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Yeh to Lead Northeastern in $10M Multi-university, Industry Collaborative DARPA Award

May 17, 2017

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently awarded a $10 million, four-year research project to Raytheon BBN, Northeastern’s College of Engineering, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of the Dispersed Computing Program. According to DARPA, the research to advance wireless communication technology will build “software instantiations of algorithms and protocol stacks that leverage pervasive, physically dispersed computing platforms to boost application and network performance by orders of magnitude.”

Professor Edmund Yeh, of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering who is leading the effort at Northeastern, stated, “Being selected out of a competitive pool of 42 bids to work on this breakthrough research with BBN and MIT, showcases our intellectual strength in this area. We are embarking on the development of cutting-edge technology that has the potential to significantly transform and enhance wireless communication capabilities in challenging, mission-aware environments.”

As part of this multi-university and industry collaborative award, Northeastern and MIT engineering researchers will develop a set of optimized communication and computation algorithms and protocols to support multiple-sender multiple-receiver applications with highly demanding latency constraints, over heterogeneous, congested, and error-prone network environments. BBN will use the algorithms and protocols in software to develop new wireless communication technology solutions to create a new system architecture from the ground up.

“Wireless technology is one of our research strengths here at Northeastern and I am delighted that our team, led by Professor Edmund Yeh, for this exciting project will be collaborating among the best in academia and industry to push the boundaries of the field and further advance the capabilities of our connected world,” remarked Dr. Nadine Aubry, dean of the College of Engineering and university distinguished professor at Northeastern.

Specifically, the research will focus on the following:

  • Design of a distributed set of network computation points to improve both the throughput and end-to-end delay for applications with multiple-receiver capabilities.
  • Development of recovery mechanisms which automatically optimize response to packet loss, through re-transmission or coding.
  • Design of algorithms which make traffic forwarding decisions to maximize the value of the received information at the destination.
  • Development of dynamic load balancing algorithms which leverage network resources to deliver the highest level of service possible in the face of congestion.

Yeh explained, “Wireless communication networks today have limitations. The goal is to develop a new intellectual design framework that determines how to design the signal, route and code traffic, handle user mobility, and relieve network congestion to guarantee that transmissions are error-resilient and efficient. The technology will enable seamless wireless communication in the field, regardless of channel conditions and computing platforms, thus enabling real-time intelligence for critical decision making.”