MOBIQUITOUS 2014, Prof. Youssef: "The future will make science fiction a reality"

Currently Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST), where he has established the Wireless Research Facility, Professor Moustafa Youssef was also the general chair of MobiQuitous 2014, the 11th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems: Computing, Networking and Services. His research interest include mobile and wireless networks, pervasive computing, location determination systems, protocol modelling and analysis, sensor networks, ad-hoc networks, energy efficient protocols, peer-to-peer systems, and computer security. We asked Prof. Youssef a few questions in anticipation of MobiQuitous 2014 – about the conference, and the field as such.

The conference program was quite dense with many sessions on various topics, several workshops, and two keynote speakers – Nigel Davies from Lancaster University and Konstantina Papagiannaki from Telefonica Research and Innovation. In your opinion, what can we expect from the 11th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Systems: Computing, Networking and Services?

Prof. Moustafa Youssef, General Chair of MobiQuitous 2014
Prof. Moustafa Youssef, General Chair of MobiQuitous 2014

Over the years, MobiQuitous has established itself as a flagship conference in the field of mobile and ubiquitous computing and networking. This year’s conference builds upon the success and brings together researchers and industry professionals from around the globe to discuss the latest advances in this vibrant and constantly evolving field. The delegates in MobiQuitous 2014 will discuss and present the latest advances in next generation mobile and ubiquitous computing, networking and services. A diverse range of topics from mobile and sensor systems, location tracking, behavior and mobility modelling, mobile and multimedia applications, as well as privacy and security aspects are featured in the conference.

Which direction, do you think, will be followed by future studies on mobile and ubiquitous computing?

The Internet of Things, where everything is envisioned to be connected to the internet and communicating and interacting together, poses both new opportunities and challenges. We are starting to notice the initial deployments now and things like smart homes, vehicles, and wearable devices are just a few examples. The research community has a lot to offer in a wide range of domains from building novel applications to enhance our daily lives to handling scale, privacy, incentives, and energy efficiency aspects. Mobile devices will play a crucial role in the future as ubiquitous computing and sensing devices. The possibilities are endless.

 In your opinion, what are the main studies addressing various issues of emerging wireless technologies for future mobile networks?

Wireless technologies are diverse and cover a wide range of domains. Studies addressing network capacity, quality of service issues, and interoperability between different technologies are just a few examples of the spectrum.

 What are (if any) the most common limitations of studies published up to today in the field of mobile and ubiquitous computing? How to go beyond these limitations?

Mainly the scale of the studies and how they reflect the real world. Access to data from large companies is not available to the research community. One can think of possible solutions including sharing data and resources between different groups, convincing large companies of the value of giving access to their data and, more importantly, encouraging open access to anonymized data.

 What everyday life issues can be resolved thanks to mobile and ubiquitous devices?

Today’s mobile devices are sensor-rich and are with the user almost 24/7. This allows them to both sense not only the environment around the user, but also information about what she is doing, her mood, and context. Fusing the sensors information from multiple users extends this to better understanding of our environment. For example, we can determine the noise levels in different parts of the city, traffic state, cellular coverage, hot spots, etc. Mobile and ubiquitous computing promise the possibility of automating our daily tasks so that we can focus on more important things. Accurately predicting what the user wants to do at a given time will enable us to lead a better life. Who would imagine that driverless cars would be close to being a reality? The future will make science fiction a reality.