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Department of Computer Science Seminar
2010 Series

Adaptive Middleware for Application Flexibility and Efficiency in Sensor Networks

Dr. Chien-Liang Fok
Washington University in St. Louis

Date: February 1, 2010 (Monday)
Time: 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Venue: SCT909, Cha Chi Ming Science Tower, Ho Sin Hang Campus

Developing applications for wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is notoriously difficult. Middleware can simplify the process by providing higher levels of abstraction through advanced programming models. For example, Servilla is a middleware that enables applications to seamlessly adapt to and benefit from network heterogeneity. It does this by leveraging the service-oriented computing (SOC) programming model and tailoring it to WSNs. Energy consumption is reduced through novel forms of service invocations, service invocation sharing, and energy-aware service binding policies. Application performance is enhanced through adaptive service binding mechanisms that enable continuous service availability despite changes in the network topology. Furthermore, Servilla hides all of the above functions from the developer, who only needs to write a simple "invoke" command in a single line of code. Servilla was implemented and evaluated using two real-world applications: structural health monitoring and medical patient monitoring. Experimental results demonstrate Servilla’s ability to significantly decrease energy consumption while increasing reliability. In this talk, I will present Servilla followed by an overview of other middleware systems I have developed including Agilla, the first mobile agent middleware for WSNs, and Limone, a lightweight coordination middleware for mobile ad hoc networks. I will conclude by highlighting my current and future research aspirations.

Chien-Liang Fok received the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science in 2009 from Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on software engineering and middleware systems for wireless sensor networks and mobile computing. His work appears in major international journals such as ACM TAAS and Computer Communications, and the proceedings of international conferences including ICDCS, IPSN, DCOSS, Coordination, and AAMAS. His middleware systems, Limone, Agilla, and Servilla are open source and used by researchers worldwide. Furthermore, Agilla has attracted the news media coverage from the Discovery Channel (on-line edition). In addition to research, he loves to teach and has served as guest lecturer and instructor for a variety of courses at Washington University in St. Louis.

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