For Edmund Yeh, what started a decade ago as an aca­d­emic exer­cise to bridge the dis­ci­plines of infor­ma­tion theory and net­working has become part of the frame­work for modern wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Now, the North­eastern researcher is con­tin­uing that pur­suit across the Atlantic to Ger­many, where for the next three sum­mers he will work to advance Internet and wire­less technologies.

Yeh, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of elec­trical and com­puter engi­neering, arrived in Munich ear­lier this month to begin work as a Hum­boldt Research Fellow, under a pres­ti­gious award spon­sored by the German gov­ern­ment and the Alexander van Hum­boldt Foun­da­tion to bring tal­ented for­eign scholars to the country’s top uni­ver­si­ties and research insti­tu­tions. Yeh will spend four months in Ger­many during each of the next three sum­mers as he com­pletes the fellowship.

I think the most grat­i­fying thing for a researcher is to see that some­thing he works on turns out to be widely used by many people,” said Yeh, who is working at the Tech­nical Uni­ver­sity of Munich to develop better wire­less tech­nolo­gies that improve on the cur­rent 4G Long Term Evo­lu­tion stan­dards — the cutting-​​edge wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­tocol based in part on Yeh’s work on dynam­i­cally allo­cating trans­mis­sion power and rate in wire­less cel­lular networks.

Yeh is working with Holger Boche, pro­fessor at the Insti­tute for The­o­ret­ical Infor­ma­tion Tech­nology at the Tech­nical Uni­ver­sity of Munich and a member of the German Academy of Sci­ences, who nom­i­nated him for the pres­ti­gious fel­low­ship. The two met about six years ago, when Boche invited Yeh to see how his team of researchers was applying Yeh’s wire­less resource allo­ca­tion algo­rithms for a large-​​scale test trial of 4G LTE tech­nology in Berlin.

The new research looks at the future of wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tions, making calls clearer and improving the trans­mis­sion of data.

Of course we’re going to go beyond 4G, so we’re looking at the role of relays in dynam­i­cally allo­cating resources for enhancing cel­lular net­work per­for­mance,” Yeh said. “Right now you go just one hop, from your phone to the network’s base sta­tion. But it turns out every­thing can be made more effi­cient when you have a relay to help for­ward the data along.”

The role of relays is sim­i­larly impor­tant for the Internet, for which Yeh and his German host will be designing pricing and incen­tive schemes that induce net­work coop­er­a­tion and enhance net­work performance.

There is the very inter­esting ques­tion of how the Internet and other net­works can be seen as an economy where relays com­pete with each other through pricing, and carry mes­sages and data for a fee,” Yeh said. “We are inves­ti­gating how such pricing schemes might be designed to make the net­work work more effi­ciently for everyone.”