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When the Sensors Hit the Road: Challenges in Mobile Sensor Computing
Hari Balakrishnan MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab


Over the past few years, impressive advances in wireless networking and embedded computing have led to the "first generation" of wireless sensor networks. In general, these are for monitoring or tracking applications characterized by low data rates and static deployments. In this talk, I will motivate what the "second generation" might look like, focusing on mobile sensor networks and high data-rate sensor networks. With hundreds of millions of vehicles and over a billion cell phone-equipped people in the world, cars and humans may turn out to be the carriers of the world's largest and most dynamic sensor networks in the coming years.

How does one combine wireless network protocols and data management software in a world where sensors are mobile (e.g., on cars), collect data at very high sampling rates (e.g., tens of thousands of samples per second), and may only be intermittently connected to servers on the Internet? This talk will describe several motivating applications for the next generation of sensor networks and highlight key technical challenges for the community.


Speaker information:

Hari Balakrishnan is a Professor in the EECS Department and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) at MIT. His research is in the area of networked computer systems. He is known for his contributions to wireless and sensor networks (Cricket, CarTel, Wavescope projects), overlay and peer-to-peer networks (RON, MONET, Chord, IRIS projects), distributed data management (Aurora/Medusa and Borealis projects), Internet routing and architecture, and network security. In addition to many widely cited papers, several systems developed as part of his research are available in the public domain.

Professor Balakrishnan received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998 and a B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) in 1993. His honors include an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award, the 1998 ACM doctoral dissertation award for his work on TCP over wireless networks, and seven award-winning papers at various top conferences and journals, including the IEEE Communication Society's William R. Bennett Prize (2004). He has also received awards for excellence in teaching and research at MIT (Spira, Junior Bose, and Harold Edgerton awards).

In 2003, Professor Balakrishnan co-founded StreamBase Systems, the first commercial stream processing engine. Starting in 2000, he devised the key algorithms for Sandburst's high-speed network QoS chipset. In 2004, his group released the hardware design and software for the Cricket indoor location system, which is now commercially available.