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Cutting Edge Research

August 12, 2021

“It’s a very exciting time to be a technology researcher,” said Dr. Bhaskar Rimal, because there is always something new to study or develop.

Rimal is an assistant professor of Computer and Cyber Sciences at Dakota State University, and recently received a $90,000 Competitive Research Grant from the South Dakota Board of Regents to study aspects of new technology with electric vehicles (EVs).

He also has other research interests, emerging technologies that sound like something from a science fiction movie, things like Fog computing, 6G, and Fi-Wi networks.

Fog computing offers the advantage of bringing cloud-like capability and IT service environment at the network edge within the Radio Access Network (RAN) to those with cell phones and battery-constrained devices. This gives computing and storage resources so users can process compute-intensive facts, or perform heavier computations. While the underlying technology for Fog computing has yet to emerge, it is the best way to bring cloud-like capability near to users.

“These days a lot of industries are working on this technology, and academia is doing research in this area,” he said. “It’s really exciting because it’s quite interesting technology, and for some of the uses, such as self-driving cars or health care, where there is a need for low latency and real-time computing resources, Fog computing would be a great candidate.”

6G is the next iteration of 5G, Rimal said, an emerging technology that can be used with extended reality, holographic communication, or quantum communications that will allow users to enrich their traditional Audio/Visual communications with other senses. For example, if you touch a flower on a device, “you should have the sense of touch for a complete sensory perception. If you touch a sandwich, you should be able to have a sense of its smell, and have your mouth water,” he explained.

Current 5G does not address those types of capabilities, but 6G could address these types of perceptions. “That is why everyone is talking about needing more ultra-high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and ultra-high reliability, so you can feel and sense these things,” he said. “It’s very exciting.”

Fiber-Wireless networks, or FiWi (not WiFi), combine the capacity of optical fiber networks with the mobility of wireless, for more capacity, flexibility, and cost savings. “This creates a very powerful platform to support and create emerging and future applications like quantum computing and holographic communications. Those types of paradigms are coming and need FiWi.”

Volunteer professional work also helps Rimal stay on the cutting edge. He serves on the editorial board of multiple journals and is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). While this takes time, the opportunity to read and evaluate many research articles keeps him up-to-date on trends and changes in the domain of his interests.

“I always try to relate my professional volunteer job with my academic job,” Rimal said because it’s beneficial for him, and for his students.

“I can learn a lot of scenarios while evaluating those papers and can bring some of that into the classrooms. At the same time, I can relate these concepts in my research and courses.”

For example, when teaching cloud computing, networking, or research-related courses, he discusses research issues and real-world examples to provide future direction to students, showing them where they can search for jobs, what the research and industry trends are, and where industry is headed in that domain.

“It’s always exciting to be on the cutting edge with new ideas,” he said, noting that DSU is a good place for this. “DSU is a leader in cybersecurity, with unique programming and new degrees on the forefront of technology. It’s the time and the place to do more exciting things.”

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