Communication and networks

Communications and networking has evolved at a fantastic pace since the advent of the electrical telegraph in the 1830s and has had a tremendous impact on the world in which we live. Morse, Bell, Maxwell, Hertz, Marconi, Wiener and Shannon are just some of the many physicists, mathematicians, engineers and inventors who have shaped this evolution and who continue to influence our research to this day.

Our research group analyses, designs and optimises communications systems and networks for a variety of emerging applications. For example, we might seek to increase data rates in cellular mobile networks, reduce latency for the Internet-of-Things, and minimise the cost of constructing underground mining networks. We use tools and approaches from communication theory, coding, information theory, detection and estimation, systems theory, stochastic processes, game theory, signal processing, network optimisation and much more.

Our researchers have strong links to both the Control and signal processing and Photonic and electronic systems research groups within the Department and also to the School of Computing and Information Systems and the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne.

We work collaboratively with a number of industry partners and end-users to solve real problems.

Research areas

Wireless communications

We design new techniques and algorithms for wireless communications systems to increase spectral efficiency, reduce energy consumption and minimise latency. Applications include 5G and sensor networks.

Cybersecurity and coding

We study security and reliability in emerging communications networks exploiting the interplay between systems theory and error control coding. This is an important topic in the context of the Internet of Things as wireless communication between devices is extremely prone to malicious attacks.

Network design and optimisation

We design optimal interconnection networks using mathematical tools from combinatorics, computational geometry and variational calculus. Applications include underground mine planning, relay placement in wireless sensor networks, and physical microchip design.

Network estimation and control

Merging ideas from information theory, signal processing and control theory we take a new look at estimation and control problems in situations where communication links are imperfect. This area is highly relevant to Industry 4.0: cyber-physical systems, the Internet-of-Things and cloud computing.