Software-Defined Networking

    Software defined networking (SDN) has been widely envisioned to be the next-generation networking paradigm for both wired and wireless networks (e.g., Google B4 SDN data center networks and ATT SDN cellular systems). The main ideas of SDN are (i) to separate the data plane from the control plane; and (ii) to introduce novel network control functionalities based on an abstract representation of the network. In current instantiations of this idea, these are realized by (i) removing control decisions e.g., routing algorithms from the hardware, e.g., switches or routers, (ii) enabling the hardware to be programmable through an open and standardized interface, e.g., Openflow and (iii) using a network controller to define the behavior and operation of the network forwarding infrastructure, e.g., routing paths. The key advantages of SDN, including programmability and virtualizability (e.g., flow-space/network virtualization), can lead to extremely flexible computing, networking, and storage infrastructure, which dramatically improve network resource utilization, simplify network management, reduce operating cost, and promote innovation and evolution. For wired SDN, we are developing scalable and efficient traffic engineering solutions, e.g., control traffic balancing, multi-controller control plane, hybrid and scalable routing, and SDN-enabled fog computing. Those solutions aim to counter the fundamental scalability limitation of current SDN, while keeping the benefit of network control centralization for globally optimal computing and networking performance. For wireless SDN, we are developing novel software-defined wireless networking system by systematically exploiting the potential of the evolutionary cloud radio access network (Cloud-RAN) architecture. In particular, we are developing the innovative Cloud-RAN technologies, which maximize spatio-temporal spectrum efficiency through innovative cloud-based crowd-augmented spectrum mapping, cloud-based spectral resource orchestrating, and virtualization-enabled dynamic infrastructure sharing. [See More Project Details Here]

    With the Support of National Science Foundation.

Swarming Cyber-Physical Systems

    Swarming cyber-physical systems consists of a collection of mobile networked agents, e.g., underwater autonomous vehicles and drones, which collaboratively accomplish a common mission by exploiting their on-board sensing, computing, communication, and locomotion capabilities. The inherent mobility, adaptability, cooperativeness, and robustness of swarming cyber-physical systems have promised a wide range of civilian and military applications. Despite its promising applications, the realization of swarming CPS is facing fundamental challenges because mobile computing entities, e.g., robots, need to collaboratively interact with phenomena of interest at different physical locations, where the contextual surroundings of those locations exhibit inherent uncertainties, e.g., unreliable communication channels, unpredictable mobile obstacles, and prevailing dynamics of the phenomena of interest. Such unique challenge motivates our current research on the development of novel sensing-communication-motion co-design solutions to seamlessly integrate collaborative sensing, distributed computing and wireless communication with mobile observations about physical world. Currently, we are developing the first fully-autonomous swarming cyber-aquatic system in the literature, which is realized through a network of intellgient underwater robots that are constituted by AI-powered autopilot system, bio-inspired swarming intelligence, Magnetic-Induction (MI) based underwater transceivers, innovative 3D localization module, underwater wireless recharging technologies and high-performance underwater networking protocols.

    With the Support of National Science Foundation.

UAV Networks

    A critical lesson learned from every disaster, regardless of its size or the level of devastation, is the importance of communications for managing and coordinating the response, maintaining the rule of law, and keeping the public safe and fully informed. Unfortunately, during the first 72 hours of a response, communications may be partially or completely disrupted due to damaged facilities, widespread power outages, and lack of access by restoration crews and equipment to the impacted area. To address such challenge, I am developing a fast deployable and high-speed communication system, namely SKYNET, which uses a swarm of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), e.g., quadcopters, to collaboratively and rapidly establish a reliable, resilient, cost-effective, and high-speed communication backbone. Our current research efforts focus on prototyping the aerial small cell communication systems, developing the effective air-to-ground channel models, proposing the joint motion and communication optimization solutions, and investigating the effective energy management solutions.

    With the Support of John A. See Innovation Award.

Internet of Nano-Things

    Nanotechnology is enabling the development of miniature devices able to perform simple tasks at the nanoscale. The interconnection of such nano-devices with traditional wireless networks and ultimately the Internet enables a new networking paradigm known as the Internet of Nano-Things (IoNT). Despite their promising applications, the peculiarities of nano-things introduce many challenges in the realization of the IoNT. First, even with the advanced grapheme-based nano-transceivers and nano-antennas, nano-devices have to operate in the Terahertz (THz) bands, which suffer from a very high propagation loss, while providing a very large bandwidth. Second, the very limited amount of memory equipped on the nano-devices may only allow one packet to be temporally queued before being transmitted. Third, the nano batteries can only hold very limited amount of energy and it is infeasible to manually replace them and recharge them. My research aims to address the above mentioned challenges by developing radically new and computation-light PHY/MAC/NET layer solutions for bufferless nano-devices, which can maximize network throughput, while achieving perpetual operations by jointly considering the energy consumption of THz communications and energy charging with piezoelectric nano-generators.