Projects

Energy Neutral Operation of Wireless Sensor Systems

With the introduction of energy harvesting devices, it was necessary to more than simply save energy in order to increase the sensor lifetime, but actually balance the energy collected and consumed by the system. In this mode, the optimisations were more concerned with efficiently using the energy in order to provide a better performance (more work) using the available energy budget. This idea of energy efficiency is then formalised to be the field of Energy Neutral Operation (ENO), which is a state of operation where the system never consumes more than it can collect. In this project we study explore new techniques for providing energy neutral operation for wireless sensor networks. <br /> <br />
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OrganiCity

OrganiCity is a platform for interaction between everyone in the city. Citizens, activists, researchers, businesses, city government – everyone in the city can contribute. Through workshops, meetups, conferences and events, and online via discussion boards and other platforms, social media and a growing set of online tools, you can get involved to highlight the ways you think smart technology can help make your city a better place to live, work and play.
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CPS-Ctrl: Reliable Distributed adaptive Control for next generation Cyber-physical Systems

Next generation smart cities, manufacturing 4.0, smart buildings, driverless vehicles, precision agriculture etc. will go beyond sophisticated telemetry and will enable automatic distributed control. That is, we will move beyond merely understanding people, places and things via sensing and analysis to being able to close the loop and provide more automation. It is our premise that there are a number of smart systems applications that require high precision sensing from a heterogeneous collection of sensor devices to establish an accurate and timely understanding of that systems’ state. The extreme complexity of analytics required to process these volumes of data limits what can be understood about the system in real-time. Yet, this real time analytics is what is required to enable automatic control. The only way to overcome this problem is to reduce the dimensionality by reducing the data and therefore the challenge is to do this without losing information. The overarching aim of this project is to better understand cyber-physical systems such as next generation water distribution networks and smart cities and to better control them through the development of integrated self-adaptive protocols that support distributed and collaborative analysis, prediction, and control using remote terminal units and servers and which provides guarantees pertaining to: reliability, stability, convergence, and security.<br /> <br />
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Sensor Systems Security

Many of the algorithms and protocols used in distributed networked control or sensor/actuator networks are designed to maximise the system constraints and overcome failure. However, many of these design choices have potentially interesting security implications. These implications and the mechanisms to overcome potential conflicts are the focus of this set of projects.<br /> <br /> To this end we have been investigating the security of mobile phones used as opportunistic data relays. We are also investigating sensing security in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the EPSRC PATRAS IoT Hub. The £24M Hub is a consortium of nine leading universities including UCL, Imperial College London, University of Oxford, University of Warwick, Lancaster University, University of Southampton, University of Surrey, University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University. PETRAS IoT Hub explores the technical, ethical and social issues associated with IoT networks. It aims to make the UK the world’s best place to develop and deploy new internet technologies and draws in substantial support and leverage from over 47 partners from industry and the public sector. <br /> <br /> (See: https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/news/iotresearchhub/)<br />
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(S4) Science of Sensor Systems Software

In the S4 research programme we aim to deliver new principles and techniques for the development and deployment of verifiable, reliable, autonomous sensor systems that operate in uncertain, multiple and multi-scale environments. <br /> <br /> Imperial’s particular focus in this project is the purposeful design and development of sensor testbeds to understand, per design, their different behaviours under differing environmental conditions and demands, and in terms of hardware and software. Therefore an understanding of computer science formalisms combined with systems engineering and practical experience is required for this post. <br /> <br /> At Imperial, this project is led by Julie McCann as part of the EPSRC funded S4 programme. The ‘Science of Sensor Systems Software’ (S4) programme brings together researchers from the universities of Glasgow, Liverpool and St Andrews, and Imperial College London examining systems, dynamics, verification and modelling etc. It is driven and validated by end-user and experimental applications involving ten organisations, including ABB, British Geological Survey, CENSIS, Freescale, Rolls-Royce, Thales, and Transport Scotland. (See: http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/research/S4/)<br />
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Self-generating Space Sensing Systems

We work on architectures, algorithms, protocols and tools that allow computer systems to self-adapt to their environment and self-organise to improve their performance, quality or ability to scale and survive. Self-generating Space Sensing Systems are lab and flight projects to which we are applying these concepts, particularly in the context of resource constrained ChipSat, Thin-Film and CubeSat scale spacecraft and subsystems, for earth observation and planetary science.<br />
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WefWebs

The WEFWEBs project will examine the data and evidence around the water, energy and food systems (including social, economic, political, institutional and environmental components) and their interactions and dependencies within the local, regional and national scales. The project will use case studies based in Oxford, the Tamar Estuary in Devon and in London to explore the interdependencies.<br /> <br /> The project will work with food producers, retailers, utility companies, environmental agencies local authorities and the public to develop together new data and new understandings.<br /> <br /> EPSRC (EP/N005600/1; awarded £1.4 million. Led by Professor Marian Scott, University of Glasgow. Partners: Imperial College London, UCL, University of Exeter, University of Oxford, Newcastle University, School of Oriental & African Studies, Rothamsted Research.
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ICRI Sustainable Connected Cities Institute

To enhance the social, economic and environmental well being of cities by advancing computer, communication and social constructs to deliver innovations in system architecture, algorithms, and societal participation.
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Smart Water Projects

This project theme examines the technologies, protocols, and algorithms that are required to maximise the usage and lifetimes of modern water networks while minimising their costs. Two novel approaches are used in this theme of work; technologies that provide the adaptivity of the water network to make it dynamically reconfigurable, as well as frugal computing solutions. There are two large projects in this theme:<br /> <br /> NEC Smart Water is a project with Ivan Stoianov in Civil Engineering to examine how to build next-generation flexible water distribution systems.<br /> <br /> FP7 WISDOM: WISDOM aims at integrating and demonstrating innovative ICT systems and services for efficient water use and reuse in order to improve household, business and societal awareness and induce changes in consumers' behaviour and to enable innovative resource and demand management scheme and adaptive pricing incentives.
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FUSE- Floodplain Underground Sensor Network.

Floodplain Underground Sensor project's aim is to design and deploy a high‐density, wireless, underground sensor network to quantify floodplain hydro‐ecological interactions.<br /> <br /> For the purposes of land management, aesthetics and security it is not possible to install sensors or sensor equipment above ground level. A key aspect of the project, and one that makes it challenging and novel, is the wireless networking of sensors entirely below ground.
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Infrastructureless Wireless Sensing

Future smart cities will require sensing on a scale hitherto unseen. Fixed infrastructures have limitations regarding sensor maintenance, placement and connectivity. Employing the ubiquity of mobile devices is one approach to overcoming some of these problems. This work relates to general Delay Tolerant Networking and Opportunistic Networking principles but extends these notions to incorporate models of the behaviours of the environment and people that involved to optimise performance. Since our mobile devices carry data between sensors and their required destination we nick-name them Data Mules.
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Computing at the Motley Edge

Traditionally sensor networks were described as closed tree-like topologies that fed data to some form of computational cloud servers for processing. Today we see more agile mosaic computational structures whereby sensed data can be processed over a continuum of computational devices. Devices such as phones, set-top boxes, routers, base-stations, access points, even purposefully positioned staging processors, some static, some mobile, may combine in cleaver ways. Applications requiring control, scalability, local privacy, low latency etc. should benefit from such architectures over the more traditional Cloud approaches.
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Context Aware Systems and Programming

Context-aware systems are aware of some aspect of the user, e.g. their location and activity, or of the physical environment in which the user is located, e.g. humidity and temperature, amount of ambient light and sound, capacity of the machine its running on etc.<br /> <br /> Related to our research on sensing the environment is our work on context-aware support for computing systems; large and small. Here we advocate the use of distributed, agile and scalable, approaches to defining, implementing and managing context.
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Self-Adaptive, Autonomics and Emergence

Much of the complexities of maintaining modern computing systems are becoming the responsibility of the system itself. Systems, may have a notion of how they behave and, in a similar way to traditional control systems, maintain functional parameters so that the non-functional requirements of the system remain; even when the environment in which the system lives has changed. However, we can take this further and make this self-adaptive system more Autonomic, in the sense that it now observes how well it is maintaining itself and perhaps learns how to change its parameters to work more efficiently or faster etc. There are many ways one can tackle the issues above. Our approach has been to continue the highly-decentralised theme, whereby the adaptivity control and autonomic function is as distributed as possible so that the system is agile and can scale. Further, as some of our systems (e.g. sensors) consist of low resourced devices, we have a co-aim to make this as lightweight as possible. As a result we have been examining notions of engineered emergence, borrowing from fire-flies (PCOs) and ants etc. showing that we can out-perform more ridged approaches significantly.
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Cyber Physical Systems

A Cyber-Physical System (CPS) can be defined as any system that combines both computation and physical processes. Most computing can be viewed in this way, but our specific focus is on systems that are heavily embedded in their environment and make intimate decisions about, or make changes to, that environment. This covers embedded sensing and actuation systems and control systems. Our particular interest here is to use knowledge of the environment to improve the performance or decision making aspects of the computational elements of the system. In turn, this should have a better impact on the environment in question.
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London Living Labs (L3)

A living lab is an environment that is instrumented to enable experiments to be carried out in situ. Our focus is at the city scale. In this vein, our London Living Labs (L3) is a large-scale generic facility and testbed intended for a consortium of partners to use on a range of projects. It is intended to provide a rapid experimentation environment, but also have a lifespan measured in years not weeks. Here, we describe how it is planned and is being used in projects across 4 research themes. Three sites have started using the Living Labs framework and instrumentation: Hyde Park, Brixton and Enfield. <br /> <br /> This work, run from the ICRI Cities, is co-sponsored by Intel and TSB Catapult in Future Cities.
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