Dr. Henry Tirri
Research Fellow, Nokia Research Center
Email: henry.tirri@nokia.com
Web-page: http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/tirri/

Nokia Research Center

Wireless sensor networks are continuing the trend originating in mainframe computing which is currently at the stage of mobile computing. This trend shows several aspects consistent in the evolution of computing including the increasing miniaturization of the computing units and an increasing emphasis of the role of communication between them – “networking”. Sensor networks will eventually infuse the physical world and provide “grounding” for the Internet. However, it is crucial to be able to combine wireless sensor networks capabilities with the system software technology that forms the present Internet in order to create the vision of truly “ubiquitously present” computing.

Research on wireless sensor networks has been taking place at several levels, from the lowest physical level to the highest information processing level – however, the latter is much less developed than the research at the lower levels.In addition, in the past much of the research in wireless sensor networks has been focusing on military or science applications. Interestingly wireless sensor networks can also play an important role in the realization of ubiquitous computing for everyday life. When wireless sensor networks move to the consumer application domains the isolated, special purpose systems face the interfacing and integration problems to the existing networks and applications. Mobile terminals can be seen as one natural component in such an integration process since they can act as an interface/gateway to the low-powered WSN, but more importantly can also be viewed as high-power mobile sensor nodes in a (very) large-scale pervasive network. From an application perspective, using mobile terminals as sensor nodes allows one to implement functions such as community level “traffic monitoring”  (including not only vehicles but also people) resulting in development of totally unseen services from micro weather forecasts to “sensor tagging” and entertainment. From the research perspective such networks present interesting questions as the nodes are inherently mobile, have powerful local computing capabilities (with the energy is still being a problem), can communicate via various communication channels from UWB to cellular networks, have direct access to IP-networks with related services, and are “always-on” with the user.

In this talk we will focus on some of the research challenges of creating such heterogenous sensor networks with 100+ million sensor nodes with rather sophisticated processing capabilities, and some of the central aspects of building applications using the data produced by such large networks.

Brief biography:

Dr. Henry Tirri’s general research interests are related to intelligence in machines. As reasoning under uncertainty is one central aspect of intelligent behavior, the last 15 years he has been interested in fundamental questions related to building models from data, and performing (predictive) inference from such models (related to "data analysis"). In this broad area his main focus is on probabilistic and information-theoretic approaches, both the theoretical properties and multidisciplinary applications. Some of the results of the research have been implemented in B-Course data analysis service. During the recent years he has been particularly interested in applying these modeling methods for information retrieval including Internet search engines, collaborative behavior in e-learning environments and wireless sensor networks. In general he is interested in adaptive systems, and related notions of the above topics, such as context-awareness, community-based computing and data analysis for future networks in general.

Dr. Henry Tirri is a Research Fellow at Nokia Research Center. He received his BSc, MSc and PhD in Computer Science from University of Helsinki, Finland. Dr. Tirri’s academic experience includes both research and teaching positions at the University of Helsinki, University of Texas at Austin, Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC), AT&T Bell Laboratories, Purdue University, NASA Ames Research Center, Stanford University, and UC Berkeley, where he was a Visiting Scholar until 2004. From 1998 he has been a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki, and an Adjunct Professor of Computational Engineering at the Helsinki University of Technology. He has established the Complex Systems Computation Research Group (http://cosco.hiit.fi) and from 2001 to 2004 he was the Research Director of Intelligent Systems area in Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, and during 2003-2004 the Director of Helsinki Graduate School in Computer Science and Engineering and a board member of the multidisciplinary Graduate school for Learning environments (2001-)