John S. Baras


Prof. Baras participated in a panel discussion organized by MATHWORKS

Professor John S. Baras (ECE/ISR) recently (December 16, 2009) participated in an invited presentation and discussion panel, organized and sponsored by MathWorks with the theme: Designing Better Control Systems with Computational Models. The panel was held in Shanghai, China, and it was part of the joint 48th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) and of the 28th Chinese Control Conference (CCC). The moderator of the panel was Professor T. John Koo, Director of the Center for Embedded Software Systems, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. In addition to Professor Baras, the other panelists were Professor Roger Brockett of Harvard University (and ISR), Professor Christos Cassandras of Boston University and John Glass of MathWorks. Professor Baras’s presentation was entitled: Component-based Architecture and System Synthesis (COMPASS). In his presentation, Professor Baras emphasized that as we move from a reductionist scientific approach to an integrative scientific approach, the fundamental challenge is to synthesize engineering systems so as to be able to generate predictable system behavior and performance by integrating behaviors and performance of system components, or what he has termed compositional synthesis of complex engineered systems. This compositional synthesis advances engineering to the next frontier, way beyond "plug and play synthesis". He explained that advances in IT make possible to accomplish this vision; namely networked embedded systems. Through embedded systems the heterogeneity of the various physical components is translated into a common language where design can be integrated. Networked embedded systems have revolutionized cars, networks, energy, biology and many other fields; at scales from nano to macro. The implied programmability and re-programmability has immense consequences. He closed his presentation by presenting A Vision: The Next Step in Computer-Assisted System Design. He described as key steps towards this vision the following: • Enable component-based design and synthesis of complex systems (constrained components enable design flexibility) • Create a "desk-top" system synthesis tool • Reduce current SE tool costs by several orders • Capable to handle diverse system ontologies • Have multi-physics capabilities • Link to libraries of models for design re-use • Heterogeneous component and time models

Date: December 16, 2009
Place: Shanghai, China

Prof. Baras delivered an Invited Talk at NSF Annual ERC Meeting

Professor John S. Baras (ECE/ISR) recently (December 3, 2009) gave an invited plenary presentation on the history, current status and future of the ISR, during the NSF Annual ERC Meeting, which took place at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda Maryland, December 2-4, 2009. Dr. Baras spoke at the “Sustaining the ERC after Graduation” Workshop – a part of the Annual Meeting. He also participated in a panel and a Q&A session in the same workshop. Jim Williams (former exec director DSSC, Carnegie Mellon) was the moderator of the workshop and panel. The panelists and speakers were: John Baras (University of Maryland), Bob Lewis (University of Minnesota) and Bill Michalerya (Lehigh University). The themes of the workshop were: Current status, staffing, funding and accomplishments; Successful approaches to sustainability; How to keep cross-disciplinary, systems-level research and education alive after graduation; Effectiveness of NSF’s role in transition and what can be done differently to facilitate the process. Dr. Baras spoke about the history of the ISR and its development, the principles followed in its organization and progress through the years, its early-current-future research and educational programs and accomplishments, the current structure of the ISR, its industry collaboration programs, the ISR experience and strategies that led to a sustainable ERC, and the bright future ahead for ISR given the significance of Systems Science and Engineering for so many critical applications. His presentation is available from the Annual ERC Meeting at . “We should all be very proud for what we have accomplished in the ISR through a quarter century of hard work and innovative thinking in research, education and administration. It was evident to me at the Annual ERC meeting that the ISR enjoys tremendous respect by the community and the NSF as the longest self-sustained ERC (25 years) and as a pioneering institution for cross-disciplinary research, education, and industry-university-government collaboration” Baras said. Dr. Baras also authored a case study report on the history and development of the ISR, which will appear in the forthcoming report from the NSF “Post-Graduation Status of National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers” (by J.E. Williams and C. S. Lewis).

Event Info:
Date: December 3, 2009
Place: Bethesda, Maryland

Dr. John Baras participated in a Panel discussion at Mobihoc '09

Mobihoc 2009, the Tenth ACM International Symposium on Mobile Ad Hoc Networking and Computing, is the tenth of a series of annual meetings sponsored by ACM SIGMOBILE, focusing on the latest research in the rapidly growing area of mobile ad hoc networking and computing. The panel discussion was held on May 20. Professor Baras stated that despite intensive research over almost 30 years mobile adhoc networks(MANET) have not delivered the promise expected. He further stated that as we move further into mobile broadband and higher link capacities, performance is predictable (even bounds are fine). He then described five ideas/concepts that in his opinion are parts of a promising approach to meet the challenge:(1)Move away from the contention based to scheduling-based MAC protocols; (2)Develop more probing/sensing schemes at all layers to detect/estimate network and other states and use this information in feedback loops(almost 'ATM like'); (3)As MANET become massive distributed asynchronous software systems component-based software and networking are essential with the key obstacle being the linkage of formal models to performance models(break the traditional layers to components);(4)Maintain dynamically multiple topologies(connectivities)of certain kind, because they enable many applications/functions to run fast and reliably; (5)Make the radios very capable, using multiple wireless nets and enabling 'intelligence' in the network. Regarding applications, he described military tactical networks as still being the largest, with wireless sensor networks being a close second. Other emerging applications he described are: vehicular networks, space exploration, collaborative robotics, underwater collaborative vehicles, mobile wireless nets in factories, disaster relief and healthcare. Many of these applications rely heavily on the emerging field of ‘mobile computing' facilitated by broadband MANET.

Event Info:
Date: May 18-21, 2009
Paper Title: Future of Multi-hopping: from Theory to Practice
Place: New Orleans, Louisisana

Baras delivered an Invited Talk at SIAM Conference

Professor John Baras delivered an invited talk on "Dynamic Distributed Control over Semirings and Applications" at the SIAM Conference on Control and its Applications. The talk centered demonstrating that many constrained dynamic control problems involving hybrid systems are control problems for dynamical systems over partially ordered semirings. Applications include biological-social-communication networks, collaborative robotics, consensus, flocking, trust, swarms. The talk also highlighted on algorithms developed for solving dynamic constrained shortest path problems over semirings.

Event Info:
Date: July 6- 10, 2009
Paper Title: Dynamic Distributed Control over Semirings and Applications
Place: Denver, Colorado

Prof Baras presented a distinguished lecture at UC Irvine

Professor John Baras (ECE/ISR) recently gave a distinguished lecture, “Trust and Reputation in Networked Systems: Social, Information, Communication, Control,” at the University of California Irvine. The lecture was part of the distinguished lecture series of the Networked Systems Program, a joint program between the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. The program is also part of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a two-campus multidisciplinary research institute that integrates UCI and UCSD faculty expertise with industry insight. Calit2 seeks innovative information technology approaches that will benefit society and ignite economic development in a wide range of areas, including the environment, transportation, emergency management, healthcare, global economics, education and entertainment.

A brief abstract of the November 20, 2009 lecture
Trust and reputation are critical concepts in networks—communication, control, computer, social, web-based social, economic, biological. Trust evaluation leads to the development of relations and collaborations. These evaluations are based either on direct ‘communal’ monitoring and inference by the nodes, or on indirect references and credentials. We describe new fundamental ways for analyzing and evaluating trust in autonomic networked systems. The indirect evaluation process is modeled as a path problem on a directed graph, where nodes represent entities, and edges represent trust relations. We develop a novel formulation of trust computation as ‘linear’ iterations on partially ordered semirings. The direct trust evaluation process is modeled as iterated games on dynamic graphs. We present several explicit examples. We present the methodology of constrained coalitional dynamic games that we have developed for studying the effects of trust on collaboration. We provide several examples with quantitative evaluation of trust on distributed inference and control systems using a combination of these new algebraic and analytical methods.


Event Info:
Date: November 20, 2009
Place: Irvine, California


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