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Ephremides leads new NSF Age of Information project

Professor Anthony Ephremides (ECE/ISR) is the principal investigator for a new National Science Foundation award, On the Fundamental Nature of the Age of Updates. Professor Yin Sun will be the collaborative researcher at Auburn University.

This Communication and Information Foundations collaborative research project will use the new concept of Age of Information to discover the relationships between information theory and signal processing, two of the main pillars of information science. Its foundational core is the context of communication, namely on the purposes and goals of signal transmission.

The Age of Information (AoI) has emerged as a novel concept, metric, and tool in the broad area of information sciences. AoI is clearly connected to many aspects of information theory, signal processing, and multiple applications. However, the fundamental nature of this concept has been elusive so far. This project will investigate all three aspects of the AoI, namely its significance as a performance metric, its usefulness as a tool, and, more importantly, its potential to explore profound aspects of, and fundamental interconnections among, the theories that underlie our understanding of information structure, causal information processing, and the context (or semanteme) of information.

Especially in the latter, the context of the communication process is emerging as a well-defined and useful extension of the Shannon doctrine of communication. Namely, communication needs not be just reproducing at point B a message selected at point A. Rather, it is important to consider whether communication occurs for a purpose, such as for computation, prediction, or monitoring.

The project will explore how the transmission and the age of received updates relate to the information structure of a signal, and understand how information ages over time. It will use an innovative approach to the traditional problems of signal processing by relating Nyquist's theory to causal signal reconstruction. The project also will use AoI as a tool in handling the problem of caching and network control in volatile environments (e.g., internet of things and sensor networks).

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June 12, 2018


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