6G@UT Hosts Third-Annual Forum

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May 14, 2024
6G@UT Forum

6G@UT and the Wireless Networking & Communications Group hosted the 6G@UT Forum on April 10 and 11. The third installation of this annual event, the Forum brought over 200 guests to The University of Texas at Austin to explore “AI/ML in the 6G Era” with four technical talks, two panels, and two keynote speeches by Erik Ekudden, Chief Technology Officer at Ericsson, and Robert Soni, VP of RAN Technology at AT&T, as well as an interactive poster and demo session.

Sponsored and co-hosted by Ericsson, this year’s event focused on 6G cellular systems in comparison to the iterations that came before it and took a close look at the implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), and how they will impact 6G systems and applications.



Ekudden’s keynote speech was a highlight to WNCG Director and event co-host Todd Humphreys, who said “Erik Ekudden introduced us to the Swedish word "lagom," meaning not too much, nor too little – just right.  He does not expect 6G networks to convert all – or even most -- processing to AI/ML-based algorithms, but he is sure that there will be much more use of AI/ML than in 5G.  6G will find its AI/ML "lagom" equilibrium.”

UT Austin Professor Sanjay Shakkottai gave a lively talk on the use of ML to optimize base station parameters nationwide with an aim to maximize coverage, handover success rates, and other key metrics. Humphreys said “[Shakkottai’s] research done in collaboration with AT&T is the most concrete success story I've heard for how ML can be applied for network configuration and management on a national scale.”   Other 6G@UT research was featured in the lively lunchtime poster session, with 29 Ph.D. students presenting their research, along with XR and 5G Advanced demos by Ericsson.

poster session


Jeff Andrews, event co-host and 6G@UT Director, noted that a theme several speakers touched on is a more gradual integration of 6G technology into the cellular network as compared to the “big disruption” as with prior G’s.  “This will happen by making the network more flexible, programmable, open, and modular — along the lines of the ORAN paradigm — while still guaranteeing the high quality ubiquitous connection that people have come to expect for their cellular devices.”

The “6G CTO” panel, moderated by Ericsson VP of Emerging Technologies, Mischa Dohler, provided a fascinating platform for industry CTOs to discuss innovative visions for 6G, from the societal aspirations for global connectivity expressed by Austin Bonner (The White House) to a transformative vision of future communications that requires only a small amount of semantic and contextual information, with the rest inferred and “interpolated” by machine learning algorithms, as envisioned by Ronnie Vashishta of Nvidia.  Professor Hyeji Kim of 6G@UT moderated the afternoon panel “Will ML Transform 6G?” which examined AI’s role in 6G and ORAN and probed the ways it will really make a difference in the next 5-10 years.



As the 2024 6G@UT Forum ended, the Ericsson team offered these thoughts:

“As we reflect on this year's 6G@UT Forum, we celebrate its resounding success and the lively exchange of ideas it facilitated. This event has brilliantly blended cutting-edge industrial insights and visionary academic research… It is a testament to the vibrant collaboration between academia, industry, and government, setting a benchmark for future dialogues in the field.”

Videos, photos, and presentation slides from the Forum sessions can be found on the event website. 


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