The final program can be found here.
Mon Feb 4 Tue Feb 5
  9.00am - 10.30am Lecture
Tara Javidi
Victoria Kostina
10.30am - 11.00am Coffee break Coffee break
11.00am - 12.30pm Lecture continued Lecture continued
12.30pm - 2.00pm Lunch & Poster Session Lunch
  2.00pm - 3.30pm Lecture
Sennur Ulukus
Stephen Hanly
Macquarie University
  3.30pm - 4.00pm Coffee break Coffee break
  4.00pm - 5.30pm Lecture continued Lecture continued

Key note Speakers

Tara Javidi

Tara Javidi

Title:  Sequential Acquisition of Information: from Active Hypothesis Testing to Active Learning to Gaussian Process Level Set Estimation

Abstract:  This lecture focuses on an often overlooked/misunderstood connection between the problems of communications with feedback in information theory, controlled sensing in stochastic control theory, and active hypothesis testing in statistics.

Related problems arise in the context of sequential design of scientific experiments, sensor activation in health monitoring, and empirical optimization of Gaussian process, level-set estimation, and active machine learning with a broad spectrum of engineering applications in autonomy and cognition, data science, communications, and sensor management. In all of these applications, a decision maker is responsible to control the information acquisition system dynamically so as to enhance his information in a speedy manner about an underlying phenomena of interest while accounting for the cost of communication, sensing, or data collection. Furthermore, due to the sequential nature of the problem, the decision maker relies on his current information state to constantly (re-)evaluate the trade-off between the precision and the cost of various actions.

In the first part of the talk, we focus on the general setup, various applications and specific special cases. We also discuss the history of the problem and seminal contributions by Blackwell, Chernoff, De Groot, and Stein. In the second part of the talk, we discuss the information theoretic notions of acquisition rate and reliability and their fundamental trade-off. We also introduce Extrinsic Jensen-Shannon divergence and construct the corresponding achievability scheme. In the third and final part of the talk, we will delve deeper into one of the application areas of interest, based on the audience’s interest.

Bio:  Tara Javidi studied electrical engineering at Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran from 1992 to 1996. She received her MS degrees in electrical engineering (systems) and in applied mathematics (stochastic analysis) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1998 and 1999, respectively. She received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2002.

From 2002 to 2004, Tara Javidi was an assistant professor at the Electrical Engineering Department, University of Washington, Seattle. In 2005, she joined the University of California, San Diego, where she is currently a professor of electrical and computer engineering. In 2013-2014, she spent her sabbatical at Stanford University as a visiting faculty. At the University of California, San Diego, Tara Javidi is a founding co-director of the Center for Machine-aware Computing and Security, directs the Advanced Networking Science Lab and is a faculty member of the Centers of Information Theory and Applications (ITA), Wireless Communications (CWC), and Networked Systems (CNS). She is also a member of Board of Governors of the IEEE Information Theory Society (2017/18/19).

Tara Javidi’s research interests are in theory of active learning, information theory with feedback, stochastic control theory, and stochastic resource allocation in wireless communications and communication networks. She was the guest editor for the IEEE Journal of Selected Areas in Communications special issue on Communications and Control. From 2011 to 2014, she was an associate editor for ACM/IEEE Transactions on Networking and the editor for the IEEE Information Theory Society Newsletter. She currently serves as an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Information Theory and IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering. Furthermore, she is currently on the board of the series "Foundations and Trends in Communications and Information Theory."

Tara Javidi was a recipient of the National Science Foundation early career award (CAREER) in 2004, Barbour Graduate Scholarship, University of Michigan, in 1999, and the Presidential and Ministerial Recognitions for Excellence in the National Entrance Exam, Iran, in 1992. In addition to numerous contributed and invited talks, she was a tutorial speaker at various international and prestigious conferences: International Conference on Cognitive Radio Oriented Wireless Networks (CROWNCOM) 2010, ACM International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing (Mobihoc) 2013, International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT) 2014, and IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) 2016. Tara Javidi is a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Information Theory Society (2017/18).
Sennur Ulukus

Sennur Ulukus

Title:  Private Information Retrieval: An Information Theoretic Approach

Abstract:  Private information retrieval (PIR) is a canonical problem to study the privacy of users as they download content from publicly accessible databases. In PIR, a user (retriever) wishes to download data from one or more databases in such a way that no individual database can tell which data has been retrieved. PIR has originated in the computer science literature, and has recently been revisited by the information theory community. The information-theoretic re-formulation of the problem aims at determining the fundamental limits of the PIR problem, i.e., what is the largest number of bits that can be retrieved privately per bit of download, or equivalently, what is the minimum number of downloads needed per bit of private retrieval? This new information-theoretic approach also proposes novel PIR schemes which achieve or approach these fundamental limits. In this talk, I will describe the problem, summarize several break-through results in the history of this problem, and present some of the recent advances in this field. This talk is self-contained; no background in PIR is needed.

Bio:  Sennur Ulukus is the Anthony Ephremides Professor in Information Sciences and Systems in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she also holds a joint appointment with the Institute for Systems Research (ISR). Prior to joining UMD, she was a Senior Technical Staff Member at AT&T Labs-Research. She received her Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB), Rutgers University, and B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bilkent University. Her research interests are in communication theory, information theory, networks and signal processing, with recent focus on private information retrieval, age of information, energy harvesting communications, physical layer security, and wireless energy and information transfer.

Dr. Ulukus is a fellow of the IEEE, and a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher of the University of Maryland. She received the 2003 IEEE Marconi Prize Paper Award in Wireless Communications, an 2005 NSF CAREER Award, the 2010-2011 ISR Outstanding Systems Engineering Faculty Award, and the 2012 ECE George Corcoran Education Award. She is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Infomation Theory Society for 2018-2019. She is on the Editorial Board of the IEEE Transactions on Green Communications and Networking since 2016. She was an Editor for the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications–Series on Green Communications and Networking (2015-2016), IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (2007-2010), and IEEE Transactions on Communications (2003-2007). She was a Guest Editor for the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (2015 and 2008), Journal of Communications and Networks (2012), and IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (2011). She is a TPC co-chair of 2019 ITW, 2017 IEEE ISIT, 2016 IEEE Globecom, 2014 IEEE PIMRC, and 2011 IEEE CTW.
Stephen Hanly

Stephen Hanly

Title:  Information Theory and its impact on the design of Cellular Communication Systems

Abstract:  Shannon’s theory establishes more than just limits on performance: it provides a way to think about problems in communications theory and how to design communication systems. This approach has been applied very fruitfully over the years in the design of each generation of mobile communications systems, or cellular systems, and it will continue to do so for the generations to come (including 5G!). In this talk, we will build up a framework for thinking about cellular systems including all the important ingredients: spectrum (and how to share it), the physical layer (how to access it), transmit power levels (how to control them), fading (and how to exploit it), and MIMO. We will begin with very simple models of multiple access channels and broadcast channels and build up to a framework for understanding more complex systems relevant to 5G (eg massive MIMO, mm-wave, or many-access IoT scenarios). Along the way, we will obtain insights into questions about bandwidth partitioning of cells, how to remove all interference in the network (via interference cancellation), and how to do user scheduling in fading channels. We will consider a MIMO broadcast channel model for the downlink of a cellular system and gain insight into the effect of beamforming on the user capacity (how many users of different types can be accommodated?) and the impact of interference between users, under sophisticated beamforming strategies.

Bio:  Stephen Hanly received a B.Sc. (Hons) and M.Sc. from the University of Western Australia, and the Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1994 from Cambridge University, UK.

From 1993 to 1995, he was a Post-doctoral member of technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories. From 1996-2009 he was at the University of Melbourne, and from 2010-2011 he was at the National University of Singapore. He now holds the CSIRO-Macquarie University Chair in Wireless Communications at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He has been Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, Guest Editor for IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, and is presently Guest Editor for the Eurasip Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking, special issue on recent advances in optimization techniques in Wireless Communication Networks.

In 2005 he was the technical co-chair for the IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory held in Adelaide, Australia. He was a co-recipient of the best paper award at the IEEE Infocom 1998 conference, and the 2001 Joint IEEE Communications Society and IEEE Information Theory Society best paper award, both for his work with Professor David Tse (Berkeley). His research interests are in the areas of information theory, signal processing, and wireless networking.
Victoria Kostina

Victoria Kostina

Title:  Information theory for real-time communication

Abstract:  Classical information theory created by Claude Shannon in 1948 describes optimal tradeoffs in data compression and transmission that are achievable in the limit of long transmission times or data sequences. However, the finite blocklength (delay) constraint is inherent to all communication scenarios. Delays are strictly constrained in many systems of current interest, such as video streaming and voice communication, interactive communication, real-time parameter estimation in sensor networks, and distributed control. We will discuss the information-theoretic tools that have furthered our understanding of the fundamental limits of delay-sensitive communication systems, including the single-shot bounds, the Gaussian approximation, optimal stopping times, and the directed information. Using these tools, the backoff from capacity at finite blocklength can be quantified; the role of feedback clarified; novel schemes leveraging timing information developed; and the fundamental tradeoffs between control cost and communication characterized.

Bio:  Victoria Kostina joined Caltech as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering in the fall of 2014.

Previously, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Sergio Verdú. She completed her PhD at Princeton University in September 2013. She spent the spring of 2015 as a Research Fellow at Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Moscow institute of Physics and Technology, where she was affiliated with the Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a Master's degree from University of Ottawa.

She received the 2013 Princeton Electrical Engineering Best Dissertation Award and the 2017 NSF CAREER award.

Her research interests lie in information theory, theory of random processes, coding, wireless communications, and control. She is particularly interested in fundamental limits of delay-sensitive communications.

Poster Session – 4 Feb 2019 (12.30pm-2.00pm)

Khurram Shahzad Achieving Covert Wireless Communications Using a Full-Duplex ANU
Jin Yeong Tan A Simplified Coding Scheme for the Memoryless Broadcast Channel with Individual Secrecy University of Newcastle
Trang Ngoc Cao Controlled-Release for Diffusive Mobile Molecular Communication System with an Absorbing Receiver University of Melbourne
Peng Kang Enhanced Quasi-Maximum Likelihood Decoding of Short LDPC Codes based on Saturation UNSW
Shalanika Dayarathna Instantaneous Sum Rate Throughput Optimization in General Communication Networks University of Melbourne
Samiru Gayan Phase Modulated Communication with Low-Resolution ADCs University of Melbourne
Chentao Yue Segmentation-Discarding Ordered-Statistic Decoding for Linear Block Codes USYD
Min Qiu Terminated Staircase Codes For Storage UNSW
Conor Finn Information Decomposition USYD
Bryan Liu, Yixuan Xie, Lei Yang and Jinhong Yuan Channel-Reliability-Based Redundant Decoding Algorithm with Neural Network Augmentation UNSW
Yihuan Liao, Lei Yang, Jinhong Yuan Design and Analysis of Delayed Bit-Interleaved Coded Modulation UNSW
Shuangyang Li, Jinhong Yuan Self-Superposition transmission: A novel method for enhancing performance of convolutional codes UNSW