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Chien-Chung Shen wins NSF Early Career Development Award

Chien-Chung Shen, assistant professor of computer and information sciences
10:49 a.m., May 26, 2004--Chien-Chung Shen, a University of Delaware assistant professor of computer and information sciences who is conducting research into mobile communications networks, has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award.

The award is one of the National Science Foundation’s highest honors for young faculty members and recognizes and supports the early career development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.

Shen is the fourth UD faculty member to be presented the award this year. Joel Schneider, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Darrin Pochan, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and Daniel Weile, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, also have been honored in 2004.

The five-year, $480,000 award will support Shen’s research in developing mobile ad hoc communications networks, which, unlike cellular networks, have no fixed stations to link communications devices.

M. Sandra Carberry, chairperson of the UD Department of Computer and Information Sciences, said Shen “is performing innovative research in wireless communication, particularly mobile and sensor networks. His work is leading the way to the next generation of computer networks, which will provide a much more flexible and robust computing environment than is available today. Moreover, he is incorporating these new technologies into his advanced courses, thereby enhancing the computer and information sciences graduate program. This very prestigious award recognizes excellence in young faculty and is a credit to Dr. Shen.”

Anyone who has tried unsuccessfully to place a cellular telephone call from a remote mountain valley knows well the limitations of that type of network, which relies on stationary base stations. Mobile ad hoc networks, which are still under development, will not have to rely on such stations.

Mobile networks have special importance to the military for two key reasons. They do not rely on fixed stations, which can be destroyed, and they can provide links between individual soldiers and vehicles that are moving in many directions at once but still must be able to communicate.

Shen’s research takes a new approach to mobile ad hoc networks. Traditionally, the mobility has been viewed as a problem but he believes it can be viewed as an opportunity.

“If we can control the mobility, we can make it work to our advantage,” Shen said. “It can become a first-class capability, not a second-class phenomenon.”

In addition, the research is considering combinations of cellular and mobile networks and ways to extend capabilities by integrating communications, computing and control.

Shen said the research addresses both practical and theoretical problems, and he plans to integrate it into course work.

A graduate of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Shen joined the UD faculty in 1998 after working for Bell Communications Research, which has since been renamed Telcordia Technologies, in Piscataway, N.J.

Article by Neil Thomas
Photo by Kathy Atkinson

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