Interdisciplinary innovation in wireless networks, systems and technologies is the focus of a new center that aims to foster a more closely knit community among MIT researchers in the rapidly expanding wireless field.
Last week, the MIT Center for Wireless Networking kicked off its flagship project, "Advanced Concepts in Wireless Networking for Mobile Devices," with two days of talks and working sessions attended by more than 30 researchers from its participating MIT laboratories and its partners from Hewlett-Packard Laboratories.
"This is an extremely exciting initiative for MIT. Having such an extraordinarily talented and diverse group of researchers working together across the traditional boundaries within this broad field is going to radically change the way wireless networks and mobile appliances are designed and implemented," said Gregory W. Wornell, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science. "The result will be a blueprint for truly seamless, ubiquitous, reliable wireless connectivity that enables a vast new array of mobile multimedia applications."
A dominant theme in this initiative is the notion that in contrast to traditional types of networks, wireless appliance networks can achieve enormous improvements in performance and flexibility by accommodating and efficiently exploiting interaction among the application, network and physical layers. The research is expected to affect everything from the design of the appliances themselves and the services they control, to the design of the network and server architecture.
The center, which was seeded by a grant from the MIT/Hewlett-Packard Alliance in Digital Information Systems, is in the process of developing a web site through which MIT and outside communities can learn about and participate in the broad spectrum of wireless research taking place on campus.
The steering committee for the new center consists of several faculty from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science: Wornell (who is also affiliated with the Research Laboratory of Electronics), Professor Anantha Chandrakasan (Microsystems Technology Laboratories), Professor Muriel Medard (Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems) and Professor Hari Balakrishnan (Laboratory for Computer Science). Balakrishnan is also the new center's liaison to a complementary MIT effort, Project Oxygen.
The HP-MIT Alliance funding this project is a major collaboration aimed at finding new ways to create and handle digital information. Programs supported by the alliance investigate new architectures, devices and user interfaces in information-rich environments, and explore novel services for commerce, education and personal use.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 16, 2002.