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Research

I am a coordinator of the SIGNET research group. My major research interest is in the field of protocols design and performance evaluation of WPANs, MANETs, VANETs and WSNs. In particular, I have been, and still are, active in the following areas. (Disclaimer: most of the activities listed below have been performed in collaboration with other researchers. Nonetheless, I am listening only the activities that were either coordinated by myself, or that I provided a major contribution to.)

Microfluidic networks Microfluidic networks are an extremely new and exciting research field, which aims at developing basic networking functionalities for microfluidic systems, e.g., Lab-on-chip, where tiny volumes of fluids are circulated through channels with sub-millimeter size to realize a number of processes, from DNA analysis to cellular synthesis. While dedicated microfluidic LoCs are currently used in the medical and biomedical domains, the idea of connecting them into a flexible network is a totally new challenge with dramatic potential. I am currently participating to some national and international initiative to promote this new research branch.

Cognitive Networks We have recently started a interdisciplinary project that aims at applying the most advanced cognitive techniques to the network optimization. To realize this vision, we need to gain a deeper understanding of learning and cognition mechanisms, such as deep learning, generative models, evolutionary computation and emergent behaviors, as developed by scientists working in the areas of cognition, behavior, and brain/neuroscience, and to apply such knowledge to design algorithms and communications/networking schemes that are much more capable then what is known and/or practical today.

Bluetooth I have been working for a long while in the performance analysis of Bluetooth systems. In particular, I have developed mathematical models for the performance analysis and optimization of different polling strategies in Bluetooth piconets and scatternets, in order to maximize the aggregate throughout, reduce the delay, and minimize the energy consumption.

WLAN In the context of WLAN, and in particular of IEEE 802.11 networks, I have proposed a mathematical models for the characterization of the throughput, delay, and energy consumption of the system when varying the number of users and the offered traffic. Furthermore, I have proposed control algorithms to maximize the quality of service of multimedia flows over WLANs.

VANET I have been working on VANETs for some time, mainly addressing the problem of efficient broadcast propagation. To this concern, I have proposed a mathematical model to assess the limiting performance of broadcast propagation in linear networks and some practical broadcast protocols for fast and reliable propagation of alert messages.

Fieldbus Thanks to the collaboration with a colleague that is active in the field of industrial networks, I had the chance to contribute to the state of the art by providing a performance analysis of wireless fieldbus protocols for industrial applications.

WSN In the context of WSN, I have been particularly interested to the localization problem. We have carried out a large number of experimental measurements by using the WSN testbeds set up in the SIGNET Lab and we have used these data to characterize a number of different localization techniques, also involving autonomous mobile robots. We have focused on RSSI-based localization techniques only and, despite the general skepticism against RSSI-based ranging, we found that it is actually possible to achieve fairly good localization in indoor environments, provided that the characteristics of the hardware used to perform the measurements are well understood.

Miscellaneous I am currently working on some rather new and interesting topics, one of which concerns that design of switching mechanisms for microfluidic systems, with the aim of realizing basic switching modules that can be combined in a modular manner to form a microfluidic network. This activity is still at a very early stage, though. I am also looking at the problem of controlling a system in presence of unreliable and realistic feedback channel. Recently, I have been involved in the analysis of mechanism for optimal energy managing in Smart Grid systems. Finally, I am enjoying in the coordination of the EPIC project, which aims at realizing and App for Android (and, in a second time, iOS) devices that makes it possible for the users to exchange content in an epidemic manner, and to trace the geographical path followed by the content by means of a suitable webpage.

Projects

Andrea Zanella has been and still is actively involved in several international research projects. The most recent are the following:

MEDIEVAL (Strep, IST Project No. FP7-ICT-258053)

ARAGORN (Strep, IST Project No. FP7-ICT-216856)

NEWCOM++ (Network of Excellence, IST Project FP7-ICT-2007.1.1)

Embedded WiSeNts (Coordination Action, IST Project FP6-2002-004400)

NEWCOM (Network of Excellence, IST Project FP6-ICT-2002-2.3.1.4)

COST273 (COST Action)

Furthermore, he has been actively participating to a number of national projects and research contracts with leading companies in the ICT field (Philips, ST-microelectronics, TILAB).

Conferences and workshops

I have been involved for several years in the organization of the Workshop on multiMedia Applications over Wireless Networks (MediaWiN). Further information can be found in the official Mediawin website! I am also serving in the TPC of the main conferences in the area, such as Globecom, ICC, VTC, WCNC, and so on.