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Speaker:  Bob Iannucci, Ph.D., Distinguished Service Professor, ECE Director, CyLab Mobility Research Center


Wireless Networking Re-Imagined


Wireless networking and computing systems have transformed societies and economies, and with hundreds of billions of devices connected in ways that encourage creativity and inspire decades of innovation, the Internet of Things may well become the single largest system the world has ever known.  Pervasive sensing and computing can alert us to imminent dangers, and the combination of sensing and autonomous operation opens interesting possibilities.

Realizing this vision will require significant coordination among the creators of sensors, actuators, and application-level software systems. The fundamental nature of the Internet of Things will compel us to re-think many aspects of wireless networking that have previously remained constant or have only evolved slowly.  In this presentation, Prof. Iannucci will discuss key understandings that have emerged from recent research, reflecting the fundamental technological and economic factors that will drive this re-thinking.  He will also present a new, unifying concept has emerged from this research, called Edgeless Computing.

Areas of Interest

Wireless networking, connected embedded computing, scalable systems, emergency communications systems

Current Interests


Ph.D. 1988, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT


Bob Iannucci leads the CyLab Mobility Research Center and is known for leading both software and systems research in scalable and mobile computing. Previously, he served as Chief Technology Officer of Nokia and Head of Nokia Research Center (NRC).  Bob spearheaded the effort to transform NRC into an Open Innovation center, creating "lablets" at MIT, Stanford, Tshinghua University, the University of Cambridge, and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).  Under his leadership, NRC's previously established labs and the new lablets delivered fundamental contributions to the worldwide Long Term Evolution for 3G (LTE) standard; created and promulgated what is now the MIPI UniPro interface for high-speed, in-phone interconnectivity; created and commercialized Bluetooth Low Energy - extending wireless connectivity to coin-cell-powered sensors and other devices; and delivered new technology initiatives including TrafficWorks (using mobile phones to crowd source traffic patterns), part of the Mobile Millennium Project, Point and Find (Augmented Reality using the mobile phone’s camera for image recognition and “zero click” search -- identified by MIT Technology Review as one of the TR10 Breakthrough Technologies), and the Morph Concept (opening new directions for using nanotechnology to significantly improve mobile phone functionality and usability).

Bob has led engineering teams at startup companies focused on virtualized networking and computational fluid dynamics, creating systems that offered order-of-magnitude improvements over alternatives.  He also served as Director of Digital Equipment Corporation's Cambridge Research Laboratory (CRL) and became VP of Research for Compaq. CRL created some of the earliest multimedia indexing technologies, and these became part of Alta Vista.  In addition, the CRL team together with Dan Siewiorek, Asim Smailagic and others at CMU created MoCCA — a mobile communication and computing architecture — that prefigured and anticipated (by more than a decade) much of what has become today's smartphone technology. MoCCA won the IDEA Gold award for its innovative approach to facilitating real-time interaction within teams.  The industrial design prototype is now part of the permanent design collection at the Smithsonian Institution Bob was a founder of Exa Corporation, and led the engineering team that created and delivered Digital Physics (a term he coined and that Exa holds as a registered trademark) fluid flow simulation CAD tools. Exa went public in 2012.  Bob spent the earliest days of his career at IBM studying and developing scalable computing systems and was one of the designers of the highly successful IBM 4341 and 4381 processors.

Bob remains active as a hands-on systems builder.  His most recent iPhone app for radio direction finding is in use in over 70 countries, and he is actively engaged in building WiFi-based "internet of things" devices and the cloud services behind them.  He serves as an advisor to companies developing new technologies for ultra-low-power computing, mobile video systems, and cloud-connected mobile apps.

Bob earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 1988, and his dissertation was on the hybridization of dataflow and traditional von Neumann architectures, offering advantages over both. He has served on a number of scientific and engineering advisory boards and was on the program committees for the 3rd and 4th International Symposia on Wearable Computing.  Bob also served as a member of the selection committee for the Millennium Technology Prize in 2008.

Research: CyLab Mobility Research CenterDMI

Publications: Bepress

Campus Activities: CMU SV Wireless Innovators