Plenary Speech: Smart Ocean & Underwater Networking

Smart Ocean & Underwater Networking
Professor Jun-Hong Cui
University of Connecticut

The last decade has seen a research wave in terrestrial sensor networks, in which the embedded networked sensing technologies have revolutionized the way for human being to understand and interact with the physical world on the land. This decade will witness a revolution for the water world: distributed cyber-aquatic systems (aka. Smart Ocean Technology) will enable us to deploy static and mobile systems in an underwater environment, significantly enhancing the spatial and temporal dimensions of our monitoring and exploration capabilities. These new technologies bridging the cyber and aquatic worlds will transform the ways in observing and understanding the sparsely sampled oceans, estuaries, lakes and rivers.
The smart ocean technology drastically differs from any existing technology; the method will deploy static and mobile systems (we also use nodes to refer to individual systems) with sensing, communication and computing capabilities so that the spatial coverage is greatly increased; meanwhile the approach will exploit advanced power harvesting, storage and management techniques to lengthen the system lifetime. These spatial-temporal scalable systems will significantly improve the monitoring and exploration capabilities in many critical applications. To make such a system a reality, many challenging intellectual problems need to be solved.
This talk will first discuss the challenges from five aspects: communication, power, sensing, platform and cyber-control. Then it will focus on underwater acoustic communication and networking. Due to the unique characteristics of underwater acoustic channels (low available bandwidth, long propagation delays, high error rates and high temporal/spatial dynamics), existing terrestrial wireless networking techniques cannot be directly applied and new research at every level of the protocol suite is demanded. Adopting a top-down approach along the layered protocol stack, we will roughly go down from the top application layer to the bottom physical layer. At each layer, a set of new design intricacies are identified and discussed.

Jun-Hong Cui received her Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from UCLA in 2003. Currently, she is a Full Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at University of Connecticut (UConn). She also served as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and Diversity of School of Engineering at UConn from 2009-2012. At UConn, Jun-Hong founded and is leading the interdisciplinary UnderWater Sensor Network Lab, which involves more than 30 faculty members from eight departments across two schools. The lab has accumulatively secured more than $16M research funding during the past 8 years. More recently, she has been leading the efforts to launch an NSF I/UCRC (Industry/University Cooperative Research Center) for Smart Ocean Technology, in collaboration with University of Washington. In the research community, Jun-Hong co-founded the first ACM International Workshop on UnderWater Networks (WUWNet'06), which now has become a stand-alone premium conference in the area. She has been serving as the WUWNet steering committee chair. Jun-Hong received 2007 NSF CAREER Award and 2008 ONR Young Investigator Award. She also received the United Technologies Corporation (UTC) Professorship in Engineering Innovation award at UConn in 2008 and UCLA Engineering Distinguished Young Alumnus Award in 2010. More recently, she received Outstanding Junior Faculty Mentoring Award, School of Engineering UConn (2013) and become an elected CASE (Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering) member in 2014.