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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A team of Bucknell electrical engineering students took second place in a computer networking competition sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

The 2007 MANIAC Challenge, organized by two professors from Virginia Tech and held in the nation's capital, brought together teams from around the world to compete in a challenge that combined sophisticated wireless ad hoc networking and game theory.

Team Bucknell, comprising seniors Richard Clark of Broomall, Pa., Braden Izumi of Glendale, Calif., and Kafu Chau of York, Pa., competed under the direction of Michael Thompson, assistant professor of electrical engineering.

First place went to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Impressive results
"What makes the Bucknell team's result more impressive is that our students, as undergraduates, were competing with teams primarily composed of graduate students," said Thompson.

The communications challenge within an ad hoc network is that not all nodes communicate directly with each other. To send a message to a node on the other side of a network, a node may need to rely on its neighbors to pass the message to the correct node. 

However, forwarding messages consumes time and battery power, so a node may choose not to forward a message and the message will be lost.  Further complicating the situation, as in the real world, is if a node is uncooperative, its neighbors may respond accordingly by not cooperating with it.

Forwarding strategy
"The challenge facing competitors was to design a forwarding strategy that minimized the amount of amount of forwarding work, while trying to ensure that it still received its traffic from its neighbors," said Thompson.

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Dec. 4, 2007

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