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SIDs 2014 from a PhD perspective

The Fourth SESAR Innovation Days event was held last week, 24th-27th November, at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM), Spain. Several members of Innaxis team were part of the event’s agenda, as announced in this blog post. In particular, the current post has been written by Seddik Belkoura, the new PhD on Data Science in Aviation of UPM-Innaxis, who gave a talk during the PhD session of ComplexWorld and presented a poster on his research.

Seddik Belkoura explaining his research on ATM delays to Florian Guillermet (Executive Director SJU)

One of my first impressions about Innaxis is the out-of-the-box and innovative way of thinking that characterizes each and everyone of the team. I must proudly say that I noticed this fact during my first experience at the SESAR Innovation Day event because of the innovative ideas that were presented both by my colleagues and also by the researchers usually linked to Innaxis as partners of the projects. I really enjoyed the three days brilliantly organized by Eurocontrol with the local support of the UPM, which gathered around 300 participants from various backgrounds. This large crowd of participants involved a lot of people interconnecting: old friends, new friends, colleagues, project partners, PhD students, noticeable professors, brilliant young researchers, motivated ATM students, key European institutions representatives, projects officers, operational people, industry … and myself, a new PhD student without industry connections and an unusual background.

During my first six months at Innaxis, I have learned that Air Traffic is a very rich field of study that is tackled from a large number of angles. Complex System theory, Data Science, Econometry, Neuroscience and Human Cognition are examples of the frameworks under which ATM (Air Traffic Management) was analyzed during SESAR Innovation Days. Moreover, ATM in itself contains a large amount of research fields (Delays, Metrics, Complex Networks, Agent-Based Modelling, Visualization, Resilience) that have been examined by Innaxis and its partners during these three days.

With such a wide variety of fields, I found myself wondering why my presentation on my particular mathematical view on delays metric would interest any of the people in attendance. At the end of the presentation, people started to ask me constructive questions about my work, despite coming from very different fields than my own, making me realize that research is all about curiosity and exchange. It is about taking techniques and ideas from other fields and applying it to ATM, it is about brainstorming with colleagues from other fields, backgrounds or countries to push together in the same direction. Of course, I also realized that one idea, as innovative as it might be, has to result in applicable outcomes to be supported by stakeholder and politicians. It was in that moment that I felt a great respect for Innaxis and all the partners that have manage to make people believe and support those out-of-the-box ideas.

At the end of the event I left with a pocket filled with new contacts from all areas with the prospective of having future interesting exchanges, with clear ideas about the internal functioning of the research environment. I’m full of confidence about our ability to understand and improve the ATM system and really proud to be a representative of Innaxis leadership in the ATM research.

Thank you all of you for such an interesting and fruitful event, and see you next year in Bologna, during the SIDs 2015!