AFTER THE huge success of two consecutive International Multi-Topic ICT Conferences (IMTIC08 and IMTIC12) held at Mehran University, the 1st International Conference on Wireless Sensor Networks for Developing Countries (WSN4DC13) has recently been organized jointly by the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro, Pakistan, Erasmus Mundus Strong-Ties (strengthening training and research through networking and globalization of teaching in engineering studies) programme and International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) from 24-26 April 2013 at Mehran UET, Jamshoro. Weekly Technology Times was the official media partner of this event.
The origins of the research on WSNs can be traced back to the distributed Sensor Networks (DSN) programme at the Defense Advanced Research ProjectsAgency (DARPANET) at around 1980. However, most of the work was limited to develop military applications. A wireless sensor network is a collection of nodes organized into a cooperative network. Each node consists of processing capability (one or more microcontrollers, CPUs or DSP chips), may contain multiple types of memory, have a RF transceiver have a power source and accommodate various sensors and actuators. The nodes communicate wirelessly and often self-organize after being deployed in an ad hoc fashion. Systems of 1000s or even 10,000 nodes are anticipated. Such systems can revolutionize the way we live and work. Currently, wireless sensor networks are beginning to be deployed at an accelerated pace. It is not unreasonable to expect that in 10-15 years that the world will be covered with wireless sensor networks with access to them via the Internet. This can be considered as the Internet becoming a physical network. This new technology is exciting with unlimited potential for numerous application areas including environmental, medical, military, transportation, entertainment, crisis management, homeland defense, and smart spaces.
Since a wireless sensor network is a distributed real-time system a natural question is how many solutions from distributed and real-time systems can be used in these new systems? The main reason is that the set of assumptions underlying previous work has changed dramatically. Most past distributed systems research has assumed that the systems are wired, have unlimited power, are not real-time, have user interfaces such as screens and mice, have a fixed set of resources, treat each node in the system as very important and are location independent. In contrast, for wireless sensor networks, the systems are wireless, have scarce power, are real-time, utilize sensors and actuators as interfaces, have dynamically changing sets of resources, aggregate behavior is important and location is critical.
Prof. Dr MA Uqaili, the Conference General Chair and Pro Vice Chancellor, in his welcome address informed the audience that this is the first of its kind the conference that has been organized by MUET in collaboration with International Islamic University Malaysia, Erasmus Mundus Strongties programme, Springer CCIS, Higher Education Commission, Pakistan Science Foundation and National ICT RandD Fund Pakistan. It is a matter of contentment to mention that WSN4DC13 aims at providing occasions for national and international researchers and practitioners to present the most recent advances and future challenges in the fields of Computer and Software Engineering, Electronics, Telecommunication, Green ICT, Energy Management, Simulation and Modeling and so on. WSN4DC13 aimed to bring together a wide spectrum of international experts to facilitate a creative environment for the promotion of collaboration and knowledge transfer.
Prof. Dr Manzoor H Soomro, Chairman PSF and Chairman Economic Cooperation Organization Science Foundation (ECO-SF), said that we have seen lot of WSN advancements during recent past in military domain. The world is now well aware of the power of WSN and its applications in agriculture, roads and traffic monitoring, body health area monitoring, water conservation, smart buildings, energy management and smart grid, and so on. The worldwide research shows that those organizations unable or unwilling to understand, use, adapt or implement most innovative information and communication technology will have little chance of survival. The mega international conference event WSN4DC13 brings together researcher, industry professionals and academics in a pleasant environment to exchange information on advances in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) and its diversified applications.
Prof. BS Chowdhry, Dean FEECE and the chief organizer of the event, stated that for WSN4DC13 they received over 100 submissions – confirming a trend of increasing interest in WSN4DC – coming from 30 different countries. After going through review process by the experts, only 23 papers were selected for conference which gives about 23 per cent acceptance rate. This is the fourth time that Springer Verlag Germany has published conference proceedings from Mehran UET in their CCIS (Computer and Communication Series)series which is a big accomplishment. Its aim is efficiently disseminate original research results in printed and electronic form globally. The extended version of selected papers will be published in reputed indexed journals.
On the occasion, Prof. Javier Poncela from University of Malaga Spain, gave key note presentation on Wireless underwater acoustic communication system which has become one of the most promising technologies for the development and deployment of future ocean observation and sensor networks. Applications range from oil prospecting and transportation to aquaculture, and include pollution control, climate recording, prediction of natural disturbances, search and survey missions.
In the concluding ceremony of the moot, the chief guest, Advisor on Energy, Science and Technology Government of Sindh, Dr Shafqat Abbasi, said that it is heartening to know that this is first kind of international conference being held on this emerging technology in Pakistan. This makes us more proud and we feel that our Institutions are not lagging behind in the area of science and technology.
Prof. Dr MA Uqaili, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the university, said that such events will facilitate dialogue between major industry players, entrepreneurs and academia to help create a roadmap for the development of tangible research environment in the developing countries.
Key note speaker Prof. Nadia Qadri showed in her presentation that WSN technology can play major role for various applications such as energy management, water conservation, pollution detecting, earth quake monitoring, agriculture crops monitoring, smart buildings and disaster management and so on.
A panel discussion was also part of the conference. Various international experts including Prof. Dr. Abdul Wahab Bin Abdul Rahman from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) discussed on theme of “Future Wireless Networks – Opportunity and Challenges for Developing Countries”. Experts recommended that developing countries must focus their research and develop applications and not to miss opportunities in this emerging technology.
There was also a Poster Competition and Ph.D Consortium presentation and a range of networking opportunities. On the occasion, experts announced the launching of “Global Society for WSN4DC”.