Bradley Potteiger

Computer Engineering
“Underwater Node Localization Scheme”

Brad Potteiger

Traditional underwater localization relies on line-of-sight (LOS) links to properly utilize ranging information. Unfortunately, the accuracy of the ranging techniques such as time of arrival (TOA), time difference of arrival (TDOA) and angle of arrival (AOA) can be significantly degraded by LOS instabilities in the underwater medium due to increased multipath effects. This project proposes a novel underwater signal reflection-enabled acoustic-based localization scheme (UNREAL) that employs both LOS and surface-reflected non-line-of-sight (NLOS) ranging information to locate a node that has drifted away. The LOS and NLOS links are classified by incorporating a surface-based recovery mechanism, which recovers the channel impulse response information through homomorphic deconvolution. A closed-form least square method is developed to use such classification to locate the node by either using the LOS AOA measurements or the NLOS AOA from the estimated water surface reflection point. Every node in the network can be used as a reference point to locate the lost node when LOS AOAs are available. The AOAs are a collection of elevation and azimuth angles for each reference nodes in the 3D underwater environment. Simulation results are carried out by using a 3D camera to measure the water surface in a controlled tank, the measured water surface was then used in a simulated environment to validate the approach.

How did you find your mentor for your research, scholarship, or artistic project?
My mentor Dr. Mohammed Younis was originally my professor for CMPE 212: Principles of Digital Design, the first Computer Engineering class I took at UMBC. I ended up establishing a relationship with him and talked to him about various topics ranging from summer internships and REU Programs to classes. At the start of my junior year, I was invited for a lab tour and was able to meet the graduate students as well as see some of the research projects that were going on in his lab. After that visit, I knew that I wanted to do research in Dr. Younis’ lab.

Is this your first independent research project?
No, however it is my first at UMBC. As a member of the Meyerhoff Scholarship program, I have been encouraged to do research each year. I have been fortunate enough to participate in summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduate) programs at West Virginia University and Texas A&M University along with an Internship at the White House. These experiences allowed me to learn more about the Computer Engineering field and research process. However, a benefit of conducting research at UMBC is that I have had the opportunity to conduct research over a full academic year in sustained length, allowing me to take a project from beginning to end.

How much time do you put into it?
It’s hard to say exactly how much time I put into my research project, as time commitments vary significantly based on a number of factors. I would say however, that I spend about an average of 10 hours a week working on research.

How did you hear about the Undergraduate Research Award (URA) program?
I have a twin brother who did research last year at UMBC and received the award. Also, I have friends who are in the program and my mentor Dr. Younis talked about the opportunity to apply this year. I felt this was a good opportunity and decided to apply.

Was the application difficult to do?
No, it was pretty straightforward. I had help from my mentor and graduate students that made the process easier. It also gave me the opportunity to summarize my research in order to prepare for a publication that my lab was starting on at the time.

What has been the hardest part about your research?
The hardest part of doing research in general is being able to set personal boundaries. This research was no exception. As a student, it is important to remember that your academic classes are your priority. Sometimes when you are doing research and stuck on a problem, you constantly think about that problem until you can find the answer, and sitting through a lecture where the professor is talking about a topic completely different can become a challenge. However, time management skills can help in dealing with this challenge.

What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research?
One piece of advice that I would give is that you should never be afraid to try something new. This is especially true in research. You may never know that you like a particular research topic unless you try doing research in that area. Having many different experiences will allow you to get a breadth of knowledge and allow you to find out what you are interested in.

What are your career goals?
In May 2014, I will graduate with a degree in Computer Engineering. After I graduate, I am planning on going to graduate school to get a Ph.D. in either Computer or Electrical Engineering. After graduate school, I feel like I would want to work in research in the defense industry and eventually work in technological leadership in the federal government or as a CTO of a company.

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