CyLab Mobility Research Center
The physical world in which we live meets the cyber world in many ways, but the mobile revolution and the coming Internet of Things illustrate that this point-of-meeting happens, increasingly, via wireless networks. Wireless connectivity -- from small sensor devices to mobile phones to autonomous vehicles -- brings opportunities, risks, and deep systems challenges.
Opportunities A brief look at the history of computing shows that a programmable platform has emerged around which each generation of computing has revolved (think: IBM PC, DEC VAX, IBM System/360). In the past, the power of the platform has revolved around computing. But with the mobile generation and the Internet of Things, the platform will be much more communications-centric. Real-time, sense-compute-actuate systems such as smart cities bring the cyber and physical worlds together. Connecting the elements wirelessly -- and providing guarantees of programmability at the system level, low latency, security and robustness will bring about the next major platform: the cyber-physical network.
Risks and Challenges Today's in-building and wide-area networks don't provide such guarantees. Is the current generation of computing stalled as a result? We think so. Our research examines the fundamental nature of mobile and wireless systems and the role they play in ushering in the next generation of platform computing by examining networks and devices working as a system -- and the changes each wil need to bring about platformization.