chan (Guest Prof and researcher at ETRO) with 7 SEA partners from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos and 4 European partners from Spain, Croatia, Poland and Germany.

Nanoscale vibrations work! 17.07.2020

Professor Ronnie Willaert, the team of Professor Hichem Sahli (ETRO) and their international team characterised this cellular nanomotion pattern using a classic optical microscope equipped with a video camera.

An optical nanomotion detection method developed at Vrije Universiteit Brussel with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland shows that living yeast cells exhibit specific nanometre-scale cell movement. Professor Ronnie Willaert and his international team characterised this cellular nanomotion pattern using a classic optical microscope equipped with a video camera. Willaert and Sahli : “By automating cell recognition using a deep-learning algorithm, you can eliminate manual cell detection, expand the number of analysed cells and reduce the processing time.” The simplicity of the technique paves the way for numerous applications, including antifungal and antibiotic susceptibility testing or even the search for living organisms in space. The method was published in the renowned journal Science Advances.

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