CyNet: End-to-End Software-Defined Cyberinfrastruture for Smart Agriculture and Transportation

Image processing- and other sensor-based understanding of plant behavior are becoming key to the new discoveries in plant genotypes leading to a more productive and environment-friendly farming. Similarly, connectivity and autonomy are two main drivers of a safe, efficient, and sustainable transportation vision, and real-world study of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) is a key tool towards realizing that vision. Existing research and education in agriculture and transportation systems are constrained by the lack of connectivity between field-deployed equipment and cloud infrastructures. To fulfill this gap, we will establish the CyNet cyberinfrastructure at Iowa State University (ISU). CyNet features advanced, field-deployed wireless networks with open-source hardware and software platforms, 10Gbps software-defined optical networks, and high-performance cloud computing infrastructures, and it will be connected to national infrastructures such as GENI and NSFCloud. To transform the CyNet hardware platforms into a software-defined, shared-use infrastructure, we will develop and deploy the following systems: 1) Predictable, Reliable, Real-time, and high-Throughput (PRRT) wireless networking solutions from PI Zhang's research group; 2) Infrastructure virtualization system that partitions CyNet into programmable, isolated slices; and 3) Infrastructure management system that performs admission and access control and that decides specific resource allocation policies.

CyNet is expected to stimulate research and field deployment of PRRT wireless networks (e.g., those considered in 5G and beyond). CyNet is also expected to enable transformative plant science studies and farming practice which promise to move agriculture into a new era in which inputs are optimized, farmer profitability is increased, production levels are less variable from year to year, and the ecological foot-print of agriculture is minimized. CyNet will also enable transformative research in connected and automated transportation, which is key to transportation safety, efficiency, and sustainability. CyNet will enable exciting interdisciplinary education activities in networking, computing, agriculture, and transportation, and it will help engage under-represented students in STEM education.  

  • CyNet deployment at the ISU Curtiss Farm, Ames, Iowa 
                                CyNet Wireless Tower                                                                   PhieldCam Phenotyping Cameras

  • CyNet deployment at ISU Research Park, Ames, Iowa
    Deployment at Research Park Headquarter Building                         Connected-and-Automated Transportation Research

News & Reports:

Publications (Selected):

Broader Impacts (Selected):
  • PI Zhang has shared project results and insight as a panelist at the ``Innovation in the Smart Rural Ecosystem" Panel of 2019 NIST Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge Expo, and at the ``C-V2X for Future Automated Driving and Cooperative ITS" Panel of the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC).
  • PI Zhang has developed a new graduate course "CPR E 548: Cyber-Physical Systems Networking" at Iowa State University, to address the unique networking needs of cyber-physical systems and their applications in smart agriculture, smart transportation, Industrial 4.0, and smart energy grid. The course has been being offered regularly since fall 2018.
  • The project lead team members have been actively training Ph.D., Masters, and undergraduate students involved in the project, through regular research group meetings as well as individual meetings and discussions.

Project Team:

PI: Hongwei Zhang
Co-PIs: Ahmed Kamal, Arun Somani, Patrick Schnable, Anuj Sharma
Postdoc: Matthias Sander-Frigau, Stefan Hey
Students: Tianyi Zhang, Chen-Ye Lim, Zhibo Meng, Duo Zhang

The CyNet project is supported in part by the following programs/organizations:
  • NSF CC*Integration Program
  • Iowa State University: ITS, Facilities Planning and Management, Research Farms, Research Park
  • HuWoMobility