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GENI grants EECS research duo a first-place wish

Dmitrii and Prasad pose outside of Lafferre Hall.

Doctoral candidate Dmitrii Chemodanov and Prasad Calyam, an assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, recently earned first place in the GENI Experimenter Contest, which earned them $2,000 and Chemodanov a travel grant to present their work at the GENI Engineering Conference. Photo by Jennifer Hollis.

Prasad Calyam’s work on using cloud computing resources to aid first responders has been well-recognized, and he and doctoral student Dmitrii Chemodanov recently earned another accolade for their work.

Chemodanov and Calyam, an assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, recently earned first place in the GENI Experimenter Contest, which earned them $2,000 and Chemodanov a travel grant to present their work at the GENI Engineering Conference held in March in Miami.

GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations) is a virtual testbed infrastructure for networking and distributed system experiments supported by the National Science Foundation. Chemodanov and Calyam, with help from fellow EECS faculty member Kannappan Palaniappan, submitted a paper and presentation titled “Incident-supporting visual cloud computing utilizing software-defined networking,” for the competition, and used the GENI platform to conduct their research.

Their research utilizes what’s known as the fog, an infrastructure through which data storage and computations take place in the most efficient location between the source of data and the cloud data center. This is critical for first responders, for whom time saved equals lives saved. The quicker they can get information such as response status tracking data, disaster area imaging, situational awareness information and more to their devices, the better they can do their jobs and efficiently deploy relief resources.

“We place the really time-sensitive, small computations closer to the user so there’s no bottleneck of this latency from going to the cloud and back,” Chemodanov said.

“That paper was about how to basically adapt computing for visual applications, such as one for tracking, one for 3-D recognition, etc., to benefit from this cloud/fog testbed to allow us to get better real-time situational awareness.”

The algorithms developed over time by the research team essentially triage the important information so the data can be crunched in the most efficient manner, while less time-sensitive data can be moved through to be processed at the cloud data center. This keeps the information flowing more rapidly, avoiding possible bottlenecks that come from moving all the data down the same path at once.

The goal of the GENI Experimenter Contest was to illustrate the importance of the work that can be done using the GENI infrastructure to the general public, wider research community and key stakeholders in the area of public safety communications.

“Our experiment in this contest is kind of a showcase for Congress and general public to say the GENI infrastructure is a valid investment, and to show other research community members what is possible with the GENI infrastructure,” Calyam said. “You can actually use this to do very futuristic experiments, and it could benefit society.”

The research group is continuing to work with first responders, including the locally-based FEMA Task Force 1, to test their technology. The next step involves working with the MU Police Department to explore applications for the technology in terms of crowd control in large crowd situations e.g., in effectively managing disorderly incidents involving crowds in safe spaces.