Rice’s Mamouras wins NSF CAREER Award

Research to enable advanced Internet of Things applications


By Patrick Kurp
Special to Rice News

As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows larger and more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to develop applications.

Konstantinos Mamouras is assistant professor of computer science at Rice University. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

“A common approach to this problem is to move data from the sensing devices to a central location, such as the cloud, for processing,” said Konstantinos Mamouras, assistant professor of computer science at Rice University. “But this centralized approach underutilizes the small IoT devices at the edge of the network and can overwhelm it due to the large movement of data.”

With his five-year, $547,555 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Mamouras aims to decentralize the IoT, relieve network congestion and improve overall efficiency. His proposal is titled “Programming Abstractions and Formal Reasoning for IoT Application Development.”

Some 500 CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation are given annually in support of “early career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.” Mamouras is the fourth Rice Engineering faculty member to receive a CAREER Award this year.

The IoT is a network of devices, vehicles, appliances and other objects embedded with connected sensors and software that permit them to collect and share data. It has many applications in health care, automobiles, home automation, manufacturing and agriculture.

“Placing more computation on the edge or close to the small devices that generate the data makes more efficient use of the infrastructure, but this approach is limited by the complexity of the system,” Mamouras said. “The programming task is a daunting undertaking that requires deep expertise in embedded programming, network protocols and distributed computing.”

Mamouras, who teaches COMP 418, “IoT Programming and Data Analysis,” said he plans to introduce novel programming techniques that will make it easier to enable efficient, reliable IoT applications. New high-level programming abstractions and languages will permit IoT programmers to express complex multidevice application logic.

“We plan to create formal reasoning techniques for establishing that an application respects correctness properties and limits on resource consumption,” he said. “A runtime system will manage the reliable deployment and efficient execution of the applications.”

The CAREER Award will also enable Mamouras to develop educational material for undergraduate and graduate students as well as software tools and learning resources that target nonexpert IoT enthusiasts.

Mamouras earned his doctorate in computer science from Cornell University in 2015, followed by postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Rice faculty in 2018.

Award information:

Award Abstract # 2340479

CAREER: Programming Abstractions and Formal Reasoning for IoT Application Development


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CAPTION: Konstantinos Mamouras is assistant professor of computer science at Rice University. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)