Wireless Mesh Networks (Leader: Marius Portmann)

Wireless networks such as Bluetooth, WLAN and WiMax have transformed the way we access information and communicate seamlessly whether we are at home, in the office, or on the move on a train, bus or even aircraft. As mobile and embedded computing devices become more omnipresent, it will become increasingly difficult to interconnect them via wires and single-hop wireless links limited by radio transmission range. This has given rise to mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) where far away nodes communicate by requesting intermediate nodes to relay their information in order to reach the destination. MANETs self-organize, self-configure and self-heal themselves. MANETs are being used in many applications ranging from emergency response situations to wireless vehicular ad hoc networks. Many applications of MANETs such as Emergency Response and First Responders have strict Quality of Service (QoS) requirements for their communications systems, making MANET QoS provisioning mechanisms very crucial for supporting multimedia communications such as real-time audio and video.

Context-Aware Computing (Leader: Jadwiga Indulska)

Current computing systems are built from disjoint technologies. They include a large variety of standalone and embedded computing devices and a variety of wired and wireless computer networks. Future context-aware systems will integrate these disjoint technologies into a computing environment which adapts to changes in context of user tasks and therefore can seamlessly support users activity as users move between different computing platforms computer networks locations and tasks. Context-aware systems are very complex and interactions with these systems may lead to an emergent behaviour of the system. Using an innovative user-centred approach we examine how to design usable systems that make adaptation decisions that users trust.

Embedded Systems (Leader: Adam Postula)

Computers have moved out of the office and laboratory and into the world at large.  Small embedded computers enhance the functionality of everyday appliances such as phones, televisions, watches and washing machines.  They also are critical components of modern cars, trains and aircraft.  Modern cars may have 50 or more embedded computers.  This research looks at how small embedded computers are designed, programmed and used.  It looks at how they communicate and how they can use programmable hardware to enhance their computing power.

Wireless Sensor Networks (Leader:  Neil Bergmann)

Networked sensors and actuators provide a link between the information environment of the Internet and real-time observation and control of the natural and built environments.  In some sense they provide the eyes and ears and hands on the Internet, linking the virtual world and the real world.  Such networked devices are sometimes called the “Internet of Things” (IoT).  An important, emerging class of devices within the Internet of Things are Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). Wireless Sensor Networks consist of many small smart sensors, each equipped with computing and wireless communication resources to enable high density temporal and spatial sensing of the built and natural environments.  This research area looks at the fundamental technologies and algorithms used to sense the environment and also looks at complex analytical techniques to gain knowledge from the torrent of gathered data.  Much of this work is done in conjunction with CSIRO’s Distributed Sensor Systems group.

Technology-Enhanced Engineering Education (Leaders: Peter Sutton & Peter O’Shea)

Industries such as banking, travel, entertainment and retail trading have been revolutionised by the use of technology.  Technology in education is also slowly changing the way universities teach.  Distance Education has moved from the posting of lecture notes in the mail to putting lecture notes on a website, perhaps with some recorded lectures.  However, educators have only started to scratch the surface of how technology can enhance learning.  The appropriate application of technology combined with a deep understanding of what recent pedagogical  research tells us about effective learning has the potential to both improve learning outcomes and increase teachers’ productivity and satisfaction.