Virginia Tech And University Of Texas To Create Wireless Simulator

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 17, 2003 – Texas and Virginia may be rivals on the football field but in the engineering world, they are colleagues working as a team.

Officials at Virginia Tech and the University of Texas at Austin (UTA) announced today they have been awarded two three-year research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF awards provide combined funding of about $2 million to both institutions.

The highly competitive grants will allow the two universities to create a revolutionary computer program that provides for the rapid testing and deployment of future wireless networks.The collaboration will combine engineering faculty from Virginia Tech's computer science department with faculty from both electrical and computer engineering and computer science at the University of Texas at Austin.

The co-investigator on both grants is Ted Rappaport, the William and Bettye Nowlin Professor of Engineering at the University of Texas and formerly a member of Virginia Tech’s engineering faculty.

"Future wireless devices will enable streaming video, voice over the Internet and vast amounts of data transfer. While we are many years away from being able to use wireless broadband devices in a ubiquitous manner,the software needed to simulate these future devices and networks must be created now," Rappaport said.

He and his colleagues at the Wireless Networking and Communications Group (WNCG) at the University of Texas will work with Professors Naren Ramakrishnan and Srinidhi Varadarajan at Virginia Tech. The project is expected to involve six faculty and 15 students between the two universities, and will yield a novel, public-domain software simulator that can replace actual hardware while emulating thousands of simultaneous wireless users on a national or international wireless network.

Virginia Tech's recent thrust to develop a national-scale parallel computing cluster will be an important resource for the collaboration and was a key factor for the NSF awards.Varadarajan is an NSF Career Award recipient and recently named the director of the Terascale Supercomputing Facility at Virginia Tech.

Within a few weeks, Varadarajan will announce the benchmarking number for the supercomputer he and his colleagues are creating, and it could be an impressive number if all goes as planned.

Hassan Aref, dean of the College of Engineering, explained the new supercomputer will be able to handle advanced research such as this cooperative NSF grant. The supercomputer will support "big science" research.

Rappaport served on the Virginia Tech faculty for 14 years before moving to UTA to launch a new wireless center there.