The Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Namibia is so young. The first batch of BSc (Hon) students graduated in 2013. Postgraduate programs are still not yet fully developed such that most of the students that I supervise are undergraduate students.
I don’t give these students topics. I just teach them and guide on how to search for the papers in their interest areas by using Google Scholar. From there, we come up with research topics together. By doing so, the students will have already acquired one art of research – the ability to mine the literature, unearth papers that depict their interest areas, understand the gaps in knowledge, and come up with a proposal on how to fill them.
The student’s passion for that kind of research is always terrific and there is a high chance for them to do wonderful work. It is also easy for students who have mastered this art to proceed to postgraduate research and work with minimum supervision. I learnt these values from my supervisors and I am eager to pass them to my own students.
So one day, one of my undergraduate students came to me with 15 papers that she got from literature. All these papers were on Vehicular Communication Networks. So far, I have never done any work on that subject. But it is a special case of communication networks, which is one of my ongoing research areas. So I thought it would be exciting to work on vehicular communication networks with the student.
Furthermore, she was really fired up for it and any attempt to make her change was going to affect her terribly. Since then, I have been on this Vehicular Networks adventure with this student. One thing that immediately came to our understanding is that we needed simulation tools for this work to go ahead and we started searching.
In the process, we have stumbled on Vehicles In Network Simulation (Veins). Veins is an open source framework for running vehicular network simulations. It is based on two well-established simulators: OMNeT++, an event-based network simulator, and SUMO, a road traffic simulator. It extends the two simulators to offer a comprehensive suite of models for Inter Vehicular Communication (IVC) simulation.
So far, we have been looking at the Veins documentation and works in literature which use this exciting simulation tool. As part of the student’s work, she will develop a Veins simulation of traffic dynamics on the Mandume Ndemufayo road in Ongwediva, Northern Namibia, where UNAM’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology is located.
In my case, my research in communication networks has so far mainly focused on NS-2 simulations and more recently TOSSIM. But Veins seems to be an exiting tool in its own way as it opens up a completely new realm of research for me. I am now looking at the development of Computational Intelligence applications in IVC.
I have a feeling that there is quite a lot that can be studied in this highly dynamic networking environment. I will keep you updated as this adventure unfolds. If you have similar research interests, please give me a shout. I am eagerly looking forward to collaborate with friends out there.