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HP, MIT Tackle Wireless Woes

Under a new research initiative, engineers from HP and MIT are working to improve the performance and reliability of wireless networks and devices

Faculty, staff and students will focus on problems such as short battery lifespan, balky data transfer rates and inflexible architecture at the new Center for Wireless Studies.

The project is part of invent@mit, a 5-year, $25-million alliance struck between the Palo Alto, Calif., computer giant and the Cambridge, Mass., school in 2000.

"This initiative brings together an incredible pool of talent from both institutions with expertise ranging from digital communication and networking to signal and media processing to circuits, systems and devices," said Gregory Wornell, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.

HP, which gained wireless handheld marketshare through its recent acquisition of Compaq, hopes to find ways that mobile streaming media can deliver information to users on any network on any device.

"This is an extremely difficult problem because of the demands presented by mobility and streaming media," said Susi Wee, research and development manager, HP Labs Streaming Media Systems project. "The fresh thinking needed to solve it is being jump-started by bringing together academic and industrial perspectives on the same tough problem."

In addition to their wireless work, the company and school are also involved in a $2.5 million quantum computing project, begun in August.