Robert SchoberTalk Title: Synthetic Molecular Communication: Fundamentals, Opportunities, and Challenges


Synthetic molecular communication is an emerging research area offering many interesting and challenging new research problems for communication engineers, biologists, chemists, and physicists. Synthetic molecular communication is widely considered to be an attractive option for communication between nano-devices such as (possibly artificial) cells and nano-sensors. Possible applications of nano-communication networks include targeted drug delivery, health monitoring, environmental monitoring, and “bottom-up” manufacturing. The IEEE and ACM have recently founded several new conferences and journals dedicated to this exciting new and fast growing research area.

In this invited talk, we will give first a general overview of the areas of synthetic molecular communication and nano-networking. Components of synthetic molecular communication networks, possible applications, and the evolution of the field will be reviewed. Thereafter, we will give an introduction to various synthetic molecular communication strategies such as gap junctions, molecular motors, and diffusion based molecular communication. Thereby, we will focus particularly on diffusion based synthetic molecular communication, identify the relevant basic laws of physics and discuss their implications for communication system design. Subsequently, several communication engineering design problems will be discussed, including detection, channel estimation, parameter estimation, and synchronization, which also present opportunities for application of iterative processing techniques.  Furthermore, some experimental results will be provided. In the last part of the talk, we will discuss some research challenges in synthetic molecular communication from a communication engineering point of view.


Robert Schober was a Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada, from 2002 to 2011. Since January 2012 he is an Alexander von Humboldt Professor and the Chair for Digital Communication at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), Germany. His research interests fall into the broad areas of Communication Theory, Wireless Communications, and Statistical Signal Processing.

Robert received several awards for his work including the 2007 Wilhelm Friedrich Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the 2008 Charles McDowell Award for Excellence in Research from UBC, a 2011 Alexander von Humboldt Professorship, a 2012 NSERC E.W.R. Stacie Fellowship, and the 2017 Wireless Communication Technical Committee Recognition Award. In addition, he has received several best paper awards for his research and is listed as a 2017 Highly Cited Researcher by the Web of Science. Robert is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, and a Fellow of the IEEE. From 2012 to 2015, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Communications. Currently, he is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the IEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological and Multiscale Communication and serves on the Editorial Board of the Proceedings of the IEEE. Furthermore, he is a Member at Large of the Board of Governors and a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Communications Society.