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NPS Alumnus, Faculty Awarded Patent for Advancement in Time Synchronization Protocols
U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya

NPS Alumnus, Faculty Awarded Patent for Advancement in Time Synchronization Protocols

By Javier Chagoya

NPS graduate U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Sung Park, along with Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Professors Murali Tummala and John McEachen, have been awarded a patent for their invention, "Method and Apparatus for Hybrid Time Synchronization Based on Broadcast Sequencing for Wireless Ad Hoc Networks." Park, pictured during his graduation from the university in September 2014, created a hybrid of two, time synchronization protocols resulting in significant improvements in network synchronization and the transmission of time-stamped messages.

“Park completed 90-percent of the work himself,” said McEachen. “This is definitely one of the best theses I’ve ever advised. Park is a self-starter, and he was very motivated during the project.

“The patent is based on two prior types of protocols,” McEachen added. “Park created a hybrid method of drawing from the benefits of both of those protocols to achieve an even better synchronization method. Park came up with those techniques, and figured out how to combine them. He then conducted simulations that demonstrated his algorithm would work in the field.

“Park’s unique method of the time-stamping approach is quite novel and creative,” McEachen continued. “There’s a lot of need when you have to orchestrate random and multiple nodes, such as agricultural monitoring devices that measure rainfall for a particular crop, or measure water depth, or coping with pests. These kinds of communications happen in a microsecond environment.”

Park’s method allows researchers to envision direction-finding techniques in split-second timelines, such as a shifting battle space with diverse sensors and nodes that require precision and reliable synchronization during transmission.

“This is terrific stuff,” added McEachen. “This improvement in the algorithm works for any run of the mill device and is actually quite groundbreaking.”

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