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IEEE ComSoc Young Researcher Award

The IEEE Communications Society has recently chosen Joao Barros, national director of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program as the recipient of the Young Researcher Award for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Region.

This award honors researchers who have been very active in IEEE ComSoc publication and conference activities over the last three years. The upper age limit is 35. The award letter states that the awards committee “had received a large number of excellent submissions, which were assessed by the Awards committee for ComSoc EMEA Region. The assessment was carried out against a very stringent set of criteria.”.

The awards ceremony will take place in June 2011 at the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC 2011) in Kyoto, Japan.

Joao Barros is best known internationally for his research on physical layer security, network coding and sensor networks, all of which can be used as building blocks for future internet architectures and applications. By applying fundamental principles of information theory, his research group at Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP) and Instituto de Telecomunicacoes (IT) has found new ways of communicating securely and efficiently in highly dynamic environments such as wireless networks and peer-to-peer networks. Physical-layer security technologies in the form of codes and protocols developed under his leadership allow wireless systems to exploit the noise in the communication channel to prevent eavesdroppers from extracting key information. The use of network coding in combination with some of the algorithms developed by Barros' group enables telecom operators to decrease the overall delay and increase the robustness of their network. Instead of storing and forwarding copies of whatever they receive, nodes in the network use simple linear operations to combine the different data packets. The destination no longer has to wait for a specific data packet, because it only needs to receive a sufficient number of combinations to recover the original information.

Recently, Barros has been active in the area of vehicular networking as a key enabler in intelligent transportation systems. Together with colleagues at the Department of Computer Science (DCC-FCUP), Universidade de Aveiro, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon University, Barros is investigating how cars, buses, and other vehicles can be used as a massive urban scanner by picking up large quantities of measurements from different sensors, sharing this data over wireless channels and delivering the information to a data center for further processing.

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