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Finland and US strengthen cooperation in wireless communication

(5 Oct 2011)

Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, the Academy of Finland and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) have agreed on the foundation of a virtual institute aimed at solving mobile data transmission problems and developing competence and innovations.

The high-level of Finnish competence convinced the NSF to reinforce its current collaboration by means of the Wireless Innovation between Finland and US (WIFIUS) virtual institute. The institute's activities will include close research cooperation, researcher exchange, joint meetings and the creation of joint demonstrations. A teaching portal for the use of the researcher network will also be built in conjunction with the institute.

WIFIUS is one of three global projects through which the US is striving to internationalise its own research via the virtual institute model. The other projects are the Virtual Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (VI-MSS) and the Physics of Living Systems Student Research Network (PoLS SRN).

The rapid growth in smartphones, tablets, USB modems and especially in the number of videos watched via them presents major challenges for communications networks. The increase in the number of users and other wireless communication may require as much as a 1000-fold increase in mobile systems capacity. Solving this bottleneck will be the most important challenge for research and development activities over the next few years.

A total of six joint projects will be starting up in the initial phase. The planning of the WIFIUS institute is being coordinated by Professor Matti Latva-Aho from the University of Oulu Centre for Wireless Communications (CWC). The other members involved in the projects include Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

"For Tekes, the activities in the initial phase are mainly related to the Trial Environment for Cognitive Radio and Networks programme, but they aren't entirely limited to it. WIFIUS activities may be extended later," says programme manager Katja Ahola from Tekes.

Kati Sulonen, Science Adviser at the Academy of Finland, is satisfied with the very quick progress of the concept and the high level of enthusiasm among researchers. "We had high expectations for this new opening at the Academy of Finland."

"Finland has a lot of top-level mobile competence and a long history of wireless system development – from NMT all the way to LTE technologies. We expect this NSF cooperation to provide significant opportunities for developing future network technologies in Finland,” explains Matti Latva-Aho.

Watch video on YouTube: Wireless Innovation between Finland and US (WIFIUS)

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