About the Institute
The origins of IIT set from the beginning two distinct yet intertwined pillars of research activities that define the Institute: Artificial Intelligence and Telecommunication Networks.
With a long tradition of innovation in the field, the Intelligent Information Systems Division of the Institute focuses on basic and applied research on the multiple manifestations of Artificial Intelligence. Being a founding member of the Hellenic Artificial Intelligence Society since 1988, the Institute has continuous strong presence in the area. Moving from text-centric AI to multimodal, web and social media content analysis, the Institute has produced strong research outcomes in the field, in sync with its advancements and evolution. Acknowledging early the importance of data analysis, the Institute has also dedicated significant effort in the field of AI-based methods for big data management and processing. IIT is in the vanguard of research in big data infrastructures and semantics-aware AI at the European and international level. Furthermore, its interaction with other NCSR-D Institutes from different disciplines allows the application of such novel AI-based data driven methods to multiple application fields.
On the other hand, IIT is focused on continuing its fundamental presence in telecommunication networks – and especially wireless networks – through its Telecommunications & Networks Division. The Institute is a leader in the areas of 5G networks and produces significant results related to the relevant infrastructure, protocols used, and methodologies for optimising network performance and availability. The relevant expertise encompasses antenna technologies, Rx/Tx schemes and MIMO techniques, Radio Access Networks and multi-RAT connectivity, as well as technologies for network management, interoperability, softwarisation and virtualisation. Aspects related to network performance and energy efficiency are also in scope, and the same holds for several networking technologies of relevance to the Internet of Things paradigm, including wireless sensor networks and infrastructure-less, potentially disruption tolerant, networks. This broad range of complementary competences puts IIT in a prime position for tackling technological challenges of current significance and addressing, in particular, 5G networks and IoT.
The symbiotic presence of the two research pillars, a situation unique in the Greek research landscape, in combination with the existence of IIT within a Public and Multi-disciplinary Research Centre, are defining elements of the Institute’s mission: to act as a connecting link between different scientific domains and disciplines by supporting data-driven and AI-informed science and be a constant ambassador of science to the Greek society and economy.
Institute | Director
Dr. Vangelis Karkaletsis is the Director of the Institute of Informatics & Telecommunications at NCSR Demokritos since February 2019 and headed the Software & Knowledge Engineering Lab (SKEL) at IIT until December 2019.
His research interests are in the areas of content analysis, big data management, knowledge representation, human-machine interaction. As coordinator, scientific and technical manager of many European and national projects he has organised international summer schools, workshops and conferences. Being responsible for the Institute’s educational activities for more than 10 years, he initiated the joint PhD scholarship program with several Universities abroad, started the new MSc in Data Science program, and launched the NCSR D educational program for primary and secondary schools. Co-founded one of the first spin-offs at NCSR-D on information extraction from multimedia content, and participates in another one on document categorisation and summarisation which is about to be launched. Read more here.
Institute | Organisational Structure
The organisational structure of the Institute reflects its thematic prioritisation along with the need to effectively support all three strategic pillars, Research, Education, Innovation and their synergy.
At the highest level, IIT is governed by its Director with the support of the Deputy Director, and in close collaboration with the Institute’s Scientific Council. The governing entities are also responsible for the communication with the Institute’s Evaluation and Advisory Committee and the incorporation of the latter’s feedback and recommendations in the Institute’s operation.
Research is naturally organised under two divisions corresponding to the thematic pillars of IIT: The Division of Intelligent Information Systems and the Division of Telecommunications and Networks. The Heads of the divisions and their respective Labs are responsible for setting the research agendas and priorities under the broader strategy of the Institute, and in close collaboration with the governing bodies as well as with the Offices and Departments organising the Education and Innovation pillars.
The former is served by the Education Office that organises and monitors relevant activities in collaboration with the Labs in IIT, and through the NCSR-Demokritos Education Office with the other Institutes and the Central administration. The Innovation pillar is served by the ahedd Digital Innovation Hub, set up by IIT as a broader entity to homogenise and extend past bodies dedicated to Innovation (in the past, there was a separate division handling the provision of Services in Informatics and Telecommunications). An additional group is the NML & Mind Lab, which focuses on researching ways to incorporate ICT technologies in special education.
At the operational level, IIT is supported by its Administration Unit comprising the necessary secretariat, financial, legal and IT offices. Furthermore, the Institute manages and equips the Network Operations Centre, responsible for the operation, administration and maintenance of the NCSR-D campus network, its extensions in distributed locations outside of NCSR-D premises and its interconnection to GRNET, which is the Greek internet provider for all academic organisations. In the same vein, IIT manages NCSR-D’s eGovernance Office, responsible for maintaining network and computational infrastructure in NCSR-D building, as well as for developing and maintaining software services and web assets.
All aforementioned entities are accordingly supported by the Communications Office, the entity responsible for establishing the communication channels and organising events relevant to the Institute’s Research and Education activities.
Institute | History
The Institute of Informatics & Telecommunications (IIT) is one the five research Institutes of the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos” (NCSR). Its roots can be traced as back as 1958, when the NCSR Division of Electronics was founded, rendering it as a pioneering electronics centre in Greece. Its initial activities ranged over various application fields, like the design and development of specialised electronic systems, nuclear electronics, industrial control devices, digital electronics and medical electronics. The next step was the foundation of the Computers Division in 1968, initially aiming to support the research and data-storage computational needs of the Centre.
At the same time, the Computer Centre was developed for specialised computing applications and support for various other research activities. A major achievement of the Division was Proteas, the first experimental 16-bit digital computer in Greece. Proteas was user-programmable, and its construction was completed in 1970.
Until 1975, NCSR was the only organisation in Greece where research in Electronics and Informatics was conducted. It should be noted that at that time and during the next decade, around 25 members of the Computer Division’s staff joined various departments of Informatics in Greek Universities.
In 1975, the Division extended its activities in Digital Telecommunications and particularly in the development of encrypted communication systems. The Electronics and Computers Divisions continued their activities independently till 1987, when after appropriate merges the Institute of Informatics & Telecommunications, the Institute of Microelectronics and the Computer Centre were established.
As a pioneer in the relevant fields in Greece, IIT has taken up multiple initiatives for the advancement of Computer Science in the country. NCSR hosted the infrastructure and managed the organisation that operated the National Research and Academic Network Ariadne (1985-1994). It was also one of the founding members of the nationwide ISP OTENET in 1995, capitalising the expertise and experience from Ariadne. IIT and its personnel was also the driving force for the foundation and establishment of the Hellenic Society for Artificial Intelligence (EETN) in 1988, and its inclusion in the European AI Society in 1992.