Professional Service

  • Technical Program Committee

    IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBCOM'2015)

    IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC'2015)

    International Conference on Bio-inspired Information and Communications Technologies (BICT'2015)

  • Member of Standardization Project

    P1906.1 - Recommended Practice for Nanoscale and Molecular Communication Framework

  • Area Associate Editor

    EEE Journal of Selected Areas of Communication (JSAC) - Special Issue on Emerging Technologies in Communications

  • Technical Reviewer

    IEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications

    IEEE Journal of Selected Areas of Communication (JSAC) - Special Issue on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications

    IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing

    IEEE Transactions on Communications

    IEEE Transactions on NanoBioscience

    IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology

    IEEE Wireless Communications Letters

Education & Training

  • Ph.D. 2015

    Ph.D. in Computer Science

    York University

    Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • M.S.c.2010

    Master of Science in Computer Sciecne

    York University

    Department of Computer Science and Engineering

  • B.S.c.2007

    Bachelor of Science with Specialized Honors in Computer Science

    York University

    Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.

Honors, Awards and Grants

  • 2015-2017
    NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
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    Nariman has received Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. This funding, which is provided by the government of Canada has allowed him to pursue his research at Stanford University.
  • 2015
    INFOCOM Best Demo Award
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    Nariman was a member of the group who demoed the "Molecular MIMO Communication Link" at IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications (IEEE-INFOCOM). The group won the best demo award from the conference.
  • 2014
    Finalist at the Bell Labs Prize Competition
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    Nariman was a member of the group that was one of the seven finalists (from about 500 applicants) in the 2014 Bell Labs Prize competition.
  • 2014
    Second Prize in IEEE ComSoc Student Competition
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    Nariman was a member of the group that won Second Prize in the 2014 IEEE ComSoc Student Competition: Communications Technology Changing the World.
  • 2011-2014
    Ontario Graduate Scholarship
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    Nariman had been awarded the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for two consecutive years (2012-2014), and the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology during the 2011-2012 school year. These awards were all provided by the government of the province on Ontario in Canada.

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Bit Error Rates in Stable Distributed Molecular Timing Channels

N. Farsad, Y. Murin, W. Guo, C.-B. Chae, A. W. Eckford, and A. Goldsmith
Journal Paper 14IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, in preparation for submission, 2016.

Abstract

This work studies modulation techniques for molecular timing (MT) channels. Three different modulation techniques are proposed: 1) Modulating information on the release timing of information particles, 2) Modulating information on the time between two consecutive releases of {\em indistinguishable} information particles, and 3) Modulating information on the time between two consecutive releases of {\em distinguishable} information particles. While the first modulation scheme requires transmitter-receiver synchronization, the latter two are asynchronous. We show that for all three modulation techniques the channel can be represented as an additive noise channel, where for diffusion-based MT (DBMT) channels the noise follows a stable distribution with characteristic exponent $1/2$. For DBMT channels, we provide expressions for the probability density function of the additive noise in terms of the Voigt functions, which can be numerically calculated efficiently. Next, we focus on the binary communication and derive the optimal detection rules for each modulation. To compare the performance of the different modulations, we first derive an expression for the geometric power of almost all stable distributions, and then use this results to obtain the geometric SNR (G-SNR) for each modulation scheme. Numerical evaluations indicate that the bit error rate is constant for a given G-SNR. Moreover, it is shown that synchronized communication in DBMT channels provides a significant performance gain. Yet, by using two {\em distinguishable} particles per bit instead of one, the probability of error using asynchronous communication in the third modulation technique can approach the probability of error obtained in synchronized communication of the first modulation scheme.

Capacity Limits of Diffusion-Based Molecular Timing Channels

N. Farsad, Y. Murin, A. W. Eckford, and A. Goldsmith
Journal Paper 13IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, in preparation for submission, 2016.

Abstract

This work introduces capacity limits for molecular timing (MT) channels, where information is modulated on the release timing of small information particles, and decoded from the time of arrival at the receiver. It is shown that the random time of arrival can be represented as an additive noise channel, and for the diffusion-based MT (DBMT) channel this noise is distributed according to the Levy distribution. Lower and upper bounds on capacity of the DBMT channel are derived for the case where the delay associated with the propagation of information particles in the channel is finite. These bounds are also shown to be tight. Moreover, it is shown that by simultaneously releasing multiple particles the capacity linearly increases with the number of particles. This is analogous to receive diversity as each particle takes a random independent path, and can be used to increase data rate significantly since in molecular communication systems, it is possible to release many particles simultaneously.

On the Capacity of Diffusion-Based Molecular Timing Channels

N. Farsad, Y. Murin, A. W. Eckford, and A. Goldsmith
Conference Paper 19IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT), submitted, 2016.

Abstract

This work introduces capacity limits for molecular timing (MT) channels, where information is modulated on the release timing of small information particles, and decoded from the time of arrival at the receiver. It is shown that the random time of arrival can be represented as an additive noise channel, and for the diffusion-based MT (DBMT) channel this noise is distributed according to the Levy distribution. Lower and upper bounds on capacity of the DBMT channel are derived for the case where the delay associated with the propagation of information particles in the channel is finite. These bounds are also shown to be tight.

A Comprehensive Survey of Recent Advancements in Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, H. B. Yilmaz, A. W. Eckford, C.-B. Chae, and W. Guo
Journal Paper 12IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, submitted, 2016.

Abstract

In molecular communication, information is conveyed through chemical messages. With much advancement in the field of nanotechnology, bioengineering and synthetic biology over the past decade, micro- and nano-scales devices are becoming a reality. Yet the problem of engineering a reliable communication system between tiny devices is still an open problem. At the same time, despite the prevalence of radio communication, there are still areas where traditional electromagnetic waves find it difficult or expensive to reach. Points of interest in industry, cities, medical, and military applications often lie in embedded and entrenched areas, accessible only by ventricles at scales too small for conventional radio- and micro-waves, or they are located in such a way that directional high frequency systems are ineffective. Molecular communication is a biologically inspired communication scheme that could be employed for solving these problems. Although biologists have studied molecular communication, it is poorly understood from a telecommunication perspective. In this paper, we highlight the recent advancements in the field of molecular communication engineering.

Energy Model for Vesicle-Based Active Transport Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, H. B. Yilmaz, C.-B. Chae and A. Goldsmith
Conference Paper 18IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), accepted, 2016.

Abstract

In active transport molecular communication (ATMC), information particles are actively transported from a transmitter to a receiver using special proteins. Prior work has demonstrated that ATMC can be an attractive and viable solution for on-chip applications. The energy consumption of an ATMC system plays a central role in its design and engineering. In this work, an energy model is presented for ATMC and the model is used to provide guidelines for designing energy efficient systems. The channel capacity per unit energy is analyzed and maximized. It is shown that based on the size of the symbol set and the symbol duration, there is a vesicle size that maximizes rate per unit energy. It is also demonstrated that maximizing rate per unit energy yields very different system parameters compared to maximizing the rate only.

Molecular Communication Using Acids and Bases

N. Farsad, and A. Goldsmith
Conference Paper 17 Workshop on Communications, Inference, And Computing In Molecular And Biological Systems, 2015.

Abstract

Concentration modulation, whereby information is encoded in the concentration level of chemicals, is considered. One of the main challenges with such systems is the limited control the transmitter has on the concentration level at the receiver. For example, concentration cannot be directly decreased by the transmitter, and the decrease in concentration over time occurs solely due to transport mechanisms such as diffusion. This can result in inter-symbol interference (ISI), which can have degrading effects on performance. In this work, a new and novel scheme is proposed that uses the transmission of acids, bases, and the concentration of hydrogen ions for carrying information. By employing this technique, the concentration of hydrogen ions at the receiver can be both increased and decreased through the sender's transmissions. This enables novel ISI mitigation schemes as well as the ability to form a wider array of signal patterns for control, high-level modulation and multiple access.

Molecular Communications: Channel Model and Physical Layer Techniques

W. Guo, T. Asyhari, N. Farsad, H. B. Yilmaz, B. Li, A. Eckford, C.-B. Chae
Journal Paper 11IEEE Wireless Communications, accepted for publication, 2015.

Abstract

This article examines recent research in molecular communications from a telecommunications system design perspective. In particular, it focuses on channel models and state-of-the-art physical layer techniques. The goal is to provide a foundation for higher layer research and motivation for research and development of functional prototypes. In the first part of the article, we focus on the channel and noise model, comparing molecular and radio-wave pathloss formulae. In the second part, the article examines, equipped with the appropriate channel knowledge, the design of appropriate modulation and error correction coding schemes. The third reviews transmitter and receiver side signal processing methods that suppress inter-symbol-interference. Taken together, the three parts present a series of physical layer techniques that are necessary to producing reliable and practical molecular communications.

Molecular MIMO: From Theory to Prototype

B. Koo, C. Lee, H. B. Yilmaz, N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, and C.-B. Chae
Journal Paper 10IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communication, accepted for publication, 2015.

Abstract

In diffusion-based molecular communications, the channel is governed by diffusion through a fluid medium, which leads to extremely low data rates compared to the radio frequency communication system. To mitigate this problem, we propose a novel design for molecular communication that utilizes multiple bulges (in RF communication this corresponds to antenna) at both the transmitter and molecular detectors at the receiver. We simulate the system with a one-shot signal to obtain the channel's finite impulse response. We then incorporate this result within our mathematical analysis to determine inter-link interference (ILI) and inter-symbol interference (ISI). Low complexity symbol detection methods are needed for the cases of incomplete information regarding the system and the channel state, since the receiver is supposed to be a small and simple node. Thus we propose four detection algorithms, namely adaptive thresholding, practical zero forcing with channel models excluding/including the ILI and ISI, and Genie-aided zero forcing. We verify the proposed system via extensive numerical/analytical evaluations and a novel macro-scale testbed.

Molecular versus Electromagnetic Wave Propagation Loss in Macro-Scale Environments

W. Guo, C. Mias, N. Farsad, and J.–L. Wu
Journal Paper 9IEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications, Volume 1, Number 1, Pages 18–25, 2015.

Abstract

Molecular communications (MC) has been studied as a bio-inspired information carrier for micro-scale and nanoscale environments. On the macro-scale, it can also be considered as an alternative to electromagnetic (EM) wave based systems, especially in environments where there is significant attenuation to EM wave power. This paper goes beyond the unbounded free space propagation to examine three macro-scale environments: the pipe, the knife edge, and the mesh channel. Approximate analytical expressions shown in this paper demonstrate that MC has an advantage over EM wave communications when: (i) the EM frequency is below the cut-off frequency for the pipe channel, (ii) the EM wavelength is considerably larger than the mesh period, and (iii) when the receiver is in the high diffraction loss region of an obstacle.

Design and Optimizing of On-Chip Kinesin Substrates for Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, and S. Hiyama
Journal Paper 8IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology, Volume 14, Number 4, Pages 699–708, 2015.

Abstract

Lab-on-chip devices and point-of-care diagnostic chip devices are composed of many different components, such as nanosensors that must be able to communicate with other components within the device. Molecular communication is a promising solution for on-chip communication. In particular, kinesin driven microtubule motility is an effective means of transferring information particles from one component to another. However, finding an optimal shape for these channels can be challenging. In this paper, we derive a mathematical optimization model that can be used to find the optimal channel shape and dimensions for any transmission period. We derive three specific models for the rectangular channels, regular polygonal channels, and regular polygonal ring channels. We show that the optimal channel shapes are the square-shaped channel for the rectangular channel, and circular-shaped channel for the other classes of shapes. Finally, we show that among all 2-D shapes the optimal design choice that maximizes information rate is the circular-shaped channel.

Stable Distributions as Noise Models for Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, W. Guo, C.-B. Chae,and A. W. Eckford
Conference Paper 16IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBCOM), to be presented, 2015.

Abstract

In this work, we consider diffusion-based molecular communication timing channels. Three different timing channels are presented based on three different modulation techniques, i.e., i) modulation of the release timing of the information particles, ii) modulation on the time between two consecutive information particles of the same type, and iii) modulation on the time between two consecutive information particles of different types. We show that each channel can be represented as an additive noise channel, where the noise follows one of the subclasses of stable distributions. We provide expressions for the probability density function of the noise terms, and numerical evaluations for the probability density function and cumulative density function. We also show that the tails are longer than Gaussian distribution, as expected.

Molecular MIMO with Drift

C. Lee, B. Koo, N.-R. Kim, H. B. Yilmaz, N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, and C.-B. Chae
Conference Paper 15Proceedings of the 21st Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom), Pages 201–203, 2015.

Abstract

In molecular communication information is transferred with the use of molecules. Molecular multiple-input multiple- output (MIMO) system with drift (positive velocity) at macro- scale will be presented and the improvement against single- input single-output (SISO) molecular communication systems will be verified via our testbed. Until now it was unclear whether MIMO techniques, which are extensively used in modern radio frequency (RF) communications, could be applied to molecular communication. In the demonstration, using our MIMO testbed we will show that we can achieve nearly 1.7 times higher data rate than SISO molecular communication systems. Moreover, signal-to-inter-link-interfeence metric for one-shot signal will be depicted for a given symbol duration.

Molecular Barcodes: Information Transmission via Persistent Chemical Tags

L. Wang, N. Farsad, W. Guo, S. Magierowski, and A. W. Eckford
Conference Paper 14Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), Pages 1097–1102, 2015.

Abstract

In molecular communication information is conveyed through chemical signals. In this work, we have considered a novel communication scheme where information is encoded in chemical barcodes, through use of persistent chemical tags. We have assumed that this information is already encoded in the environment, and we have devised a robotic platform for reading the chemical tag. We have performed many experiments to find the optimal encoding scheme and an algorithm for reading and decoding the chemically tagged information. We have demonstrated that chemical tags can be decoded using simple algorithms and inexpensive, off-the-shelf sensors. Finally, we have evaluated and presented the bit error rate performance of our devised algorithm.

Under-Water Molecular Signalling: a Hidden Transmitter and Absent Receivers Problem

S. Qiu, N. Farsad, T. Dong, A. W. Eckford, and W. Guo
Conference Paper 13Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), Pages 1085–1090, 2015.

Abstract

Wave-based signals have been successful in reliably and efficiently transferring data between two or more well defined points (e.g., known location area). However, it is challenged when the transmitter is hidden and the receivers are absent. Essentially, the transmitter and the receivers have no location knowledge of each other. We demonstrate that unlike wave-based transmissions, the total molecular energy doesn't monotonically degrade as a function of time. This paper uses a bio-inspired method of communicating data from a hidden transmitter to a group of absent receivers. A specialized molecular communication system is designed, including how to embed vital location information in the structure of a heterogeneous biochemical molecule. Like message in a bottle, there is a growing probability of receiving the location message over a period of several years. The only caveat is that there is an initial delay of a few hours to days, depending on the proximity of the rescue team to the crash site. This will provide an attractive alternative to current wave-based communications for delay-tolerant crash recovery.

A Universal Channel Model for Molecular Communication Systems with Metal-Oxide Detectors

N.-R. Kim, N. Farsad, C.-B. Chae, and A. W. Eckford
Conference Paper 12Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), Pages 1054–1059, 2015.

Abstract

In this paper, we propose an end-to-end channel model for molecular communication systems with metal-oxide sensors. In particular, we focus on the recently developed table top molecular communication platform. The system is separated into two parts: the propagation and the sensor detection. There is derived, based on this, a more realistic end-to-end channel model. However, since some of the coefficients in the derived models are unknown, we collect a great deal of experimental data to estimate these coefficients and evaluate how they change with respect to the different system parameters. Finally, a noise model is derived for the system to complete an end-to-end system model for the tabletop platform.

Molecular MIMO Communication Link

C. Lee, B. Koo, N.-R. Kim, H. B. Yilmaz, N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, and C.-B. Chae
Conference Paper 11Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM), Pages 13–14, 2015.

Abstract

In this demonstration, we will present the world's first molecular multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) communication link to deliver two data streams in a spatial domain. We show that chemical signals such as concentration gradients could be used in MIMO fashion to transfer sequential data. Until now it was unclear whether MIMO techniques, which are used extensively in modern radio communication, could be applied to molecular communication. In the demonstration, using our devised MIMO apparatus and carefully designed detection algorithm, we will show that we can achieve about 1.7 times higher data rate than single input single output (SISO) molecular communication systems.

Channel and Noise Models for Nonlinear Molecular Communication Systems

N. Farsad, N.-R. Kim, A. W. Eckford, and C.-B. Chae
Journal Paper 7IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, Volume 32, Number 12, Pages 2392–2401, 2014.

Abstract

Recently, a tabletop molecular communication platform has been developed for transmitting short text messages across a room. The end-to-end system impulse response for this platform does not follow previously published theoretical works because of imperfect receiver, transmitter, and turbulent flows. Moreover, it is observed that this platform resembles a nonlinear system, which makes the rich body of theoretical work that has been developed by communication engineers not applicable to this platform. In this work, we first introduce corrections to the previous theoretical models of the end-to-end system impulse response based on the observed data from experimentation. Using the corrected impulse response models, we then formulate the nonlinearity of the system as noise and show that through simplifying assumptions it can be represented as Gaussian noise. Through formulating the system's nonlinearity as the output a linear system corrupted by noise, the rich toolbox of mathematical models of communication systems, most of which are based on linearity assumption, can be applied to this platform.

A Markov Chain Channel Model for Active Transport Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, and S. Hiyama
Journal Paper 6IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, Volume 62, Number 9, Pages 2424–2436, 2014.

Abstract

In molecular communication, small particles such as molecules are used to convey information. These particles are released by a transmitter into a fluidic environment, where they propagate freely (e.g. through diffusion) or through externals means (e.g. different types of active transport) until they arrive at the receiver. Although there are a number of different mathematical models for the diffusion-based molecular communication, active transport molecular communication (ATMC) lacks the necessary theoretical framework. Previous works had to rely almost entirely on full Monte Carlo simulations of these systems. However, full simulations can be time consuming because of the computational complexities involved. In this paper, a Markov channel model has been presented, which could be used to reduce the amount of simulations necessary for studying ATMC without sacrificing accuracy. Moreover, a mathematical formula for calculating the transition probabilities in the Markov chain model is derived to complete our analytical framework. Comparing our proposed models with full simulations, it is shown that these models can be used to calculate parameters such channel capacity accurately in a timely manner.

Nanoparticle Communications: from Chemical Signals in Nature to Wireless Sensor Networks

S. Qiu, W. Guo, M. Leeson, S. Wang, N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Journal Paper 5Nanotechnology Perceptions, Volume 10, Number 1, Pages 1–13, 2014.

Abstract

The need to convey information has always existed in both the animal and human kingdoms. The article offers a review of the latest developments in transporting information using nanosized particles. The article begins by examining the usage of chemical signalling in nature, and goes on to discuss the recent advances in mimicking this in bio-inspired engineering. The article then distinguishes the important difference between signalling and general communications, and explains why the latter is a more challenging problem. The article then goes on to examine existing research on mimicking chemical signalling in nature, which is a precurser to research in general chemical communications. A review of the latest theoretical research in general chemical communications is presented, along with the practical developments of the world’s first nanoparticle communications test-bed. In the end, the authors discuss the potential research challenges and name three important areas for future development: robustness, miniaturization, and scalability.

A Realistic Channel Model for Molecular Communication with Imperfect Receivers

N.-R. Kim, N. Farsad, C.-B. Chae, and A. W. Eckford
Conference Paper 10Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), Pages 3987–3992, 2014.

Abstract

In this paper, we propose a realistic channel model for a table-top molecular communication platform that is capable for transmitting short text messages across a room. The observed system response for this experimental platform does not match the theoretical results in the literature. This is because many simplifying assumptions regarding the flow, the sensor, and environmental conditions, which were used in derivations of previous theoretical models do not hold in practice. Therefore, in this paper, based on experimental observations, theoretical models are modified to create more realistic channel models.

A Molecular Communication Link for Monitoring in Confined Environments

S. Qiu, W. Guo, S. Wang, N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Conference Paper 9Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Communications Workshops (ICC), Pages 718–723, 2014.

Abstract

In this paper, we consider a molecular diffusion based communications link that can reliably transport data over-the-air. We show that the system can also reliably transport data across confined structural environments, especially in cases where conventional electromagnetic (EM) wave based systems may fail. In particular, this paper compares the performance of our proprietary molecular communication test-bed with Zigbee wireless sensors in a metal pipe network that does not act as a radio wave-guide. The paper first shows that a molecular-based communication link's performance is determined primarily by the delay time spread of the pulse response. The paper go on to show that molecular-based systems can transmit more reliably in complex and confined structural environments than conventional EM-based systems. The paper then utilizes empirical data to find relationships between the received radio signal strength, the molecular pulse spread, data rate (0.1 bits/s) and the structural propagation environment.

Molecular Communication Link

N. Farsad, W. Guo, and A. W. Eckford
Conference Paper 8Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM), Pages 107–108 , 2014.

Abstract

This demonstration will present the world's first macroscale molecular communication link to reliably transmit a continuous data stream. The system modulates alcohol molecules, which are then diffused via ambient and induced air currents to carry information to a receiver. The communication distance is several meters and the propagation channel we will demonstrate consists of both free space and tunnel environments. The goal is to show that molecules can be used as an alternative to electromagnetic (EM) waves in challenging environments where EM waves do not perform well.

Tabletop Molecular Communication: Text Messages through Chemical Signals

N. Farsad, W. Guo, and A. W. Eckford
Journal Paper 4PLOS ONE, 2013.

Abstract

In this work, we describe the first modular, and programmable platform capable of transmitting a text message using chemical signalling – a method also known as molecular communication. This form of communication is attractive for applications where conventional wireless systems perform poorly, from nanotechnology to urban health monitoring. Using examples, we demonstrate the use of our platform as a testbed for molecular communication, and illustrate the features of these communication systems using experiments. By providing a simple and inexpensive means of performing experiments, our system fills an important gap in the molecular communication literature, where much current work is done in simulation with simplified system models. A key finding in this paper is that these systems are often nonlinear in practice, whereas current simulations and analysis often assume that the system is linear. However, as we show in this work, despite the nonlinearity, reliable communication is still possible. Furthermore, this work motivates future studies on more realistic modelling, analysis, and design of theoretical models and algorithms for these systems.

Optimal Channel Design and Markov Chain Channel Model for Active Transport Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Technical Report 4NTT DOCOMO Inc., Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan | March 2013.

On-Chip Molecular Communication: Analysis and Design

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, S. Hiyama, and Y. Moritani
Journal Paper 3IEEE Transactions on NanoBioscience, Volume 11, Number 3, Pages 304–314, 2012.

Abstract

We consider a confined space molecular communication system, where molecules or information carrying particles are used to transfer information on a microfluidic chip. Considering that information-carrying particles can follow two main propagation schemes: passive transport, and active transport, it is not clear which achieves a better information transmission rate. Motivated by this problem, we compare and analyze both propagation schemes by deriving a set of analytical and mathematical tools to measure the achievable information rates of the on-chip molecular communication systems employing passive to active transport. We also use this toolbox to optimize design parameters such as the shape of the transmission area, to increase the information rate. Furthermore, the effect of separation distance between the transmitter and the receiver on information rate is examined under both propagation schemes, and a guidepost to design an optimal molecular communication setup and protocol is presented.

Resource Allocation via Linear Programming for Fractional Cooperation

N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Journal Paper 2IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, Volume 11, Number 5, Pages 1633–1637, 2012.

Abstract

In this letter, resource allocation is considered for large multi-source, multi-relay networks employing fractional cooperation, in which each potential relay only allocates a fraction of its resources to relaying. Using a Gaussian approximation, it is shown that the optimization can be posed as a linear program, where the relays use a demodulate-and-forward (DemF) strategy, and where the transmissions are protected by low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes. This is useful since existing optimization schemes for this problem are nonconvex.

Modelling and Design of Polygon-Shaped Kinesin Substrates for Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, and S. Hiyama
Conference Paper 7Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology (NANO), Pages 1–5, 2012.

Abstract

One of the most prominent forms of information transmission between nano- or micro-scale devices is molecular communication, where molecules are used to transfer information inside a fluidic channel. The effects of channel shape on achievable information transmission rates is considered in this work. Specifically, regular convex polygons are studied. A mathematical framework for finding the optimal channel among this class of geometric shapes is derived. Using this framework it is shown that the optimal channel tends to be circular. This result is verified using computer simulations.

A Mathematical Channel Optimization Formula for Active Transport Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, and S. Hiyama
Conference Paper 6Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), Pages 6137–6141, 2012.

Abstract

In this paper, a mathematical optimization formula for estimating the optimal channel dimensions of active transport molecular communication is presented. More specifically, rectangular channels with constant microtubule (MT) concentration are considered. It is shown, both using our formula and using Monte Carlo simulations, that square-shaped channels are optimal. Furthermore, when the value of time per channel use is on the order of a few minutes, which is the range of interest for a lot of potential applications such as diagnostic chips for healthcare, it is shown that our optimization formula can quickly and accurately estimate the optimal channel dimensions.

Channel Design and Optimization of Active Transport Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, and S. Hiyama
Book Chapter 2 Springer | Pages 213–223 | 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-3-642-32710-0
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Abstract

In this paper, a mathematical optimization formula for estimating the optimal channel dimensions of active transport molecular communication is presented. More specifically, rectangular channels with constant microtubule (MT) concentration are considered. It is shown, both using our formula and using Monte Carlo simulations, that square-shaped channels are optimal. Furthermore, when the value of time per channel use is on the order of a few minutes, which is the range of interest for a lot of potential applications such as diagnostic chips for healthcare, it is shown that our optimization formula can quickly and accurately estimate the optimal channel dimensions.

Information Rates of Active Propagation in Microchannel Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, S. Hiyama, and Y. Moritani
Book Chapter 1 Springer | Pages 16–21 | 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-3-642-32614-1
image

Abstract

Molecular communication is a promising technique for microchannel systems. In this paper, various microchannel molecular communication schemes are simulated and analyzed using information theory, including molecular motors and Brownian motion with drift. Results suggest Brownian motion with drift can deliver excellent performance, depending on the drift velocity.


Channel Design and Optimization in Active Transport Molecular Communication

N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Technical Report 3NTT DOCOMO Inc., Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan | March 2012.

Quick System Design of Vesicle-Based Active Transport Molecular Communication by Using a Simple Transport Model

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, S. Hiyama, and Y. Moritani
Journal Paper 1Nano Communication Networks, Volume 2, Number 4, Pages 175–188, 2011.

Abstract

This paper will provide a guidepost to design an optimal molecular communication setup and protocol. A barrier to the design of vesicle-based molecular communication nanonetworks is the computational complexity of simulating them. In this paper, a computationally efficient transport model is presented, which could be employed to design active transport molecular communication systems, particularly to optimize the shape of the transmission zone. Furthermore, a vesicular encapsulation model is presented as an addition to the transport model, and it is shown that there exists an optimal vesicle size for each molecular communication channel. As an application, our transport model is used to estimate the channel capacity of a molecular communication nanonetwork in a computationally efficient manner compared to traditional Monte Carlo techniques. Moreover, it is shown that the derived optimal vesicle size maximizes channel capacity.

An experimental study of fractional cooperation in wireless mesh networks

A. Calce, N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Conference Paper 5Proceedings of IEEE Symposium on Personal Indoor Mobile Radio Communications (PIMRC), Pages 990–994, 2011.

Abstract

Fractional cooperation is a decentralized, low-complexity wireless networking protocol in which nodes have the ability to dynamically select a fraction of its resources to commit to forwarding, and where sources may use more than one relay to convey information to the destination. In this paper, an implementation and a series of experiments are presented to demonstrate the practical performance and effectiveness of fractional cooperation. A low-complexity MAC layer protocol is used, which employs fractional cooperation using LT codes in the absence of central coordination. Experimental results from real-world trials are given, which show that this protocol can maintain a reasonable throughput when nodes are abruptly entering and leaving, making it ideal for a dynamically changing system, such as an ad-hoc network. The redundancy of information seen in the network makes this scheme robust to unfavourable channel conditions.

A simple mathematical model for information rate of active transport molecular communication

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, S. Hiyama, and Y. Moritani
Conference Paper 4Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications Workshops (INFOCOM), Pages 473–478, 2011.

Abstract

In molecular communication, gaps in the underlying theoretical and mathematical framework create numerous challenges. Currently, most researchers rely on simulations to study these systems. However, simulations can be time consuming and impractical. Moreover, due to the complexity and dependencies present in these systems, deriving a mathematical framework that can capture the essence of molecular communication systems is also challenging. In this work, we derive a simple mathematical model, based on some independence assumptions, to estimate the information rate of a molecular communication system employing active transport propagation. We show that the presented model estimates the simulated information rate closely for small communication time intervals. We also use the derived mathematical model to design and verify an optimal loading area that would maximize the information rate.

Information transfer in Microchannel Systems: Effects of Flow and Mass Transport

N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Technical Report 2NTT DOCOMO Inc., Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan | March 2011.

Microchannel Molecular Communication with Nanoscale Carriers: Brownian Motion Versus Active Transport

A. W. Eckford, N. Farsad, S. Hiyama, and Y. Moritani
Conference Paper 3Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology (NANO), Pages 854–858, 2010.

Abstract

In molecular communication, information is encoded and transmitted as a pattern of molecules or other very small information carriers (in this paper, vesicles are used). Nanoscale techniques, such as molecular motors or Brownian motion, are used to convey the vesicles from the transmitter to the receiver, where the transmitted message is deciphered. In this paper, the microchannel environment is considered, and the achievable information rates are compared between the use of Brownian motion and molecular motors, which are evaluated through simulation. Communication is viewed as a mass transfer problem, where messages are sent by transporting a number of vesicles from transmitter to receiver. Results are provided which suggest that active transport is best when the available number of vesicles is small, and Brownian motion is best when the number of vesicles is large.

Resource Allocation via Linear Programming for Multi-Source, Multi-Relay Wireless Networks

N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Conference Paper 2Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), Pages 1–5, 2010.

Abstract

In a cooperative wireless network, there may be many potential relays within radio range of a source; similarly, there may be many potential sources seeking to use relays. Allocating these resources is a non-trivial optimization problem. In this paper, fractional cooperation is considered, where each potential relay only allocates a fraction of its resources to relaying. It is shown that linear programming can be used to optimally allocate resources in multi-source, multi-relay net- works, where the relays use a demodulate-and-forward (DemF) strategy, and where the transmissions are protected by low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes. Compared with existing optimization schemes, this method is particularly suitable for very large networks with numerous sources and relays. Simulation results are presented to demonstrate the performance of this scheme.

Mathematical Models of Information Transfer in Molecular Active Transport Systems

N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Technical Report 1NTT DOCOMO Inc., Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan | March 2010.

Low-Complexity Cooperation with Correlated Sources: Diversity Order Analysis

N. Farsad, and A. W. Eckford
Conference Paper 1Proceedings of Annual Conference on Information Sciences and Systems (CISS), Pages 663–668, 2009.

Abstract

Wireless sensor networks, which consist of numerous devices that take measurements of a physical phenomenon, are commonly used to observe phenomena that are correlated in space. In this paper, we devise a low-complexity coding scheme for correlated sources based on Slepian-Wolf compression, and analyze its performance in terms of diversity order. The main idea of this scheme is to use the correlated measurements as a substitute for relay links. Although we show that the asymptotic diversity order is limited by the constant correlation factor, we give experimental results that show excellent performance over practical ranges of SNR.

Research Summary

My research is currently focused on how bio-inspired forms of communication, such as use of chemical signals or exchange of molecules could be used to create networks in environments that are harsh to radio propagation. This technique, which is called molecular communication in the literature (this is a good introduction) has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. Generally, my research can be divided into two broad categories: microscale communication, and macroscale communication.

Molecular Communication

Microscale Communication

At microscale, I am solving the communication problem among tiny devices (smaller than a few micrometers). Engineering radio-based communication networks at these scales can be very changeling, since 1) we need to use higher frequencies to have small antennas that fit inside the small device; and 2) High frequency radio does not propagate very well in ionic fluids (e.g. inside human body). Nevertheless, I must note that there are research groups that are trying to adapt the radio technology to these small dimensions using novel materials such as carbon nanotube or graphene. However to date, there have not been any practical demonstrations of feasibility of this approach. On the other hand, molecular communication is already used in nature to solve this problem and it can be biocompatible, which would make it very suitable for potential medical application.

Why is this important? Engineering micro- and nano-scale systems are the key to unlocking many futuristic application such as nanomedicine, microrobotics, nanorobotics, lab-on-a-chip devices, diagnostic chip devices, targeted drug delivery and biological Computation, to name a few. Most of these futuristic and transformative applications have one feature in common: they involve not just single devices working independently, but swarms of devices working in concert. Therefore, engineering communication networks between tiny devices can be very disruptive, and change the world for the better.

Macroscale Communication

At macroscale, I am discovering new ways to communicate using chemical signals -- for example, chemical tags could be used for communication between robots. Although, molecular communication cannot outperform radio-based communication in terms of delay and throughput, even at macroscale there are environments where radio fails. For example, inside networks of tunnels or pipes as we show here. However, chemical communication can be still used to transfer small amounts of data with a delay in these situations.

Why is this important? One of the requirements of smart cities is infrastructure monitoring. However, there are a number of challenges for radio-based solutions that needs to be overcome (for example see here). Chemical communication can be used in conjunction with radio based systems to overcome some of these challenges. Another area that chemical communication can prove useful is inside pipeline communication, where applications of interest would be in different industries such as oil and gas. Finally, employing chemical communication can add a new and exciting dimension to the way robots and devices in general communicate.

Interests

  • Bio-inspired Communication Networks
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Signaling
  • Information Theory
  • Molecular Communication

Teaching Experience as Lecturer

  • Winter 2015

    MITS5200G: Advanced Communication Networks (Graduate Level Course)

    University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada

    Course offered by the Departments of Electrical Engineering/Computer Sciece/Information Technology

  • Fall2012

    INFR3710U: Signals and Random Processes (Third Year Undergraduate Course)

    University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada

    Department of Business and Information Technology

  • Fall2011

    INFR3710U: Signals and Random Processes (Third Year Undergraduate Course)

    University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada

    Department of Business and Information Technology

Teaching Experience as Teaching Assistant

  • EECS1021 (York University): Object Oriented Programming from Sensors to Actuators (Winter 2015)
  • EECS3451 (York University): Signals and Systems (Fall 2014)
  • CSE4215/CSE5431 (York University): Mobile Communications (Winter 2014)
  • CSE2011 (York University): Fundamentals of Data Structures (Summer 2013)
  • CSE4214 (York University): Digital Communications (Fall 2012)
  • CSE3215 (York University): Embedded Systems (Winter 2012)
  • CSE3451 (York University): Signals and Systems (Fall 2011)
  • CSE4411 (York University): Database Management Systems (Summer 2011)
  • CSE1560 (York University): Introduction to Computing for Mathematics and Statistics (Winter 2011)
  • CSE4214 (York University): Digital Communications (Fall 2010)
  • CSE3451 (York University): Signals and Systems (Fall 2009)
  • CSE4214 (York University): Digital Communications (Fall 2009)
  • CSE1520 (York University): Computer Use: Fundamentals (Winter 2009)
  • CSE1020 (York University): Introduction to Computer Science I (Winter 2009)
  • CSE4471 (York University): Introduction to Virtual Reality (Fall 2008)
  • CSE3215 (York University): Embedded Systems (Winter 2008)
  • CSE1020 (York University): Introduction to Computer Science I (Fall 2007)

As part of my research, I have developed the world's first molecular communication system, capable of transferring short text messages.

This work has been covered by various media outlets, including these:

Media Coverage

I would be happy to talk to you if you need my assistance in your research or whether you would like to collagorate on new projects. You can use the contact information provided on the right to contact me. I would be also happy to meet with you in person at my office:

350 Serra Mall
Packard Building, Room 372
Stanford, CA 94305