Aligning computer science research with real-world applications

There are more smartphones in the world than people, yet little to no networking research by computer scientists includes them.

Headshot of Patrick Crowley, Professor Computer Science & Engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering

Patrick Crowley, a renowned expert in computer and network systems architecture at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, plans to develop a new software infrastructure that would allow computer science researchers to develop networking systems and protocols on smartphones and similar devices with a three-year $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Such an infrastructure would allow for better translation between research innovation and real-world use and commercialization.

He also received a one-year $299,000 grant from the NSF to explore whether the internet’s longstanding challenges with efficiency, complexity and trust might be better addressed with a new model of communication.

Crowley, a professor of computer science and engineering, said while most networking research projects are designed to improve how users, devices and servers connect and communicate, most academic systems researchers only use the Linux operating system, while the most-used user platforms are the iOS and Android operating systems. A new infrastructure would create software that could operate over several types of devices and make it simpler for researchers to evaluate their work in these common devices.

“Just as it is easier to search for keys under a streetlight, it is easier to design research projects within the comfortable limits of available research platforms,” said Crowley, who directs the Applied Research Lab. “The goal of this project is to dramatically broaden those limits.”

Find more information on the engineering website.