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Saad receives Navy Young Investigator grant | ECE | Virginia Tech

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Saad receives Navy Young Investigator grant

Walid Saad

Walid Saad

Walid Saad has been selected by the Office of Naval Research for its 2015 Young Investigator Program.

The Young Investigator Program, one of the most selective scientific research advancement programs in the country, is designed to promote the professional development of early-career academic scientists, both as researchers and instructors.

Collectively, the 36 YIPs chosen out of 383 applicants for the 2015 program will receive $18.8 million to fund research across a range of science and technology areas that can benefit the mission of the U.S. Navy. The funding will support laboratory equipment, graduate student stipends and scholarships, and other expenses critical to ongoing and planned investigational studies.

Saad was selected for the program to further his research into the optimization of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications in tactical wireless networks for the battlefield or other military missions.

His interdisciplinary research will weave together strands from wireless networks, game theory, and reinforcement learning to develop innovations that will help optimize M2M resource management, create self-organizing learning algorithms, and create realistic models for M2M traffic and network deployment tailored towards future wireless networks.

Future tactical wireless networks could include a massive number of devices — sensors, surveillance, apparatus, wearable devices, and autonomous vehicles — that could enhance situational awareness for soldiers or provide important tactical advantages during missions.

Saad’s work looks at many of the potential obstacles, bottlenecks, and pitfalls that could result from the integration of machine-type devices into a tactical wireless network, including constrained resources (limited energy sources and computational power, for instance), massive amounts of data, and excessive machine-to-machine chatter, and overhead that current networks aren’t designed to handle.

“These recipients demonstrate the type of visionary, multidisciplinary thought that helps the U.S. Navy anticipate and adapt to a dynamic battlespace,” said Larry Schuette, ONR’s director of research. “The breadth of their research and combined value of awards underscore the significance the Navy places on ingenuity, wherever it’s harbored, and support the framework for a Naval Innovation Network built on people, ideas and information.”