Imperial College London > Talks@ee.imperial > COMMSP Seminar > HelpNet: an ad-hoc Emergency Response Network

HelpNet: an ad-hoc Emergency Response Network

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  • UserProf. Andreas Pitsillides, Department of Computer Science, University of Cyprus
  • ClockTuesday 26 November 2013, 10:30-11:30
  • HouseGabor Seminar Room, 611.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lauren E Noto.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that citizens are left helpless in the face of emergencies or disasters until such time as help can arrive from first responders. Even when such emergency response units finally make it to the disaster area, it takes considerable time to plan and execute search-and-rescue operations. Information and communication technologies are increasingly playing a critical role in alleviating this situation. However, current solutions (predominantly designed based on infrastructure-based networks) lack flexibility and robustness needed to withstand outages commonly observed in emergency scenarios. On the other hand, ad-hoc solutions formed by opportunistic networking between mobile devices (including handsets, tablets, PDAs and the like) promise to deliver a far more effective emergency response solution. This presentation adopts an ad-hoc approach for emergency response, examines necessary design requirements and identifies current system limitations. Noticeably, unlike traditional adhoc networks where the source-destination pair is known, in emergency situations a distress survivor (i.e. source node) does not have information on who to forward alert notifications. At the same time, a first responder has no clue on who is in need for help adding to the complexity of achieving end-to-end communication. Under the latter regime, the HelpNet architecture is introduced to address the issues that arise from the realisation of a plausible ad-hoc emergency response networking solution. HelpNet borrows concepts developed in complex network science to classify nodes and build a topological structure of the network. On top, a layer-2 forwarding policy is designed to strategically disseminate alert notifications over the network in a highly energy efficient manner. In this way, HelpNet achieves good performance while consuming minimal resources. The presentation concludes with a review of enabling technologies that can be used to build HelpNet.

Andreas Pitsillides is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, University of Cyprus, and heads the Networks Research Laboratory (NetRL, His research interests include fixed and mobile/wireless communication networks, the Internet- and Web- of Things, especially their application in Smart Homes, and Internet technologies and their application in Mobile e-Services, especially e-health, and security. He has a particular interest in adapting tools from various fields of applied mathematics such as control theory, game theory, nature inspired techniques, and computational intelligence to solve problems in computer networks. Published over 230 referred papers in flagship IEEE , Elsevier, IFAC , and Springer journals, international conferences and book chapters, he is the co-author with Josephine Antoniou of the book Game Theory in Communication Networks: Cooperative Resolution of Interactive Networking Scenarios (CRC, ISBN : 978-1439848081, 2012), he is the co-editor with Petros Ioannou of the book on Modelling and Control of Complex Systems (CRC Press, ISBN : 978-0-8493-7985-0, 2007), participated in over 30 European Commission and locally funded research projects with over 4.5 million Euro as principal or co-principal investigator, presented keynotes, invited lectures at major research organisations, short courses at international conferences and short courses to industry. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Computer Networks (COMNET) and International Journal of Handheld Computing Research (IJHCR), served on international conferences as General Chair (ICT2011, EuroMedNet’98), Vice General Chair (WiOpt’07), international co-chair (INFOCOM 2003), technical program chair (MCCS05, ISYC06 ), and on executive committees (e.g. INFOCOM 2001 –2003, and ICT98 ), technical committees, guest co-editor, invited speaker, and as a regular reviewer for conference and journal submissions. He is also a member of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Technical Committee (TC 1.5) on Networked Systems, IFAC TC 7 .4 on Transportation Systems and the IFIP working group WG 6 .3. (

This talk is part of the COMMSP Seminar series.

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