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October 7, 2009 Four NSF Grants Awarded to ECE Department
Cognitive Radio, Wireless Communications, and Network Security Advancement
For their research efforts in Cognitive Radio, Wireless Communications and Network Security, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has been awarded, “Four recent National Science Foundation (NSF) grants in excess of $1M, with a focus towards an increased contribution in CR advancement. We are pleased to be acknowledged for our research accomplishments, and are poised to introduce next- generation technology” – Professor Yu-Dong Yao, Department Director.
One of the main priorities of the ECE Departments research is the application and advancement of security measures. They act as an integral purveyor of the Secure Systems research thrust within the University, and each awarded faculty member works as a part of the overall mission to advance the possibilities in regards to wireless network dynamics and network security.
Cognitive Networking that Resembles Human Interactions
Hattrick Chair Professor Rajarathnam Chandramouli is using a recent NSF grant entitled, “Human Behavior Inspired Cognitive Radio Network Design,” to study communication protocols involving cognitive radio networks that resemble human behavior and psychological interactions. New technology research in the fields of Cognitive Radio (CR), Wireless Communications and Network Analysis are leading to dramatic improvements in both security and functionality. CR, which is a form of wireless communication that allows a transceiver to intelligently detect whether communication channels are in use or not, holds the potential to dramatically increase network availability, as well as offer improved security methods that are particularly useful for first-responders and government agencies.
Cognitive Radios that enable dynamic spectrum access are envisioned to automatically sense the environment, and self-learn to maximize an individual or group set of functions, mimicking human behavior and social interaction. Their research explores this parallelism going beyond traditional game theoretic analysis, and attempts to analyze the implications of a network with its own psychology with random perturbations. “In this project we address these issues by studying how humans use or misuse their cognitive abilities to evolve into different societies. Our approach is inter-disciplinary cutting across anthropology, drama theory, wireless networking and stochastic analysis." – Professor Chandramouli
Some of the main theoretical ideas will be implemented in SpiderRadio, a Cognitive Radio network prototype developed in the Multimedia Systems Networking and Communications Laboratory at Stevens, and will have a broader impact on wireless networking research and spectrum policy making communities.
Defense from Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks
Denial of service (DoS) attacks are a prominent threat in wired networks, and even more potent in the wireless domain. NSF funding for Professor Yu-Dong Yao, “xBeam: Cross-Layer Beamforming Against Denial of Service Attacks in Wireless Networks,” is aimed at advancing research towards a novel beamforming framework called xBeam that is intended to act as a defense against DoS in wireless networks. Dr. Yao’s research examines various DoS attacks, develops xBeam algorithms, evaluates the effectiveness of xBeam in deterring DoS attacks, and validates the algorithms using a wireless test bed.
His research will substantially improve wireless network security and contribute to advances in networked mobile and wireless society.
First Responder Networks
Professor Koduvayur Subbalakshmi has received NSF funding entitled, “Denial-of-Service Attacks and Counter Measures in Dynamic Sepctrum Access Networks,” for the study of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks that are unique to dynamic spectrum access (DSA) networks. Since DSA networks are expected to play an important role in first responder networks, the solutions proposed are expected to impact design of such networks.
While Professor Subbalakshmi believes cognitive radio enabled dynamic spectrum access (DSA) networks are poised to make significant improvements in spectrum efficiency, she also emphasizes the importance of incorporating adequate security measures at the design stage, “the very feature of DSA can prove to be detrimental to the overall goal of better system performance. We are one of the first groups to identify security vulnerabilities and provide counter measures that are unique to DSA networks. This project will specifically study denial-of-service attacks in DSA networks and provide solutions that will span several layers of the network protocol stack. We take a holistic approach to this problem, by providing both mathematical analysis of the problem as well as demonstrate some of these attacks and counter measures in a practical setting. Our research will have implications in the design of robust and secure inter-operable first-responder networks."
Prof. Subbalakshmi has several publications in this area, including book chapters and has given a tutorial on this subject at the IEEE Sarnoff Symposium in 2009. She was also an invited panelist at the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC) in 2008 on this topic. IEEE ICC is one of the flag-ship conferences of the IEEE Communications Society (COMSOC). Prof. Subbalakshmi is also the Chair of the Security Special Interest group of the Technical Committee on Multimedia, IEEE COMSOC.
Resolving Interference and Power Constraints
Professor Hongbin Li is researching ways to develop an integrated framework for wireless sensor networks. This grant, “Data-Driven Adaptive Quantization for Distributed Inference,” addresses a fundamental challenge of quantization for distributed inference in a sensor network environment, where the optimum quantizer generally cannot be implemented due to its dependence on unknown parameters associated with the random event being monitored by the sensor network.
"Our goal is to develop new sensing and inference techniques by exploiting learning and collaboration among sensor nodes. These techniques will afford improved awareness of the dynamically changing environment in a cognitive network." – Professor Li
His research has the potential to solve several important distributed inference problems with bandwidth and power constraints, furthering advancements in research and development of wireless sensor networks that are expected to have significant economic and social impact.
ECE Departments’ Impact on Research
Faculty in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stevens are an integral part of Cognitive Radio and Wireless Communications development within the University. These grants enable continued research and innovation towards the ultimate goals of being a worldwide leader in these technologies.
“Recent grants also work towards new academic opportunities, Technogenesis™ programs, and integrated research and education curriculums that aim at the training of our diverse population of students.” – Professor Yu-Dong Yao