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National Science Foundation Grant Will Build Wireless Virtual Network Testbed at Saint Louis University

by Maggie Rotermund
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Maggie Rotermund
Senior Media Relations Specialist

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ST. LOUIS – A two-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will establish a wireless virtual network testbed at Saint Louis University. 

Flavio Esposito, Ph.D.

Flavio Esposito, Ph.D., is an associate professor of computer science at Saint Louis University. SLU file photo. 

The grant, “Integration-Small: A Software-Defined Edge Infrastructure Testbed for Full-stack Data-Driven Wireless Network Applications,” was awarded to Flavio Esposito, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science at Saint Louis University. 

“I am very excited for this cyber-infrastructure award,” Esposito. “It will give researchers at SLU and Northeastern University the opportunity to shape the design of next generation wireless networks using artificial intelligence.” 

Francesco Restuccia, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Northeastern University College of Engineering, is a sub-awardee on the grant. 

The virtual network testbed at SLU will evaluate network management solutions that integrate the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence with programmable radios and network switches.

The investigators will evaluate this innovation in computer networking by creating a cyber-infrastructure to prototype network protocols and systems in support of interdisciplinary initiatives on campus.  

The project will develop the integration of learning techniques with network mechanisms such as medium access control, routing and transport services. The research team will:

Esposito said that by combining synergies from the fields of data science and network virtualization protocols and architectures, the work will lay the foundation for further research in adaptive resource management for (wireless) edge computing applications.

“This award would not have been possible without the generous support of our Research Institute, who believed in our People and Technology Horizon (PATH) initiative giving a home to this exciting interdisciplinary testbed,” Esposito said. “I am proud of being a part of our Computer Science Department, and excited to contribute to its growth, thanks to all the interdisciplinary initiatives on campus.”

Esposito is currently a principal investigator on four NSF research awards and the NSF previously funded Esposito’s research into virtual cloud-computing networks that could be deployed in cases where traditional networks suffer from high congestion, such as at times of crisis or natural disasters. 

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense. With an annual budget of $8.8 billion, the NSF is the funding source for approximately 27% of the total federal budget for basic research conducted at U.S. colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 15,200 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.