Swarun CAREER

Swarun Kumar of Carnegie Mellon University recently received an NSF CAREER Award. (cmu.edu photo)

Carnegie Mellon University recently announced that a handful of its early-career professors were recipients of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, including Swarun Kumar.

Kumar, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a CAREER award for his work on low-power wide-area networks (LP-WANs).

LP-WANs are designed to provide a wireless network over a large area. Since many of these currently use a maintenance requiring battery, Kumar wants to find a better power source, according to the university.

This new power source could provide wireless network to a larger area including, the Indian American researcher hopes, an entire city, it said.

LP-WANs aim to provide wireless connectivity at extremely low data rates (kbps) over distances of several miles to devices powered by a 10-year battery.

Today's LP-WANs struggle to cope with the scale of future IoT deployments and the significant signal attenuation posed by urban environments. Kumar’s research lab, WiTech, has developed new solutions for allowing LP-WANs to scale more efficiently, achieve even longer range in urban settings and save battery life, including solutions that avoid a battery altogether, the research information states.

“We want all of our devices to be smart, everything around us, from the chairs we sit on, to the phones we use to communicate, to the bags we lug around everywhere,” says Kumar. “To achieve this vision, the fundamental question that needs to be addressed is, ‘How are we going to network these devices?’ All of today’s technologies, like cellular, Wi-Fi, and Internet don’t make the cut. The last link between your handbag and the internet does not yet exist.”

The award also proposes a K-12 outreach program, the university news release said.

Kumar received the George Sprowls Award for best Ph.D. thesis in computer science at MIT and the President of India gold medal at IIT Madras.

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