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Prof. Fan Ye Studies Foundational Hardware and Software for Smart Environments

Receives National Science Foundation CAREER Award

February 13, 2017

In the next decade, 20-50 billions of so called “smart objects’’ or ‘‘Internet-of-Things’’ (IoT) devices embedded with sensing, actuation, computing, communication and storage resources are expected to transform our homes, offices, neighborhoods and communities into ‘‘smart environments,’, providing novel functions and services, and creating potential economic impacts in multi-billions. However, the recent boom in IoT standards largely adopts existing embedded system software/hardware, with little scrutiny of whether they are the right match to the unique needs of smart environments.

“Many smart home products provide black-white access: either you have full control or you have almost nothing,” says ECE assistant professor Fan Ye. “What’s needed is flexible and fine grained access control in not just what, but how.” Only allowed access operations and permitted parameters of objects should become "visible" and invokable to the user. For example, upon approaching a home, a garage door icon with an ”open” button should pop up in the device of a UPS driver. Pushing the button lifts the door one foot for 10 seconds, so he or she can slip in a package. Then the door shuts and the icon completely disappears.

Fan Ye has received the National Science Foundation’s Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, including $450,000 over five years to develop software/hardware architectures and systems that provide flexible and fine grained access, formal assurances of command execution, and enterprise scale management urgently demanded in smart environments.This research studies what is the appropriate software/hardware architecture matching unique requirements and characteristics of smart environment. It promotes smart object command operations as first class citizens, embedding constraints in commands to enforce the restrictions on time, extent and form of access.

For a large enterprise environment (e.g., a university campus), the IT administrators face a future with tens of thousands of smart objects. “Scalable configuration, monitoring and maintenance of large numbers of smart objects is a must,” says Ye, “so the administrator can easily set seasonal lighting schedules for thousands of bulbs without tweaking them one by one.”

Ye is collaborating with Stony Brook’s Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technologies (CEWIT) and university police for pilot studies (e.g., smart building access for agile police response), and developing graduate course materials and K-12 outreach programs based on the research.

Bio: Fan Ye received his B.E. and M.S. from Tsinghua University, his Ph.D. from UCLA Computer Science Department in 2004, and then joined IBM T. J. Watson Research Center as a Research Staff Member. Currently he is an Assistant Professor in the ECE department of Stony Brook University. His research interests include mobile sensing platforms, systems and applications, pervasive edge computing, Internet-of-Things, location based services, wireless and sensor networks, and energy efficiency. He has published over 70 peer reviewed papers that have received over 8000 citations according to Google Scholar. He has 21 granted/pending US and international patents/applications. He was the co-chair for the Mobile Computing Professional Interests Community at IBM Watson. He received an IBM Research Division Award, 5 Invention Achievement Plateau awards, the Best Paper Award for the International Conference on Parallel Computing, and a 2017 NSF Career Award. He has served as panelist multiple times for US NSF, Canada and Hong Kong government research funding agencies, and on the program and organizing committees for conferences including ACM Mobicom, ACM Sensys and IEEE Infocom.