Did you observe that lately more and more tech products and business processes have features of self-organization? Almost every major car maker has been testing self-driving vehicles and is now introducing them to the market. The industry is crazy about “industry 4.0”—which promises self-organizing production with humans, machines, and products collaborating to make decentralized decisions. These are just two examples for the ongoing trend toward more self-* properties in tech systems, e.g., self-configuration, self-optimization, and self-healing. Such paradigm shift from centralized, managed systems to decentralized, autonomous systems has been the core of Lakeside Labs — the small nonprofit research company that I have been co-leading as scientific director — since its foundation in 2008. Lakeside Labs is a hub for science and innovation in self-organizing networked systems. A space for inspiration, creativity, and multidisciplinarity. At the time of our foundation several people believed that research on self-organization is a pure academic “exercise” by professors without any practical application of benefit to industry. This attitude has changed in the course of 2015/16 when many companies have increasingly become interested in …
Modern airplanes are equipped with hundreds of embedded sensors and actuators necessary for structural health monitoring, aircraft control, and passenger and crew assistance. These devices are typically interconnected by wires. Using wireless connections instead of wires improves flexibility of installations and reduces the airplane’s weight. Researchers from Airbus Group Innovations have been working on this topic for several years. An ongoing joint project with the University of Klagenfurt and Lakeside Labs develops and tests such in-cabin networks with focus on their robustness against undesired interference.
Synchronization algorithms based on the theory of pulse-coupled oscillators are evaluated on programmable radios. It is experimentally demonstrated that the stochastic nature of coupling is a key ingredient for convergence to synchrony. We propose a distributed algorithm for automatic phase rate equalization and show that synchronization precisions below one microsecond are possible.
There are different strategies on how to handle and manage interference in wireless networks. The choice of strategy mainly depends on the signal-to-interference ratio (SIR) at the receiver. If interference is very weak, it should be ignored and treated as noise. If interference is stronger—about as strong as the desired signal—we want to avoid it and allow only one node to transmit at a given time or frequency in a certain spatial region (orthogonalization). Both strategies are commonly used in wireless technologies in practice. If interference is even stronger than the signal of interest, it is favorable to allow interference and decode it at the receiver rather than to avoid it. A major limitation of all three strategies is that their per-node throughput decreases with an increasing number of transmitting nodes.
The Lakeside Labs project cDrones started in 2008 as an effort of four Klagenfurt professors to work on system-level aspects of small-scale unmanned aerial vehicles for application in disaster management. Using off-the-shelf, low-altitude multicopters equipped with high-quality cameras and GPS, the project team developed a software that enables an autonomous system for aerial reconnaissance. The overall system has been tested in the field with fire fighters and other application partners. A start-up company to commercialize results was founded. Experimental research with flying outdoor drones has produced scientific results in three areas: flight route planning, wireless communications, and image processing. Measurement results on wireless air-to-ground links and their performance in terms of throughput and packet loss rate will be presented at IEEE INFOCOM 2013. Research activities will continue in 2013 with focus on coordination of multiple drones, wireless multimedia communications, and requirement analysis and real-world test with application partners. Funding in the order of 700 T€ is expected for a follow-up project.
The Lakeside Labs project SOSIE takes an interdisciplinary perspective on decision making in networks suffering from information errors. Human organizations and technical communication systems are compared to identify similarities and differences during decision making processes. Successful techniques may then be transferred from one discipline to the other. Friederike Wall, who initiated the project together with Christian Bettstetter, is excited about the topic: “The two disciplines have so much in common, I’m sure our partnership will be mutually beneficial.” Doris Behrens and Pasquale Grippa joined the team as senior researcher and PhD researcher, respectively. Funding is obtained via Lakeside Labs from ERFE, KWF, and the state of Austria.
Multiple-access interference in wireless networks has significant impact on diversity techniques and protocols. Bettstetter and Schilcher aim at gaining a deeper understanding of interference dynamics and to rigorously analyze its impact on system performance. They secured funding by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in the order of 350.000 EUR for their new project INDY. “The proposal exhibits an excellent understanding of the problem for investigation”, one of three anonymous reviewers says.
Helmut Adam will receive the dissertation award of the Austrian Society for Information and Communication Technologies (GIT-OVE) for his dissertation on cooperative diversity protocols in wireless networks. The award ceremony will take place in Vienna in May 2012. Adam was research and teaching staff member in Klagenfurt’s mobile systems group from mid 2006 until mid 2011 and is now a senior engineer at easyplex software.
The research proposal “Robust Self-Organizing Slot Synchronization in Networked Embedded Systems” (for short: ROSSY) received a three-year full funding from the Austrian research funding agency FFG.
The proposal for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate school Interactive and Cognitive Environments has been accepted for funding. This new training and research program will be offered by the University of Klagenfurt in cooperation with the University of Genoa (coordinator), UPC Barcelona, TU Eindhoven, and Queen Mary (University of London). The doctoral school is expected to offer about 40 PhD scholarships in five classes from fall 2010 until 2017. Erasmus Mundus promotes scientific excellence and mobility in higher education in Europe. The selection process of the doctoral schools was very competitive: Out of about 150 proposals, 13 proposals have been selected. Klagenfurt is the only Austrian university participating in an Erasmus Mundus doctorate program.