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Computer Networks and Pervasive Systems

The miniaturization of electronic  devices  and  the advancements in telecommunications, make  it possible  the realization of ubiquitous pervasive systems, i.e.  systems in which information processing has been thoroughly and transparently integrated into everyday objects and  activities. These systems are composed of heterogeneous tiny artefacts such as wireless sensor  nodes, RFID and NFC tags and readers, mobile phones etc.

 Such devices are  often  constrained in their  computational and  energy  resources and  are  often organized in networks that  do not rely on wired infrastructures and  that  contribute to the realization of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The realization of such systems requires new solutions in the design of algorithms and protocols for wireless ad hoc networks connecting large  numbers of devices.   Such net- works  might  be very large and operate in a highly  dynamic environment: sensor  nodes move,  enter  and  exit the system  and  are prone  to faults,  while  communication links are often  noisy  and  unreliable.  As a consequence, adopted solutions should be simple,  ef- ficient,  and  robust;  in particular, since energy  is usually provided by batteries, energy efficiency must  always be considered as a primary goal.  The scale and  nature of perva- sive systems requires networks able to react to unexpected events and to operate beyond the complete understanding and control of the designer and of the user.  In fact, these sys- tems should achieve an appropriate level of self-organization and integration to adapt to continuously changing environments and to cope with unforeseen faults.

Our research focuses on the design,  analysis, experimentation and implementation of algorithms and protocols for the Internet of Things.

We are also interested in solving  complex  communications primitives such as service discovery and  event-based data  diffusion, with  the final goal of characterizing sensors networks as a data  storage  and retrieval. In these  context,  interesting security and  pri- vacy issues emerge  that due to the limited resources and the distributed nature of the ap- plications, require the development of new techniques and algorithms. We complement our  research with  an extensive experimental work  that  is based  on simulations (using network simulators such as NS2, OMNET++  and  Shawn),  and  on test-beds (e.g. we run a permanent test-bed of wireless sensor  network to monitor the ancient  roman remains at the basement of DIAG and  we have  about  600 active  tags  to collect and  analyse  the so called proximity graph, namely a graph in which  nodes  are users  and  there  is a link between two nodes  if their are in proximity).

More  recently   we  have  started a  research activity   on  decentralized  applications and  the employment of blockchain technologies to support the development of a new distributed architectures beyond the classical client/server paradigm.



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