Andrew William Eckford

Molecular Communication: From Theory to Practice

In engineering, almost all communication is electrical - but in nature, communication is often molecular. How can engineers learn to communicate using molecules? Answering this question may unlock new applications in nanorobotics and medicine. But this field is surprisingly difficult to study, not least because the medium is unfamiliar to communication engineers.

In this tutorial, I give a detailed introduction to the state-of-the-art in molecular communication. I start with a theoretical perspective, showing how molecular communication fits with the standard framework for analyzing communication systems. I give various models for molecular communication, good communication strategies, and information-theoretic capacities, where available. I also give an introduction to the necessary concepts of chemistry and biology, at a level appropriate for electrical engineers. I then move on to a practical perspective, showing how to validate these results experimentally, and describing two successful, low-cost, tabletop experimental systems that have already been used in published experiments. Finally, I give an overview of the many open problems in this exciting and growing field of research.

Biography: Andrew Eckford is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, at York University, Toronto, Canada. A graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Toronto, his research interests include non-traditional and nanoscale communication systems. He has written numerous papers on the application of information theory to molecular communication, work that has been covered by The Economist and The Wall Street Journal. Andrew is also the Associate Editor-in-Chief of the new IEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications