IBCN – IDLab – Ghent University – imec

Internet Based Communication Networks and Services research group

The Internet-based Broadband Communication Networks and Services (IBCN) research group of Ghent University performs fundamental & applied research on machine learning (ML) & data mining, semantic intelligence, distributed intelligence for IoT, cloud & big data infrastructures, multimedia processing, wireless & fixed networking, electromagnetics, RF and high-speed circuits & systems. This research is applied to the health & care, transport & logistics, media, energy, manufacturing and computational biology application domains.

Together with DSLab & MOSAIC, IBCN forms the IDLab research cluster, a core research group of imec. It performs fundamental and applied research on internet technology and data science. IDLab has a unique research infrastructure and counts +/- 300 members. At a national level the group is collaborating with +/- 175 industrial partners in multidisciplinary projects. Internationally there is strong involvement in European research with about 70 finished and running EU projects over the past 10 years. Since the start in 1992, research resulted in 2350 publications in international journals and conference proceedings, 97 PhDs, 45 international awards, and 8 spin-off companies.

The main IBCN competencies linked to DiSSeCt are to be found in the fundamental research tracks concerning knowledge-based and autonomic system design as listed below:

  • Ontology engineering: IBCN has ample experience in developing ontologies in a wide range of domains such as eHealth, railway, multimedia, intelligent search and autonomic networking. Most notably, expertise in user-based co-design of care related ontologies in intramural care settings.
  • Ontology-based reasoning mainly using OWL-DL based reasoners, e.g., Pellet, Hermit and Racer Pro, and Rule-based Reasoning on ontologies, e.g., SWRL and Jena rules, but also expertise with probabilistic reasoning, e.g., Pronto, and temporal reasoning.
  • Rule-based reasoning, such as Drools and Jess, on a wide range of application domains, such as autonomic networking, decision support systems for healthcare and autonomic services for the railway industry.
  • Distributed software/workflow management: efficient work flow management (optimized resource efficiency, resilience and support for dynamic updates), policy and security enforcement (role or profile based access control through descriptive approach), distribution of applications/algorithms over a cluster of available workstations, integration with heterogeneous data sources.
  • Back-end design based on ontologies for healthcare, railway, wireless sensor and multimedia domain.
  • Design of model-driven approaches for efficient application deployment and the QoS-aware deployment of services, exploiting elastic application behavior to optimize run-time behaviour of the cloud infrastructure and/or the applications hosted on this infrastructure.

IBCN also has an elaborate track record within the two main application domains employed within DiSSeCt, namely eHealth and Transport.

Role in the project

IBCN is research lead, monitoring the high-level quality of the fundamental research performed and enabling the collaboration between the different partners. Based on experience build up in former projects, the innovation binder collaboration methodology will be employed in close collaboration with SMIT from the early start of the project, ensuring sufficient collaboration and cross-fertilization between the different research tracks. This methodology will also guide the interaction with the Advisory Board. In close collaboration with DistriNet, IBCN will also play an important role in the design of the overall archicture. IBCN is also leads the research on data-driven software solutions and algorithms for efficient processing of process and event data (stream reasoning). This research will be performed in close collaboration with DistriNet. Focus of IBCN is also on self-learning aspects of the different algorithms and research prototypes developed within DiSSeCt. Therefore, IBCN also leads the tasks on service selection based on QoS and dynamic detection of events in the data/knowledge streams. IBCN will collaborate with SMIT in order to design and research user-friendly tools and guidelines for end-user developers to expose services and define the functionality the constructed workflows should achieve. Focus of IBCN will be here on design and research of software components. Because of our experience with the application domains, IBCN will lead inception of the Reference Implementation and eHealth and Transport demonstrators. Evalution of these demonstrators will be lead by IBCN in close collaboration with SMIT.


Femke Ongenae

Dr. Femke Ongenae is a Post-doc and research manager of IDLab since 2013. She is the lead of the IDLab-Knowledge Management (KM) cluster. She has successfully lead and managed over 15 interdisciplinary projects, leveraging research towards industrial and societal applications. She received her PhD in August 2013 pertaining to knowledge discovery & management for eHealth applications by using ontologies & semantic reasoning. During this time, Dr. Ongenae worked on several eCare projects to improve the continuous care of patients in institutionalized care settings. Her current research interests as postdoctoral researcher focus on hybrid AI, i.e. the fusion of Semantic Web technologies & machine learning, to achieve highly accurate and interpretable decision support systems. She is author or co-author of +100 publications in International Journals and Conferences. She is the project coordinator of DiSSeCt.

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Filip De Turck

Prof. Dr. Ir. Filip De Turck is professor in the department of Information Technology (Intec) of Ghent University with expertise in network software and research interests in adaptive large-scale data processing and software systems for healthcare, anomaly detection, and resilience of ICT infrastructures and services.

In this research area, he is involved in several research projects with industry and academia, serves as Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Network Operations and Management (CNOM), chair of the Future Internet Cluster of the European Commission, and is on the TPC of many network and service management conferences and workshops and serves in the editorial board of several network and service management journals. Together with a team of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, novel techniques and algorithms are designed, and validated by means of large scale evaluation studies, together with partners from industry and academia. Prof. Filip De Turck regularly organizes international workshops on the above mentioned topics, serves as Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management (TNSM), steering committee member of the IEEE Conference on Network Softwarization (IEEE NetSoft) and chair of the IEEE SDN Initiative Conference Committee, which coordinates initiative IEEE events and conferences on Softwarized Networks.

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ann Dr. Ir. Ann Ackaert received her Master in Physics in 1984, and her Master in Engineering Physics at the Ghent University in 1986. She obtained her PhD in Electronic Engineering in 1990 at the same University. From 1990 until 1995 she worked in the research department of Alcatel Belgium, Antwerpen, Belgium. She was responsible for the research program on advanced laminate substrates and assembly technology for the broadband switching equipment of the Alcatel product development. Since 1995 she works at the IDLab research group were she has been co-ordinating EU CSA projects from 1996 until 2003 in the area of Optical Networking (IST – HORIZON and IST-OPTIMIST). Since the foundation in 2004 of the iMinds Strategic Research Center in Flanders for ICT innovation (now merged with imec RTO) she is active in the domain of interdisciplinary e(Home)Care and AAL projects. She initiated / co-ordinated over 12 national projects since then, has been involved in national and regional study and advisor groups concerning eCare policies and she co-ordinated the AAL call5 Care4Balance project. In 2015 she was lead of the technical committee of the AALForum in Ghent. Since the launch in Q3 2017 of the imec – UGent IoT HomeLab at the Ghent High Tech Campus she is involved in the business development and the interaction with end-users organisation for the eCare@Home imec programme.
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Dr. Ir. Bruno Volckaert attained his Computer Science degree at the University of Ghent in 2001, followed by a PhD on optimizing Grid computing resource usage (the precursor to Cloud computing). Since then he has been involved in over 30 national and international research projects dealing with automated management of advanced distributed architectures (a.o. in the domain of media production/distribution and multimodal transportation systems). He also teaches a course on advanced software design at the University of Ghent.

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pieterBonte Dr. Ir. Pieter Bonte holds a PhD in Computer Science and is a Post-doc at IDLab. His research focuses on the use of Semantic Web technologies in the IoT, with a specific focus on scalable & distributed reasoning, cascading reasoning and stream reasoning. He is particularly interested in increasing the expressivity of reasoning over high volatile streams. Pieter Bonte has also a keen interest in the prediction of events over data streams. He has been active in several interdisciplinary projects, in which he was able to leverage his research in an industrial setting. He designed the MASSIF Platform, a cascading reasoning platform allowing for performant processing of IoT event streams. Together with Politecnico di Milano he designed the extension Streaming MASSIF, which can handle streaming data, and incepted the extreme-scale stream reasoner C-SPRITE.
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Mathias De Brouwer Ir. Mathias De Brouwer holds a degree in Computer Science Engineering and is currently a PhD student at IDLab (since august 2017). His research focuses on design of algorithms to achieve scalable and efficient semantic reasoning across the fog. He has expertise in adaptive configuration of reasoning components, reasoning on low-end devices, cascading & distributed reasoning and the design of contex-aware services. Currently, he is actively involved in interdisciplinary projects where is he able to apply his research in a real-life use cases, i.e., monitoring patients at home and training athletes.
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