ECE Launches New Ph.D. Program in Mobility


October 3, 2008

To study the business, organization and technical issues related to managing systems found in cell phones, in-vehicle and hand-held travel guidance systems and other network enabled devices, and building infrastructures, Carnegie Mellon CyLab launched the Mobility Research Center (MRC) this past summer in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley.

The MRC will conduct research to improve hardware and software technology for mobile devices, including studies of how people work, play, shop and collaborate, and how new applications and services can change their lives, according to University Professor Pradeep Khosla, the founding director of CyLab and dean of the College of Engineering.

So unique is this Center, that the ECE Department has created a Ph.D. program in mobility systems that allows full-time or part-time Ph.D. students affiliated with the MRC to do all or part of their studies at the Silicon Valley Campus. Initial focus will be on mobility, networking and security.

ECE associate professor Priya Narasimhan and Martin Griss, Associate Dean for Research at Silicon Valley will direct the new Ph.D. program which will link existing research, education, and entrepreneurship programs at both campuses.

"This is an exciting new offering for our Ph.D. students, and allows them to leverage industrial research connections in Silicon Valley, along with research and education ties in Pittsburgh, and get the best of both worlds," said Narasimhan.

Here at Carnegie Mellon, Narasimhan has already created a hub for student research projects that develop mobile technologies to assist the disabled by turning the cell phone into a virtual coach. Blind users will be able to independently identify currency, shop for groceries and receive scheduled bus routes from the Internet on smart phones that read the information aloud to the users. Her group has also created systems to translate sign language into the spoken word.

At a Mobility Summit held last summer at the West Coast campus, representatives from a broad spectrum of companies such as Adobe, Bosch, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo and faculty from the MRC began the process of building a collaborative community.

"The first Mobility Research Summit was a great success," said Griss. "We had some 20 people from a range of companies...principal engineers, senior directors, VPs and business developers.... I was pleased with the energy, enthusiasm and range of ideas, as well as issues surfaced, such as our model for dealing with IP and to build local community."

Griss and Narasimhan will be discussing the mobility Ph.D. program in ECE at an IEEE Tech/Career Talk on Tuesday, October 7 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in Hamerschlag 1112.

Nokia Research Center has announced that it will sponsor two fellowships for new students, details to be announced.

For more information about the ECE Ph.D. program in mobility, please contact Prof. Narasimhan.

ECE associate professor Priya Narasimhan and Martin Griss, Associate Dean for Research at Silicon Valley, will direct the new Ph.D. program in Mobility Research.

Related People:

Priya Narasimhan

Martin Griss

Related Links:

CyLab Mobility Research Center

ECE and INI Tech Talk: Towards a Truly Mobile Companion