• Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
    The Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab) studies both the modeling of natural phenomena, and the development of algorithms for complex problem solving inspired by these phenomena. The AI Lab has experience with a wide range of learning techniques such as: Reinforcement Learning, Swarm Intelligence, Genetic Algorithms, Neural Networks, Support Vector Machines, Bayesian Networks, Genetic algorithms etc. The research at the AI Lab is structured around two major research tracks:
    1) Machine learning techniques for data mining applications 
    2) Evolution and Learning in single as well as multi-agent systems
    For the latter track the AI Lab relies mainly on a learning paradigm called Reinforcement Learning (RL).  RL describes a family of techniques for solving sequential decision problems in possibly stochastic environments, using trial-and error interactions with the environment.  It can be seen as a model-free version of dynamic programming or as direct adaptive optimal control. While essentially model-free, the performance of RL techniques can be further improved by combining them with various forms of expert knowledge that may be available, such as heuristics, environment models, human demonstration or others. Reinforcement learning already has been successfully applied in a wide range of settings, including robot and machine control, network routing, scheduling, resource allocation and many others.

    Software Languages Lab
    The Software Languages Lab (SOFT) of the VUB, is headed by Theo D’Hondt, Viviane Jonckers, Wolfgang De Meuter and Elisa Gonzalez Boix. SOFT has a head count of over 30 including 4 ZAP (professors), 13 post-doc researchers and 17 pre-doc researchers. 
    The Software Languages lab has grown into an internationally acknowledged player in object, aspect and ambient technology. This has led to over 40 PhDs and a multitude of high-end publications at international conferences and in international journals. Previously, the SOFT lab has been active in the design of a novel programming paradigm called Ambient-Oriented programming which was geared towards mobile ad-hoc networks which are exposed to a high rate of failures. For this research, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang De Meuter has been awarded with the Junior Dahl-Nygaard Prize. The expertise of this research will be of particular interest for the SMILE-IT project. The software languages lab will develop coordination abstractions for  the communication between a set of dynamically adapting nodes. Depending on the scenario these nodes will steer power consumption, traffic lights, video streams, etc.  
    Besides theoretical research the software languages lab makes an active effort to translate its research into practical prototypes. Some of these prototypes of have been awarded. Amongst the most important prices are: First price at the Belgium V-Hack hackathon(2012),  Second price at the European V-Hack Hackathon (2012).  Second price at the The Mobile World Congres (MWC) WIPJam hackathon (2014). 
    Wolfgang De Meuter is a professor within the Software Languages Lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, leading the groups on multicore programming, cloud applications, reactive programming and formal studies of programming languages. He has significant expertise in both academic programme management (e.g. as the chairman of the bachelor board and the chairman of the exam committee) as well as research project management (e.g. as the consortium leader of the MobiCraNT project and internally funded VUB projects). He has published dozens of peer-reviewed papers in top conferences and internationally renowned journals such as ACM Computing Surveys. He regularly serves on the PC of top conferences such as ECOOP and OOPSLA and has been the main organiser of numerous workshops in these conference series.

  • Vision on technology

    One of the key activities pursued at the energy department of VITO is developing demand response control systems and architectures enabling society to make the transition to an energy system harboring distributed renewable production and an increased electrification. An important topic in our demand response research is oriented towards applying state of the art in control theory to real-life problems and finding the best match between performance and practicality, i.e. finding the best approach for each problem. Through this, we aim to reduce the gap between research and industry, giving our SME’s a strategic advantage and providing feedback to academic research. In smile-IT VITO will be involved in all activities concerning smart grids, i.e. setting up requirements with strong interaction with user committee and finally evaluating the concepts developed in a hybrid simulation environment containing both detailed simulation models and actual hardware in the loop. VITO has a strong focus on implementation and practicality being an applied research institute, however we are also involved in developing more advanced control algorithms. As such the main added value of VITO is being the cement between research and application for the smart grid scenario.

  • IDLab - Internet technology and data science lab

    DLab performs fundamental and applied research on Internet Technologies and Data Science. Major research areas are Machine Learning and Data Mining; Semantic Intelligence; Distributed Intelligence for IoT; Cloud and Big Data Infrastructures; Multimedia Processing; Wireless and Fixed Networking; Electromagnetics, RF and high-speed Circuits and Systems. IDLab collaborates with many universities and research centres worldwide and jointly develops advanced technologies with industry (R&D centers from international companies, Flanders’ top innovating large companies and SMEs, as well as numerous high-tech start-ups).

    For the Distributed Systems research cluster (IDLab-DS), which will take part in SMILE-IT, management of computing infrastructures and communications networks has long been an important research priority, with particular focus on autonomic management of computers, networks, services and clouds. This relatively new domain applies both traditional optimization algorithms, as well as (multi-agent) machine learning techniques to the management of distributed systems to reduce complexity for human network operators by automating certain management tasks. Specifically, IDLab-DS research has mainly focused on (1) the design of adaptive multimedia service management algorithms, based on linear and non-linear optimization theory, (2) scalable and automated filtering and aggregation techniques, based on semantic technologies, and (3) extensive expertise on prototype-based evaluation of network and service management protocols and algorithms, due to participation in EU FIRE initiative research projects (e.g., BonFIRE, FIREStation and Fed4FIRE).

    IDLab-DS will contribute to the generic scientific requirements of SMILE-IT and takes a major role in adapting them to the telecommunications case study. IDLab main scientific focus is the development of fault detection and self-healing solutions for telecommunications networks. Solving these challenges is a major step towards automating the management of telecommunication networks. IDLab will also contribute to the development of automatic information filtering techniques that can be used in the communication abstractions. IDLab will take the lead in WP5, due to our long-term experience with experimentally driven research. IDLab will mostly focus on developing and evaluating prototypes for the telecommunications case study, but will also contribute to the miscellaneous case studies, including smart grids. 

  • Internet & Data Lab - Distributed Intelligence Antwerp
    IDLab performs fundamental and applied research on internet technologies and data science. IDLab is a joint research initiative between the University of Antwerp and Ghent University. Within Antwerp, IDLab (85 members) specifically focuses on wireless networking (in collaboration with Ghent) and distributed intelligence. IDLab has a unique research infrastructure used in numerous national and international collaborations.

    IDLab collaborates with many universities and research centres worldwide and jointly develops advanced technologies with industry (R&D centers from international companies, Flanders’ top innovating large companies and SME’s, as well as numerous ambitious startups).

    IDLab is a core research group of imec and a significant part of IDLab research activities are embedded in the University of Antwerp. More specifically, the research on wireless networking is a joint activity between the University of Antwerp and Ghent University. IDLab is the integration of the former research groups DSLab, IBCN and MOSAIC and counts about 300 members (40 professors, 50 post docs, 200 researchers, 15 support staff members). The professors teach a wide variety of courses.

  • ELECTA - Electrical energy & computer architectures

    KU Leuven is founded in 1425. The research group ELECTA (Electrical Energy and Computer Architectures) is part of the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT) of the Faculty of Engineering. ESAT-ELECTA specialises in electric energy and robust industrial control systems, esp. smart grids. The research activities cover a wide spectrum from power systems to power quality and power electronics to control, dependable information infrastructures, and socio-economic issues. The main research topics include: power system operation and control; connection of distributed energy resources; Smart Grids; power electronic components and systems; robust, distributed control systems; power system economics; and electromagnetic processing of materials. 

    The research group ELECTA has 5 full-time professors, 10 part-time professors, 8 post-doctoral researchers, 12 administrative and technical persons, 50+ PhD students, and approximately 15 affiliated researchers. Together with VITO, KU Leuven has set up EnergyVille (, a top-in-the-field European research centre for energy for sustainable cities. 

    It is specialised in the design and development of smart grid controllers, and distributed intelligence, its robustness and security. Together with its partners in EnergyVille, KU Leuven has build a strong international reputation in the field of demand response in a smart grids context, both at an experimental and an algorithmic level. 

    In the project SMILE-IT, we are responsible for designing suited solutions for the application domain of smart grids: The overall project’s goals is to develop a MARL framework, and to apply it to different application domains (telecom, smart grids, traffic, …). Our specific research questions include dealing with uncertainty, learning over large periods of time, self-healing and robustness. Our researcher will drive the evaluation of the developed MARL framework from a smart grids point of view, by setting requirements, developing optimization strategies, increasing robustness through self-healing mechanism, implementing learning techniques, and driving valorisation for the smart grids case.


    The researcher will be a KU Leuven PhD student (Engineering Science), and work as part of EnergyVille’s AMO research team (algorithms, modelling and optimisation) in Leuven and Genk. EnergyVille is a knowledge centre, focused on sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems. It combines the strengths and expertise of its partners, KU Leuven, VITO and imec with the aim of reaching the top 5 in innovative energy research in Europe. In 2015 EnergyVille will move to its newly created location on the former mine site of Waterschei, Genk.


    Key people involved: 

    Prof. Dr. ir. Geert Deconinck is full professor at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium). He performs research on the design of dependable system architectures for industrial automation and control, specifically in the context of smart electric distribution networks. In this field, he has authored and co-authored more than 350 publications in international journals and conference proceedings. He authored 4 books and edited 2 more. He has been principle investigator in projects, worth over 8 M€ budget in the last 5 years. (BOF-GOA, Hercules, European FP3,4,5,6,7,8 projects, IWT, FWO, NGInfra, COST, BELSPO, bilateral with industry, etc.). Up to May 2014, he has been supervisor for 19 successful PhD, and is currently supervisor or co-supervisor of 15 PhD students. Since April 2012, he is head of the research group ELECTA (Electrical Energy and Computing Architectures) at the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT). In EnergyVille, he is scientific leader for the research domain ‘algorithms, modelling, optimisation’, applied to smart electrical and thermal networks. He is a member of the Royal Flemish Engineering Society, a fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and a senior member of the IEEE. 


    Relevant publications 

    · S. Vandael, B. Claessens, M. Hommelberg, T. Holvoet, G. Deconinck, "A scalable three-step approach for demand side management of plug-in hybrid vehicles," IEEE Trans. on Smart Grids, Vol. 4, Issue 2, June 2013, pp. 720-728. 

    · K. De Craemer, S. Vandael, B. Claessens, G. Deconinck, "An Event-Driven Dual-Coordination Mechanism for Demand Side Management of PHEVs," IEEE Trans. on Smart Grids, Vol. 5, Issue 2, March 2014, pp. 751-760. 

    · W. Labeeuw, G. Deconinck, "Residential Electrical Load Model based on Mixture Model Clustering and Markov Models," IEEE Trans. on Industrial Informatics, Vol. 9, No. 3, Aug. 2013, pp. 1561-1569. 


    Relevant previous projects 

    Over the years, the ELECTA research group has obtained a great deal of experience with projects for industry as well as European, Flemish, and Belgian authorities, such as: 

    · EIT-KIC InnoEnergy (Knowledge & Innovation Community of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology), with focus on “Intelligent Energy Efficient Buildings and Cities”. K.U. Leuven/ELECTA is proud to be the only Belgian university selected to participate in the EIT programmes. 

    · European projects: CRUTIAL (FP6 STREP IST-4-27513) Critical UTility InfrastructurAL resilience, GRID (FP6 CA IST-4-026923) ICT vulnerabilities of power systems and the relevant defence methodologies, FP7-SEESGEN-ICT: Supporting Energy Efficiency in Smart GENeration grids through ICT, FP7-OPTIMATE: Open Platform to Test Integration in new MArkeT designs of massive intermittent Energy sources dispersed in several regional power markets, etc. 

    · Regional projects: LINEAR Local Intelligent Networks and Energy-Active Regions, NGinfra. 

    · Competitive university projects: GOA Fundamental study of a CO2-emission-free society.