[CE2013-2] TNO (NL) - Model Characterization for the Design of Wireless Networks

Embedded and distributed systems are becoming ubiquitous: everywhere electronic systems are connected in an ever growing "network of things". At TNO, we investigate the design of such networked systems for application domains characterized by large scale, distributed, adaptive and high complex nature. For the design, we use a model based approach: a model expresses particular properties and behavior of a (sub)system or process we are interested in while neglect others, which are considered irrelevant for a purpose. Models lend themselves for easy, cost-effective building and manipulation in computerized design environments, such as our in-house simulation tool DynAA.

In this internship project, you will investigate in details how some of the commercial wireless sensor nodes work, how much power they spend on typical operations, how fast they can compute certain tasks, and what is the typical lifetime of a battery that powers these devices. All this information will be used to refine and design computer models for these sensor nodes. Such models are used in our simulation tool DynAA to analyze the behavior of large sensor networks, and to design the coming generation of embedded systems.

You will work with a dynamic, high skilled, multidisciplinary, and innovative team formed by researchers from TU/e, TU-Delft, and TNO. This research is part of the DynAA project which aims at analysis of dynamically adaptive systems. The research work will be carried out at TNO, The Hague (Den Haag).

What do we expect from you?

  • A motivated, responsible, innovative, and hands-on attitude.
  • Excellent study records and a drive for working with new, on-the-edge technology.
  • Programming skills in C (NesC desired, but not obligatory)
  • Some experience in programming for microcontrolled embedded systems


  • Literature about model based design
  • Literature about power measurements in sensor nodes
  • Literature about performance measurement in embedded systems
  • Profile existing methods to characterize sensor nodes in terms of power consumption, performance, peripheral usage, etc.
  • Deliverable: A short document explaining the methodology of characterization. What tests will be done, what are the KPIs necessary to refine the DynAA models.

Research Activity:

  • Run characterization(benchmark) tests for energy consumption in a GNode and in a mobile smart phone.
  • Run characterization(benchmark) tests for the execution performance in a GNode and in a mobile smart phone.
  • Run characterization(benchmark) tests for the temporal behavior of some standard software modules, such as protocol stack, bootloader, message sending, etc.
  • Run characterization(benchmark) tests for the lifetime of commercial batteries in GNodes.
  • Experiments to validate the results of the characterization tests on more complex scenarios.
  • Deliverable: a list of hardware and software characteristics (features) to be used on DynAA models.

Company Name: TNO
Location: The Hague, The Netherlands
Start date: Mid/end 2013
Duration: 9 months
Position: MSc thesis student

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