Talks & Seminars
Monitoring Volcanic Eruptions with a Wireless Sensor Network
Prof. Matt Welsh, Harvard University
Date & Time: August 22, 2006 14:30
Venue: Kresit, 2nd floor, Lecture Hall
Wireless sensor networks are an exciting new technology with many potential applications in the natural sciences. Our group has been collaborating with seismologists from UNH, UNC, and the Instituto Geofisico in Ecuador to explore the use of sensor networks for monitoring eruptions and earthquakes at active volcanoes. The use of wireless sensor networks can augment and supplant existing seismic monitoring equipment, which often involves heavy, power-hungry data loggers. This is an especially challenging application, requiring high-resolution signal collection across an array of spatially-separated sensors to understand the geophysical processes underlying volcanic activity. In this talk, I will describe two sensor network deployments that we have undertaken on volcanoes in Ecuador, Tungurahua and Reventador, in the summers of 2004 and 2005. The Reventador network consisted of 16 wireless sensor nodes, distributed over a 3 km aperture, that collected high-resolution seismic and acoustic data on over 200 eruptions and earthquakes over 3 weeks. This project involved many challenges, including reliable multihop routing, fine-grained network time synchronization, over-the-air reprogramming, and event-based triggering. I will also discuss the lessons learned from deploying a sensor network in such a hostile and remote location. Reaching the deployment site required slogging through dense jungle for several hours to the upper flanks of the volcano, deforested by a massive eruption in 2002.
Speaker Profile:
Matt Welsh is an assistant professor of Computer Science at Harvard University. His research interests span many aspects of complex systems, including Internet services, distributed systems, and sensor networks. His current projects include macroprogramming languages and resource management techniques for sensor networks, as well as deployments in application settings such as medical care and seismology. He is also a long-time Linux hacker and is the author of "Running Linux", published by O'Reilly and Associates.
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