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DRICOT Jean-Michel


Wireless communications group

The Wireless Communications Group was founded in 2007. Its strategic vision focus on the development of a team of researchers working in synergy to address new challenges of emerging wireless communications systems, from propagation physics to network architectures through modems. 

The Group owns expertise in three complementary fields : (i) propagation channel modeling (Prof. Ph. De Doncker); (ii) digital signal processing (Prof. Fr. Horlin); (iii) cybersecurity and network architecture and protocols (Prof. J-M Dricot).

The mission of the channel team is the theoretical and experimental characterization and modeling  of propagation for emerging communications systems. Expertise range from propagation in indoor environments, urban, and in the near-body region, from HF to mm-wave frequencies.

The mission of the DSP team is to develop solutions for emerging digital communications systems taking into account hardware implementation and integration constraints. The team studies modulation, access techniques, channel equalization and synchronization.  

The network team has a special focus on software-defined architectures and security protocols for wireless communications. More specifically, our research domain covers wireless networks, Internet of Things (IoT), and cyber-physical systems. The network team is a founding member of the ULB cybersecurity research center.

Cybersecurity research center

Person in charge of the Unit : Oui

Founded in 2017, the multidisciplinary research center in cybersecurity aims at federating the research labs active in the field of cybersecurity. It builds on top of a long-standing and well established research experience of its research groups.

The Cybersecurity Research Center has strong ties with the Master of Science in Cybersecurity, the Center for Cyber Security Belgium (CCB), and the Cybersecurity Coalition.



Over the last 50 years the CMOS scaling has allowed manufacturing of Integrated Circuits (ICs) with predictable increase in efficiency. The major barrier that CMOS technology is facing today are the physical limits of sub-10nm processes, which are preventing further cost-effective down-scaling of ICs. The only alternative to still continue to increase the IC performance (i.e. cost-effective enablement of advanced IC processes) is to dramatically increase the number ICs deployed, with identical layout.

Conversely, the rise of new computing paradigms such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Internet-of- Everything (IoE) (billions of devices foreseen in 2020) requires extremely versatile IC solutions. To support this wide variety of applications, including the existing mobile and high-performance comput- ing, extremely configurable systems – both at design-time and run-time – will be required.

The SOFIST project aims at designing highly scalable, low-cost, template System-on-Chip (SoC) archi- tectures for CLOUD-OF-CHIPS applications. CLOUD-OF-CHIPS refers to large amounts of interconnected ICs and IC cores (which may or may not be on the same board), which can have different communi- cation speeds and hierarchy levels. The proposed architecture is configurable: 1) at design-time (core template architecture, size of tightly coupled computing clusters, etc.), and 2) at run-time (depending on the application: IC communication scheme, security features, size of computing clusters, etc.).

Smart Payment Engine

One of the problems with the transparency, a property usually provided by current blockchain techniques, is privacy since everyone can look at the data inserted in the transactions compiled in the different block of a blockchain. In this way, the trust obtained on the basis of the content of the transactions comes at the price of lack of privacy. From a commercial perspective, if it may be needed to avoid sharing publicly the amounts and contents of transactions, however the payment history may be of interest for credits for example or to prove that deliveries were realized successfully. Two main techniques are used to improve the privacy of blockchains: zero-knowledge protocols and homomorphic Encryption.

Another research topic related to the subject of this proposed project is the design of fair exchange protocols. These cryptographic protocols make it possible to implement, in a fair way, an exchange of goods via a network (a good against a payment, a payment against the commitment to send a physical good...) while guaranteeing that either the different participants in the protocols receive what they expect, or no participant receives anything that can be valuable (this property is called "fairness"). In the framework of this project we envisage to study how such protocols can be improved on the basis of a blockchain technology.

Also, blockchain technologies currently suffer from a range of limitations. For instance, Bitcoin, the main blockchain used for payment today, is radically impractical for the type of use cases targeted by the SPE because each Bitcoin transaction can take upto several minutes to get accepted and validated. This delay is impractical in a shop where the merchant could have to wait a long time to be sure it is paid. Besides, the Bitcoin blockchain can accept only 3 transactions per second. Some blockchains try to address Bitcoin’s limitations and currently promise to handle 15 000 to 20 000 transactions per second at the price of a lighter transaction verification procedure. In the frame of this research project, we aim at working on an enhancement of blockchain technologies to reach performance levels that are close to the load and transaction rate that centralized payment platforms can handle: A SPE transaction should be validated in less than a second, and the blockchain sustaining the SPE should be able to process 30 000 transactions per second.