Distributed Sensing and Decision Making

About This Strategic Research Area

With the ever-expanding capabilities of information technology platforms, wireless and mobile technology, and improved sensor technology, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) recognizes that distributed architectures and distributed sensing and decision making will play a fundamental role in future complex engineering systems.

The large number of autonomous, heterogeneous entities working together toward a desired global behavior has made it imperative for researchers to coordinate and manage their complex interactions. Advancements in this area promise more accurate analysis and prediction, more precise controls, more reliable outcomes, and more effective measurement methodologies, and Iowa State researchers aim to be on the cutting-edge of those advancements.

DSDM Poster

The ECpE department focuses its research in this area on:

  • Machine learning, robotics and big data
    • Large scale and streaming data sciences
    • Bioinformatics and video analytics
    • Behavioral and unmanned robotics
  • Compressive sensing, signal/image processing, and communication
    • Sparse and low-rank robust signal recovery
    • Nano-imaging methods and materials/fatigue characterization
    • Distributed multi-antenna communication and channel network coding
  • Complex nonlinear, networked and cyber-physical systems
    • Distributed and networked computing and control
    • Model-based compositional testing and verification
    • sensors and methods for precision agriculture and energy harvesting

Research conducted in this area has applications in agricultural remote monitoring, biomedical imaging, data storage, communications, military defense, nondestructive evaluation, parallel and distributed computing, and robotics.


  • Umesh Vaidya, associate professor, won an NSF CAREER Award for using Ergodic theory of dynamic systems to find uncertainties and promote efficiency in network systems
  • Aditya Ramamoorthy, associate professor, won an NSF CAREER Award for his work with Atomic Force Microscopy.

Faculty in This Area

  • Raj Aggarwal (secondary area)
  • George Amariucai
  • Aleksandar Dogandzic
  • Nicola Elia
  • Sang W. Kim
  • Ratnesh Kumar (group chair)
  • Daji Qiao
  • Aditya Ramamoorthy
  • Alexander Stoytchev
  • Srikanta Tirthapura
  • Umesh Vaidya
  • Namrata Vaswani
  • Zhengdao Wang

Distributed Sensing and Decision Making Research Centers, Institutes, and Laboratories

Research Projects and Publications

For complete information on research projects and publications in this area, consult individual faculty members’ websites, our graduate student thesis archives, and individual research center and laboratory websites.


Graduate Student Research Areas

Distributed sensing and decision making research at Iowa State encompasses the following core areas of graduate study in electrical and computer engineering: