32nd Brazilian Symposium on
Computer Networks and Distributed Systems

Florianopolis - Brazil, May 5-9, 2014
Feng Zhao

Speaker: Dr. Feng Zhao, Microsoft Research Asia

Title: Planet-Scale Sensing: from lab to the real world

The lofty vision of the wireless sensor network research, when it started more than a decade ago, was to blanket the planet with tiny, self-organizing smart dust. Each dust particle has a little bit of sensing, computation and communication, with some onboard energy reserve. When released in the ambience, the smart dust collaborates to sense and possibly act on the physical world and its inhabitants, for a variety of societal scale problems such as environment, energy, health, and mobility. Now, with the advent of the increasingly more capable sensors on widely available platforms such as smartphones, wearables, vehicles, and other IoT devices, the age of planet-scale sensor networks has finally arrived. This new generation fixed and mobile sensing systems leverage storage and processing both on devices and in the cloud. Furthermore, the ability to crowd-source the sensing and action with users in the loop presents new opportunities as well as raising issues of privacy and security. In this talk, I will give an overview of the major advances in sensor networks to date. The rest of the talk will cover major applications of planet-scale sensing, including saving energy in Internet data centers, mapping out noise in the environment, and understanding human mobility patterns for better urban planning.

Dr. Zhao is an Assistant Managing Director at Microsoft Research Asia, responsible for the hardware, mobile and sensing, software analytics, systems and networking research areas. His own research has focused on wireless sensor networks, energy-efficient computing, and mobile systems. Prior to joining MSR-Asia in 2009, he was a Principal Researcher at MSR Redmond (2004-2009), and founded the Networked Embedded Computing Group that has designed and deployed sensor networks at several Microsoft datacenters for environmental monitoring and energy optimization. He was a Principal Scientist at Xerox PARC 1997-2004, and founded PARC's sensor network effort.

Dr. Zhao has championed the wireless sensor network and energy-efficient computing research in the past two decades. He was among the first to develop a suite of collaborative sensing and processing protocols for tracking problems using networked sensors, including the IDSQ algorithm. He authored or co-authored over 100 technical papers and books, including a book, Wireless Sensor Networks: An information processing approach, by Morgan Kaufmann. He was the founding Editor-In-Chief of ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks (2003-2010), and founded the ACM/IEEE IPSN conference. In 2008, he helped start a new workshop, HotPower, focusing on the emerging topic of sustainable computing.

Dr. Zhao received a PhD in Computer Science from MIT, and a BS from Shanghai Jiaotong University. He taught at Ohio State University and Stanford University. An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Zhao received a Sloan Research Fellowship (1994) and NSF and ONR Young Investigator Awards (1994, 1997). His work has been featured in news media such as BBC World News, BusinessWeek, and Technology Review.