Monday, August 29, 2011

Designing microchannel molecular communication systems: Paper in Nano Communication Networks

I've got a new paper in Nano Communication Networks. (Of the five journal papers I've co-written on molecular communication, this is the last to be submitted and the first to be published ... quick review process FTW. But on the other hand, it's published by Elsevier.)

N. Farsad, A. W. Eckford, S. Hiyama, and Y. Moritani, “Quick system design of vesicle-based active transport molecular communication by using a simple transport model,” Nano Communication Networks, doi:10.1016/j.nancom.2011.07.003, 2011. [PDF]

In this paper, we're continuing our work on microchannel molecular communication (see also here), where molecular motors are used to transport the message-bearing molecules (MBMs).

These systems work more or less as follows. MBMs are arranged on a "loading zone" at one end of a microchannel. Every so often, a motor arrives at the loading zone, collects a random number of MBMs (possibly zero), and transports them to the other end of the microchannel, dropping them off at an "unloading zone".

The receiver's job is to figure out the message based on whatever arrives at the unloading zone.  For instance, say we want to transmit a binary message, 0 or 1. If we want to send 0, we place 0 MBMs on the loading zone, and if we want to transmit 1, we place 1 MBM on the loading zone. If 0 is sent, then obviously 0 MBMs arrive at the unloading zone, because there are none to start with. On the other hand, if 1 is sent, then either 0 or 1 MBMs arrive, because the motors might not pick up the MBM available at the loading zone. Thus, we have a noisy communication channel -- in this example, it is equivalent to the Z channel.

It turns out that these systems are very complicated to simulate, especially since the probability of each MBM arriving at the unloading zone is dependent on its neighbors. In this paper, we give a low-complexity design tool to speed up simulations, and use it to design optimal loading zones, which maximize the probability that the motors will pick up MBMs.

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