KU News: Researcher aims to boost rural access to 5G, harden wireless network security and help conceive 6G

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Researcher aims to boost rural access to 5G, harden wireless network security and help conceive 6G
LAWRENCE — A new three-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation will support a University of Kansas researcher’s work to improve the design of 5G connectivity and computing for rural areas — communities with unique network demands based around agricultural and community patterns of living and working. It’s one of a trio of new NSF-funded projects to be headed by Taejoon Kim, assistant professor of electrical engineering & computer science and researcher at the Institute for Information Sciences at KU.
New series will explore disinformation and how university communities can respond
LAWRENCE — A new virtual series this fall at the University of Kansas will ask important questions about the threats that misinformation and disinformation pose to democracy. The series will be led by Najarian Peters, KU associate professor of law and faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School; Patricia Weems Gaston, Lacy C. Haynes Professor of Journalism at KU and former editor at The Washington Post; and Emily Ryan, director of The Commons at KU. The series begins at 7 p.m. Sept. 28; register at https://bit.ly/DemocracyKU.
KU Theatre & Dance unveils 2022-23 season
LAWRENCE — The Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Kansas has announced its 2022-23 season, which will open with “The Labyrinth of Desire,” which runs Oct. 14-22. The five-production season will conclude in April 2023 with “Cabaret.”
Full stories below.
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Contact: Brendan Lynch, KU News Service, 785-864-8855, [email protected], @BrendanMLynch
Researcher aims to boost rural access to 5G, harden wireless network security and help conceive 6G
LAWRENCE — Look closely at any mobile service provider’s map of nationwide 5G coverage, and you’ll notice huge swaths of the country — rural areas — don’t have 5G service.
A new three-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation will support a University of Kansas researcher’s work to improve the design of 5G connectivity and computing for rural areas — communities with unique network demands based around agricultural and community patterns of living and working.
It’s one of a trio of new NSF-funded projects to be headed by Taejoon Kim, assistant professor of electrical engineering & computer science and researcher at the Institute for Information Sciences (I2S) at KU.
“The 5G network system was developed by companies with a profit motive,” Kim said. “Because of this economic incentive, all these 5G networks have been deployed in urban areas, but people living in rural areas still need to pay subscription for their cellphones, including for 5G service. But they haven’t benefited as much as people in urban areas — from the spread of information, the faster speeds, the ability to transfer large amounts of data that really transform our life at a different level.
“How can a company solve the problem in a way that allows them to produce more revenue?”
The KU researcher said a major hurdle in deploying 5G to rural communities has been “nonuniformity” in the spatial distribution of people as well as the demand for data on the network over time.
“In a city, the population is spread out in a way that is mostly uniform, but in rural areas you have a cluster of population there, another cluster there — that’s spatial nonuniformity,” Kim said.
Then there are needs of agriculture. Automated machinery, like combines controlled by GPS, are performing high-level computation and require a lot of communication.
“A huge amount of data must go to the cell tower and then the core network,” Kim said.
“They’ll also want to collect all those data to get statistics,” he said. “But this heavy data use only happens during harvesting time. That’s temporal nonuniformity.”
Kim and his team – KU EECS assistant professor Morteza Hashemi and collaborators from Purdue University – plan to streamline design of rural connectivity and computing, partnering with California-based commercial firm Blue Danube to run tests on a massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) platform — an advanced antenna technology for wireless communications. Kim and his colleagues will use machine learning to understand how 5G can be better deployed to meet rural spatial and temporal demands.
“What’s the main technological approach or hardware or software that will be different in a rural area than in urban areas?” Kim said. “Artificial intelligence can learn this complicated and nonuniform behavior.”
The group will explore using AI to learn uniform and nonuniform behaviors and will seek approaches tailored for rural areas. Kim said one idea is to focus 5G signals more like a beam at specific communities and agricultural operations rather than providing coverage throughout vast, mostly unpopulated regions to get service to a town or two.
“Because it’s nonuniform, it’s more efficient if we focus the energy to a specific direction,” Kim said.
In addition to re-imagining rural access to 5G, two additional NSF awards to Kim will enable him to harden commercial 5G networks for U.S. government, military and infrastructure operator use and develop technology for sixth-generation (6G) wireless technology.
Kim is the principal investigator for a yearlong $750,000 phase one award from the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator program to assist the Department of Defense with enhancements to end devices and augmentations to 5G infrastructure, providing capabilities to U.S. military, government and infrastructure operators to operate through public 5G networks while meeting security and resilience needs.
“The key motivation for this project is the pursuit of ‘Zero Trust’ principles (an approach to designing information technology requiring all devices on a network to be verified) to combat design weaknesses of 5G networks, so we’ll integrate various security solutions to increase the level of trust of 5G,” Kim said.
A third NSF grant for three years and $285,000 will support Kim’s work helping define 6G wireless communications requirements, using artificial intelligence to design advanced wireless-network architecture for the microwave spectrum.
Kim said 5G can provide orders of magnitude improvement in speed, connectivity and latency reduction. However, this improvement hasn’t come from work within the millimeter wave, part of the electromagnetic spectrum that has had limited research success in the U.S. Rather, a boost in network throughput has come from acquisition of new frequency bands and advances in massive MIMO technologies.
Instead of using today’s radio access network architecture, which depends heavily on cellphone towers, Kim will explore how to efficiently use large-scale cellfree massive multiple-input multiple-output (CFmMIMO) networks.
“We must still be looking into using the neighborhood around 5 gigahertz — still microwave, but using a different architectural network,” Kim said.
The current cellphone network is based on all the cellphone towers designed to serve the user within that cell.
“There’s a new concept of ‘cell-free MIMO’ involves removing all the cell boundaries, but we’d have a very strong central unit that controls a massive number of distributed base stations as access points,” Kim said.
He said this work also would encompass cybersecurity aspects, strengthening the resilience of AI algorithms and architecture, as well as cloud radio access networks.
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Contact: Emily Ryan, The Commons, 785-864-6293, [email protected], @TheCommonsKU
New series will explore disinformation and how university communities can respond
LAWRENCE — A new virtual series this fall at the University of Kansas will ask important questions about the threats that misinformation and disinformation pose to democracy, while pairing these challenges with a consideration of care — for ourselves and our communities.
An effort led by Najarian Peters, KU associate professor of law and faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School; Patricia Weems Gaston, Lacy C. Haynes Professor of Journalism at KU; and Emily Ryan, director of The Commons at KU, will offer three opportunities to learn more about the insidiousness of false information, whether shared intentionally or not.
“We need to form community focused on interdisciplinary inquiry and responsive care to combat misinformation and disinformation, as a practice – not just one program,” Peters said. “Wellness requires ongoing, committed practice.”
The series begins at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 with an introduction to the topics and themes these events call into question, while using a praxis of care. It will feature Gaston, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a former editor at The Washington Post, in conversation with Reggie Hubbard, founder and chief serving officer of Active Peace Yoga.
A former political strategist, Hubbard trains civic leaders and activists to bring balance and intentionality into their work, while encouraging wellness and engagement among the general population. In this capacity, he has worked with members of Congress and their staff, labor unions, educational institutions and individuals across the service sector.
A desire for well-being and safety is a major consideration in the realms of misinformation and disinformation – and what it can make room for if unchecked.
“Certainly through global events, national elections and the aftermath, we see a disparity across individuals and groups about what can be agreed upon as fact,” Ryan said. “Higher education as a field is built upon a common goal to ask questions about the world so that we can better understand it. With all of the resources available to us, it seems in our best interest to call them into a common conversation to address this current imperative.”
All hourlong events in this series are open to the public. To attend the first event, register at https://bit.ly/DemocracyKU.
The second session, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26, will explore what the data tells us and what role universities play in helping to identify and translate it.
The final session of the semester will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 30.
Events in this series are supported and presented by The Commons, the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications and the KU School of Law.
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Contact: Lisa Coble-Krings, Department of Theatre & Dance, 785-864-5685, [email protected], @KUTheatre, @KUDanceDept
KU Theatre & Dance unveils 2022-23 season
LAWRENCE — The Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Kansas has announced its 2022-23 season, which offers lightness, love and plenty of action. This year, the University Theatre and University Dance Company, the two production wings inside of the department, are preparing for five in-person productions.
“Our team of students, faculty, staff and special guest artists is committed to giving our community performances that inspire and entertain, whether new works or re-imagined classics,” said Henry Bial, professor and chair of the department. “The support of our audience helps students develop the skills necessary to succeed in the performing arts while gaining the confidence to advocate for positive change in the future.”
This fall features two contemporary adaptations of classical European theatre: “The Labyrinth of Desire,” a cloak-and-dagger romance adapted by playwright Caridad Svich from a 17th-century Spanish classic by Lope De Vega, guest directed by Paris Crayton III; and “Everybody,” adapted by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins from the classic morality play “Everyman” into a dark comedy on the topic of death, directed by doctoral candidate Timmia Hearn DeRoy. The University Dance Company Fall Concert showcases the work of guest choreographer Kristopher Estes-Brown of Kansas City as well as works by faculty members and the recently formed Jayhawk Tap Company.
Spring brings two productions that leverage the collaboration of both the University Dance Company and the University Theatre. Text and movement collide in “Love and Information,” an innovative and dynamic production of a 2012 play by Caryl Churchill, co-directed by KU associate professors Jane Barnette and James Moreno. With an intimate staging by Markus Potter, artistic director/assistant professor, with choreography by Michelle Heffner Hayes, professor of dance, and music direction by Ryan McCall, the award-winning classic “Cabaret” serves as the season finale.
Individual and season tickets are available for purchase online at kutheatre.com, by calling 785-864-3982, or in person at the box office in Murphy Hall, noon-5 p.m. weekdays. KU Theatre & Dance offers discounted tickets for KU faculty, staff, students and retirees, as well as group discounts. The Jack B. and Judy L Wright Student Ticket Endowment is a resource for KU and Haskell students needing assistance attending shows. Contact Jim Dick, managing director, at 785-864-3985.
When the department is contractually allowed, performances will be livestreamed. Those prices will be listed on the website and may vary from in-person prices.
2022-2023 Theatre & Dance Season
“The Labyrinth of Desire,” Oct. 14-22: Masquerading suitors pursue Laura for her beauty, her wit and her dowry. When Florela’s fiancé Alejandro joins the pursuit, Florela pursues him. Florela goes undercover, befriending Laura and falling in love with her, too. This breezy comedy of romance and hijinks asks, “What compels us to hide our true self?” and “To what lengths will we go to satisfy desire?” Adapted by Caridad Svich from Lope de Vega’s play “La Prueba de los Ingenios,” the production’s sharp dialogue and timeless themes mixes cloak and dagger comedy alongside contemporary drama to question the power of love and transformation. Guest directed by Paris Crayton III.
University Dance Company Fall Concert, Nov. 11-13: Faculty choreographers James Moreno, Ashley Brittingham and Maya Tillman-Rayton, together with select student dancers, show their communal love for ballet, modern/contemporary dance and hip-hop. Guest choreographer Kristopher Estes-Brown, the founder and artistic director of Concept Zero, presents a new contemporary work. The Kansas City-based composer, choreographer and educator has had his works produced around the country and has danced professionally with the Milwaukee Ballet, Sacramento Ballet and Eugene Ballet, among others. The newly formed Jayhawk Tap Company is also featured in the concert. Electrifying works explore the connection between emotion and physiology, as well as the agency we give ourselves – and others give us – to feel happiness and pleasure.
“Everybody,” Dec. 2-8: Random is not random. Chance is not by chance. These themes are explored in this modern adaptation by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins of the 15th century morality play. Each night the audience will choose which member of an ensemble cast will face Death and who will play the people, things and morals of which their life (was) composed. With quick, offbeat humor and contemporary dialogue, the play shines a spotlight on that terrifying, illusive, question that we have all had to face, especially in the last few years: What would happen if Death called? In this journey through the meaning of life, we are asked to reflect on love, friendship, materialism, religion and regret. Directed by Timmia Hearn DeRoy.
“Love and Information,” Feb. 9-19: Teasing out the truth and assigning it meaning is difficult, especially in a multifaceted, 24/7 media landscape where misinformation spreads and we find ourselves constantly, mindlessly scrolling. In “Love and Information,” student actors, dancers and designers are given the freedom and responsibility to make a play that resonates for them and their unique perspectives, choosing the order and setting of short scenes which explore the intersections of emotion, knowledge and the search for community. Join us for the department’s first fully collaborative production between theatre and dance, and witness a kaleidoscope of experiences and encounters that investigate how humans create meaning and purpose. British playwright Caryl Churchill has earned several Obie Awards for her work and is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame. Co-directed by Jane Barnette and James Moreno.
“Cabaret,” April 20-30: Willkommen to the Kit Kat Club. In this provocative, Tony Award-winning musical, the euphoria of free expression, new relationships and the seedy nightclub scene slowly fades away against the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party. An ominous and violent situation begins to emerge; some remain oblivious or apathetic, while others sound the alarm or flee. With grit, dance and a highly celebrated musical score, “Cabaret” ultimately proclaims, “It can happen here.” KU’s unique staging allows for a more immersive experience for audience members. Book written by Joe Masteroff, based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Directed by Markus Potter and choreographed by Michelle Heffner Hayes.
In addition, the department will present the Fall and Spring Senior Showcase, which are academic events open for public viewing. The showcase is the KU Dance major’s capstone project in which students present their in-depth embodied research. Each semester, a different group of students is selected to create works in multiple styles of dance that explore a wide range of subject matter. This year, the department plans to incorporate a few theatre pieces from its courses into the showcase.
The University Theatre and University Dance Company are production wings of KU’s Department of Theatre & Dance, offering five to six public productions throughout the academic year. The University Theatre and University Dance Company productions are funded in part by KU Student Senate fees, and the theatre’s season is supported by Truity Credit Union.
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