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From imagination to impact. High Impact Research Directions. David Skellern CEO. Presentation overview. About NICTA NICTA’s Research Directions Themes and business areas NICTA’s approach to research Some examples Strategic planning at NICTA Why strategic planning is important.

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Presentation Transcript
presentation overview
Presentation overview
  • About NICTA
  • NICTA’s Research Directions
    • Themes and business areas
    • NICTA’s approach to research
  • Some examples
  • Strategic planning at NICTA
  • Why strategic planning is important
about nicta

Recruit commercial and research staff from Australian and global communities

Knowledge diffusion and

enhanced ICT skills base

  • National ICT Research Centre of Excellence
  • Not-for-profit Company
  • $83m per annum including
    • - Australian Gov (~60%)
    • - Regional Gov (~15%)

R&D partnerships with industry, research institutes & universities

Spin-outs, licensing &

collaborations with leading users & industry

Seven university joint venture partners contribute researchers and students

nicta founders partners
NICTA Founders & Partners





nicta vision and mission
NICTA Vision and Mission

Our Vision

is that our imaginative research drives Australia’s ICT future


is to be an enduring world-class information

and communications technology research institute

that generates national benefit

nicta objectives
NICTA Objectives

Our People objective is to bring together world-class researchers and professional staff, enhance their skills and build a culture of entrepreneurship and achievement in use-inspired basic research, enhancing Australia’s ICT capacity and capability.

Our Research objective is to carry out research that advances knowledge, is recognised for its excellence and generates breakthrough, user-focused technologies.

Our Education objective is to work with universities to provide Australia with ICT researchers who have deep technical expertise supported by strong professional and entrepreneurial skills.

Our Linkages objective is to increase our impact and results by working with targeted research, government, education, industry and domain partners.

Our Commercialisation objective is to facilitate technology transfer and create channels to market for NICTA research.

what will success look like
What Will Success Look Like?

National benefit from

NICTA research outcomes

Measurable industry growth & competitiveness from NICTA research outcomes

National benefit through a stronger ICT Skills base

Stronger ICT skill base – NICTA alumni

Research expertise and scale

One of the world’s top 10 ICT research centres by 2020

nicta people
NICTA People

705 people (June 09)

  • 273 full-time PhD students
  • 432 staff (373 FTE)

Staff (FTE) and students by sites - update

– 131 / 55: Sydney - Eveleigh Aust. Tech Park Lab & HQ

– 53 / 66: Sydney - Kensington Neville Roach Lab

– 69 / 62: Canberra: Canberra Research Lab

– 74 / 97: Melbourne: Victoria Research Lab

– 41 / 18: Brisbane: Queensland Research Lab

– 5: Adelaide: Office

NICTA Overview

so how are we going after 6 5 years
So how are we going after 6.5 years?

11 technology licence agreements

4 spinout companies

107 PhD graduates from NICTA partner universities

Alumni in universities, industry and government

75 active patent applications

> 3300 publications

> 130 prizes and awards

nicta s role how
NICTA’s role - How

NICTA’s unique partnership with universities:

  • Produces high quality PhD graduates who have additional professional opportunities and training through NICTA
  • Maintains NICTA’s intellectual vigor through contributions of world class university researchers                                                        
  • Achieves national benefit by harnessing disparate university ICT researchers and building critical mass to achieve international impact.
nicta s role how1
NICTA’s role - How

NICTA has a systemic approach to achieving significant national outcomes from its research:

  • Our use-inspired basic research approach ensures that research is undertaken only after competitor and market analysis confirm good prospects for impact.
  • Our aim is to make step changes in knowledge that are embodied in technology platforms to allow the research to be more readily transferred into use across the economy.
  • Commercial considerations are imbedded into our projects at the outset and ongoing entrepreneurial support works to transfer research outcomes into commercial results.
nicta s model use inspired basic research
NICTA’s model: Use-Inspired Basic Research

Our challenge is to develop long term projects that will both advance knowledge and enable the development of globally competitive products, processes or services.

Approach to Research



New Technology

Pure basic research

Use-inspired basic research

Purely applied research & development





ict capability
ICT Capability


Researchers are grouped across the company by Theme:

Embedded Systems – developing ‘smart’ products

Networked Systems – technology that connects ‘smart’ products to form ‘smart’ networks

Making Sense of Data – making sense of large amounts of data created by ICT systems

Managing Complexity - designing ICT systems that are fit for purpose, cost effective and don’t have nasty side effects

  • What they are
    • Larger collections of research capability
    • The line management structure of our research
    • A good level of aggregation for joint strategic planning with partner universities
  • Why we have them
    • A vehicle for long range (10 years) strategic planning...
    • ... Which will hopefully engender larger, riskier higher payoff projects
    • A home for Lab staff
      • Who we encourage (insist!) they have around 30% unstructured unmanaged time for research
      • Great ideas start in a single person’s head...
business areas
Business Areas

Our Business Areas are the sectors in which we build market knowledge and commercialisation experience.

They are where we seek the majority of our use inspiration.

  • Biomedical and Life Sciences
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Safety and Security
  • Mobile Systems and Services
  • Software Infrastructure
  • Environmental Management
embedded systems research areas
Embedded Systems Research Areas


Embedded Systems Engineering

  • GOAL: Model-driven process for fitting architectures and designs to problems.
  • Challenge: Combine with “Design by Composition” approach for re-use.
  • Virtual System Prototyping
embedded systems research areas1
Embedded Systems Research Areas


Secure, Reliable, Trustworthy

Embedded Software

  • GOAL: De-facto standard for vendors of embedded systems.
  • Trustworthy microkernel-based operating systems
  • Component-based systems constructed upon microkernel.
  • System services to higher-level layers, such as a secure GUI.
  • Distributed Systems & Multi-Core
embedded systems research areas2
Embedded Systems Research Areas


Dynamic Scene Understanding

on Visual Sensor Networks

  • GOAL: World-leading computer vision systems for dynamic scene understanding.
  • Smart networked cameras with reconfigurable architectures
  • Computer Vision processing for bionic eye
  • Combination of geometric and statistical methods =>Moving Cameras + Moving Objects
embedded systems research areas3
Embedded Systems Research Areas


Wireless systems and Sensors on-a-Chip

  • GOAL: Pervasive wireless systems and sensors.
  • Single Chip WPAN in CMOS at 60GHz
    • Integrated radio transceiver with phased antenna array
    • Digital baseband, MAC processing
    • WirelessHD, 802.11.AD (WiGig)
  • Sensor technologies & applications
    • Body Area Networking
    • Implanted devices
embedded systems research areas4
Embedded Systems Research Areas


Reconfigurable Systems

  • GOAL: Systems that adapt to changing requirements.
  • Reconfigurable systems with HW/SW agents. Integrate 3rd party components.
  • Breakthrough scalable architecure
solving real problems creates impact
Solving real problems creates impact

Impact comes from applying ICT to real world problems!

  • Making the digital economy more accessible to Australians.
  • Help maximise the efficiency of Australia’s infrastructure and logistics through advanced systems which speed-up and simplify traffic, freight, port and airport operations and will also assist streamlined delivery of emergency services
  • Maximising farm yield by developing and deploying ICT systems which minimise the use of scarce water resources
strategic issues for nicta future outcomes
Strategic issues for NICTA – future outcomes
  • Safer food produced more efficiently for Australians and as exports.
  • Computer technologies for enhanced health and well-being, including bionic eye and improved cancer treatment.
  • Gain without the pain: effective service delivery to government and business without the implementation and cost
  • Hybrid vehicle control development in Australia driving competitive global green vehicle manufacturing


  • Context/Location
  • SOA
  • Security
  • Optimisation
  • Mobility


  • Search
  • Cognitive
  • Systems
  • Collaboration
  • Cloud/Virtualisation (computing, storage …)
  • transport, health, water, logistics, eGov, emergency, enterprise …

Broadband Infrastructure

Research for the Digital Economy

Applications bringing together content and services, securely over the broadband network


  • Fast and scalable social networking
  • Remote office applications
  • Automatic update of in-car navigation systems
  • Efficient movement of goods
  • Personalised medicine
  • Location aware media distribution
  • More crop for less water
  • Digital conveyancing and mortgages

enabling new applications in the Digital Economy

Applications & Content

bringing everyday services to the Digital Economy

Digital Services

  • Human body monitoring for sport and medicine
  • Building confidence through mobile security - already in over 250 million mobile phones
  • Content compression for mobile devices

devices delivering reliable data for the Digital Economy

Smart Devices

  • Increasing capacity and reliability of the existing Internet backbone
  • Creating the next generation Internet with EU and US researchers
  • Increasing wireless Internet capacity outdoors
  • Developing wireless for home high-definition entertainment

inventing next generation Internet infrastructure



  • Internal Workflow
  • Task Mgt
  • Applications

Valuation request

  • Internal Workflow
  • Task Mgt
  • Applications


Valuation report

LenderBPEL engine

ValuerBPEL engine

LIXI Valuations Reference Implementation

intelligent transport systems
Intelligent Transport Systems

Active Traffic Management

our 2020 vision
Our 2020 Vision

A new, better informed Traffic Management Infrastructure

A significant and measurable reduction in thetotal social cost attributable to congestion.


Better decision support and incident management

If nothing is done, the total avoidable social cost of congestion in Australia will exceed $20bn per annum by 2020”

– BTRE 2007

And that’s about 1% of GDP!!! (…and that’s reflected world-wide)

smart sensing
Smart Sensing
  • Data Fusion ++
  • Invariant feature detection
    • Headlights
    • Windscreens
    • Edges
  • Shadow/reflection removal
  • Low camera height

Classification, flows, speeds, queue lengths, incidents with occlusion in extreme conditions (weather/light)

control optimisation
Control Optimisation

Smart Intersection Control

Dynamic Traffic Model

Optimise Control Plan

Control actions

(switch lights)

loop detectors,

cameras, etc



albion park test bed
Albion Park Test Bed
  • Major intersection of Pacific Hwy and Illawarra Hwy
  • Currently roundabout controlled
  • Grid-lock in AM and PM peak hours
  • All day grid-lock in vacations
  • Problem caused greater traffic flows than original design scenario
  • Installed signals…


  • Further opportunities for efficiency.
e ntire transport system design optimization
Entire Transport System Design & Optimization

Example: For Technologically and Economically Developed Countries

  • Optimizing the control of vehicles, traffic & infrastructure to:
    • Minimize – fuel intake, emissions, traffic impact on infrastructure costs
    • Maximize – static & dynamic safety, energy conversion efficiency
    • Guarantee – sustainability of energy use and impact on global climate change
strategic planning at nicta
Strategic planning at NICTA
  • Important for ensuring outcomes for our research
  • Strategic planning occurs at three levels:
    • NICTA Corporate Strategic Plan 2007-2011
    • Research Theme Strategic Plans
    • Project Strategic Plans
theme strategic plans
Theme Strategic Plans
  • What
    • 10-20 page high-level 10 year research visions
  • Why?
    • To develop longer range, higher risk, step-change projects
    • Useful for relations with universities and other strategic linkages
    • Connection with international linkage strategies
  • Status
    • Beginning to have some influence
    • Fair to say its a hard sell
    • But we are convinced it is the right thing to try
why strategic planning is important
Why strategic planning is important

Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor University of Sydney

Talk of a “mission statement” in a university and many of our colleagues will roll their eyes. Others will hardly be so polite. But however difficult it may be to articulate the primary purpose of an institution so complex and diverse as ours, the process can be very helpful. It helps to know our goals, and while they may never be fully realised, and measurement is difficult, to know how well we are doing in achieving them.

why strategic planning is important1
Why strategic planning is important

Strategic planning gives direction and establishes co-ordinated effort. It also minimises wasted effort and redundancy.

  • Arenas: where will we be active?
  • Vehicles: how will we get there?
  • Differentiators: how will we win in the market place?
  • Staging: what will be our speed and sequence of moves?
  • Economic logic: how will we obtain our returns?
why strategic planning is important2
Why strategic planning is important

NICTA’s Theme Strategic Plans:

  • Specify the research areas where we want to achieve impact
  • Specify our goals within those areas
  • How we will get there
  • Provides a clear direction for our researchers.
  • Ensures co-ordinated research effort
  • Minimises wasted effort.
why strategic planning is important3
Why strategic planning is important
  • Strategic planning sets standards of success and performance
  • How will you achieve your objectives?
  • How will you know when you’ve got there?
  • What measures or targets will you use?
  • Who are your competitors, and what is your differentiator, or ‘edge’?
why strategic planning is important4
Why strategic planning is important
  • Strategic planning empowers people to make decisions and take initiatives.
  • Collective purpose and shared research direction
  • ‘Buy-in’ from team members
  • Maintaining flexible parameters to empower researchers
  • Strategic plans also play an important role for people outside the organisation or team.
research overview
Research Overview



Business Areas

ICT used for…

Embedded Systems

  • Trust and Security
  • Reliable Operating Systems
  • Tools and Platforms for ES

Biomedical and Life Sciences

Intelligent Transportation Systems

Networked Systems

  • Communications Stack
  • Sensor Network Platforms
  • Networking Technologies

Safety and Security

Making Sense of Data

  • Machine Learning
  • Reasoning
  • Knowledge Representation
  • Image Understanding
  • Data Understanding
  • HxI (Human-x Interaction)

Environmental Management

Mobile Systems and Services


  • Formal Methods
  • Software Design Process
  • Constraints
  • Control
  • Optimisation

Software Infrastructure

nicta s role why
NICTA’s role - Why

Where is the Australian ICT sector now?

  • ~9% (~$98B FY2007) of Australian economy
  • Sector trade deficit of $21B (FY2007)
  • Export performance $5.7B  0.18% sector worldwide, including re-exports of over $1.4B
  • Composed of Australian SMEs and relatively small subsidiaries of MNCs
  • There is no large Australian MNC ICT company
    • 26500 companies
    • < 1% (~260) have 100 or more staff
    • 95% have < 20 staff