2006 Purdue–Silicon Valley Symposia

Looking Into the Future: Grand Challenges for Wireless Networks

Listen: Grand Challenges for Wireless Networks (80 MB .mp3)

The last two decades have seen an exponential growth in wireless services and applications. Wireless communications and networking that started with very humble roots is now more than a trillion-dollar business worldwide and represents a substantial fraction of the developed world's economies. However, this is an industry very much in its infancy, with enormous growth potential over the next few decades.

Even today, voice and simple data transfers dominate most of the wireless business, with only minor forays made into providing more sophisticated services. The overarching challenge is to enable sensing, computing, and communications, anytime, anywhere, and anyplace. The implications of such a development could transform the way we live, work, and interact, much in the same way as the industrial revolution, internal combustion engine, air travel, and the Internet brought about revolutionary changes at different epochs in our history.

The ability to sense and control one's environment via a complex array of inexpensive sensor networks capable of distributed computation will result in significant improvements in quality of life, especially for individuals who need assistance due to physical disabilities, sickness, or old age. Sensors and rapidly deployable ad hoc wireless networks will also change the way warfare is conducted, resulting in significantly reduced casualties, especially in urban warfare settings. Multi-hop wireless mesh networks could enable ultra high-speed communications all the way to the home, potentially solving the "last-mile" problem that will fuel a slew of extremely high-resolution multimedia services currently in the realm of science fiction. This talk will describe some of these "grand opportunities" for wireless systems and the grand challenges facing their development.

Ness Shroff

Director, Center for Wireless Systems and Applications and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Purdue University

Ness Shroff is director of the university-wide Center for Wireless Systems and Applications (CWSA) and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University. He received his BS from the University of Southern California, his MS from the University of Pennsylvania, and the MPhil and PhD degrees from Columbia University.

His research interests span the areas of wireless and wireline communication networks.  He is especially interested in fundamental problems in the design, performance, pricing, and security of these networks. Shroff has served on the technical and executive committees of several major conferences and workshops. He was the technical program co-chair of IEEE INFOCOM'03, the premier conference in communication networking. He was also conference chair of the 14th Annual IEEE Computer Communications Workshop (CCW'99), the program co-chair for the symposium on high-speed networks, Globecom 2001, and the panel co-chair for ACM Mobicom'02. He was a co-organizer of the NSF workshop on Fundamental Research in Networking, held in Arlie House, Virginia, in 2003.

Shroff received the NSF Career Award in 1996, the 2003 best paper award for Computer Networks , and the 2005 best paper award for the Journal of Communications and Networking .