Lab Education & Outreach


DWSL has taken major roles in the establishment of these educational classes:

Summary text for ECET512 here

Summary text for ECET690 here

The last twenty years have seen a significant shift in the way major crimes -- physical, financial, against individuals and against institutions -- are conducted. One of the factors that has brought about this shift is the advancement in technology and electronics, and the growing reliance of society on electronic storage, computation and communications. In particular, we have seen a rapid growth in the use of the Internet and wireless networks for communication and data exchange. This process, which historically emphasized functionality over security, created serious vulnerabilities that can be exploited by unauthorized manipulations. To counter these new threats more effectively, it is essential that new engineers and scientists be trained in the latest technology to mitigate cyber-crimes and other illegal intrusions into the information infrastructure. Moreover, they should be trained to include security in the design constraints of new systems, not as an afterthought.
Instructors and their students, who are rigorously trained along these lines through classroom exposition and experiential discovery in the laboratory, will be of tremendous value to the Federal Cyber Service, Department of Defense, and the National Security Agency.

Through support from the Capacity Building portion of the NSF Scholarship for Service (SFS) program, we are developing a new highly interdisciplinary Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program at Drexel University. This degree program will be the product of a collaboration between the Drexel University College of Engineering and College of Computing and Informatics. Drexel is an NSA Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) and NSA has an interest in the development of a "deeply technical" graduate degree program in cyber-skills and information assurance for workforce enhancement at Drexel.

The relatively high rate of unemployment in the United States at the present time is often considered to be at odds with reports on skilled worker shortage. While there is some disagreement as to the extent of this shortage among business leaders, academics and other experts, there is a consensus that a significant portion of the unemployed could find work if they possess better skills. U.S. competitiveness hinges on “better access to skilled labor”1. Furthermore, when U.S. employers are asked for reasons for not filling jobs2, 55% quote lack of talent/ no applicants and 44% quote lack of experience. Few U.S. metro areas have experienced the increase in income disparity to the extent that Philadelphia has. In June 2013, the Philadelphia School District, the 8th largest in the nation, passed another round of budget cuts for FY 2013-14. Under the new budget, returning students in September will find themselves without any supporting personnel such as classroom aides, counselors, secretaries, nurses, or security monitors. The schools will essentially be run only by the teachers and their principals. This epitomizes the current national crisis of reduced resources for teaching in many school districts all over the country. In this context, if part of the learning can take place in automated virtual learning environments, it will help to improve learning conditions and more effectively utilize teachers’ in-class time. More broadly, these learning environments may benefit learners in ways that traditional classrooms cannot provide, such as personalized learning.

This EAGER project is inspired by and aligned to the US IGNITE’s mission to foster the creation of next-generation Internet applications that provide transformative public benefit. As a part of this project, we will develop, implement, and evaluate a novel, scalable, and transferable virtual reality (VR) based pedagogical ecosystem that provides learners with the relevant skill training to address existing skilled worker shortage in the area of green energy, and thus facilitate the growth of new jobs and training opportunities for entry-level positions in this sector. The educational modules resulting from this effort will be hosted in the cloud and made accessible through a web-browser.

Outreach Activities

  • GENI-WiMAX Testbed:

    The popularity of wireless networks have led to significant investments in next generation wireless technologies such as WiMAX and LTE. These new technologies promise, among other things, better coverage and higher bandwidth rates, than existing WiFi networks. Given the popularity of smartphones together with peoples' demand for richer mobile content, these new wireless technologies are poised to play an important role in the future of wireless communication. The objective of this project is to build an open, large-scale, outdoor wireless testbed to advance the state of next generation wireless network research in the United States.

    While there have been an increasingly number of new techniques and applications proposed to take advantage of the new wireless standards, we still lack sufficient understanding of how these new algorithms, systems, and applications, will actually perform when deployed under real world conditions. There are two reasons for this. First, the deployment costs are high, making it very difficult for many research groups to design practical experiments on their own. A single WiMAX access point (AP), for instance, can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars, and requires a license for access to a slice of spectrum. A moderate sized WiFi testbed consisting of several APs on the other hand, can deployed for several hundred dollars. Second, the location of the experiments will also affect the quality of the outcomes. Experimental results over a rural area will be markedly different from those derived from an urban area. One key advantage of our testbed is that it covers a diverse urban population area with many people, multiple tall buildings, and various types of interference (WiFi, cellular, and commercial 4G networks). This makes experimental results more representative of urban conditions.

    Fig. shows the proposed installation sites and the projected coverage area. The coverage is projected to include Drexel University and the surround Powelton Village/Mantua neighborhood.

    Deploying this type of network in an urban area involves higher risk due to the interference and multipath effects from clusters of office buildings. The payoff will be great, since urban cities are the prime candidates for this type of network. The research platform that is being constructed through this project has the following unique characteristics:

  • WiFiUS:

    Since 2011, DWSL has been working closely with Finnish collaborators at the University of Oulu, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Tampere University of Technology through support of the NSF-supported WiFiUS (Wireless Innovation between Finland and U.S.) program. Supported from the NSF, "Reconfigurable Antenna-based Enhancement of Dynamic Spectrum Access Algorithms", was an inaugural WiFiUS project focused on building international research collaboration between the U.S. and Finland and involved extensive exchange of graduate students between universities. The project had several notable achievements including a significant number of student (12 graduate, 3 undergraduate) and faculty exchanges (4 faculty), joint development of testbeds and demonstrations for industry, participation in WiFiUS planning meetings and summer school activities, and a large number of publications from the partnership

  • Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) is a service learning program developed at Purdue University in which university (i.e., EPICS-University) and high school (EPICS-High) students work on engineering related interdisciplinary projects with local non-profit organizations.
    These projects are typically of a humanitarian nature and fall into the categories of: human services, access and abilities, education and outreach, and the environment. EPICS has primarily been focused in the United States, with EPICS-sites not only at Purdue University, but also at approximately 20 additional U.S. universities. EPICS has been successful in retaining students in engineering related disciplines while increasing gender and ethnic diversity.

    EPICS in IEEE was conceived by Kapil Dandekar from Drexel University and Saurabh Sinha from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and is funded by IEEE. The purpose of the EPICS-in-IEEE program is to empower student branches groups to work with high school students on EPICS community service-related engineering projects. Through funding from the IEEE New Initiative Committee and IEEE Humanitarian Committee, this program has provided funding to several dozen projects all around the world. This program has shown how a professional society can support service learning efforts on a global scale. The desired outcomes of EPICS-in-IEEE include:

    • The establishment of a relationship between the student branches in participating sections, a local high school (or schools), and charitable, communal or humanitarian organizations in each venue. The relationship will focus on providing university and high school students the opportunity to develop devices and systems for the benefit of the target audiences of the community organizations.

    • Creation of a program that will impact communities around the world with objectives of: i.) increasing high school student interest in pursuing an engineering-related career path, and ii. leveraging the demonstrated ability of the EPICS program to reach female and under-represented minority students, to increase IEEE recruitment in these demographics.


  • Drexel EPICS