Skip to main content

Keeping it Fresh

Assistant professor Yin Sun explores data freshness in his latest book, "Age of Information: A New Metric for Information Freshness."

By Alyssa Turner

Auburn Engineering assistant professor Yin Sun is the co-author of a new monograph revealing the Age of Information concept and its connections with information theory, signal processing and control theory.

Sun collaborated with a research group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to produce the book, “Age of Information: A New Metric for Information Freshness.” 

Detailing the analytical tools and insightful results on the generation of information-update packets and the design of network protocols when forwarding the packets to its destinations, the 224-page book is centered around the Age of Information concept. The theory quantifies information freshness and provides an opportunity to improve the performance of real-time systems and networks. Sun notes the concept surrounding information freshness is necessary and present in real-world everyday situations. He describes the importance of information freshness, and the crucial role it plays in an intense setting like robotic surgery. 

“Remote surgery is one example of the essentiality of the freshness of information that is needed in real time systems and networks,” Sun explained. “The robot is there with the patient, but the doctor is controlling the machine at a distance. The timely information about the real-time operation and robot arm are necessary for conducting a controlled, safe operation.” 

Although essential to modern technologies and everyday lives, information freshness is a newly developed concept. Sun has recognized the topic’s importance and founded the workshop, Age of Information Workshop, which is affiliated with a leading conference in the area of networking. 

“It is very important to introduce the latest developments in the research community to our engineering students and show them how useful it is for right now and their future job,” Sun asserted. “I am training graduate and undergraduate students to become future leaders in the field.”