The Sixth International Symposium on Wireless Communication Systems 2009 (ISWCS’09)
Siena-Tuscany, University of Siena, Italy, September 7–10, 2009
Technical Co-Sponsorship by IEEE Communications Society
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"Biologically-Inspired and Nano-scale Communication and Networking"
by Ozgur B. Akan, Falko Dressler


The developments in communication technologies have yielded many existing and envisioned information network architectures such as cognitive radio networks, sensor and actor networks, quantum communication networks, terrestrial next generation Internet, and InterPlaNetary Internet. However, there exist many common significant challenges to be addressed for the practical realization of these current and envisioned networking paradigms such as the increased complexity with large scale networks, their dynamic nature, resource constraints, heterogeneous architectures, absence or impracticality of centralized control and infrastructure, need for survivability, and unattended resolution of potential failures. These challenges have been successfully dealt with by Nature, which, as a result of millions of years of evolution, have yielded many biological systems and processes with intrinsic appealing characteristics such as adaptivity to varying environmental conditions, inherent resiliency to failures and damages, successful and collaborative operation on the basis of a limited set of rules and with global intelligence which is larger than superposition of individuals, self-organization, survivability, and evolvability. Inspired by these characteristics, many researchers are currently engaged in developing innovative design paradigms to address the networking challenges of existing and envisioned information systems. In this paper, the current state-of-the-art in bio-inspired networking is captured. The existing bio-inspired networking and communication protocols and algorithms devised by looking at biology as a source of inspiration, and by mimicking the laws and dynamics governing these systems is presented along with open research issues for the bio-inspired networking. Furthermore, the domain of bio-inspired networking is linked to the forthcoming research domain of nanonetworks, which bring a set of unique challenges. The objective of this tutorial is to provide better understanding of the potentials for bio-inspired and nano-scale networking, and to motivate research community to further explore this timely and exciting field.


Ozgur B. Akan received the BS and MS degrees in electrical and electronics engineering from Bilkent University and Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, in June 1999 and January 2002, respectively. He received the PhD degree in electrical and computer engineering from the Broadband and Wireless Networking Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, in May 2004. He is currently Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Middle East Technical University and the Director of Next generation Wireless Communications Laboratory (NWCL). His current research interests are in next-generation wireless networks, biologically-inspired communications, nano-scale and molecular communications, network information theory.
Dr. Akan is an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology and Editor for ACM/Springer Wireless Networks (WINET) Journal. He served as an Area Editor for AD HOC Networks Journal (Elsevier) (between 2004-2008), as a Guest Editor for several special issues. He has served as the General Co-Chair for The Third International Conference on Bio- Inspired Models of Network, Information, and Computing Systems (ICST/IEEE BIONETICS 2008), the European Vice Chair for The Second International Conference on Nano-Networks (ICST/ACM Nano-Net 2007), an International Vice Chair for IEEE INFOCOM 2006, and in organizing committees and technical program committees of many other international conferences on communications and networking. He is the Publications Committee Vice Chair for ICST an IEEE Senior Member (Communications Society). Dr. Akan received the IBM Faculty Award 2008, Turkish Academy of Sciences Distinguished Young Scientist Award 2008 (TUBA-GEBIP), the 2006 Parlar Foundation Research Encouragement Award for his research in bio-inspired communication techniques for wireless communication networks, the 2006 Editor of the Year Award from AD HOC Networks (Elsevier) Journal, the Best Paper Award in IEEE ISCN 2006, the TUBITAK-Career Award in 2005, and the 2003 Researcher of the Year Award in Broadband and Wireless Networking Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Falko Dressler is an assistant professor leading the Autonomic Networking Group at the Department of Computer Sciences, University of Erlangen. He teaches on self-organizing sensor and actor networks, network security, and communication systems. Dr. Dressler received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree from the Dept. of Computer Sciences, University of Erlangen in 1998 and 2003, respectively. In 2003, he joined the Computer Networks and Internet group at the Wilhelm-Schickard-Institute for Computer Science, University of Tuebingen. Since 2004, he is with the Computer Networks and Communication Systems group at the Department of Computer Sciences, University of Erlangen.
Dr. Dressler is an Editor for the Elsevier Ad Hoc Networks journal, the ACM/Springer Wireless Networks (WINET) journal, and the Journal of Autonomic and Trusted Computing (JoATC). He was guest editor of special issues on self-organization, autonomic networking, and bio-inspired computing and communication for IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (JSAC), Elsevier Ad Hoc Networks, and Springer Transactions on Computational Systems Biology (TCSB). Dr. Dressler was general chair of the 2nd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Bio-Inspired Models of Network, Information, and Computing Systems (BIONETICS 2007). Besides chairing a number of workshops associated to high-level conferences, he regularly acts in the TPC of conferences such as IEEE INFOCOM, IEEE ICC, IEEE Globecom, IEEE MASS, IFIP Networking and others. Dr. Dressler published two books including Self-Organization in Sensor and Actor Networks, published by Wiley in 2007. Dr. Dressler is Senior Member of the IEEE (Communications Society, Computer Society, Vehicular Technology Society), member of ACM (SIGMOBILE) and GI (KuVS, Real-time). He is actively participating in several working groups of the IETF. His research activities are focused on (but not limited to) Autonomic Networking addressing issues in Wireless Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks, Vehicular Communication, Self-Organization, Bio-inspired Mechanisms, and Adaptive Network Monitoring and Security Techniques.