Given the complexity and seriousness of the disaster response environment, there is an urgent need for a wireless adhoc and sensor network cyberinfrastructure that integrates responders and supporting networks. The cyberinfrastructure must enhance robustness and efficiency of the integrated networks and provide mechanisms to dynamically modify network behavior in response to changing conditions. Similar efforts have made contributions in surveillance, tracking, and healthcare but fail to address the scale, complexity and robustness required by disaster response.
Intellectual merit: This project develops a cyberinfrastructure consisting of a set of new protocols, software components and analysis to support disaster response. The cyberinfrastructure is designed for the alternately congested and sparse environments typical of disasters where conventional infrastructure is unavailable. A spectrum-aware, multi-channel MAC protocol improves energy efficiency of compressed sensing applications, by minimizing congestion through intelligent use of multiple channels. On-demand routing provides end-to-end delay guarantees at optimal data rates. Adaptive tuning improves performance and minimizes negative interactions. The architecture provides a robust, energy-efficient framework tailored to disaster response operations. Broader impact: The project will provide the first cyberinfrastructure for emergency response, integrating wireless sensor networks, adhoc networks deployed in a realistic environment. The research results will augment current course offerings at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The project will create a high school-level show-and-tell lecture on wireless adhoc and sensor networks in disaster response to be delivered at a local high school. Finally, the project will integrate the proposed cyberinfrastructure with Texas Task Force 1, the main state agency responsible for coordinating urban search and rescue and one of six teams selected by FEMA to provide response to Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear, and Explosive incidents.