EVENT - Belnet Networking Conference 2018

A special 25th anniversary edition

The Belnet Networking Conference 2018 was the perfect opportunity to celebrate 25 years of Belnet. This year’s conference took place, for the second time, among the welcoming surroundings of the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Brussels. It brought together around 150 participants from the research and education community as well as representatives of public authorities.

By way of introduction, the CEO of Belnet, Jan Torreele, and the President of the Board of Directors, Pierre Bruyère (Belspo), presented a stirring account of the four main periods in the history of Belnet. It was a start to the day tinged with nostalgia, just like the presentation by Dirk Haex (Belnet) who asked his audience, in his introduction, to close their eyes and imagine themselves back in 1993. He also provided important information about current and future Belnet projects. 

After this introduction, a series of fascinating talks were delivered all the way up to lunch time. The audience thus had the pleasure of listening to eminent specialist Inma Martínez (Digital Media Strategist) for her presentation on the forces of AI, data science and the IoT which are contributing to changing the world in which we live. The talk went down a treat with the audience, and was followed by another by Luc De Raedt, an AI expert attached to the KU Leuven IT department. Finally, the morning concluded with a very impressive insider’s view of the NATO summit to which Belnet had the honour of contributing, in a presentation by Arlin Bagdat (Federal Public Service Chancellery of the Prime Minister). 

On top of the various presentations, an exhibition in the shape of timeline offered a light-hearted and somewhat geeky review of Belnet’s 25 years of existence. As part of this exhibition, participants were able to observe the little humanoid robot NAO, supplied for the occasion by the PCSS Polish national research network.

After the lunch break, parallel sessions were organised to offer participants the opportunity to find out about a range of topics such as the redesign of the Belnet network or cloud services offered by GÉANT. The final talk was delivered by Simon François (ULiège) on the development of Belnet service usages by the University of Liège, which happened to be celebrating its 200th year. Finally, before a special 25 Years presentation by moderator Frédéric Libotte, a young team from UCL introduced its “Mission To Mars on Earth” original project. 

The BNC 2018 came to an entertaining end with a projection of a lip dub made specially for the occasion, in which many Belnet employees had taken part. After the traditional awards ceremony, a magnificent birthday cake added the final touch to this charming conference. 

On behalf of Belnet and the entire team, we would like to thank everyone for answering present to this 2018 edition of the BNC.

Weren’t able to make it to our conference? The presentations, videos and other media will soon be available on our events site. If you have any ideas for presentations at the 2019 conference, please contact us at: events@belnet.be