IEEE International Black Sea Conference on Communications and Networking
6–9 June 2022 // Sofia, Bulgaria


Title: Operator Defined Open and Intelligent Radio Access Networks (O-RAN) – from Research to Deployment!

Date: 08 June 2022

Time: 16:00 – 18:00 (Sofia, Bulgaria Time) (9:00 AM  – 11:00 AM New York Time)


As defined by the O-RAN Alliance, “… O-RAN architecture is the foundation for building the Radio Access Networks on open hardware and cloud, with embedded AI-powered radio control”.  It is designed with the principles of intelligence, virtualization, and disaggregation. It offers flexible and adaptable networks. While the operators and vendors are eager to deploy Open RAN, supposedly based on the promising results of their business cases, it is not surprising that there are still challenges facing the O-RAN effort.  Aside from the challenges from the R&D point of view, there are significant issues related to its planning, installation, deployment and operations and performance of such networks. This panel will focus on the challenges that O-RAN is facing and discuss potential solutions as well as the experience with the recent trials and deployments.

Moderator: Dr. Vladimir Poulkov, Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria


  • Ashutosh Dutta, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (JHU/APL), USA
  • Todor Cooklev, Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
  • M. Sofien Zghal, Opencode Systems Ltd., Bulgaria
  • Atanas Vlahov, Intelligent Communications LAB at the R&D&I Consortium, Bulgaria
  • Rui Dinis, KoalaTech, Portugal
  • Sandip Sarkar, Capgemini Engineering, USA

Dr. Ashutosh Dutta, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Labs, USA

Ashutosh Dutta is Chief 5G Strategist and Lawrence Hafstad Fellow at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Labs. He serves as the chair for Electrical and Computer Engineering for Engineering Professional Program at JHU. Ashutosh serves as the founding Co-Chair for the IEEE Future Networks. Ashutosh has served as the general Co-Chair for the premier IEEE 5G World Forums and has organized 80 5G World Summits. Ashutosh served as IEEE Communications Society’s Distinguished Lecturer for 2017-2020 and served as the Director of Industry Outreach for IEEE Communications Society from 2014-2019 where he currently serves as Member At Large. Ashutosh currently serves as Industry Forum and Exhibits co-chair for Globecom 2022 and the Chair for IEEE Industry Connections. Ashutosh is a Distinguished Alumnus of NIT Rourkela, has a MS in Computer Science from NJIT, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University.  Ashutosh is a Fellow of IEEE and Distinguished member ACM.


Dr. Todor Cooklev received the PhD degree in electrical engineering from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan in 1995. At present Dr. Cooklev is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA. His current research interests include most aspects of modern wireless systems and standards. He has participated in several standards committees including ITU-T Study Group 15 Question 4, several IEEE 802 groups, and 3GPP RAN1. He has contributed to the development of a number of standards, including DSL, Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11, VITA 49, and LTE. Dr. Cooklev is currently Member-at-Large of the Board of Governors of IEEE Standards Association and member of the editorial board of the IEEE Communications Standards Magazine.


Mr. Sofien Zghal is Head of Product Management, Documentation and Training team in Opencode Systems Ltd. Managed products are divided in 4 categories: Messaging Solutions; Data, IoT & Core Network Solutions; Location Solutions; Service Creation Platform.  This role is related to: Product Portfolio Management, organization and update; Definition of strategic products and areas for products portfolio updates; Synchronization between different products roadmaps for software modules maximum reutilization; Prospection of new technological trends. He has been working as Director of offers and services engineering and  Head of Mobile VAS Engineering Department in Tunisie Télécom and been leading many telecom related projects.


Prof. Vladimir Poulkov has received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the Technical University of Sofia (TUS), Sofia, Bulgaria. He has more than 35 years of teaching, research, and industrial experience in the field of telecommunications, and has managed numerous industrial, engineering, R&D and educational projects. He has been Dean of the Faculty of Telecommunications at TUS and Vice Chairman of the General Assembly of the European Telecommunications Standardization Institute. Currently he is Head of the “Teleinfrastructure” R&D laboratory at TUS; Head of the “Intelligent Telecommunication Infrastructures Laboratory and Chairman of the Board of the “Research and Development and Innovation Consortium” at Sofia Tech Park; Chairman of the “Cluster for Digital Transformation and Innovation”, Bulgaria. He is Senior IEEE Member and Fellow of the European Alliance for Innovation.


Dr. Rui Dinis received the Ph.D. degree from IST, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal, in 2001 and the Habilitation in Telecommunications from FCT, Nova University of Lisbon (UNL), in 2010. From 2001 to 2008 he was a Professor at IST. Currently he is an associated professor at FCT-UNL. During 2003 he was an invited professor at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He was a researcher at CAPS-IST, from 1992 to 2005 and a researcher at ISR (Institute for Systems and Robotics) from 2005 to 2008. Since 2009 he is a researcher at IT (Instituto de Telecomunicações). He is also one of the founders of Koala Tech, a company that is developing high efficiency power amplifiers. Rui Dinis is an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer and is or was editor of several IEEE journals (Transactions on Communications, Transactions on Wireless Communications, Transactions on Vehicular Technology, Open Journal on Communications), as well as Elsevier Physical Communication. He was also a guest editor for several special numbers. He published 5 books, over 150 journal papers and book chapters and over 400 conference papers, and has 15 patents (attributed or pending). He was involved in pioneer projects on the use of mm-waves for broadband wireless communications and his main research activities are on modulation and transmitter design, nonlinear effects on digital communications and receiver design (detection, equalization, channel estimation and carrier synchronization), with emphasis on frequency-domain implementations, namely for MIMO systems and/or OFDM and SC-FDE modulations. He is also working on cross-layer design and optimization involving PHY, MAC and LLC issues, as well as indoor positioning techniques.


Dr. Sandip Sarkar graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India with a bachelor’s degree in technology. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and is currently the worldwide lead of 5G strategy for Capgemini. Before that, he was a Sr Director at Qualcomm. Sarkar was the worldwide lead for 5G/LTE and the technical lead for the Qualcomm Engineering Simulation Tool (QUEST™), a robust tool that analyzes live network data, helping operators more precisely track network performance and identify bottlenecks. Sarkar was started his career at Qualcomm and worked on Globalstar modem design and Condor encryption algorithm design. Later, he became the cdma2000 reverse link systems lead, and subsequently served as the editor for the cdma2000 physical layer and band class specifications. Then, he served as the MIMO lead for 3GPP, the UMB and LTE standards delegate for Qualcomm, and the editor for UMB physical layer specifications as well. Dedicated to the highest degree of EE professionalism, Sarkar is a member of ComSoc. He has served as a chairman of the physical layer text group as well as an editor for 3GPP2 specifications. Sarkar was elected as a senior member of IEEE in 2003. He holds more that 300+ worldwide patents. He has authored and published more than 30 technical papers in various IEEE and other technical journals and his name has appeared in “Marquis Who’s Who in America” since 2006.

2022 Patrons

Hosting University