Note: I am now a scientist with BBN. My new page can be found here.

Samuel C. Nelson

Postdoctoral Research Associate at WINLAB, Rutgers University
Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
M.S., Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
B.S., Computer Science, Bucknell University
B.A., Mathematics, Bucknell University

Short Bio

I'm currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Rutgers University working in the Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB). I received my Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2011 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under Robin Kravets. During that time, I was a member of the Mobius Research group and affiliated with the Illinois Center for Wireless Systems (ICWS) and the Information Trust Institute (ITI). In 2009, I received my Masters Degree in Computer Science from UIUC under Robin Kravets. During the summers of 2008 and 2009, I interned at BBN Technologies working on both core Internet routing and DTN routing. I received my B.S. Magna Cum Laude in Computer Science and B.A. in Mathematics in 2006 from Bucknell University.

For more information, please see my CV.


My general research interests include finding practical and efficient solutions for routing, transport, and security in wireless networks lacking infrastructure, such as delay and disruption tolerant networks (DTNs).

MobilityFirst - Future Internet Architecture
I'm currently working on the NSF-funded MobilityFirst FIA project at WINLAB, Rutgers University. This is a three-year project aimed at a clean-slate design and validation of a mobility-centric Internet architecture. MobilityFirst is founded on the premise that mobile, wireless communication is replacing the historic fixed-host/server model, and hence the future Internet architecture must provide inherent support for these mobile devices. In particular, I am interested in developing global and local routing protocols that meet the many new challenges of a mobility-centric Internet, such as link quality fluctuation, a large variance in connectivity levels, and security/privacy issues.

Phoenix Project - Efficient DTN Routing
Disruption-tolerant networking allows communication between mobile ad-hoc devices without reliance on static infrastructure, such as cellular towers and access points. By utilizing store-carry-and-forward techniques, along with smart replication, DTNs are able to route data through highly varying levels of connectivity and partitioning. As part of the Phoenix Project, I developed a highly efficient DTN unicast routing protocol, called Encounter-Based Routing (EBR). EBR, found in the IEEE INFOCOM 2009 proceedings, achieves two objectives that are seemingly at odds with one another: (1) resource-friendliness and (2) high message delivery. By learning and utilizing mobility structure, EBR is able to heavily limit replication while at the same time getting replicas to high-value nodes.

Flexible and Robust DTN Routing
Many DTNs exhibit human-centric behavior, in that mobility and communication patterns tend to following human-based social interactions. Therefore, group-based communication is a very natural and useful form of communication in DTNs. To this end, I have developed a series of routing techniques and protocols to enable one-to-many forms of communication, such as anycast, manycast, and multicast. Furthermore, due to the inherently untrustworthy environment found in DTNs along with the high probability of disconnection from a centralized trust authority, I have developed a robust group management protocol that is accurate even in the face of multiple attacks and runs without the need for cryptography. Two interesting works from this series can be found in the ACM CHANTS 2010 proceedings.

Professional Activities

TPC Committee Member: ACM MobiHoc 2011

Reviewer: IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing journal, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking journal, IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology journal, Ad Hoc Networks journal, IEEE Pervasive Computing and Communication (PerCom) conference, IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC) conference.

Panelist: Future Internet session of Wireless and Optical Communications Conference (WoCC) 2011


  • In my free time, I created a small Android game called Lightning Letters. You can find more information, including a QR code to the market link, at
  • Need to quickly process simulation data and get confidence intervals? Check out my confidence interval script - []
  • Interested in sports? Check out my Rutgers Sports Calendar webapp.
  • How are music and states linked? Check out my Songs about States webapp.

Papers and Related Software


Mehedi Bakht, Samuel C. Nelson, Nathaniel Thompson, and Robin Kravets. Mercury: Leveraging Clustering in Opportunistic Networks (short paper/poster). To appear in Proceedings of IFIP Wireless Days 2011.

Ivan Seskar, Kiran Nagaraja, Samuel C. Nelson and Dipankar Raychaudhuri. MobilityFirst Future Internet Architecture Project (invited talk/paper). In Proceedings of ACM AINTec 2011.

Samuel C. Nelson, Gautam Bhanage, and Dipankar Raychaudhuri. GSTAR: Generalized Storage-Aware Routing for MobilityFirst in the Future Mobile Internet. In Proceedings of ACM MobiArch 2011.

Samuel C. Nelson, Yih-Chun Hu, and Robin Kravets. Anycast, Multicast and Beyond: The Role of Manycast in DTN Communication. UIUC Tech Report. Handle: 2011

Samuel C. Nelson and Robin Kravets. Securing Vehicular Networks with VIBES. UIUC Tech Report. Handle: 2011.

Ph.D. Thesis: Samuel C. Nelson. Leveraging Structure for Communication in Human-Centric DTNs. UIUC. Advisor: Robin Kravets. 2011.


Book chapter contributor for Chapters 14 (Gravity Mobility) and 15 (Mobility Vector Model) in Handbook of Mobile Ad Hoc Networks for Mobility Models. Radhika Ranjan Roy. Springer Science+Business, LLC. December 2010. ISBN 978-1-4419-6048-1.

Samuel C. Nelson and Robin Kravets. For Members Only: Local and Robust Group Management in DTNs. In Proceedings of the ACM MobiCom Workshop on Challenged Networks (CHANTS 2010).

Samuel C. Nelson and Robin Kravets. Achieving Anycast in DTNs by Enhancing Existing Unicast Protocols. In Proceedings of the ACM MobiCom Workshop on Challenged Networks (CHANTS 2010).

Nathaniel Thompson, Samuel C. Nelson, Mehedi Bakht, and Robin Kravets. Retiring Replicants: Congestion Control for Intermittently Connected Networks. In Proceedings of IEEE INFOCOM 2010.


Samuel C. Nelson, Mehedi Bakht, and Robin Kravets. Encounter-based Routing in DTNs. In Proceedings of IEEE INFOCOM 2009.

  • ONE router file [] - The settings used in the paper are, unless otherwise noted: "EBRRouter.nrofCopies=11", "EBRRouter.alpha=0.85", and "EBRRouter.updatePOPInterval=30"

Samuel C. Nelson, Mehedi Bakht, Robin Kravets, and Albert Harris III. Encounter-based Routing in DTNs (Poster Abstract). In ACM SIGMOBILE Mobile Computing and Communications Review. Volume 13, Issue 1. January 2009.


Samuel C. Nelson, Mehedi Bakht, Robin Kravets, and Albert Harris. Poster: Encounter-Based Routing in DTNs. In ACM MobiCom 2008, Sept 2008

  • Second place award winner for ACM MobiCom Student Research Competition

Masters Thesis: Samuel C. Nelson. Encounter-based Routing in Disaster Recovery Networks. Advisor: Robin Kravets. UIUC. 2008.


Samuel C. Nelson, Albert F. Harris III, and Robin Kravets. Event-driven, Role-based Mobility in Disaster Recovery Networks. In Proceedings of the ACM MobiCom Workshop on Challenged Networks (CHANTS 2007).

  • [] - Generates parameter file for mobility simulation
  • [] - Runs mobility simulation and outputs a ONE trace file


Luiz Felipe Perrone and Samuel C. Nelson. A Study of On-Off Attack Models for Wireless Ad Hoc Networks. In Proceedings of First IEEE International Workshop on Operator-Assisted (Wireless Mesh) Community Networks (OpComm 2006).

Undergraduate Honors Thesis: Samuel C. Nelson. A Simulation Study of Connectivity Metrics for Wireless Ad Hoc Networks. Advisor: Luiz Felipe Perrone. Bucknell. 2006.

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