Vikram Gupta received a Best Paper Award at an International Conference

 Vikram Gupta

Vikram Gupta, a Ph.D. student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), under the Carnegie Mellon | Portugal Program, received a Best Paper Award at ACM Sensys 2009 - Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems, the flagship conference of the wireless sensor networks community. Gupta is the co-author of the paper titled "Low-power clock synchronization using electromagnetic energy radiating from AC power lines," written also by Anthony Rowe and Ragunathan (Raj) Rajkumar, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

Before joining the Ph.D. program, Gupta was working as an associate researcher at Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.) Delhi, India, where he focused on Performance Assessment and Interoperability of WiMAX (802.16) on a Campus based Test Bed. Gupta is graduated of Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) in Nagpur, India.

Question (Q.) What are the main goals of this paper?
Answer (A.) In this paper we designed a low-power hardware module which tunes to the Electromagnetic (EM) energy from the AC power lines in the buildings. As the frequency received from this electromagnetic energy is constant in wide geographical areas, having this common signal can help nodes in a Wireless Sensor Network to remain synchronized without exchange of radio messages. This allows considerable savings in power consumption in sensor networks, because otherwise the nodes have to exchange messages frequently to remain synchronized. The hardware module we designed is extremely low-powered and can be used with any kind of sensor nodes without any hardware compatibility issues.

Q. In your opinion, what is the implication of this paper to the research that it is done in this area?
A. This paper provides a novel out-of-band synchronization technique which wirelessly uses frequency of AC power lines with extremely low power consumption. This approach is very practical in sensor networks where the devices are extremely low powered and operate at very duty-cycles. As the AC power lines are ubiquitous, this technique is highly scalable to very large networks, which makes communication overhead for synchronization to be very minimal.

Q. How did you feel when the announcement became public?
A. I was extremely happy when I came to know about this award. I was confident that we have done good research work for this paper, but getting the best-paper award at such a reputed conference was quite remarkable.

Q. How has your experience in the Carnegie Mellon | Portugal program helped and benefited your paper?
A. Because you are co-advised by Raj Rajkumar, Carnegie Mellon, and by Eduardo Tovar, CISTER/ISEP, and the first one is the trailing author. The Carnegie Mellon | Portugal program has been very helpful with my research. The experience of doing collaborative research with advisors both at Carnegie Mellon and Portugal has given me a great opportunity of sharing knowledge with diverse yet focused research groups. Prof. Raj Rajkumar and Prof. Eduardo Tovar provided valuable guidance for my research. Their constant feedback was important in solving the research problems addressed in the paper.

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January, 2010