Microsoft Azure Research Award

We are grateful to Microsoft for supporting our work with a Microsoft Azure Research Award, which provides us the equivalent of $20,000 in Azure computing services.

The award will help us study new fog-specific computing program decompositions and performance-costs tradeoffs in realistic fog computing settings. We will also use this award to further examine the role of fog computing architectures in future Augmented Reality (AR) applications.

The principal investigators on this award are myself, Liang Zheng, and Mung Chiang.

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Improv Training Helps to Enjoy The Randomness of Public Speaking

Now living in a lush quiet suburban New Jersey Princeton area, I miss exactly two things about New York City: the food scene and my improv classes. If I move to a big city yet again, improv training will be the first thing I seek out. Well, maybe the second. Following a couple of good restaurants.

Improv training is amazing preparation for public speaking, especially the unpredictable kinds of it, like panels and Q&A sessions. Continue reading

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Lesser-known Differences between Academia and Industry

The Chronicle recently published an interesting opinion piece that mentions several aspects of working in academia that may not be as evident as commonly discussed ones.

Having worked in industry and academia, I appreciated the commentary. There are indeed relatively subtle differences between the two career tracks that work for some but not for others. For example, when working in industry I found surprising how little I was allowed to say about my work to outsiders. This is the kind of difference whose importance varies widely from one person to the next: some enjoy sharing their work, some are OK one way or another, while others see sharing as a chore they are happy to drop when transitioning from academia to industry.

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2016 IEEE Communications Society Young Author Best Paper Award

ieeecomsocawardAya Wallwater, Gil Zussman, and myself received the 2016 IEEE Communications Society Young Author Best Paper Award at the 2016 IEEE GLOBECOM earlier this week, for our paper on measurements and algorithms for networks of energy harvesting nodes that appeared in the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing in 2013 [Paper PDF]. This IEEE Communications Society Award recognizes originality, utility, timeliness, and impact of the work.

This is my second IEEE Communications Society Award. My previous one is the 2011 IEEE Communications Society Award for Advances in Communications.

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How Slow is a Pebble Watch?

Just as a I started considering using Pebble Watches as a low-power IoT platform for my experiments with fog computing, Pebble announced that the watches will not be manufactured anymore. Pebble is sold to Fitbit; independent operation of Pebble stops. And this is only mere weeks after I started characterizing Pebble performance.

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Shelved Project Ara: Would Have Made a Great Research Project

Google’s project Ara, aimed at creating a smart phone consisting of easily interchanged modules, is officially shelved.


Ara should have been a research project, and not a productization attempt. As a product, it was always questionable: it’s hard to figure out what could make customers wait in line for these phones (“I can change a camera, uhuh, OK, and?”), and it’s not clear what would make manufacturers want to produce them (“Let me see if I get this straight, I now get to sell components with lower profit margins, rather than integrated devices with higher ones — I should do this why, exactly?”).

For a research project, seamless modularization would have been an intriguing and potentially transformative goal. Modularity is cool. Continue reading

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My Favorite Collection: Countries and States Ran, v. July 2016

As of July 2016, the totals of places where I went running and ran at least one mile include:

  • Countries: 12 out of 196
  • Canadian provinces and territories: 3 out of 13
  • US states: 30 out of 50

The recent additions to the collection are Delaware and North Carolina (both added in March 2016) and Iceland (added in March 2015). The countries and the states where I went running are: Continue reading

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Pain Of Not Doing A Planned Race, or Woes of a DNS

The wisdom of racing is that finishing dead last (DFL) is better than not finishing (DNF), and not finishing is better than not starting (DNS). DFL < DNF < DNS.


Well, T-shirt wisdom aside, sometimes you gotta take the annoying DNS.  And that’s the case with my planned 2016 New York City Triathlon, which is going on this Sunday, less than 16 hours from now. Continue reading

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Work-Wearables: Next Step in Major Wearable Technology Deployments?

New Zealand Herald has an interesting opinion piece on the promise of wearable tech in work-wearables. The author makes several good points about why work wearables look like a promising area: work wearables have more reasons to be wearable, their price is easier to justify, and one won’t necessarily have to worry as much about style.

Different from, say, using existing lifestyle trackers for figuring out the employees’ levels of fitness, the argument is for wearables as tools for getting work done. Like smart uniforms that have long been envisioned by different military agencies — helping people be more productive in the 3rd of the lifetime that they spend at work.

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IoT Spectrum Devices: Unusual Design Choices in Amazon Dash Button

Amazon recently announced that it will be partnering with over 50 additional brands in deploying its Dash buttons, small electronic buttons that can be sprinkled around the house and clicked to order the product a button represents. There are now more than 150 buttons available, covering products both ubiquitous (Doritos, Huggies, Gatorade) and niche (Greenies, L’il Critters Vitamins, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein).

amazon_dash_buttonA Dash button in its intended deployment.

From an engineering point of view, Dash Button is a curious creature. Other smart buttons, such as the Flic Wireless Smart Button, exhibit the design choices that an engineer would naturally come up with: a smart button is a small device with a replaceable coin cell battery, communicating over Bluetooth. If you come up to me, or any other engineer, and ask them to sketch on a napkin a smart button design, you’d get something like Flic.

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