Nirupama Bulusu, Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles, 2002
Department of Computer Science
"People have an impression that computer scientists work behind a desk, interacting with a virtual world. But the work I do enables interaction with the physical world," says Assistant Professor Nirupama Bulusu.
Bulusu is involved with a project in Australia tracking the growth and migration of cane toads using a wireless network of acoustic sensors. The toads were introduced to Australia to control pests in the sugar cane fields. But over time they have become pests themselves, multiplying and spreading throughout the country's east coast. Knowing how to track them by their individual sound frequencies is a key step in learning how to control them.
For Bulusu, it's also a way of advancing sensor network technology. The kind of acoustic sensor network Bulusu is using in Australia could have broad applications in the next generation of health care. For example, sensors in an assisted living facility may use speech recognition technology to tell the difference between a distress call and normal conversation, and alert caregivers accordingly.
Bulusu chose Portland State for her research because it gave her the opportunity to work with engineers in other disciplines. "This is the place where I know I can make an impact because of the collaboration possibilities."