Sensing and Energy Research Group (SERG)

Established: April 28, 2011

Sensing and energy are emerging cross-cutting physical concerns in computer systems. The proliferation of embedded and personal devices such as networked sensors and mobile phones gives computer systems increasing capability of gathering data from and adapting to the physical world and personal activities. Energy constraints at different scales can affect battery life and thus user experiences in embedded devices, and can be a limiting factor for the growth of IT infrastructure. Capturing, understanding, and exploiting sensor data and energy characteristic will continue to revolutionize how technologies can serve people, provide awareness, improve efficiency, and reduce resource consumption.

SERG at MSR conducts fundamental and systems research on the interface and interactions between computing systems and the physical world. We develop new architecture, hardware and software platforms, system and network principles, energy and data management strategies, signal and information processing techniques, and novel applications to advance the state of art in sensing and energy-efficient systems. The application domains of our research include wireless sensor network,  mobile systems, wearable computing, personalized on-line services, data centers, and green cloud computing.

Internal Research Collaborations:


Honors and Awards

  • “COIN-GPS: Indoor Localization from Direct GPS Receiving” by Shahriar Nirjon, Jie Liu, Gerald DeJean, Bodhi Priyantha, Yuzhe Jin, and Ted Hart received the Best Paper Award at ACM MobiSys’14.
  • “Energy Characterization and Optimization of Image Sensing Toward Continuous Mobile Vision” by Robert LiKamWa (Rice University), Bodhi Priyantha, Matthai Philipose (Microsoft Research Redmond), Lin Zhong (Rice University), Paramvir Bahl (Microsoft Research Redmond) received the Best Paper Award at ACM MobiSys’13.
  • The Cloud-Offloaded GPS paper by Jie Liu, Bodhi Priyantha, et. al. received the Best Paper Award at ACM SenSys’12.
  • Lei Li and Abdullah Mueen, two of our previous interns, have been chosen Runner-ups for the SIGKDD Dissertation Award 2012.
  • Suman Nath received the Best Paper Award at MobiSys’12.
  • Jie Liu elevated to ACM Distinguished Scientist (2011)
  • Suman Nath elevated to ACM Senior Member (2011)
  • Jie Liu and MSRA collaborators: Best Demo Award, SenSys 2011
  • Suman Nath and collaborators: Best Paper Award, SSTD 2011
  • Bodhi Priyantha, Jie Liu, Feng Zhao and collaborators: Best Paper Award, RTAS 2010
  • Gerald DeJean: Distinguished Young Alumni Award (Michigan State Univ. 2009)
  • Yanif Ahmad and Suman Nath: Best Paper Award, ICDE 2008
  • Suman Nath and collaborators: Best Paper Award, NSDI 2006
  • Aman Kansal: Edward K Rice Outstanding PhD Award (UCLA, 2006)
  • Bodhi Priyantha: George M. Sprowls Award–for an outstanding PhD thesis in computer science (MIT, 2005)

News/Blog Coverage

Interns/Student Consultants

2013: Vageesh Devarayasamudra Chandramouli, Jeremy Gummeson, Yanlin Li, Bin Liu, Yixin Luo, Azalia Mirhoseini, Shahriar Nirjon, Alejandro Eden Reyes, Ana Riekstin, Alexandra Vtyurina, Di Wang, He Wang, Alexandra Vtyurina

2012: Woosuk Lee, Felix Xiaozhu Lin, Justin Lu, Prashanth Mohan, Moaj Musthag, Amanda De Paula, Demostenes Zegarra Rodriguez, Abu Sayeed Saifullah, Trang Thai, Di Wang, He Wang,

2011: Hossein Ahmadi, Xuan Bao, Arka Bhattacharya, Yin Chen, Cristina Dominicini, Yuanhua Lv, Radhika Mittal, Moo-Ryong Ra, Alan Roytman, Negin Salejegheh, Trang Thai, Tingxin Yan, Tao Zhang, Ziguo Zhong.

2010: Shah Amini, Christina Delimitrou, Michaela Goetz, Oliver Kennedy, Pavan Kumar, Hong Lu, Miguel Palomera Perez, Aveek Purohit, Heitor Ramos, Peixiang Zhao









Pocket Cloudlets
Emmanouil Koukoumidis, Dimitrios Lymberopoulos, Karin Strauss, Jie Liu, Doug Burger, in ASPLOS 2011 (International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems, ACM, March 1, 2011, View abstract, Download PDF





Mobiscopes for Human Spaces
Tarek Abdelzaher, Yaw Anokwa, Peter Boda, Jeff Burke, Deborah Estrin, Leonidas Guibas, Aman Kansal, Samuel Madden, Jim Reich, in IEEE Pervasive Computing, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., April 1, 2007, View abstract, Download PDF




Link description



December 21, 2011


Aman Kansal


Project CLEO

Established: January 18, 2013

The goal of project CLEO is to develop devices and services to encourage and enable participatory sensing and citizen scientists. A core technology developed in the project is to make location sensing energy efficient, so devices can be small and light, sample more frequently, and of low cost. The approach is called Cloud-Offloaded GPS (or CO-GPS). News: Mobile Location Sensing Tutorial at ACM MobiSys 2013, June 25th, 2013, Taipei. Jie Liu gave a…

Battery Research at Microsoft

Established: March 19, 2011

Mobile devices such as smartphones, along with other battery operated devices, are energy constrained. While hardware capabilities have increased tremendously over the last ten years, battery energy density has only doubled. In this project we are exploring several techniques to extend the battery life of mobile devices. Our vision is to create a fully-capable phone which runs for a week without recharging under normal usage. Our work spans innovation across all layers of the battery…

Joulemeter: Computational Energy Measurement and Optimization

Established: February 23, 2010

The public release of Joulemeter is deprecated. We apologize for any inconvenience.The Joulemeter project provides a modeling tool to measure the energy usage of virtual machines (VMs), servers, desktops, laptops, and even individual software applications running on a computer. The visibility provided by Joulemeter is being used to improve power provisioning costs for data centers, virtualized power budgeting, desktop energy optimizations, and mobile battery management. Note: Joulemeter is no longer available for public download. Similar…