Delay tolerant network front-end application for disaster risk reduction by Jherrielloyd Yao and Carlex Jose (BS APS-ACS)

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Carlex Randolph Jose and Jherrielloyd Lourrenz Yao (BS APS-ACS) at Interlinks 13.0 last May 5, 2017. Their poster is entitled, “Design and implementation of a delay tolerant network front-end application for disaster risk reduction.”

by Ellice Dane Ancheta, Sunshine Indias, and Quirino Sugon Jr

Last 5 May 2017, BS Applied Physics / Applied Computer Systems students Jherrielloyd Lourrenz Yao and Carlex Randolph Jose presented a poster at Interlinks 13.0 on their research entitled, “Design and implementation of a delay tolerant network front-end application for disaster risk reduction,” which is one of the disaster-related projects of the Ateneo Innovation Center. In his Physics thesis last year, Yao worked on interpolation methods for rainfall data in Metro Manila under Dr. James Simpas, while Jose worked on volume holographic reconstruction of Bessel beams at multiple wavelengths under Dr. Raphael Guerrero.

Below is an interview with Jherrielloyd Yao and Carlex Jose by Ateneo Physics News.

1. How did you arrive in Ateneo?

Yao: I graduated from Philippine Science Central Visayas Campus in Cebu. I chose Ateneo because it is a top school. My choices were Ateneo and UP. I passed UPCAT but I had no course in UP. My chosen course there was Materials Engineering. My first choice of course in the Ateneo is also BS APS MSE (BS in Applied Physics / Material Science and Engineering). It was in second year that I chose ACS. So I shifted. I am more interested in programming and electronics. I felt that MSE is too heavy with Chemistry, which is not exactly my favorite.  I was inclined to take science courses. I had three choices, some of the major branches of science: biology, chemistry and physics. I chose physics because it is more general, with more applications. I think it offers more choices in the future in terms of jobs. Also there are more grad school courses I can pursue given a physics background.

Jose: I graduated from Philippine Science Eastern Visayas campus in Leyte. I took both the UP and Ateneo entrance exams. For both universities, I chose physics. I actually couldn’t decide confidently between UP and Ateneo. But Ateneo offered a 100% scholarship. So nothing against UP, but Ateneo is a better choice financially. That is why I am here. On physics, one of the factors is that the coolest people I look up to are our physics professors. So I had appreciation for physics already. Also, the topic seems more interesting by how rudimentary the whole thing is compared to the other sciences.

2. What was your physics thesis about?

Yao: My study was about interpolation methods for rainfall data in Metro Manila under Dr. James Simpas. The usual setup involves weather stations with rain gauges measuring rainfall in specific points on the map every five minutes. However, the dense network of weather station has a minimum radius of 5 km across stations, which leaves the points in between stations with no data. Interpolation methods aim to address the lack of data for a given study area by generating estimates at points with no weather station. Multiple studies have been conducted involving interpolation methods for other areas or countries with different conditions, climate, topography, etc. All of them conclude different results: no interpolation method will work well for all cases. I have assessed a few of the common interpolation methods for my thesis – Nearest Neighbor, Cubic, and Inverse Distance Weighting (IDW) – and I have evaluated the results through correlation and root mean squared errors. I have also developed an interpolation method which worked better than the ones mentioned earlier. It is a hybrid method combining IDW and Successive Over relaxation (SOR). SOR is an iterative approach commonly used to solve potentials in electromagnetics. With some modifications and integration with the IDW, it has been used to generate rainfall values on a map of Metro Manila.  

Jose: I worked with Bessel beams with the Photonics lab under Dr. Raphael Guerrero. My thesis is entitled “Volume Holographic Reconstruction of Bessel Beams at Multiple Wavelengths” Basically, what I did was I would store Bessel beams at  a specific wavelength in a Lithium Niobate Crystal. Lithium Niobate Crystal (LiNbO3:Fe) is a photorefractive crystal in nature. I have the holographic data stored using red light at 633 nm wavelength, while reconstruction was performed using three different wavelengths: 633, 612, and 604 nm. I have not published my paper yet. The big deal about Bessel beams is that it is an interesting topic. Bessel light beams have a property of being non-diffractive over a certain distance, unlike plane waves (which are also non-diffracting) and Gaussian waves that spread out. An ideal Bessel beam possesses a well-defined central spot surrounded by concentric ring. It should be non-diffractive over infinity, which means that the central core would remain the same, without expanding, over an infinite distance. A true Bessel beam is impossible to create, what we work instead with are beams that are Bessel-like, these beams possess Bessel properties over a distance. They are called Bessel-like beams because their central core barely widens over a particular distance. With that, they have a property of self-healing even with obstruction partially covering the beam. The beam has the capability restore itself. Using photorefractive crystals like LiNbO3 crystal is another way of storing memory. An advantage of using the LiNbO3 crystal is that it is capable of storing 100 bits/um^2. Unlike conventional optical and magnetic data where information is processed serially (bit by bit), holographic data is processed in parallel (by blocks of data) with the capability to cache and retrieve multiple information blocks simultaneously.

3. What was your Applied Computer Systems thesis?

For this project, we were operating under possible conditions of the aftermath of a disaster. There might be limited resources due to damaged infrastructure, cut power lines, and downtime of basic telecommunication services. Given this backdrop, what we did is to develop a system to enable responders to communicate effectively under these limitations of a disaster scenario (no 3G, internet, or signal). Our main goal is to enable efficient and reliable communication systems even without the infrastructures we usually rely on for this purpose. We want to make it possible for responders to have a communication system which can assist them in sending images, audio clips, text messages, among other features that speed up the process of sending necessary information they might need in responding to the situation. That is the gist of the problem.

What we developed is an application that would implement the DTN (Delay tolerant network) system. Basically, DTN is a bundle transmission system where you do not have to wait for a secure line to send the message across. There is no end-to-end communication that is required. This transmission is unlike phone calls, wherein the phone call actually starts only if both ends have to acknowledge that they are ready to take the call. For the DTN, you are just sending information out whenever you have a chance and hope it gets to its destination. This is good in disaster scenarios because responders are moving dynamically and conducting operations always. It could be messy. For example, 20 people moving independently from one another are contained in a zone as in a protocol during disaster. With each DTN, each one of those 20 people can take information or data from their phones, and contact other responders when needed. Information is gathered in each device and bumping will occur as two phones meet. The exchange of information happens by mere proximity, by using their adhoc wifi capability. Most smartphones have the capability to set up its own network or “hotspot”. If the phones are close enough, they share information they gathered. For example, information can go from my phone to your phone and on to other phones until it reaches the phone that collects all the data in the zone. The phone that collects all the data in the zone is called an aggregator. Over time, as enough information is collected, a passing data ferry (VHub or UAV) along the zone can take that information and transmit it further. Its eventual destination will be in mission control, where decisions and instructions can be sent out to responders.

The mission control is the backbone wherein all information is sent and processed to assess disaster management, the other team–Dane Ancheta’s team–is working on this. Our work is more focused on those responders in the field. The responders then will be working with an application for communication and information sharing without the use of internet, but using the adhoc wifi instead.

4. What programming languages did you use?

For this project we used Android Java. The Delay Tolerant Network (DTN) part is the starting point and the foundation of our work. We started with IBR-DTN (developed by Institut für Betriebssysteme und Rechnerverbund), an existing application which we used for this purpose. What we did is we started from this application and modified it to suit our needs. Originally, what the application can do was send audio messages. We added several capabilities and functions to this, such as image sending, text messages, and appending text information to the image in Exif (Exchangeable image file format) file. Metadata such as GPS and notes are stored in this Exif file. Local face detection was also added on the app. This local face detection lessens the delay and work of the mission control group. This is possible because images taken on the field is immediately processed by the face detection capability, therefore, it does not have to spend time being sent and processed by mission control. Other functions include GPS and radio frequency module capability because the data ferry (the UAV) would pass by the zone, and get the information from the aggregator node. The communication is done in the 760MHz bandwidth, however we are exploring using 915 MHz. The team also wants to explore using LoRa (long range) communication for this purpose because this allows for the transmission of information farther distance in the kilometers range. However the trade-off for reaching a farther distance is that it will have a weaker transmission rate.

5. How did you choose your topic?

This project was already initiated and worked upon before we came in the lab. There have been a lot of collaborations and planning with external groups outside Ateneo, such as Toyota InfoTech Japan and some sectors in the government, as far as we know. This thesis is a part of the bigger project of the Ateneo Innovations Center (AIC) which is the Multi-Platform ICT Decision Support System UAVs, Vehicle Hubs, Ubiquitous Computing for Disaster Risk Reduction. We are just contributing to this bigger project. While our team is working on communication for the field responders, Dane and her team are working on mission control, receiving and processing all the data aggregated to them. There is also another group working on data ferries, which makes use of the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). It is easier to use UAV for disaster scenarios as it is easier for it to go from place to place. There is also another group that works on flight simulation for the UAV flights.  

6. How are projects done in Ateneo Innovation Center?

There are many small tasks for all of the researchers. Working in the lab, especially in big active labs such as the Ateneo Innovations Center (AIC), requires a lot of collaboration and contribution from each one. A lot of our work intersects with the other group. Some results are based on their findings and the other way around. In a way, we are one big group, but each of us have our own focus. Other than the actual project itself, there were little side quests or tasks that we had to do. Eventually these small tasks would add up and contribute a great deal to the project.

7. What were some of the difficulties you encountered while working on your thesis?

Yao: It was difficult to shift from physics to communications. We had to learn by doing. There were expected outputs, and we had to learn how to do it on the spot. For example, we had to learn Android for our thesis which we started working on for the first semester. However, Android programming is offered in the second semester. We had to do a lot of research and reading. We try to understand and study existing apps because we could use some of the information for our thesis. We are given a shorter time for the ACS subjects and even the thesis is done in 2 semesters–part of which is our integration to the lab.

Jose: To be honest, the bulk of the work is programming, like we have to design the concept and  use-cases. My work there is objective: it involves coming up with a plan of action on how to solve it. We are designing a system and we have the available technology. We know what devices or software we want to use. The objective there is to make everything work together or how to make everything function properly–that is the aspect which is more physics-related. After that you, sit down and code for hours or days or months. Every time that here is something the team wishes to add, you have to adjust everything again.

8. Where do you go from here?

Jose: For our research in the Ateneo Innovations Center (AIC), we are sure that there will be people in AIC who will continue it, considering that there is a long term vision for this work. As for myself, I am not sure yet whether I will continue studying such as taking up a Master’s degree or PhD. But I  have also been looking at employment offers. I feel both are equally interesting. It is difficult to separate physics from the IT stuff.  You can think of it (IT) as being deeply in the physics realm as well. Unless it is hardcore programming, but even then, it is fun for me or challenging enough for me. So far I had taken an exam and an interview for work. There is no transaction yet.

Yao: I am really not sure. Perhaps I will work for a while then study further. Regarding the study, I am interested in the Toyota Motor Philippines School of Technology (TMP Tech). They have a school and it is in house meaning you could live there. I find it interesting because I like to tinker with stuff. Although I have not explored cars, I actually don’t know anything about cars but I want to build stuff.  With that in mind, I am also interested in Aeronautics–if not, robotics, but it is heavy on engineering. I still lack the knowledge. Definitely I am sure I will do Masters.  I am not sure what course yet but it will have to be related to physics or ACS.

9. How do you feel about being the last ACS batch?*

Jose: I shifted from pure physics to applied physics with computer systems. The department should rethink freezing ACS and bring it back because there might be students, like me, who will want to shift into the course.

Yao: I think the ACS track is a good course. It is a good combination because it incorporates programming, engineering and communications to complement our background in physics. I don’t know why they removed it. We shifted to ACS from other courses in physics.

*(Note: Though the Physics Department has not offered the BS APS/ACS program for two years, it still exists in Registrar’s records. The Physics and Chemistry Departments may revive the ACS program soon. BS APS/ACS is a rebranding of the BS Physics with Computer Engineering (BS PS/CE) which started in 1985.)

10. Do you have any parting words or advice?

Jose: Well as for advice, I feel like it would be reckless if I speak and I invoke my 5th amendment right (“right to remain silent”). All I can say is, “You do you.” Do what you think is best. There is no one course of action in or after college. I have seen people prosper in doing things I would advice otherwise. I don’t doubt my decisions but I might take it back at some point. Well, let’s see. It is difficult to advice because you can’t really say if it is going to be a success story. It might be too early to speak.

Yao: Pursue your dreams. We are proud to have earned our degrees because it is a proof of what we have learned in college for the last five years. It means that we are out to start a new phase in life. 

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In a disaster area, the DTN responders are grouped by zones and are connected by the adhoc wifi network. For each zones (green areas) there are responders limited by proximity. The red circles are the data aggregators. The blue dots are the responders on the ground doing their task, linked to each other by the adhoc. Each zone will have a leader. The leader will make decisions on where to go and when to dispatch instructions to the team. In this context, the work assigned to the leader is to be the aggregator to collect information. The aggregator entails having the RF module connected to the android phone, which will collect information from phones and responders to pass it on to incoming data ferries (UAV). Through this process of receiving and sending information, there will be links to other DTN groups in other zones, and lastly the information on the group through the bumping of data, will eventually reach mission control.

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Ateneo Physics student Julie Mae Dado chosen as DOST-SEI ICON for 2013

Julie Dado receiving the DOST-SEI Icon Award for 2013

Julie Dado receiving the DOST-SEI Icon Award for 2013

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Julie Mae Dado, a DOST ASTHRDP Scholar who has finished MS in Atmospheric Science in Ateneo de Manila University, was awarded the DOST-SEI ICONS Award during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) last 23-27 July 2013 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex. According to Dr. Gemma Narisma, Julie Dado’s research adviser, the ICONS award is given to “the scholar/graduates of SEI that exemplify excellence in the aspects of poverty alleviation, countryside development, climate change, and industry competitiveness—areas deemed as the focus of the current administration.” Julie was chosen by SEI “for being a key contributor in the country’s climate resiliency efforts.” In the DOST-SEI booth at SMX, the DOST ICONS had their photos posted with a short write-up on their respective impacts on the said development areas. Julie Dado shared her experiences with high school students last July 26, 2013 at the SMX Convention Center Meeting Room, in order to motivate them to choose science courses in college and become part of the science community. Below is an interview with Julie Mae Dado by the Ateneo Physics News.

1. Can you tell me more about your award?

It is called DOST-SEI ICONS Award because it is an award given to DOST scholar graduates. I was a DOST scholar graduate for my Master’s degree in Atmospheric Science in Ateneo. DOST wants to feature successful scholar graduates such as myself in the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) for this year. The objective of the award is to inspire other students, in particular DOST scholars, to pursue careers in science. The goal is not just for them to obtain a science degree, but to entice these students to pursue a scientific career. The current administration’s priorities include, among others, climate change. That is why DOST wanted to feature Atmospheric Science graduates such as myself because of the work I have done involving climate resiliency efforts which was made possible because of the Manila Observatory’s Regional Climate Systems (RCS) program.

There were six of us. One is the former Dean of the College of Engineering of UP Diliman, Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevarra. For Geology, it is Dr. Carlos Primo C. David of the National Institute of Geological Sciences of UP Diliman. There is one for chemistry – Mr. Admer Rey Dablio. For stem cell research and molecular medicine it is Dr. Pierre Dimamay. Then there’s another one for Computer Science and Information Technology – Dr. Delfin Sabido. They are all former DOST scholars.

This is the first time DOST gave an award like this. Every year, DOST-SEI sets up a booth in the Science and Technology Week. This year, they wanted to feature the scholar graduates.

Julie Dado giving a talk at SMX Mall of Asia

Julie Dado giving a talk to science high school students at SMX Mall of Asia

2. What are you currently working on?

My field is climate studies and I focus on climate modelling in particular. I run climate models to study the climate variability of a particular area. I also run projections for various analyses, such as for crop models. We also analyze historical data to see climate trends, and to see whether there have been changes. I am just a part of a group of climate modelers. I don’t do all the work; we are a team. Therefore, I would like to acknowledge the Regional Climate Systems group and especially, Dr. Gemma Narisma, the climate research head and associate director of the Manila Observatory. I am honoured to work with a Climate Studies expert like her.

I also study land-atmosphere interactions. In particular, my graduate thesis focused on urbanization and its effects on the Southwest monsoon rainfall. We found that urbanization enhances rainfall during the Southwest monsoon.

3. What are the software or hardware requirements for climate modelling?

Regional climate models can actually be run using any computer, but raw power is of course an advantage. Long term phenomena at fine resolutions are now possible because of advances in computing hardware. In the Regional Climate Systems at the Manila Observatory, we run models using quadcore computers which are well-suited for parallel computing. Climate models also require a lot of hard disk space, i.e. we can use up an 8 terabytes of space in just 2 months of work.

4. Do you have a computer cluster?

At present, we don’t have a cluster, but we plan on building one. Although we have a 24-core computing machine.

5. What software do you use?

As of the moment, the Regional Climate Systems has the capacity to run three models: REGCM4, WRF, and MM5. I myself use RegCM4.

6. Are you using Windows or Linux?

Almost all of our models run using the Linux platform. In Linux, you can easily alter and tinker your OS. Climate models are written in Fortran, so it also helps if you have a background in Fortran if you wish to work on climate modeling studies. It is also helpful to have knowledge in C, C++, or Python, for analyzing model outputs.

Julie Dado at the DOST-SEI booth in SMX Mall of Asia

Julie Dado at the DOST-SEI booth in SMX Mall of Asia

7. Can you describe your career path at Manila Observatory?

I have been with Manila Observatory since July 2009 right after I finished college. I took up BS Applied Physics in UP Diliman and finished in 2009. My research before was on image processing with Dr. Maricor Soriano of the Instrumentation Physics Laboratory in the National Institute of Physics (NIP), UP Diliman. After graduation, I thought hard about pursuing a Master’s degree in physics. I was also open to pursue other research areas. There was an opening in Manila Observatory which involved Climate Modeling. I worked initially as a climate modeler, but given that I had no previous background in climate modeling, I found that the next logical step is to pursue a degree in atmospheric studies.

8. What are your future plans?

My short-term goal is to publish my work on urbanization and rainfall. I’m also exploring other opportunities for further studies.

9. Do you have any parting words?

At present, there is only one scientist for every 10,000 Filipinos. Scientists are the ones who push the envelope of knowledge further. If we want a better future as one people, it is therefore imperative that we increase that number.

For college students majoring in sciences and also those who are planning to take it up, they should not limit themselves to their specific fields. They should see their course only as a stepping stone. The skills that they can learn in during undergrad are important. Don’t be easily discouraged. Eventually they will find their niche. They should always ask questions with a mind of eventually finding the answers. Never stop.

Ateneo physics students and faculty working at Manila Observatory participated in the 2011 Asia Oceania Geoscience Society (AGOS) 8th Annual Meeting at Taipei International Convention Center

By Quirino Sugon Jr.

Taipei International Convention Center

Taipei International Convention Center

Last August 8-12, 2011, the Manila Observatory and the Department of Physics of Ateneo de Manila University participated in the 8th Annual Meeting and World Community Geosciences Exhibition in Taipei International Convention Center. The meeting was organized by the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS). The faculty members present were Dr. Nofel Lagrosas and Dr. Gemma Narisma. With Dr. Lagrosas are two of his undergraduate thesis students Joseph Angan and Cornelius Csar Jude Salinas. With Dr. Narisma are two of her graduate assistants at the Manila Observatory who are taking their MS Atmospheric Science: Julie Mae Dado and Carlo Jamandre. Dr. Lagrosas is the chair of the Department of Physics and a scientist in the Urban Air Quality/Instrumentation Technology and Development program of Manila Observatory. Dr. Narisma is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics and head of the Regional Climate Systems program of Manila Observatory.

Below is the list of oral and poster presentations:

Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS) 8th Annual Meeting at the Taipei International Convention Center, 8-12 August 2011

Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS) 8th Annual Meeting at the Taipei International Convention Center, 8-12 August 2011

Tue 9 Aug 2011

9:55-10:10
Irwin Angelo Amago, Nofel Lagrosas, “Neural network analysis of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) measurements and aerosol optical depth derived from the multiangle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR): A case study in the Manila Observatory”

11:30-11:45
Carlo Jamandre, Gemma Narisma, “Spatio-temporal validation of satellite-based rainfall data in the Philippines”

11:35-11:50
Joseph Angan, Nofel Lagrosas, and Brent Holben, “Variations of Angstrom coefficients over Manila Observatory: Measurements from AERONET Sun Photometer”

16:00-18:00 (poster)
Cornelius Csar Jude Salinas, Nofel Lagrosas, “Application of images and data of satellite to a conceptual model for heavy rainfall analysis”

Wed 10 Aug 2011

16:00-1800 (poster)
Rafael Jumar Chu, Nofel Lagrosas, “Aerosol optical thickness measurements from two new year events in Manila Observatory”

Thur 11 Aug 2011,

9:45-10:00
Marcelino Villafuerte II, Gemma Narisma, “Potential impact of global warming on Southwest Monsoon”

14:00-14:15
James Campbell, Xuan Anh Nguyen, Boon Ning Chew, Robert E. Holz, Brent Holben, Jingfeng Huang, Nofel Lagrosas, Neng Huei Lin, Min Min, Jeffrey S. Reid, Santo Salinas, Nobuo Sugimoto, Jason L. Tackett, Se-Chee Tsay, Ellsworth J. Welton, David M. Winker, Man Sing Wong, “Lidar monitoring and research objectives across Southeast Asia and the maritime continent for 7SEAS and SEAC4RS”

16:00-1800 (poster)
Angela Cheska Siongco, Rafael Jumar Chu, Nofel Lagrosas, “Aerosol size distribution of 2006 obtained using a parametric inversion of optical depth measurements at the Manila Observatory”

17:15-17:30
Julie Mae Dado, Faye Abigail Cruz, Gemma Narisma, “Modeling the effects of changing agricultural land to forests in the Philippines”