Seminars at the Faculty of Informatics

Towards Dependable Sensor Networks

The Faculty of Informatics is pleased to announce a seminar given by Lothar Thiele

DATE: Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

PLACE: USI Lugano Campus, room SI-003, Informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)

TIME: 13.00

The area of wireless sensor networks had a huge impact on the research in various fields related to electrical engineering and computer science. Spatially distributed sensor nodes are used as a new kind of measurement instruments to collect physical or environmental data. Much of this work was driven by the early vision of SmartDust. One of the corner stones to achieve the required quality of service in terms of sensing density in time and space was the concept of 'reliability via over-provisioning'. The field of wireless sensor networks is now in a stage where serious applications of societal and economic importance are in reach such as industrial process monitoring and control, environment monitoring, logistics, healthcare applications, home automation, and traffic control. In many of these applications, all measurements are precious and must not be lost, reliable data must arrive in real-time, sensors are relatively expensive, and deployment of a sensor network and repair/update are very labor-intensive and expensive. We argue that in order to significantly advance the application domains by using a wireless sensor network as a novel means of observation and interaction, it is inevitable that such a tool be created as a quality scientific instrument with known and predictable properties. The talk will introduce new models and methods that lead to predictable and efficient networked embedded systems such as optimized and predictable use of harvested solar energy, data cleaning methods, network tomography, sensor calibration, and new classes of dependable synchronization and communication protocols. We will demonstrate their use in extensive, long-term installations of sensor networks in hostile environments for safety-critical applications (mobile air quality measurements in cities and environmental sensing in permafrost regions).


Lothar Thiele received his Diplom-Ingenieur and Dr.-Ing. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Munich in 1981 and 1985 respectively. After completing his Habilitation thesis from the Institute of Network Theory and Circuit Design of the Technical University Munich, he joined the Information Systems Laboratory at Stanford University in 1987.

In 1988, he took up the chair of microelectronics at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Saarland, Saarbrucken, Germany. He joined ETH Zurich, Switzerland, as a full Professor of Computer Engineering, in 1994.

His research interests include models, methods and software tools for the design of embedded systems, embedded software and bioinspired optimization techniques.

Lothar Thiele is associate editor of IEEE Transaction on Industrial Informatics, IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, Journal of Real-Time Systems, Journal of Signal Processing Systems, Journal of Systems Architecture, and INTEGRATION, the VLSI Journal.

In 1986 he received the "Dissertation Award" of the Technical University of Munich, in 1987, the "Outstanding Young Author Award" of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, in 1988, the Browder J. Thompson Memorial Award of the IEEE, and in 2000-2001, the "IBM Faculty Partnership Award". In 2004, he joined the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Honorary Blaise Pascal Chair of University Leiden, The Netherlands. Since 2009 he is a member of the Foundation Board of Hasler Foundation, Switzerland. Since 2010, he is a member of the Academia Europea.

Lothar Thiele holds the position of Head of the Department Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.


HOST: Prof. Miroslaw Malek , ALaRI