I am an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Rutgers University, and am affiliated with the Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB). I am an applied mathematician by training and a Texan by birth... But fate has a way of taking us on interesting journeys, and I now live in the East Coast, where the ambient level of capsaicin is far too low for proper release of endorphins needed for mankind's survival.

I spend most of my time in the strange limbo land between mathematics and engineering... Due to my training and expulsion from the world of the math, and the fact that no one ever gave me the modern engineering kool-aid, I am strong believer in the scientific method and its role in engineering... what does this mean? It means that, although I love MATLAB, I think most theoretical engineering papers are exercises in MATLAB, and I want to see something built before I believe in an idea's potential to impact the real-world.

My group's recent focus has been to explore non-traditional approaches to security by re-examining the conceptual definitions of security and privacy. In order to devise new solutions, my group applies a mix of mathematical tools and experimental design (again, MATLAB is bad, building in the lab is good). We are currently applying our philosophies to enhance the state-of-the-art in wireless security (particularly, in integrating physical layer security into wireless systems), and developing protocols for a secure future Internet (I'll let everyone know what this means when I figure it out...).

News and Highlights

Hacking the Wireless in Your Car!!!
We recently conducted a reverse-engineering of the TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) protocol and analyzed the security and privacy implications. Our work appeared in Usenix, and was covered by CNN and other news outlets.
Ever Wonder Where to Park?
Marco Gruteser and I led a team in developing ParkNet, a system that can aid drivers in locating available parking spaces using drive-by sensing. Our paper appeared at Mobisys, received the 2010 Mobisys Best Paper Award and was covered by MIT Technology Review.
Waxing Philosophical: The Lecture Circuit
I have recently given several lectures and seminars on wireless security. A sampling of them include:
    • IDGA SDR Summit: My talk can be found here.
    • UIUC Wireless Summer School: Yih-Chun Hu and I team-taught a short course on wireless security. My half of the lecture can be downloaded here.
Alumni Receive Recognition!
Two graduates from my research group have received NSF CAREER Awards: Wenyuan Xu (University of South Carolina), and Yingying Chen (Stevens Institute of Technology).

Research Portfolio

SEVILLE (aka, Physical Layer Security)
In this project, we aim to use wireless-specific properties, such as the complexity of the RF channel associated with fadeing phenomena, to construct new forms of authentication and confidentiality services that can enhance traditional approaches wireless security and privacy.
AUSTIN (aka, Cognitive Radios Are Dangerous!!!)
Cognitive Radios represent a powerful paradigm for improving spectrum utilization. Unfortunately, these platforms are being designed without restrictions to prevent arbitrary programming and manipulation by programmers. AUSTIN is devoted to developing an architecture and a suite of security solutions that can address cognitive radios gone bad. The key take-away is that it is essential to build security into future generations of cognitive radio platforms-- otherwise there is no hook to regulate devices and prevent malicious programming.
DARWIN (aka, Spreading a Little Jam to Make Your Wireless Toast)
DARWIN consists of methods for diagnosing the presence of radio interference, as well as defense mechanisms for coping with radio interference.
PARIS (aka, "Paris isn’t for changing planes, it’s for changing your outlook!" Aubrey Hepburn)
In this project, we are developing solutions that provide contextual privacy for wireless networks. PARIS addresses the following critical contextual privacy issues: source-location privacy (where was the source of a sensor reading located?), temporal privacy (when did the transmission originate?), and traffic privacy (can meaning be inferred from the size of the message alone?). The PARIS effort has moved from its original wireless sensor network paradigm onto analyzing fundamental aspects of privacy and secrecy related to monitoring encrypted packet streams on general networks.
MIAMI (aka, Military Communications)
MIAMI is a large project supported by the Army to develop a wide arrange of technologies to support military communication. MIAMI has involved developing cognitive networking algorithms, such as a MANET routing protocol that uses machine-learning and gateway association protocols, to characterizing MIMO communication channels in urban environments and using predictive algorithms to adaptively switch MIMO protocols to maximize throughput.