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Making battlefield communications better

November 23, 2009

Junshan Zhang is working to improve wireless communications technology with support from a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Zhang is an associate professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, a part of Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He also works in the engineering schools’ Sensor, Signal and Information Processing Center (SenSIP).

The grant of more than $600,000 will fund Zhang’s efforts to improve the reliability of communications networks under battlefield conditions.

“Battlefield wireless networks often operate under hostile conditions that include adverse radio frequency environments, interference, bursts of traffic and changing network topology,” Zhang says. “As a result, network management of information flows in such a hostile environment often faces a number of challenges, such as network failure and compromise, and intermittent connectivity.”

There is an “urgent need to develop fundamental network science for identifying, representing and controlling information dynamics” in Department of Defense networks, Zhang says.

Advances in this area of research also promise to provide more reliability for various types of airborne and ground-based communications networks.

Zhang’s work is ASU’s part of a larger project, titled “Information Dynamics as a Foundation for Network Management,” led by Princeton University, with other research partners at the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Irvine, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Zhang’s grant is part of a $7 million MURI award for the overall project.

The MURI program is designed to accelerate research and technology development that supports specific science and engineering efforts considered vital to national defense.

Writer: Chelsea Brown

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