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Walid Saad Receives Two National Science Foundation Research Awards | ECE | Virginia Tech

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Walid Saad Receives Two National Science Foundation Research Awards

Walid Saad
Walid Saad

Walid Saad, Professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, has received two awards from the National Science Foundation.

The first project, in the amount of $230,000, is entitled, Extended Reality over Wireless Cellular Networks: Quality-of-Experience Analysis and Optimization.

Extended reality (XR) technologies, encompassing virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, will immerse users in virtual worlds with unprecedented interactivity across multiple domains ranging from gaming to sports and entertainment. However, to date, XR technologies have mostly relied on wired connectivity, which restricts their use to small spaces and narrows their application domains.

Saad said, "The goal of this research is to unleash the potential of XR technologies by marrying them with seamless wireless connectivity. As a result, this research will potentially enable users to use XR applications on-the-go without being confined to indoor environments and having to carry cumbersome cable-connected XR equipment."

This goal is achieved by developing a holistic framework for enabling XR over wireless networks by symbiotically integrating rigorous theory with real-world communication system design considerations. A key component of this framework is the development of precise quality-of-experience metrics that combine objective wireless quality-of-service indicators with subjective XR user experience measures using tools from utility theory. These metrics are then integrated into novel artificial intelligence (AI)-driven network control and management algorithms that can guarantee seamless XR quality-of-experience and adapt the network to XR user dynamics.

The second award, in the amount of $75,000, is entitled, Modernizing Cities via Smart Garden Alleys with Application in Makassar City.

This research seeks to integrate innovations in smart and connected communities with creative gardens within the city alleys of Makassar City, Indonesia via a synergistic collaboration between US and Indonesian teams and a close partnership with Makassar City. Makassar is striving to become a livable world class city for a fast-growing, diverse population of 1.7 million people. The ongoing Garden Alley project in the city aims to improve the livability of the city, measured by factors including air-quality, heat index, food security, and social interactions.

To date, Makassar has implemented 40 gardens within 15 of the citys sub-districts, covering a sizable portion of the citys alleys. The goal of this research is to catalyze the transformation of Makassar Citys garden alleys into smart environments by deploying a sensor network at representative green allies and conventional allies to collect data related to air quality, microclimates, and other factors, to analyze the heterogeneous data using machine learning techniques, and to then share the data and its insights with city representatives and specific communities within the city.