Research and Publications

Primarily, I’m interested in researching mobile mesh networks. I am currently the Chief Networking Scientist at Left Inc. in Vancouver, where we’re working on a mobile mesh networking framework for mobile phones. While, much of my work currently is very applied (focusing mostly on implementation challenges at the moment), I am interested in more theoretical research as well.

My theoretical research can be broken down into several categories:

Wireless Mesh Networks

I am trying to find answers to some of the following questions. Given a mesh network which supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi p2p, Wi-Fi direct, and technologies, what is the best path for data between the two points? What are the best metrics for making such a selection? Can roles within our mesh be assigned in an optimal manner? (we have the notion of clients, hotspots, routers, internet gateways etc.) Given a non-optimal assignment of roles, can we incentivize users in such a way that the network becomes closer to an optimal topology.

I’ve spent most of my career thus far working in this space. I’ve done a masters degree in wireless mesh networks, and a PhD in HetNets (think of mesh networks with a variety of underlying technologies such as bluetooth, wi-fi, zigbee and others).

Relevant Publications:

  1. J.B. Ernst, Tarfa Hamed, and Stefan C. Kremer, “A Survey and Comparison of Performance Evaluation in Intrusion Detection Systems”, accepted to appear in Current and Future Trends in Computer and Network Security, 2017.
  2. Tarfa Hamed, J.B. Ernst, and Stefan C. Kremer, “A Survey and Taxonomy of Classifiers of Intrusion Detection Systems”, accepted to appear in Current and Future Trends in Computer and Network Security, 2017.
  3. J.B. Ernst, “Method For Establishing Network Clusters Between Networked Devices”, 14530-3 US Provisional Patent, Left of the Dot Media Inc, 2016.
  4. J.B. Ernst, “Simulation Models and Framework to Support Connection point selection in HWNs to improve QoS/QoE, reduce cost and increase profits”, PhD Thesis, Advisor: Prof. Stefan Kremer. University of Guelph, 2016.
  5. J.B. Ernst, S. Kremer, J.J.P.C Rodrigues, “Heterogeneous Wireless Network RAT Selection with Multiple Operators and Service Contracts“, IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC 2015), pp. 6011 – 6017. London, UK, June 2015
  6. J.B. Ernst, S. Kremer, J.J.P.C Rodrigues, “Performance Evaluation of Heterogeneous Wireless Networks Considering Competing Objectives and Viewpoints“, 30th ACM/SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing, April 13 – 17, 2015, pp. 680-687. Salamanca, Spain.
  7. J.B. Ernst, S. Kremer, J.J.P.C Rodrigues, “A Survey of QoS/QoE mechanisms in Heterogeneous Wireless Networks“, In Journal of Physical Communication, vol. 13(B), pp. 61-72, 2014.
  8. J.B. Ernst, S. Kremer, J.J.P.C Rodrigues, “A Wi-Fi simulation model which supports channel scanning across multiple non-overlapping channels in NS3“, IEEE 28th International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications (AINA 2014), pp. 268-275. Victoria, BC, Canada, May, 2014.
  9. J.B. Ernst, S. Kremer, J.J.P.C Rodrigues, “A Utility Based Access Point Selection Method for IEEE 802.11 Wireless Networks for Enhanced Quality of Experience“, IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC 2014), pp. 2363-2368. Sydney, Australia, June, 2014
  10. J.B. Ernst and J.A.Brown. “Performance evaluation of mixed-bias scheduling schemes for wireless mesh networks”, Int. J. of Space-Based and Situated Computing (IJSSC), vol. 3(1), pp 22-34, 2013.
  11. J.B. Ernst, N. Nasser, J.J.P.C Rodrigues, “Co-channel Interference Modelling Between RATs in Heterogeneous Wireless Networks“, IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC 2012), pp. 5321-5325, Ottawa, Canada, 2012.
  12. J.B.Ernst and J.A.Brown. “Co-existence of Evolutionary Mixed-Bias Scheduling with Quiescence and IEEE 802.11 DCF for Wireless Mesh Networks“, 2012 26th International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications Workshops (AINA 2012), pp. 678 – 683, Fukuoka, Japan, February 2012.
  13. J.B. Ernst, M.K. Denko, “The Design and Evaluation of Fair Scheduling in Wireless Mesh Networks,” in Journal of Computer and Systems Science, vol. 77(4), pp. 652-664. July 2011.
  14. J.B.Ernst and J.A.Brown. “An Online Evolutionary Programming Method for the Parameters of Wireless Networks“, in Proc. of the Sixth Int. Conf. on Broadband and Wireless Computing, Communication and Applications (BWCCA 2011), pp. 516-520, 2011.
  15. J.B. Ernst, T., Nkwe, “Adaptive Mixed Bias Resource Allocation for Wireless Mesh Networks”, in Proc. of the Fifth Int. Conf. on Broadband and Wireless Computing, Communications and Applications (BWCCA 2010), Fukuoka, Japan, pp. 622-626, Nov. 2010.
  16. J.B. Ernst, M.K. Denko, “Cross-Layer Mixed Bias Scheduling for Wireless Mesh Networks“, in Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC 2010), pp. 1-5, Capetown, South Africa, 2010.
  17. J.B. Ernst, “Scheduling techniques in wireless mesh networks“, MSc. Thesis, Advisor: Mieso K. Denko. University of Guelph, 2009.
  18. J.B. Ernst, M.K. Denko, “A Review of Cross-Layer Design for Scheduling in Wireless Mesh Networks“, in proc. of IEEE Toronto Int. Conf. on Science and Technology for Humanity (TIC-STH 2009), pp. 776 – 781, Toronto, Canada, 2009.
  19. J.B. Ernst, M.K. Denko, “Fair Scheduling with Multiple Gateways in Wireless Mesh Networks“, in Proc. of the 22nd IEEE Int. Conf. on Advanced Information Networking and Applications (AINA 2009), pp. 106 – 112, Bradford UK, 2009.

Decentralised and Distributed Networking

More in general, the concept of communications without infrastructure fascinates me. Imagine a world where communications can occur without connecting to a fixed Wi-Fi network, without using mobile phone towers, without DNS, without signing authorities or data centres.

There is a variety of technology being developed to help create this type of world that is very interesting. Blockchain, distributed ledger systems and smart contracts support consensus based record keeping. This enables things like mediachain and openbazaar to distributed content directly from creators to consumers without middlemen. Creators can be fairly compensated directly from the consumers of the goods or services. Identities can also be distributed instead of centralized in databases using technology like blockstack. The entire distribution of data can be distributed using things like IPFS which is like a modern version of p2p filesharing, but extended to an entire file system, where parts of the data may come from all of the other people you are connected with.

These types of technologies integrated with a good p2p mesh technology will enable networks which are by nature delay tolerant and frequently disconnected to function more like networks we expect. Of course, there will not be the bandwidth and speed we are used to, but this combination of technology may be world changing in places where infrastructure doesn’t exist.

I’ve done a small amount of work in related areas – such as caching and data ubiquity, but this is something I’d like to get more involved with.

Relevant Publications:

  1. T.K.R. Nkwe, M.K. Denko & J.B. Ernst, “Autonomic and Pervasive Networking”, Chapter 19 in Pervasive Computing and Networking, Mohammad S. Obaidat, Mieso Denko, and Isaac Woungang (Eds.), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., UK., 2011. ISBN: 978-0-470-74772-8
  2. T.K.R. Nkwe, M.K. Denko and J.B. Ernst, “Data ubiquity in autonomic wireless mesh networks,” in the Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Humanized Computing, vol. 1(1), pp. 3 – 13. Springer-Verlag, 2009.

Green Communications

Increasingly, I am becoming interested in the possibilities to reduce our energy consumption purely by making use of the above two sets of technologies. Infrastructure based networks are expensive, surely to deploy – but also to continue to run. Even though many companies which provide data centres and servers have done great work in reducing costs and using renewable energy, less has been done in the communications space. Probably the biggest breakthrough in recent memory has been moving where the equipment was located at mobile phone towers. However, if we fundamentally change how communications occur to 1) reduce the number of people using high energy networks, and 2) changing the flow of traffic away from client to infrastructure to service provider, we can significantly reduce the energy required.

Relevant Publications:

  1. J.B. Ernst, Saju Abraham, “The Case for a Mobile Mesh Network to Connect the Next Billion People”, Submitted to ICCN2017, Vancouver Canada, 2017.
  2. J.B. Ernst, “Energy Efficient Next Generation Wireless Communications“, Chapter 14 in Handbook on Green Communication and Systems, Mohammad S. Obaidat, Alagan Anpalagan and Isaac Woungang (Eds.), Academic Press, Nov 2012. ISBN: 978-0-1241-5844-3

Cognitive Agents and Artificial Intelligence

During graduate school I was involved in some projects that used cognitive agents, and some machine learning approaches. I created a cognitive agent simulator as a result of one project, and for the second, I worked in industry to help develop a tool which could predict layers of rock and soil under the ground based on soil samples. I also founded a robotics company with another graduate student that could have resulted in several patents.

Relevant Publications:

  1. A.T. Lawniczak, J.B. Ernst and B.N. Di Stefano, “Biomimicry Based Learning Outcomes of Simple Cognitive Agents”, in Procedia Computer Science, vol. 36, pp. 508-514, 2014. (Awarded Best Paper at Complex Adaptive Systems, November 3-5, Philidelphia 2014.)
  2. A.T. Lawniczak, J.B. Ernst and B.N. Di Stefano, “Improved Performance of Naive Creature Learning to Cross a Highway”, IEEE 27th Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE 2014), pp. 1-6, Toronto, Canada, 2014.
  3. A.T. Lawniczak, J.B. Ernst and B.N. Di Stefano, “Biomimicri Based Cognitive Agent and its Simulator“, IEEE 27th Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE 2014), pp. 1-7, Toronto, Canada, 2014.
  4. A.T. Lawniczak, J.B. Ernst and B.N. Di Stefano, “Naïve Creature with Fear and Desire Learning to Cross a Highway“, in Procedia Computer Science, vol. 29, pp. 343-353. 2014. (Presented at International Conference on Computational Science, Cairns Australia, June, 2014).
  5. A.T. Lawniczak, J.B. Ernst and B.N. Di Stefano, “Simulated Naïve Creature Crossing a Highway” in Procedia Computer Science, vol. 18, pp. 2611-2614, 2013 (Presented at International Conference on Computational Science, Barcelona, Spain, June 2013).
  6. A.T. Lawniczak, J.B. Ernst and B.N. Di Stefano, “Creature Learning To Cross A CA Simulated Road“, Proceedings of The 10th edition of ACRI 2012 Conference (Cellular Automata for Research and Industry), Eds.: G.C. Sirakoulis, S. Bandini, ACRI 2012, LNCS, Springer-Verlag, 2012, 7 pp. 425-433, 2012.

FPGAs

During my undergrad and start of graduate school I also had the opportunity to participate in some research in the area of FGPAs. While I am no longer active in this area, I find FPGAs fascinating and made use of the them in a robotics company I cofounded as a way to have reconfigurable circuitry to connect peripherals and as a way to accelerate certain tasks for robots.

  1. H. Fan, C. Hundt, Y. Wu, & J.B. Ernst, “Algorithms and implementation for interconnection graph problem“.
    in Proc. of 2nd Int. Conf. on Combinatorial Optimization and Applications (COCOA 2008), pp. 201-210, St. Johns, Canada, 2008.
  2. H. Fan, J.B. Ernst, & Y. Wu, “Customized reconfigurable interconnection networks for multiple application socs“.
    in Proc. of 18th IEEE Int. Conf. on Field Programmable Logic and Applications, (FPL 2008), pp. 491 – 494, Heidelburg, Germany, 2008.