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September 2015

Postcard from China: UVic PhD student improves wireless monitoring

I’m in my third year of my PhD program in the Department of Computer Science at University of Victoria (UVic). One of my research interests is the protocol design and performance evaluation of wireless sensor networks, which are widely used in environmental and infrastructure monitoring.

So far, my research has been conducted with software simulation and mathematical modeling; however, testbed implementation is more realistic and accurate.

Thanks to my home supervisor, Dr. Jianping Pan, I applied for the Mitacs Globalink Research Award to undertake a project with Dr. Ruonan Zhang at Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU) in Xi'an, China. Dr. Zhang is a UVic alumnus: he received his PhD there and joined NWPU in 2010. One of his research areas is testbed development and implementation for wireless networks.

For my research project, we implemented a protocol in a hardware platform based on Contiki, an open-source operating system for the Internet of Things that connects tiny, low-cost, low-power micro-controllers to the Internet. I collaborated with two of Dr. Zhang's senior undergrads, who have been working on similar problems. Their resulting thesis proposal has been selected as one of the key undergraduate projects at NWPU. To introduce the project, I also gave a presentation and two demos.

It’s my first funded international collaboration and Dr. Zhang and his students helped me so much. I had many opportunities to interact with the first-class international researchers. I also visited other universities in Xi’an, such as Northwest University and Xidian University, to network with other researchers and build potential international collaborations.

After I returned to UVic, I presented a report that showed outcomes and the positive impact of the collaboration to the research groups in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments. The project greatly expanded my research networks and experience, and I expect that there will be many more such international collaborations in our lab. 

Mitacs would like to thank the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec their support of the Globalink Research Award program. In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support this award, including Campus France and Inria, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Mission Universitaire de Tunisie en Amerique du Nord.