Mate Boban Reflects on his Experiences as an ECE Ph.D. Student in Porto

 Mate Boban in Porto

Mate Boban went to Carnegie Mellon University as a Fulbright Visiting Researcher in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), a position he held from August 2007 to January 2009. It was during those 18 months that he found out about the Carnegie Mellon | Portugal dual Ph.D. Program.

“The idea of studying and doing research on two continents appealed to me instantly,” said Boban. He applied for the Program and was accepted in the spring of 2009, when he began his nine month stretch of doctorate studies at the Faculdade de Engenharia Universidade do Porto. Boban said that he immediately fell into step with life in Portugal, attending lectures, exploring the city, working with other students, and getting to know the people of Porto.

“I quite liked the warmth and the selflessness of the people in Portugal,” he said. “Furthermore, having awesome lab mates which are always up for whiteboard discussions, no matter how wacky the discussed idea seems to be, is simply priceless.”

Boban’s main research interests pertain to broad areas of computer networks. He is particularly interested in applied networks such as Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANETs), which provide communications among vehicles and between vehicles and roadside equipment. Recently, he has been working in areas such as routing, quality of service, and feasibility of real-time applications. Boban is currently researching ways to efficiently implement the VANET signal behavior in the state of the art simulators.

Boban is also currently enrolled in Project DRIVE-IN (Distributed Routing and Infotainment through VEhicular Inter-Networking). The goal of this project, is to investigate how vehicle-to-vehicle communication can improve the user experience and the overall efficiency of vehicle and road utilization. Last summer, Mate's project demonstrating how vehicular networks can support real time applications was featured on Portuguese national television. The video can be watched at the following link: http://www.cmuportugal.org/tiercontent.aspx?id=2210.

As part of Project DRIVE-IN, Boban also works in a research group that deals with VANETs. He coordinates bi-weekly UP VANET research meetings. UP VANET is a research group that deals with VANETs. The group is composed of approximately 20 members: 3 of them are professors and the remaining members are Ph.D. students. “On these meetings we discuss various topics related to vehicular networks by giving semi-formal presentations and then brainstorming the ideas that were presented.”

Through the Carnegie Mellon | Portugal Program, Boban has two advisors: one at Carnegie Mellon and one at the Unversidade do Porto. Advising is a collaborative program. Meetings generally occur through videoconference, although occasional “in-person” meetings do take place. “Both of my advisors are constantly involved in my research,” Boban said.

Since his enrollment in the program, Boban has worked on three major papers. One of those papers, titled “Unicast Communication in Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks: A Reality Check,” was published in IEEE Communication Letters in December 2009. The second paper, which dealt with “feasibility of interactive multiplayer games in VANETs” (“Multiplayer Games over VANET: a New Application”) has been accepted for publication in Elsevier Ad Hoc Networks journal. The last paper is currently under review by IEEE Journal on Selected Areas Communications.

In regard to his future goals, Boban is looking to keep an open mind. “In essence, I am open to any position that would allow me to have fun while working by exploring new ideas and trying to make them a reality.”