[Nrg-l] PhD Defense: Michael Ocean (Fri 7/18 @ Noon)

Azer Bestavros best at cs.bu.edu
Fri Jul 11 11:42:37 EDT 2008


Computer Science Department
Boston University

Date: Friday July 18, 2008
Time: 12:00 Noon
Place: Room MCS 135, 111 Cummington Street

The Sensor Network Workbench: Towards Functional Specification, 
Verification and Deployment of Constrained Distributed Systems

Michael Ocean


As the commoditization of sensing and responding hardware increases, so
does the potential for dynamically tasked Sense and Respond Systems
(i.e., Sensor Networks or SNs) to replace existing disjoint and
inflexible special-purpose deployments (closed-circuit security video,
anti-theft sensors, etc.). While various solutions have emerged to many
individual SN-centric challenges (e.g., power management, communication
protocols, role assignment), perhaps the largest remaining obstacle to
widespread SN deployment is that those who wish to deploy, utilize, and
maintain a programmable Sensor Network lack the programming and systems
expertise to do so. 

snBench (SN Workbench) embodies an accessible, modular programming
platform coupled with a flexible and extensible run-time system that,
together, support the entire life-cycle of distributed sensory services.
As it is impossible to find a one-size-fits-all programming interface,
this thesis work advocates the use of tiered layers of abstraction that
enable a variety of high-level, domain specific languages to be compiled
to a common (thin-waist) tasking language; this common tasking language
is statically verified and can be subsequently re-translated, if needed,
for execution on a wide variety of hardware platforms. 

snBench provides: (1) a common sensory tasking language (Instruction Set
Architecture) powerful enough to express complex SN services, yet simple
enough to be executed by highly constrained resources with soft,
real-time constraints, (2) a prototype high-level language (and
corresponding compiler) to illustrate the utility of the common tasking
language and the tiered programming approach in this domain, (3) an
execution environment and a run-time support infrastructure that
abstract a collection of heterogeneous resources into a single virtual
Sensor Network, tasked via this common tasking language, and (4) formal
methods (i.e., static analysis techniques) for this common tasking
language that verify safety properties and infer implicit resource
constraints to facilitate resource allocation for new services. This
thesis presents these components in detail, as well as two specific
case-studies: the use of snBench to integrate physical and wireless
network security, and the use of snBench as the foundation for
semester-long student projects in a graduate-level Software Engineering


PhD Thesis Examination Committee:

- Azer Bestavros
- Assaf Kfoury
- Ibrahim Matta
- Margrit Betke
- Rich West (Committee Chair)

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