A warm welcome to Henrique

Meet our latest team member: Henrique Buglia. Henrique started his PhD in February and will eventually be based at UCL, but for the time being works remotely from Santo Andre (a district of Sao Paulo in Brazil). Let’s learn a bit more about him.

Welcome, Henrique! What are you most looking forward to as a new member of the team?

I am looking forward to sharing ideas and learning from the team, not only in an academic and research context, but also in a cultural and social sense. Our group is made up of people from all over the world, so I’m excited to see how different perspectives come together to achieve shared goals.

What will you be working on?

Using current technologies, the capacity of optical networks will soon be exhausted as internet traffic continues to increase exponentially. To overcome this, the use of ultra-wideband signals is needed. For my PhD, I will be working on modeling ultra-wideband optical fibre transmission systems, with a focus on the nonlinearities that arise when ultra-wideband signals are used to transmit information. As a result, this will allow rapid assessment of the impact of fibre nonlinearity on signal quality, signal design and launch power optimisation. Plus, I will develop and apply digital signal processing and machine learning techniques to mitigate the nonlinear distortion in ultra-wideband transmission.

What were you doing before?

I was completing my Masters at State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil, working on digital communication, coding theory, lattices and groups. My Masters was fundamental to my initial training as a researcher, and for me to be where I am today. I also got my BSc degree from UNICAMP, so I owe a lot to this university both professionally and personally!

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve experienced in your career so far?

I can name three.

The first, was my year abroad in Paris. This was the first time really leaving my comfort zone. I really liked the cultural aspect of Paris, and the quality of life there, but winter time and being so far away from my family and friends was hard. And the French are not as warm as the Brazilians. Like London, Paris is one of the largest and most diverse cities in the world. Living and working in places that are multicultural opens up so many new experiences and broadens the mind, which only impels you to develop professionally and grow as person. Connecting with different cultures helped me develop my critical thinking, which is fundamental for any researcher. It was also during my time in Paris that I became very interested in the field of communications and decided to pursue it further.

The second was my Masters project because it was my first experience of independent research.

The third and the biggest challenge is definitively the one happening right now: becoming part of the Optical Networks Group, which is full of great researchers, at one of the best universities in the world. I want to be an active member of the group and make a difference with my research.

What are your interests/hobbies outside of science and research?

My favorite hobbies outside the research are to practice sports, to read and to travel. I practice sports every day during the week and frequently on weekends, mainly going to the gym, running and swimming. I read every day, especially before sleeping. I'm currently reading a novel written by the Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude. I also like to travel when I can, but the pandemic has put a stop to that at the moment. My family and I recently rented a house in the countryside – it was nice to get out of the city a little bit and be surrounded by nature.

You’re beginning your PhD programme remotely due to Covid-19 restrictions. How are you finding it so far and what your best tip when it comes to working from home?

There are positive and negative aspects. It’s nice to closer to my family and friends, and it can be more comfortable working from home, but it would be easier to develop my technical language and learn from others in person. I am looking forward to coming to the UK so I can fully experience being part of a research group in a different country. The first thing I’m going to do is to go to the supermarket. I’m excited to discover all the new British foods that I’ll be surrounded by!

My best tip for remote working is: don’t hesitate to call and e-meet anyone, people are there to help you. Also, be patient. The current situation will normalise, so take the opportunity to make the most out of the good bits about lockdown restrictions.

What is pandemic life like in where you are?

Here in Brazil, Covid-19 restrictions are related to how many hospital beds are occupied. If occupancy is low, restrictions are lighter, if not, they are more restricted. Right now, occupancy is high, so we cannot leave the house after 10pm, and during the day all public places are subject to restrictions, but it’s up to the individual to decide on visiting their family and friends.

 Henrique is funded jointly by Microsoft and EPSRC, and supervised by TRANSNET Co-I Lidia Galdino.