Ph.D. candidate Michael Zuba (Computer Science & Engineering) was awarded a fellowship to continue his underwater network systems research in Taiwan for eight weeks this summer. He will be hosted by Dr. Tshi C. Yang, the National Science Council Chair Professor within the Institute of Applied Marine Physics and Undersea Technology at National Sun Yat-sen University, an expert in the underwater acoustics field.
Michael is advised by Dr. Jun-Hong Cui and conducts his research in the Underwater Sensor Network Research Laboratory. His fellowship is supported by the National Science Foundation’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI), which sponsors U.S. graduate students who seek to advance their research through collaborations with renowned researchers in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan. The program also provides recipients an opportunity to forge scientific relationships that will underpin future collaborations with foreign counterparts.
At the National Sun Yat-sen University, Michael will build upon his thesis research involving the development of an advanced underwater acoustic communication framework for integration into an open-source network simulation tool. Michael intends to study the effects of a host of variables present in the physical environment – such as wind, noise, sea floor sediment types, the geometry of the network and the acoustic channel effects, such as multi-path, attenuation and different modulation schemes – on the performance of the acoustic communication network.
He explains, “This work will allow other researchers to validate new networking algorithms and physical layer improvements in underwater acoustics and networking, which lags behind terrestrial communication research. New applications, such as energy harvesting using wave motion and microbial fuel cells, lifetime assessment of water based civil structures and harbor and port surveillance will become more feasible, impacting and increasing our nation’s energy and infrastructure capabilities.”
Michael notes that Dr. Yang built a distinguished career at the U.S. Naval Research Lab (NRL), where he headed the Acoustic Signal Processing Branch before joining the Institute of Applied Marine Physics and Undersea Technology.
In preparation for the summer research experience, in May Michael and several other students will accompany Dr. Yang on a seven-day sea test to deploy an underwater wireless network system in the South China Sea/Taiwan Strait and to gather results that will inform the team’s summer research and other projects.
“This is a great opportunity to conduct exciting research outside of the laboratory and gain valuable field experience. On previous experiments, we have discovered unknown challenges or features that have led to new research topics,” says Michael. “Sea tests are an important part of translating our work into practice and being able to showcase the applications of our work before a larger audience. I am very appreciative and thankful to be invited to such a trip and to work with Dr. Yang.”