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Postgraduate Personal Statement

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Generic Personal Statement

The fascination of how and why something works and interacts with the world around us has always had me enthralled, and to be able to work in an environment where I am designing, prototyping and developing technology would be my dream fulfilled. My ultimate goal is to work in research and development at the leading edge of Electronic Engineering; to be engaged in new and evolving technology and to help shape the future.


From an early age, I knew I wanted to be an engineer, and the progression through my degree has only strengthened my resolve. I have always had technical hobbies, working on projects involving hardware and software for my own enjoyment, and to expand my knowledge.


During my studies at UCL, I have been involved in various assignments. A second year project to design a DTMF decoder I found satisfying as our group developed a practical solution using hardware, rather than the more obvious MATLAB approach, as this seemed more apt.


My fourth year project, “UNV: Content-Centric Live Video Streaming System”, aimed to create an open source video test-bed to stream video via the internet while allowing the user to have total control over all parameters such as quality, codecs and the network layer. This gave me experience of working within a development team and an opportunity to exercise programming skills in interfacing with standard libraries and computer hardware, as well as basic network programming. Modules were written by individual team members and part of my role was to ensure that these modules worked reliably together.


My third year project in “Cognitive Software Defined Radio for Wireless Sensor Networks” I found particularly interesting because of an existing interest in SDR. This project combined SDR with Wireless Sensor Networks which I had little knowledge of. Since working on the project I have gained a keen interest in WSN and would like to pursue this interest further. During my fourth year project, I expressed my intention to continue studies after my graduation to my supervisor, Dr Ioannis Andreopoulos. Upon discussion, it became apparent that one of his areas of research, “Computation vs Communication in Collaborative Wireless Sensor Networks”, was ideally suited to my interest.


I would specifically like the opportunity to continue my studies within UCL. I always felt supported by staff on both an academic and personal level. Academics have gone out of their way to help and advise me, and in doing so have created a warm and friendly environment. Combining UCL’s world class reputation, friendly environment and premier research facilities, this is the place where I would like to study.

Project Statement

My third year project saw me work with wireless sensor networks to develop a cognitive network controller which used DSP techniques to recover data from all ZigBee channels simultaneously [7], so I have experience with ZigBee and the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. I am competent at writing computer programs, having written many applications including my fourth year master's project on real-time video streaming technologies. I have written C code for embedded controllers, specifically Microchip's PIC devices, and have a good practical knowledge of hardware design, schematic diagrams and PCB design & manufacture. I have extensive hardware and software design experience on embedded controllers, both to increase my knowledge and in real life applications. I have a good understanding of computers at a technical level and am well versed with Linux (my main OS), Mac OS, and Microsoft Windows. I maintain a personal website [8] to which I upload mini-projects I am working on for the benefit of others, and receive positive feedback.


I believe that my experience and skills and the distributed WSN protocol for security and monitoring applications described earlier would make me a suitable candidate for UCL's Security Science Research Doctoral Training Centre.


My strong interest in this programme comes from its cross-disciplinary nature and my own interest to work on security/surveillance applications using wireless sensor networks. In particular, given the programme’s structure, I believe I shall benefit from the mixing of different disciplines, from engineering and computer science to social sciences, and this will give me a broader perspective for application scenarios to trial the developed technology. Last but not least, such cross-disciplinary training will provide the basis for interesting ideas on how to adapt communications and processing within a wireless sensor network in conjunction with events or scenarios expected from the actual surveillance/security application.

References

  • [1] I.F. Akyildiz, W. Su, Y. Sankarasubramaniam, E. Cayirci, “Wireless sensor networks: a survey,” Computer Networks, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 393-422, March 2002.
  • [2] “Wireless Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications for Low-Rate Wireless Personal Area Networks (LR-WPANs)”; IEEE Standard 802.15.4, 2003.
  • [3] D. Buranapanichkit, Y. Andreopoulos, “Distributed time-frequency division multiple access protocol for wireless sensor networks,” submitted for publication.
  • [4] R. Lin, Z. Wang, Y. Sun, “Wireless sensor networks solutions for real time monitoring of nuclear power plant,” Intelligent Control and Automation, 2004. WCICA 2004. Fifth World Congress on, vol. 4, pp. 3663-3667, June 2004.
  • [5] L. Yu, N. Wang, X. Meng, “Real-time forest fire detection with wireless sensor networks” Wireless Communications, Networking and Mobile Computing, 2005. Proceedings. 2005 International Conference on, vol. 2, pp. 1214 - 1217, September 2005.
  • [6] “ALERT (Automated Local Evaluation in Real Time) Systems”
http://www.alertsystems.org/alert.html [Retrieved 01/03/2011]
  • [7] “Software Defined Radio for Cognitive Wireless Sensor Systems”
http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~zceed42/ThirdYearProject.pdf [Retrieved 01/03/2011]
  • [8] “George Smart's Wiki: Academic Pages”
http://www.george-smart.co.uk/wiki/Category:Academic [Retrieved 01/03/2011]
  • [9] A. Tinka, T. Watteyne, K. Pister, “A Decentralized Scheduling Algorithm for Time Synchronized Channel Hopping,” Ad Hoc Networks: Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, vol. 49, no. 4, pp. 201-216, 2010.
  • [10] A. Winfield, “Distributed Sensing and Data Collection Via Broken Ad Hoc Wireless Connected Networks of Mobile Robots,” Distributed Autonomous Robotics Systems, vol. 4, pp. 273–282, 2000.
  • [11] “UCL SECReT Centre : SECURITY RESEARCH TRAINING”
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/secret/events/event-tabbed-box/2010ie_presentation.pdf
Presentation by H. Borrion; [Retrieved 6/Mar/2011]




You may also be interested in my Undergraduate Personal Statement and my CV.