Yanlei Diao receives NSF CAREER award

Photo: Yanlei Diao

Assistant Professor Yanlei Diao received a five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for her proposal “Efficient, Robust RFID Stream Processing for Tracking and Monitoring.” The CAREER program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards for new faculty members.

With her 2008 CAREER award, Diao is working on designing and developing an efficient, robust RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) stream processing system that addresses the challenges in emerging RFID deployments, including the data-information mismatch, incomplete and noisy data, and high data volume. Such systems will enable large-scale, real-time tracking and monitoring in supply chain management, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and library management.

Diao’s project has two main contributions. To handle high-volume incomplete, noisy data, she first develops a low-level inference and compression substrate over RFID streams. This substrate infers locations of unobserved objects and inter-object relationships from incomplete, noisy raw data using probabilistic algorithms. To handle high data volume, it performs online inference, enabling online compression by identifying and discarding redundant data. The second contribution is higher-level complex event processing that addresses the data-information mismatch by encoding application information needs as complex event patterns and evaluating these patterns continuously over event streams. The project offers a foundation for complex event processing including theoretical underpinnings, automata-based mechanisms for efficient evaluation, and techniques for robust processing in the face of many data quality issues.

“The proposed research explores a set of fundamental issues at the nexus of stream query processing, theory, and machine learning, which can be generalized beyond the RFID-based concrete setting,” says Diao. “Our project integrates research and education through curriculum development and teaching and research lab development. It also enables broader participation of women and minorities in research through college outreach and CRA’s distributed mentor program.”

Diao joined UMass Amherst in 2005 after receiving her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include information architectures and database management systems, with a focus on data streams, sensor data management, data dissemination, XML query processing, and learning-based data processing. She is a member of the Database Group, the Center for Advanced RFID Research, and the Systems Group at UMass Amherst.

The CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. Previous Department faculty CAREER award recipients include Micah Adler (2002), Emery Berger (2004), Oliver Brock (2006), Mark Corner (2005), Deepak Ganesan (2006), Erik Learned-Miller (2006), Brian Levine (2001), Sridhar Mahadevan (1995; awarded at Univ. of S. Florida), Kathryn McKinley (1996; now at UT-Austin), Prashant Shenoy (2003), Ramesh Sitaraman (1997), and Shlomo Zilberstein (1996).