On Jan. 30, we hosted a presentation by computer scientist Dr. Dina Katabi from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Katabi’s presentation was part of a continuing series of events planned throughout the coming year as part of AFOSR’s 60th anniversary celebration.
Her presentation focused on the challenge of improving the throughput and reliability of wireless systems–a topic which touches all institutions and every individual in this age of ever-increasing digital speed, mobile devices, and consumer demand for increased performance.
Dr. Katabi’s approach in improving wireless networks is centered on cutting through the layers of the “network stack” that comprises the wireless system. The existing architecture of both the hard-wired and wireless network stack is based on layer separation where the physical–read hardware–layers ideally deliver the correct packets of digital information. But errors in the physical layer are orders of magnitude higher in wireless networks. To address this shortfall, Professor Katabi offers a “Cross-Layer Design” that exploits the interaction at the physical layer, basically decoding packet collisions (the transmission errors) to reassemble correct packets, improving the performance of the network and subsequent higher (wireless) layers.
Dr. Katabi also addressed data loss rate in mobile video applications using the same cross-layered design, where again, data packet collisions can be decoded followed by the exploitation of those collisions to increase signal throughput using analog network coding which results in a more robust mobile video that does not glitch or stall.
Dr. Katabi is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Science at MIT, a member of the Computer Science Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and leads the NETMIT networking group at MIT. The primary goal of her research is to build new protocols and architectures that improve the robustness and performance of computer networks. AFOSR has funded this MIT effort since 2008.
Watch the video.