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Real Problems. Real Research? Vicraj (Vic) Thomas 22 March 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Real Problems. Real Research? Vicraj (Vic) Thomas 22 March 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Real Problems. Real Research? Vicraj (Vic) Thomas 22 March 2007

2 2 File Number Background Staff Scientist at Honeywell Labs, Minneapolis Research Interests - Distributed embedded systems - Sensor networks - Wireless networks for flight-essential aircraft systems - Dependable system design Recent sensor networking related projects - Wireless sensor networks for vehicle health management - Wireless sensors for avionics systems - Networked MEMS optical sensors for battlefield situation awareness - Quality of information from sensor networks Im not young enough to know everything Oscar Wilde

3 3 File Number Observations Fielding a sensor network is non-trivial … …But not for reasons youd expect if you delve into the research out there Its the mundane realities of life that get you Practical wisdom is only to be learned in the school of experience Samuel Smiles

4 Real Problems True Stories from Sensor Network Deployments

5 5 File Number 1. The Grass Grows Fast in Florida System: Sensor network to detect an event Our focus - Minimize false positives and negatives - Maximize lifetime of network Observed system behavior - Large number of false positives - High energy consumption: lot more messages than expected Problem: Noisy PIR sensors Cause: Tall grass blowing in the wind Solution: Get facilities to mow the grass short For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong. Henry Louis Mencken

6 6 File Number 2: Its a Cold December Morning in Albuquerque System: Sensor network for vehicle health management Our focus - System reliability - Maximize battery life - Easy of use Observed system behavior - Everything worked great night before demo - Nothing worked next morning Problem - Sensor nodes behaving erratically Cause: One of the crystals was rated for >0 °C Solution: Postpone demo to the afternoon There are three intolerable things in life: cold crystals (coffee), lukewarm champagne, and overexcited women. Orson Welles (with apologies)

7 7 File Number 3: Radio Waves Cant Read Do Not Disturb Signs Situation - Multiple teams in the same hotel for sensor network demonstrations - Teams worked late into the night fine-tuning their software Problem - Next day one team finds its sensor network behaving very strangely Cause - This teams sensor nodes had gotten accidentally reprogrammed by different team working in nearby room - Both teams were using the same default system ID used by the over-the-air programming software Solution: Change system ID Whenever evil spreads, it is only by default. Ayn Rand

8 Real Research? Observations on Sensor Network Research

9 9 File Number Sensor Network Research Is this a hot area of research? - 42 conferences/workshops in 2007 with interest in sensor networks Common research topics - Sensor network services Routing, time-synchronization, localization, management Cross-layer protocol design - Sensor network security - Programming Operating systems, simulation tools Is this research important? - Yes, but need proper perspective on importance - Too much old wine in new bottles Wireless aspect of these sensor networks often ignored vs. When we try to do something new, we don't know what we're doing. That's the biggest challenge. Jeffrey Kalmikoff

10 10 File Number Research Needs Compensating for the poor quality of the sensing - Sensor malfunction most likely failure mode - Sensing channel attacks most likely security threat - Can we make up in quantity what weve lost in quality? More realistic failure models - Account for faults induced by the environment Scientific bases for designing, deploying and operating sensor networks - Estimates of confidence that can be placed on the data - Optimal data fusion architectures - Quantifying trade-offs Alternate energy sources Dont dream up problems to be solved - Plenty of real problems waiting to be solved Nature is ugly, and I prefer the monsters of my fancy to what is positively trivial Charles Baudelaire

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