European Union Acts project MIDAS: objectives and progress to date
At International Symposium on New Trends in Optical Soliton Transmission Systems, Japan.
18 - 21 Nov 1997.
Introduction to the ACTS program: Advanced Communications and Technology and Services, known simply as ACTS, is one of the specific programmes of the "Fourth Framework Programme of European Community activities in the field of research and technological development and demonstration (1994-1998)". It provides the main focus of the European Unions research effort to accelerate deployment of advanced communications infrastructures and services, and is complemented by extensive European research in the areas of information technology and telematics. The stated objectives of ACTS are to "develop advanced communication systems and services for economic development and social cohesion within Europe, taking account of the rapid evolution of technologies, the changing regulatory situation and opportunities for development of advanced transeuropean networks and services". Within ACTS, the emphasis of the work has shifted from the exploration of fundamental concepts and detailed system engineering, as it had been in earlier programs such as RACE (Research and development in Advanced Communication technologies for Europe), to issues relating to implementation of advanced systems and generic services, and applications which demonstrate the potential use of advanced communications in Europe. A key feature of the ACTS program is that the research be undertaken in the context of real-world trials. Work within the program is divided into six technical areas: Interactive digital multimedia services, photonic technologies, high speed networking, mobility and personal communication networks, intelligence in networks and services and quality, safety and security of communication systems and services. The total EU budget for the ACTS program is approximately 670 MECU, covering around 160 projects, with over 1000 individual organisations participating within the program, thereby illustrating the scale of the activities.
MIDAS is one of five projects in the technical area of photonic technologies concerned with high speed transmission, the others being ESTHER, UPGRADE, HIGHWAY and SPEED, each concerned with various aspects or approaches to the development of 40 GBit/s transmission systems within the European arena. A full list of project descriptions and objectives, as well as those of the ACTS program as a whole, are to be found in Ref . The MIDAS consortium consists of the following organisations: Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), CSELT (Italy), Thomson LCR (France), United Monolithic Semiconductor (France), Telia (Sweden), Kings College London (UK), University of Athens (Greece), ORC University of Southampton (UK). The project started in September 1995 and is currently scheduled to finish in September 1998
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