LIDS Research Highlights

Resilience of Networked Systems with Application to Transportation, Energy, and Social Interactions

Technological advancements in terms of smart sensors, high speed communication enabling the transfer of massive data sets in almost real time, and real-time decision capabilities have resulted in the emergence of large scale, complex, and optimized interconnected systems. While such systems perform well under normal operations, they can exhibit fragility in response to certain disruptions that can lead to system breakdown and cascades of failures. This phenomenon, referred to as Systemic Risk, emphasizes the role of the system interconnection in causing such, possibly rare, events.

Spinal Codes

Worldwide demand for wireless network access is increasing at a tremendous pace. To cope with this demand and provide high throughput and low latency to applications, wireless network protocols need to combat noise, interference from other nodes as well as exogenous sources, and channel fading. These factors cause wireless channel conditions to vary with time, making it challenging to achieve high performance.  

Language From Birdsong

Professor Berwick’s research spans the areas of learning, evolutionary biology, and complex systems, applied to the study of human cognition and its evolution, designing algorithms that can mimic human language acquisition in children and its evolution over time, as well as how human language might have first evolved.  

The benefits of partial resource pooling in resource allocation

It is well known that resource pooling (or, equivalently, the use of flexible resources that can serve multiple types of requests) significantly improves the performance of service systems. On the other hand, complete resource pooling often results in higher infrastructure (communication and coordination) costs. This leads us to explore the benefits that can be derived by a limited amount of resource pooling, and the question whether a limited amount of pooled resources can deliver most of the benefits of complete resource pooling.

Modeling and Mitigating Cascading Failures in Interdependent Power Grids and Communication Networks

Many of today’s critical infrastructures are organized in the form of a network, which are dependent on one another. A particular example is the power grid and the communication network used to control the grid. While this dependence is beneficial during normal operation, as it allows for more efficient operation, it can be harmful when the networks are under stress. Indeed, in such interdependent network infrastructures, a cascade of failures may occur where power failures can lead to communication failures, which, in turn, lead to cascading power failures.

Robust Trajectory Planning for Parafoil Terminal Guidance

A key challenge facing modern airborne delivery systems, such as parafoils, is the ability to accurately and consistently deliver supplies into difficult, complex terrain. The presence of terrain obstacles combined with a high degree of environmental wind uncertainty and under-actuated parafoil dynamics requires an efficient form of both prediction and risk assessment.