The BMW-endowed Chair of Connected Mobility

The research group for Connected Mobility explores networked systems, applications, and services for mobile users.  We are primarily concerned with connecting mobile users and other devices to cloud-based services, offering (autonomous) local networked services, and enabling services using ad-hoc interaction between mobiles.  But our research also extends to mobility and user behavior modelling and offering services in support of (multimodal) human mobility.  Our core expertise is in networked systems and services design and implementation, backed by measurements, modeling, and analysis.  We build apps on (mobile) user devices, support software for (local) network infrastructure nodes and appliances, and services for the backend (in the cloud).

Our research focus is on the network, transport, and application layers with the aim to ultimately provide services that run across any underlying infrastructure.  But we actively embrace the characteristics of (novel) wireless link layers to connect mobile devices in our design.  Meta goals of our work are devising systems, protocols, and services that are robust in their operation across different environments, are adaptive to maintain and manage user quality of experience (QoE), and protect user privacy as much as possible. 

Research themes

We pursue research along the following themes:

  • Mobile opportunistic networking and computing: Leveraging the capabilities of mobile devices for autonomous communication systems that may benefit from infrastructure (or cloud) assistance but do not rely on them. We investigate applications and security mechanisms using  (DTN-style) ad-hoc messaging and content sharing as well as new ways towards application ecosystems for such autonomous networks.
  • Network architecture: Investigating alternative approaches to network architectures, combining elements of delay-tolerant networking, information-centric networking, and software-defined networking towards clean slate designs but also for incrementally deployable solutions. 
  • New mobile application and service paradigms: Exploring new ways of designing protocols and API as well as mobile applications and  and their user interfaces that can operate in different networking environments including poorly connected ones as well as support local autonomous operation of apps in groups of nodes without Internet connectivity.  
  • (Mobile) Internet measurements and analysis: Understanding the characteristic of different (wireless) link layer and (mobile) networks from an end user perspective, especially considering the different types of resources users access (web pages, multimedia streaming) and the applications they are running to properly infer the performance (QoE) they will experience.   
  • Mobility and user activity modeling: Capturing and modeling the (multimode) mobility of humans as well as other vehicles as well as how users interact with the (Internet-based) services (not just) while on the move — and how mobility and service usage influence each other.
  • Interactive recommender systems: We investigate selected research problems such as context-aware, proactive and sequential recommendation. Delivering accurate and timely information is particularly valuable in mobile scenarios such as supporting city visitors. One of our main goals is to improve the user experience when interacting with mobile recommender systems and other adaptive services.

Application areas

We leverage the findings of these research themes to apply them in a several focus areas mostly (but not always) in the context of specific research projects.  Our main focus areas include:

  • Internet for All: Devising architectures and systems to extend the reach of the Internet beyond those already connected, but also supporting local/regional networks. We are looking at less well-connected regions in developed countries as well as at remote areas in emerging economies. We are interested in technical, ecosystem, and ethical aspects, in ISP-based as well as grassroots/community networks.
  • Local and autonomous networking: Envisioning architecture and building systems for (hyper)local networking to support all kinds of (impromptu) interaction between users: to augment and enrich Internet connectivity by localized content, but to avoid exposure to the big Internet players and maintain privacy and possibly anonymity. This includes considerations of building regional networks bottom up, interconnected via (tunnels through) the Internet and/or via local communication means.   
  • Secure and flexible cloud computing: Exploring concepts for scalable cloud services with easy migration of cloud services, paired with secure and efficient transport protocols and network infrastructure to support service delivery to end users and service provision inside and across data centers, including different degrees of mobile offloading.

Recent and upcoming activities

This includes our involvement in organizing events: