M. Conti

Università di Pisa, Pisa, Tuscany, Italy

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Publications (100)51.85 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Opportunistic Networks (OppNets) offer a very volatile and dynamic networking environment. Several applications proposed for OppNets - such as social networking, emergency management, pervasive and urban sensing - involve the problem of sharing content amongst interested users. Despite the fact that nodes have limited resources, existing solutions for content sharing require that the nodes maintain and exchange large amount of status information, but this limits the system scalability. In order to cope with this problem, in this paper we present and evaluate a solution based on cognitive heuristics. Cognitive heuristics are functional models of the mental processes, studied in the cognitive psychology field. They describe the behavior of the brain when decisions have to be taken quickly, in spite of incomplete information. In our solution, nodes maintain an aggregated information built up from observations of the encountered nodes. The aggregate status and a probabilistic decision process is the basis on which nodes apply cognitive heuristics to decide how to disseminate content items upon meeting with each other. These two features allow the proposed solution to drastically limit the state kept by each node, and to dynamically adapt to both the dynamics of item diffusion and the dynamically changing node interests. The performance of our solution is evaluated through simulation and compared with other solutions in the literature.
    IEEE WoWMoM 2013; 06/2013
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    ABSTRACT: Opportunistic networking is one of the key paradigms to support direct communication between devices in a mobile scenario. In this context, the high volatility and dynamicity of information and the fact that mobile nodes have to make decisions in condition of partial or incomplete knowledge, makes the development of effective and efficient data dissemination schemes very challenging. In this paper we present algorithms based on well-established models in cognitive sciences, in order to disseminate both data items, and semantic information associated with them. In our approach, semantic information represents both meta-data associated to data items (e.g., tags associated to them), and meta-data describing the interests of the users (e.g., topics for which they would like to receive data items). Our solution exploits dissemination of semantic data about the users’ interests to guide the dissemination of the corresponding data items. Both dissemination processes are based on models coming from the cognitive sciences field, named cognitive heuristics, which describe how humans organise information in their memory and exchange it during interactions based on partial and incomplete information. We exploit a model describing how semantic data can be organised in each node in a semantic network, based on how humans organise information in their memory. Then, we define algorithms based on cognitive heuris- tics to disseminate both semantic data and data items between nodes upon encounters. Finally, we provide initial performance results about the diffusion of interests among users, and the corresponding diffusion of data items.
    IEEE AOC2013; 06/2013
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    ABSTRACT: WiFi Direct introduces new opportunities to deploy real opportunistic networks through users' mobile devices. However, its original specification does not take into account all the parameters that can emerge from an opportunistic network scenario, not only in terms of technical requirements (e.g., available resources and connectivities) but also of users characteristics and profiles, which can heavily influence the system's performances and devices' interactions. In this work we investigate the feasibility of creating opportunistic networks on top of WiFi Direct framework by analyzing the protocol's performances in real scenarios with a variable number of mobile devices. Experimental results show the times required to form a group of variable size and the best configurations to support opportunistic networking operations and upper layer applications.
    Wireless Days (WD), 2013 IFIP; 01/2013
  • A. Passarella, M. Conti
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    ABSTRACT: Foundational work in the area of opportunistic networks has shown that the distribution of intercontact times between pairs of nodes has a key impact on the network properties, for example, in terms of convergence of forwarding protocols. Specifically, forwarding protocols may yield infinite expected delay if the intercontact time distributions present a particularly heavy tail. While these results hold for the distributions of intercontact times between individual pairs, most of the literature uses the aggregate distribution, i.e., the distribution obtained by considering the samples from all pairs together, to characterize the properties of opportunistic networks. In this paper, we provide an analytical framework that can be used to check when this approach is correct and when it is not, and we apply it to a number of relevant cases. We show that the aggregate distribution can be way different from the distributions of individual pair intercontact times. Therefore, using the former to characterize properties that depend on the latter is not correct in general, although this is correct in some cases. We substantiate this finding by analyzing the most representative distributions characterizing real opportunistic networks that can be obtained from reference traces. We review key cases for opportunistic networking, where the aggregate intercontact time distribution presents a heavy tail with or without exponential cutoff. We show that, when individual pairs follow Pareto distributions, the aggregate distribution consistently presents a heavy tail. However, heavy tail aggregate distributions can also emerge in networks where individual pair intercontact times are not heavy tailed, for example, exponential or Pareto with exponential cutoff distributions. We show that an exponential cutoff in the aggregate appears when the average intercontact times of individual pairs are finite. Finally, we discuss how to use our analytical model to know whether collecting aggregate - nformation about intercontact times is sufficient or not, to decideâin practiceâwhich type of routing protocols to use.
    IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing 01/2013; 12(12):2483-2495. · 2.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we present DroidOppPathFinder, a Mobile Social Network application designed to generate and share contents about paths for fitness activity in a city. The application is able to recommend the best path in a specific area by analyzing the user’s preferences and real- time environmental characteristics collected by heterogeneous sensing devices and services through opportunistic sensing mechanisms. To this aim, DroidOppPathFinder is developed on top of our middleware CAMEO, which provides context- and social-aware functionalities to improve both the application’s performances and the user experience. This work represents a real example of opportunistic sensing service as additional support to the development ofMSN applications. In addition, it demonstrates an efficient management of heterogeneous sensing data and services on mobile devices in order to further enrich the context of both local and remote nodes.
    IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless Mobile and Multimedia Networks; 01/2013
  • E. Ancillotti, R. Bruno, M. Conti
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    ABSTRACT: Advanced communication/networking technologies should be integrated in next-generation power systems (a.k.a. smart grids) to improve their resilience, efficiency, adaptability, and sustainability. Many believe that the smart grid communication infrastructure will emerge from the interconnection of a large number of small-scale networks organized into a hierarchical architecture covering larger geographic areas. In this article, first we carry out a thorough analysis of the key components of the smart grid communication architecture, discussing the different network topologies and communication technologies that could be employed. Special emphasis is given to the advanced metering infrastructure, which will be used to interconnect the smart meters deployed at customers' premises with data aggregators and control centers. The design of scalable, reliable, and efficient networking solutions for AMI systems is an important research problem because these networks are composed of thousands of resource-constrained embedded devices usually interconnected with communication technologies that can provide only low-bandwidth and unreliable links. The IPv6 Routing Protocol for Low Power and Lossy Networks was recently standardized by the IETF to specifically meet the requirements of typical AMI applications. In this article we present a thorough overview of the protocol, and we critically analyze its advantages and potential limits in AMI applications. We also conduct a performance evaluation of RPL using a Contiki-based prototype of the RPL standard and a network emulator. Our results indicate that although average performance may appear reasonable for AMI networks, a few RPL nodes may suffer from severe unreliability issues and experience high packet loss rates due to the selection of suboptimal paths with highly unreliable links.
    IEEE Communications Magazine 01/2013; 51(1):75-83. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The proliferation of smartphones as complex sensing systems represents today the basis to further stimulate the active participation of mobile users in opportunistic sensing services. However, single sensing devices (either independent network com- ponents or integrated inmore powerful devices) generally present different capabilities and implement proprietary standards. This highlights the necessity of defining a common standard for sensing data encoding in order to guarantee the interoperability of heterogeneous devices and personal mobile systems. In this paper we present Sensor Mobile Enablement (SME), a light- weight standard for efficiently identifying, coding and decoding heterogeneous sensing information on mobile devices. After a detailed analysis of SME features and advantages, we present its performances derived from real experiments on Android smartphones. Results highlight that SME does not heavily impact on mobile system’s performances while efficiently supporting opportunistic sensing services.
    International Workshop on the Impact of Human Mobility in Pervasive Systems and Applications; 01/2013
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    ABSTRACT: Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are emerging as an effective solution for a wide range of real-life applications. In scenarios where a fine-grain sensing is not required, sensor nodes can be sparsely deployed in strategic locations and special Mobile Elements (MEs) can be used for data collection. Since communication between a sensor node and a ME can occur only when they are in the transmission range of each other, one of the main challenges in the design of a WSN with MEs is the energy-efficient and timely discovery of MEs. In this paper, we consider a hierarchical ME discovery protocol, namely Dual beacon Discovery (2BD) protocol, based on two different beacon messages emitted by the ME (i.e., Long-Range Beacons and Short-Range Beacons). We develop a detailed analytical model of 2BD assuming a sparse network scenario, and derive the optimal parameter values that minimize the energy consumption at sensor nodes, while guaranteeing the minimum throughput required by the application. Finally, we compare the energy efficiency and performance of 2BD with those of a traditional discovery protocol based on a single beacon. Our results show that 2BD can provide significant energy savings, especially when the discovery phase is relatively long.
    World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks (WoWMoM), 2012 IEEE International Symposium on a; 01/2012
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    ABSTRACT: Energy efficiency is typically the most important requirement in wireless sensor networks (WSNs). However, in many application domains, additional requirements such as reliability, timeliness and scalability need to be considered as well. As emphasized in previous studies, the IEEE 802.15.4 MAC protocol has severe limitations in terms of performance and energy efficiency, which make it unsuitable for many application scenarios. In this paper we propose an asynchronous adaptive algorithm for periodic data reporting that leverages the 802.15.4 Beacon-Disabled Mode but de-synchronizes the access times of different sensor nodes, so as to minimize the collision probability. Unlike previous de-synchronization schemes, the proposed approach only relies on local information. Simulation results show that our asynchronous algorithm can provide a performance very similar to that of a TDMA scheme but, unlike TDMA, it does not requires any synchronization among nodes.
    Computers and Communications (ISCC), 2012 IEEE Symposium on; 01/2012
  • E. Ancillotti, R. Bruno, M. Conti
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    ABSTRACT: To allow pervasive and distributed monitoring and control of grid devices and resources, the next-generation electricity grid needs a scalable and reliable two-way communication infrastructure, known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). In such communication system, characterized by the interconnection of thousands of resource-constrained embedded devices, such as smart meters and intelligent electric devices (IEDs), the routing protocol plays an essential role to guarantee a timely and reliable communication service. In this paper we investigate the performance of RPL, the IPv6 routing protocol recently standardized by IETF to meet the requirements of such networks. Special emphasis is given to the analysis of route-level attributes, such as path stretch, route lifetimes, dominance, and flapping, which are used to estimate the quality and stability of the RPL routes. Our results show that RPL nodes may suffer from severe unreliability problems, mainly because RPL often selects sub-optimal paths with low quality links. Furthermore, RPL routes are strongly dominated by a single route, and this may prevent RPL from quickly adapt to link quality variations. We believe that the findings of this study may facilitate the design of new mechanisms to improve the reliability and adaptability of RPL.
    Sustainable Internet and ICT for Sustainability (SustainIT), 2012; 01/2012
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    ABSTRACT: The physical environment is becoming more and more saturated with computing and communication entities that interact among themselves, as well as with users: virtually everything will be enabled to source information and respond to appropriate stimuli. In this technology-rich scenario, real-world components interact with cyberspace via sensing, computing and communication elements, thus driving towards what is called the Cyber–Physical World (CPW) convergence. Information flows from the physical to the cyber world, and vice-versa, adapting the converged world to human behavior and social dynamics. Indeed humans are at the center of this converged world since information about the context in which they operate is the key element to adapt the CPW applications and services. Alongside, a new wave of (human) social networks and structures are emerging as important drivers for the development of novel communication and computing paradigms. In this article we present some of the research issues, challenges and opportunities in the convergence between the cyber and physical worlds. This article is not a comprehensive survey of all aspects of the CPW convergence. Instead, it presents some exciting research challenges and opportunities identified by members of the journal’s editorial board with a goal to stimulate new research activities in the emerging areas of CPW convergence.
    Pervasive and Mobile Computing. 01/2012; 8(1):2-21.
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    ABSTRACT: Mobile systems are characterized by several dynamic components such as user mobility, device interoperability, and interactions among users and their devices. In this scenario, context-awareness and the emerging concept of social-awareness become a fundamental requirement to develop optimized systems and applications. In this paper we present CAMEO, a light-weight context-aware middleware platform for mobile devices designed to support the development of real-time mobile social network (MSN) applications. MSNs extend the paradigm of online social networks with additional interaction opportunities generated by user mobility and opportunistic wireless communications among users which share interests, habits, and needs. Specifically, CAMEO is designed to collect and reason upon multidimensional context information, derived by the local device, the local user, and their physical interactions with other devices and users. It provides a common application programming interface to MSN applications through which they can exploit context- and social-aware functionalities to optimize their features. CAMEO has been implemented on an Android platform together with a real example of an MSN application. Validation and performance evaluation have been conducted through an experimental testbed.
    Pervasive and Mobile Computing. 01/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The vast proliferation of Online Social Networks (OSN) is generating many new ways to interact and create social relationships with others. While substantial results have been obtained in anthropology literature describing the properties of human social networks, a clear understanding of the properties of social networks built using OSN is still to be achieved. The presence of a huge amount of records containing users’ communication history, provided by OSN, represents a new opportunity to analyse and better understand the human social behaviour. In this paper we present ego-net digger, a novel Facebook application for the analysis of ego networks in OSN. Ego-net digger collects users’ social data and gives a representation of their personal social networks according to the Dunbar’s circles model. To show the potential of our application we analyse a sample data set collected during a data acquisition campaign, finding interesting similarities between the structure of Facebook ego networks and the properties found in the anthropology literature. Specifically, we find that, in our sample, there is a clear evidence of the presence of the same ego network structure - i.e., the Dunbar’s circles - as found in human social networks formed offline.
    HotSocial '12 Proceedings of the First ACM International Workshop on Hot Topics on Interdisciplinary Social Networks Research; 01/2012
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    ABSTRACT: BitTorrent is currently a very popular protocol for P2P file sharing, and most of BitTorrent users access the Internet from residential networks. In this paper we compare the legacy BitTorrent protocol with EE-BitTorrent, a proxy-based version recently proposed for energy efficiency, in a residential scenario. We show that the performance achieved by users is strongly influenced by the uplink throughput allowed by the access network. When the available uplink rate is low, the legacy BitTorrent protocol performs poorly and EE-BitTorrent outperforms it, in terms of average download time and energy consumption at the user's PC. The opposite occurs when the uplink rate is good. Motivated by these results, we designed and implemented AdaBT, an adaptive algorithm that dynamically selects the most efficient BitTorrent option (i.e., legacy or proxy-based), depending on the operating conditions experienced by the user. Our experimental results show that AdaBT is able to reduce significantly the download time provided by either the legacy BitTorrent or EE-BitTorrent.
    Computers and Communications (ISCC), 2012 IEEE Symposium on; 01/2012
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    ABSTRACT: A major concern in wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is energy conservation, since battery-powered sensor nodes are expected to operate autonomously for a long time, e.g., for months or even years. Another critical aspect of WSNs is reliability, which is highly application-dependent. In most cases it is possible to trade-off energy consumption and reliability in order to prolong the network lifetime, while satisfying the application requirements. In this paper we propose an adaptive and cross-layer framework for reliable and energy-efficient data collection in WSNs based on the IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee standards. The framework involves an energy-aware adaptation module that captures the application's reliability requirements, and autonomously configures the MAC layer based on the network topology and the traffic conditions in order to minimize the power consumption. Specifically, we propose a low-complexity distributed algorithm, called ADaptive Access Parameters Tuning (ADAPT), that can effectively meet the application-specific reliability under a wide range of operating conditions, for both single-hop and multi-hop networking scenarios. Our solution can be integrated into WSNs based on IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee without requiring any modification to the standards. Simulation results show that ADAPT is very energy-efficient, with near-optimal performance.
    IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications 10/2011; · 3.12 Impact Factor
  • Franca Delmastro, Marco Conti
    06/2011: pages 113 - 133; , ISBN: 9781119970422
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    ABSTRACT: Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) represent a very promising solution in the field of wireless technologies for industrial applications. However, for a credible deployment of WSNs in an industrial environment, four main properties need to be fulfilled, i.e., energy efficiency, scalability, reliability, and timeliness. In this paper, we focus on IEEE 802.15.4 WSNs and show that they can suffer from a serious unreliability problem. This problem arises whenever the power management mechanism is enabled for energy efficiency, and results in a very low packet delivery ratio, also when the number of sensor nodes in the network is very low (e.g., 5). We carried out an extensive analysis-based on both simulation and experiments on a real WSN-to investigate the fundamental reasons of this problem, and we found that it is caused by the contention-based Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol used for channel access and its default parameter values. We also found that, with a more appropriate MAC parameters setting, it is possible to mitigate the problem and achieve a delivery ratio up to 100%, at least in the scenarios considered in this paper. However, this improvement in communication reliability is achieved at the cost of an increased latency, which may not be acceptable for industrial applications with stringent timing requirements. In addition, in some cases this is possible only by choosing MAC parameter values formally not allowed by the standard.
    IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics 03/2011; · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Opportunistic Mobile Social Networks represent the emerging trend in mobile applications combining the novel paradigm of opportunistic networking with the need of users to generate and share contents anywhere and anytime. In this demo we present a real implementation of a context-aware middleware for the development of optimized opportunistic Mobile Social Networks. To highlight the advantages of this platform we present also an innovative application for tourists aimed at enriching the touristic experience with useful information and virtual social interactions with other users.
    12th IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks, WOWMOM 2011, Lucca, Italy, 20-24 June, 2011; 01/2011
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    ABSTRACT: The convergence of computer-communication networks towards an all-IP integrated network has transformed Internet in a commercial commodity that has stimulated an un-precedent offer of novel communication services that are pushing the Internet architecture and protocols well beyond their original design. This calls for extraordinary research efforts at all levels of the protocol stack to address the challenges of existing and future networked applications and services in terms of scalability, mobility, flexibility, security, etc. In this article we focus on some hot research areas and discuss the research issues that need to be tackled for addressing the multiple challenges of the Future Internet. Far from being a comprehensive analysis of all the challenges faced by the Future Internet, this article tries to call the attention of Computer Communications readers to new and promising research areas, identified by members of the journal editorial board to stimulate further research activities in these areas. The survey of these research areas is then complemented with a brief review of the on-going activities in the other important research areas towards the Future Internet.
    Computer Communications. 01/2011; 34:2115-2134.
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    ABSTRACT: As content provisioning becomes the driving application of today's (opportunistic) networking environments and the User Generated Content explodes, the problem of devising scalable approaches to placing it optimally within a networking structure becomes more important and challenging. Since the well-known k-median optimization problem that is typically formulated to address it requires global topology and demand information, different approaches are sought for. The latter is the focus of this paper that aims at exploiting social structures, present in emerging networking environments, in order to devise a scalable approach to the optimal or near-optimal content placement. A new metric that captures the node's social significance or potential for helping establish paths between nodes is introduced and serves as the basis for creating a small scale network sub-graph over which the small-scale content placement problem is solved sequentially until the optimal or near-optimal location is identified. The trade-off between the sub-graph's size and the degree of convergence to the optimal solution is studied through simulations on E-R and B-A random graphs and the effectiveness of the proposed approach is demonstrated.
    Wireless On-demand Network Systems and Services (WONS), 2010 Seventh International Conference on; 03/2010

Publication Stats

2k Citations
51.85 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1995–2011
    • Università di Pisa
      • Department of Information Engineering
      Pisa, Tuscany, Italy
  • 2010
    • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
      • Faculty of Informatics and Telecommunications
      Athens, Attiki, Greece
  • 1970–2009
    • National Research Council
      • Institute for Informatics and Telematics IIT
      Roma, Latium, Italy
    • University of Texas at Arlington
      • Department of Computer Sciences & Engineering
      Arlington, TX, United States
  • 2007
    • IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca
      Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
  • 2005
    • Budapest University of Technology and Economics
      Budapeŝto, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2003–2005
    • Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)
      Genova, Liguria, Italy
  • 2000–2004
    • University of Bologna
      • Department of Computer Science and Engineering DISI
      Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 1994
    • The University of Arizona
      Tucson, Arizona, United States