Information permeates everything: from electrochemical information exchanged in networks of neurons, to biological information stored, and processed in living cells, to business information, etc.
Our current understanding of information communication is still based on Claude Shannon’s seminal work in 1948 resulting in a general mathematical theory for reliable communication in the presence of noise..
Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., wrote in “The Great Challenges for Half Century Old Computer Science”: “Shannon performed an inestimable service by giving us a definition of Information and a metric for Information as communicated from place to place. We have no theory however that gives us a metric for the Information embodied in structure. . .”
Traditional information theory considers the communication studying the capacity of channels connecting two endpoints. This approach should be enhance when considering wireless networks (e.g. for example see the posts on Edge Networks) where nodes which relay information in a multi-hop manner and time-varying topology.
In this direction, interestingly, this paper introduces the concept of the spatio-temporal relaying: information is carried from a mobile transmitter (space) in its past (time) to a mobile receiver (space) in its future (space). Nodes that forms a path in a spatio-temporal space of information transfer: the quality of the transmission depends on the respective spatio-temporal positions of the transmitter and receiver. So a grand challenge is to extend Shannon capacity formula to multi-source wireless networks.
This may have impactful applications: recent researches on MANETs has led to definition of the so-call “space-time capacity paradoxes”. Theoretically, the capacity of a multi-hop wireless network increases with node density and node mobility in spite of the apparently effect of transmission interference.
Moreover, it has been shown that the theoretical capacity of a multihop wireless network is proportional to the square root of the network size (number of nodes). This promises enormous wireless capacity for ultra-dense networks ! On the other hand if you try testing this on WiFi networks, capacity has a tendency to decrease with the number of nodes, rather than increase as theoretically predicted. This reflects the fact that the WiFi medium access protocol, primarily designed for wireless LANs, does not scale to multihop networks. A breakthrough seems to be possible here.
In these areas of study, National Science Foundation has established the Science and Technology Center for Science of Information to advance science and technology through a new quantitative understanding of the representation, communication and processing of information in biological, physical, social and engineering systems.