2020 Mitacs Globalink Positions Available

Are you, or do you know, an outstanding undergraduate student from Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Tunisia, Ukraine, or United Kingdom looking for a unique research experience? If so, check out the Mitacs Globalink program, which has just released the 2020 list of approved summer internships.

I am happy to announce that four of our lab’s research projects have been approved for the program (along with 2,599 others). Our approved projects span three of the lab’s main research programs (Bridging the Digital Divide, Ecological and Public Health Risk Assessment, and Community-Engaged Software Design), and are described more completely below. If you have any questions about any of the projects, feel free to reach out.

A full list of projects can be found here. Applications are due by Wednesday September 18, 2019 at 1:00 pm (Pacific Time). Application details can be found here.

Project Title: Developing Software for Environment & Health Monitoring

The successful Mitacs Globalink interns will work with an interdisciplinary team of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, government officials, and Inuit researchers to implement mobile and web app functionality that supports the needs of the community of Rigolet, Nunatsiavut. This may include using gaming elements to improve engagement with apps, implementing a badging system for skills training, or expanding an instant messaging platform. Experience with Android, iOS, and/or React Native would be beneficial.

Project Title: Open Source, Open Data Connectivity and Mobility Pattern Monitoring

There are many tools developed by large corporations such as Google and Facebook which enable these corporations to obtain and control massive amounts of valuable data regarding how often mobile devices are in range of Internet connectivity, how and where they are mobile, and which devices are in proximity of each other. This data would be incredibly useful for researchers developing network simulation, deployment and planning tools. It would also be valuable for governments wishing to guide policy with data on where the digital divide with respect to connectivity is most acute. However, since most of the leading tools for collecting this data are not publicly available, and the data is also not available – these opportunities are lost. This project would support the ongoing development of a tool which can collect this data and open source both the data and the tool so that the public can benefit from data which is already being collected from us. Research will be performed regarding how to properly anonymize the data, and keep peoples’ privacy respected while still keeping the data as open as possible. This may result in novel schemes to anonymize the data, unique visualization and analysis techniques which provide insight without compromising the privacy of the devices providing the data. Another possible research outcome from this project could support the development of realistic mobility models which take into account real world device mobility as opposed to the status quo which is often random two dimensional motion, movement in a grid, or other simplistic models. Finally, this research could be used to inform development on routing algorithms for highly mobile networks and delay tolerant networks which often break apart unpredictably.

Project Title: Sustainable Management of Animal Species Using Simulations and Agent Based Models

Students will assist with the development and application of a spatially indexed agent-based model to understand the effect of anthropogenic activities on populations of different species (including perhaps, Lake whitefish, Caribou, Piping Plover, and others). Students will be tasked with developing and extending existing models to include predation and competition, and to explore plausible outcomes of various conservation management activities.

Project Title: Testbed Development For Mesh Networking

When evaluating network protocols, solutions trend towards two extremes: simulators and testbeds. In simulators, the protocol is evaluated through complex mathematical models that try to account for real-world factors like how radio waves propagate and nodes move around. On testbeds, implementations of protocols are executed on real hardware computers, and the performance of packets travelling across real wireless devices is measured. While there are many network simulators, there are almost no tools to evaluate the peer-to-peer performance of network protocols on the wireless computing device that makes up almost ⅔ of computer sales worldwide: Android smartphones. As part of the development of RightMesh, we are building a testbed capable of deploying peer-to-peer wireless networking applications to complex topologies of unmodified consumer Android devices and measuring their performance in repeatable scenarios. Our goal is to make a re-usable testbed software that can be deployed in multiple locations, both in controlled locations free of interference and areas that have geographical features that pose a networking challenge. Researchers working with communities affected by the digital divide can deploy devices commonly found in the area itself, providing a challenging proving ground for new networking protocols that can help drive progress for those who need it the most. Ideally, researchers could deploy to these testbeds from around the world, or be able to include devices from multiple areas at once. This process is called “federation” and has been undergone by many testbeds around the world. We would like to investigate the feasibility of making deployments of our software compatible with these existing federations. We would also like to investigate the ways our testbed could interact with network simulators, either by being able to take part in simulations or having interoperability of input and output formats to leverage the existing infrastructure for simulators.

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