Junshan Zhang, professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, joined ASU in 2000 with a focus in cross-layer optimization of wireless networks. At this time his group was one of the first to research cross-layer optimization and control for different network models, including wireless cellular networks, ad-hoc networks and sensor networks.

He recognized very early on the need to jointly optimize several layers, including physical, MAC and higher layers, in order to improve the performance of wireless networks. His work on cross-layer optimization has combined rigorous quantitative analysis with insight into the problems of wireless networking and has been influential in the field.

His work has been supported by federal funding agencies and private organizations including Intel Corp., National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy.

As wireless communications continues to grow at a rapid pace, Zhang’s research is having a broader impact on applications from smart grids to social networks.

In a project funded by NSF, Zhang is working on spatio-temporal analysis for wind farms to develop more accurate generation forecast models. A typical wind farm has 200-300 turbine towers. Wind speeds can vary widely, and power outputs from different turbines are often unequal. Zhang takes a network approach, using graphical learning tools to develop a Markov chain forecast model for aggregate power output.

This foundational research could help enable more significant penetration of renewable energy, and contribute to smart grid in the making.

The Department of Defense is funding a project in which Zhang is looking at the interplay between mobile communications and social networks to facilitate information flow and find ways to reduce high peaks. One primary goal is to deliver timely information reliably, but also to investigate how information propagates across networks.

Zhang has received multiple awards throughout his career, including an ONR Young Investigator Award in 2005 and NSF CAREER Award in 2003.