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Technical Talk | 6Gwireless: Wireless Networks Empowered by Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces by Dr Marco Di Renzo

Future wireless networks are expected be more than allowing people, mobile devices, and objects to communicate with each other. Future wireless networks will constitute a distributed intelligent communications, sensing, and computing platform. Small cells, Massive MIMO, millimeter-wave communications are three fundamental approaches to meet the requirements of 5G wireless networks. Their advantages are undeniable. The question is, however, whether these technologies will be sufficient to meet the requirements of future wireless networks that integrate communications, sensing, and computing in a single platform.

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Wireless networks, in addition, are rapidly evolving towards a software defined design paradigm, where every part of the network can be configured and controlled via software. In this optimisation process, however, the wireless environment remains an uncontrollable factor: It remains unaware of the communication process undergoing within it. Apart from being uncontrollable, the environment has a negative effect on the communication efficiency: signal attenuation limits the network connectivity, multi-path propagation results in fading phenomena, reflections and refractions from objects are a source of uncontrollable interference.

In the recent period, a brand-new technology, which is referred to as Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RISs), was brought to the attention of the wireless community. The wireless future that can be envisioned by using this technology consists of coating every environmental object with man-made reconfigurable surfaces of electromagnetic material (software-defined reconfigurable metasurfaces) that are electronically controlled with integrated electronics and wireless communications. In contrast to any other technology currently being used in wireless networks, the distinctive characteristic of the RISs consists of making the environment fully controllable by the telecommunication operators, by allowing them to shape and control the electromagnetic response of the objects distributed throughout the network. The RISs are a promising but little understood technology that has the potential of fundamentally changing how wireless networks are designed today. In this talk, we will discuss the potential of RISs in 6G wireless networks.

About the speaker: Dr. Marco Di Renzo was born in L’Aquila, Italy, in 1978. He received the Laurea (cum laude) and the Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Information Engineering from the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, University of L’Aquila, Italy, in April 2003 and in January 2007, respectively.

In October 2013, he received the Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (Doctor of Science) degree from the University Paris-Sud, Paris, France. He has held various research and academic positions in Italy at the University of L’Aquila, in the USA at Virginia Tech, in Spain at CTTC, and in the UK at The University of Edinburgh.

Since 2010, he has been a CNRS Associate Professor (Chargé de Recherche Titulaire CNRS) in the Laboratory of Signals and Systems of Paris-Saclay University – CNRS, CentraleSupélec, Univ Paris Sud, France. He is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK. He is a co-founder of the university spin-off company WEST Aquila s.r.l., Italy. He is the Project Coordinator of the European-funded projects 5G-WIRELESS and 5G-AURA and a Principal Investigator of the European-funded projects GREENET, CROSSFIRE, WSN4QoL, SmartNRG, CASPER and of the French National Agency funded project SpatialModulation.

Dr. Di Renzo is the recipient of a special mention for the outstanding five-year (1997-2003) academic career, University of L’Aquila, Italy; the THALES Communications fellowship (2003-2006), University of L’Aquila, Italy; the 2004 Best Spin-Off Company Award, Abruzzo Province, Italy; the 2008 Torres Quevedo Award, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain; the Dérogation pour l’Encadrement de Thèse (2010), University of Paris-Sud, France; the 2012 IEEE CAMAD Best Paper Award; the 2012 IEEE WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS LETTERS Exemplary Reviewer Certificate; the 2013 IEEE VTC-Fall Best Student Paper Award; the 2013 Network of Excellence NEWCOM# Best Paper Award; the 2013 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON VEHICULAR TECHNOLOGY Top Reviewer Award; the 2013 IEEE-COMSOC Best Young Researcher Award for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA Region); the 2014 Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellowship, United Kingdom; the 2014 IEEE ATC Best Paper Award; the 2014 IEEE CAMAD Best Demo Award; the 2014 IEEE CAMAD Best Paper Award; the 2014 IEEE WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS LETTERS Exemplary Reviewer Certificate, the 2015 IEEE ComManTel Best Paper Award; 2015 IEEE Jack Neubauer Memorial Award; the 2015-2018 CNRS Award for Excellence in Research and in Advising Doctoral Students, the 2016 Marie Curie Global Fellowship, and the 2017 IEEE SigTelCom Best Paper Award.

Currently, he serves as an Editor of the IEEE COMMUNICATIONS LETTERS and of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMMUNICATIONS (Heterogeneous Networks Modeling and Analysis). He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, a Member of the IEEE Communications Society and of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society, and a Member of the European Association for Communications and Networking (EURACON). Since 2016, he has been a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society. Since 2017, he has been a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Communications Society. Dr. Marco Di Renzo is a frequent tutorial speaker and lecturer at IEEE international conferences. During the last three years, he has presented 20+ tutorials on Spatial Modulation for MIMO Systems, 10+ tutorials on Energy-Efficient Wireless Networks, 20+ tutorials on Stochastic Geometry Modelling and Analysis of Wireless Networks, and 10 tutorials on Energy-Neutral Wireless Networks Design. In addition, he was Invited Lecturer, Invited Speaker and Invited Panellist at several IEEE events and Ph.D. schools.

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