Projects and work activities

This page briefly introduces the most relevant activities that I have been involved with, their major outcomes and the lessons learned. These activities correspond to:
PhD research on Cognitive Radios
nSHIELD work package coordination
nSHIELD research and development
ESSOR research
Teaching assistance
Digital multimedia assistance

CRlogo4Researcher on security issues of Cognitive Radios
 – ISIP40 group, University of Genoa, Italy. 2012-2015.

Cognitive Radio (CR) represents a novel communication paradigm, and is usually defined as a “really smart radio” built on a Software Defined Radio (SDR) architecture, that is RF-aware and is able to reconfigure its transmission parameters automatically.

In collaboration with fellow ISIP40 researchers and major Italian industrial partners such as Selex ES and SIIT, I have worked on:

  • Assembling an SDR test bed architecture that would enable developing, porting and testing all relevant cognitive algorithms. More details: HERE.
  • Studying impacts of Cognitive Radio technology on the communications electronic warfare domain. A major outcome was the development of the Spectrum Intelligence for Interference Mitigation – an intelligent self-reconfigurable algorithm that continuously monitors relevant RF activities and takes proactive measures, such as channel surfing or power alteration, in order to preserve communication security and secrecy. More details: HERE and HERE.
  • Studying the application of game theory as a tool for mathematical formalization of jamming and anti-jamming behaviour between users equipped with CR technology. More details: HERE and HERE.

I would summarize the most valuable things I have gained from my PhD as follows:

  • I have learned how to collaborate with people whose interests and competences are not necessarily aligned with mine;
  • I have learned how to write good, well-structured scientific papers;
  • I have learned how to perform objective critical peer review (by performing peer reviews for a number of international journals and conferences);
  • I have greatly improved upon my programming skills (Matlab, Python and C/C++);
  • I have become very confident with giving public presentations (courtesy of many international conferences and workshops I have had the pleasure to attend as well as the numerous internal meetings held within our group).

Work package coordinator and researcher on embedded systems security nSHIELD (new embedded Systems arcHItecturE for multi-Layer Dependable solutions), ARTEMIS-funded project. 2012-2015.

nSHIELD was an exciting major European project (24 partners from 6 countries) that provided a set of innovative solutions for Security, Privacy and Dependability (SPD) in the context of embedded systems, introducing the SPD features as “built-in” rather than as “add-on” functionalities. The project was successfully finalized in January 2015, and received an award in the category of “Smart Innovation: Impact of SW innovation” within the ARTEMIS & ITEA 2015 Co-summit.
My duties as a work package coordinator included:

  • Organizing regular phone conference meetings and keeping track of the progress of 9 partners involved in our work package.
  • Providing relevant status reports and financial reports for all the partners involved in our work package
  • Formatting and delivering all technical reports corresponding to our work package (all publicly available deliverables may be found HERE)
  • Presenting the work progress of our work package to the nSHIELD consortium (every 3 months) and to external reviewers (annually).

Concurrently, I have performed R&D activities within the project, which included:

  • Building a robust and secure communication layer based on a SDR architecture. The outcome is the fully functional prototype titled SPD-driven Smart Transmission Layer .
  • Demonstrating the above mentioned prototype within the nSHIELD Dependable Avionics demonstration scenario. The scenario has shown how a total of 8 independent nSHIELD prototypes can be composed in order to make a secure and dependable system-of-systems resilient to errors and malicious attacks. More information regarding the demonstrator architecture can be found HERE and HERE.

I consider the experience gained within the project invaluable: I have learned a lot about the organization of major European projects, what is needed to maintain successful international collaboration, and how to manage (and participate in) small teams. However, more than anything else, I appreciate that I have had the opportunity to build a strong network of experts in the domain of security and privacy of embedded systems.

Researcher on secure interoperable military radio systemsESSOR (European Secure Software Defined Radio). 2012.

ESSOR was a European project whose goal was creating an architecture of Software Defined Radios (SDR) for military purposes. I have worked on the project for the last several months of its duration, and have focused on performing performance analysis of multi-hop networks for various network and terrain topologies and configurations, using the OMNeT++ simulation environment.

Teaching assistant – ISIP40 group, University of Genoa, Italy. 2013-2015.

As part of my PhD studies, I was involved in teaching activities to BSc and MSc students at the University of Genoa. The activities included:

  • Supervising BSc students: these mentoring experiences have given me a flavor of what being a professor would hold – I found the opportunity to pass on my experience and expertise onto younger students exciting and rewarding.
  • Creating and holding laboratory exercises for the Radio communication systems MSc course. The exercises were performed in GNU Radio and Matlab Simulink, which has further strengthened my expertise with these simulation environments.
  • Assistance to students who were having difficulties with the contents of the above mentioned course

Digital multimedia assistant – NOVA TV, Zagreb. 2008-2011.

This was my part-time student job, performed for the news portal. My activities included editing of all video, audio and photo content that would appear on the website, using Avid Newscutter and Photoshop software packages. This was my first long-term job, and has allowed me to learn how to rely on my own income, while showing me that a truly fun workplace does not necessarily mean a disorganized one.