We are pleased to announce that two new members have recently joined the TRANSNET team: research students Egor Sedov, based at Aston University, and Hadi Alkharsan, based at UCL. Read on to get to know them better.
Welcome to the team! What are you most looking forward to?
Egor: Thank you, glad to have joined the team! As part of this programme, I want to achieve the most useful and original results that will be helpful for the team and will contribute to the meeting the project goals. Undoubtedly, I am very pleased to be able to gain experience from such high-level professionals in our field.
Hadi: Firstly, I would like to say that I am very grateful for being here and I am very excited to be part of the team. The research I will be doing within this field is very exciting and I cannot wait to delve into this. I am really looking forward to the experimental work and what comes with that. I am also enthusiastic about working with and learning from such a great team, who have proven to be experts both individualy and collectively.
What will you be working on?
Egor: I will mainly work on finding a way to use neural networks for end-to-end communication systems.
Hadi: I will be investigating machine learning techniques and algorithms to optimise optical switching and networking techniques for high performance computing applications.
What were you doing before?
Egor: For the last eight years, I have not stopped studying. In 2016 I received my Bachelor's degree in physics from Novosibirsk State University. In 2019, I received my Master's degree in physics from Novosibirsk State University and an engineering degree from Ecole des Ponts ParisTech. After that, in 2019 I started a PhD at Novosibirsk State University, and this year I began a PhD programme at Aston University. For the past four years, I have been doing theoretical and applied research related to the possibility of using nonlinear effects in fibre optic systems to increase their capacity.
Hadi: I started my journey at Queen Mary University of London, graduating with a first-class Honours in Electronic Engineering and Telecommunications (BEng). I then pursued a Telecommunications MSc at UCL, where I was awarded the Fleming Scholarship, and graduated with a Distinction. Upon completion, I then worked for just under two years at British Telecommunications (BT) as a Network Designer and Tester within the Global MPLS and Mobile IP networks. From there, I joined the University of Cambridge and UCL Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems, completing my MRes. I then took a year off, where I worked as a network design contractor, travelled and explored…and also ended up getting engaged!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve experienced during your career so far?
Egor: I cannot single out anything in particular, each moment is its own unique challenge. Probably the hardest thing is to manage your time in order to be as efficient as possible.
Hadi: In 2019, I went through a very difficult time for me and my family where we lost a very close family member. This shock had a very big impact on us, and trying to work on my MRes as well as get through the difficult time was very challenging. Thankfully, I received a tremendous amount of support from the CDT to help me get through that time.
And what is your proudest achievement?
Egor: Become part of the TRANSNET Programme, of course!
Hadi: Personally, this has got to be getting engaged (and soon married!). Professionally, my proudest achievement has to be at BT, where I witnessed my own work on the installation of new routers and routing methods for the Global MPLS networks being implemented. It was phenomenal to see all the years of hard work at university in action within the real world.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Egor: If you know good mountains to ski or snowboard, let me know!
Hadi: I tutor and mentor young children in primary and secondary schools. I find it extremely rewarding to give back what I have learnt and experienced within my journey to better the journey of others. I also love to travel and explore new cultures.
You’re starting your PhD programme in a year like no other. Any tips for getting started and staying productive during such unusual times?
Egor: It wasn't wasy. Even if everything is done on time, there are many factors out of your control. Some tips: try to plan your move in advance; don't trust the mail (really, don't!), they are constantly losing my documents and packages; don't be discouraged if things don't work out the way you had originally planned. And to be productive: love what you do.
Hadi: Keep reminding yourself of what you want to achieve. My top tip would be to keep track of your own work to ensure progress, and to keep in contact with your supervisor and team members regularly. The guidance and support you receive makes all the difference.
Egor Sedov is under the supervision of TRANSNET Deputy Director Professor Sergei Turitsyn, and Hadi Alkharsan's supervisor is TRANSNET Co-I Dr Georgios Zervas.
A very warm welcome to Hadi and Egor from the entire TRANSNET team.