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ONR: Age of Information: Concept, Metric and Tool for Network Control

Funding Agency 

Office of Naval Research


Anthony Ephremides is the principal investigator for a new three-year, $300,000 research grant from the Office of Naval Research. “AGE OF INFORMATION: Concept, Metric, and Tool for Network Control” will focus on the use of age for wireless network control.

The concept of “age” of updates has emerged as a new idea, a new performance index, and a new tool in the field of Information Science. Its simplicity, novelty, and far-reaching potential have generated rapidly growing interest in several research communities. Some of the seminal work on the subject, following its introduction by R. Yates in 2012, has been done by Dr. Ephremides and his colleagues.

Initially, the notion of “age” was defined in the context of monitoring an ongoing process at a communication source. The source sampled the process at arbitrary instants and transmitted the measured values over a finite-bandwidth (hence, delay inducing) medium to a destination. Each sample constituted an “update” of the value of the process. Age was defined as the difference between the current time t and the sampling time u(t) of the most recently received sample at the destination by the time instant t. This difference, t-u(t), would grow with time linearly until a new update would be received.

The new research will expand the use of age in a number of ways that will enable it to be applied to network control, mostly in the challenging environments of wireless media that are encountered primarily in naval systems. A key ingredient of the new approach will be to use this concept both as a performance metric and as a tool.

In addition to its impact on wireless network control for naval systems, the research may lead to fundamental breakthroughs in the Science of Information.