Professor Christine Julien is using a grant from the National Science Foundation to solve persistent problems posed by delay-tolerant networks (DTNs)—heteterogeneous networks with spotty connectivity. DTNs are the norm in remote areas with inadequate energy resources and mobile nodes, complicating search and rescue operations and third world communications.
Previous solutions have been tailored for specific applications. Julien is stepping back and looking for common characteristics. The optimal solution to the frequent and long-lasting disconnects on DTNs would be communication protocols that adapt to changing conditions on-the-fly. The ability to collect and interpret information about the application's environment would be key to success.
Julien's solution is an adaptive middleware that coordinates communication among mobile applications running on devices that are only intermittently connected. The middleware helps software react to frequent configuration changes that occur as devices move and communication capabilities change.