Toronto Networking Seminar

Application- and Network-Aware Architectures for Wireless Sensor Networks

Wendi Heinzelman
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
and Department of Computer Science
University of Rochester

Date:  Friday, March 23,  2pm
Location: BA1220 (
Bahen Center)


It is estimated that by the year 2010 more than 10 billion wireless sensors will be deployed for use in applications as diverse as environmental monitoring, machine health monitoring, surveillance, and medical monitoring.  For these sensor networks to last for months or years unattended, it is vital to make them as energy-efficient as possible.  To accomplish this goal, many new cross-layer protocols have been proposed that tailor the communication functions of the protocol stack to the specific needs of the sensor network application.  While this approach improves energy efficiency and hence extends network lifetime, these networks lack flexibility and make it difficult to design and deploy new applications for sensor networks.  What is needed is a more general architecture that enables protocols to adapt to current network conditions as well as changing application requirements on a per-node basis.  In this talk, I will motivate the need to manage sensors on an individual, time-varying basis to best support the application goals.  I will further discuss the pros and cons of cross-layer protocol design and sensor management, and I will describe work we are doing to create a cross-layer information-sharing architecture to enable protocols to easily exchange information while retaining a layered structure, allowing the protocols to re-focus on their primary communication functions.  I will show how this architecture enables sensor networks be application- and network-aware by optimizing their protocols based on current application goals and network conditions.

Wendi  B.  Heinzelman is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the  Computer  Science Department  at  the University of Rochester.  She received a B.S.  degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University in  1995 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1997 and 2000, respectively.  Her current re- search  interests lie in the areas of wireless communications and networking, mobile computing, and multimedia communication.   Dr.  Heinzelman received the NSF CAREER award in 2005 for her research on cross-layer architectures for wireless  sensor  networks,  and she  received  the  ONR  Young Investigator Award in 2005 for her work on balancing resource utilization in  wireless  sensor  net- works.  She is a member of Sigma Xi and the ACM and a senior mem- ber of the IEEE.