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  1. K-12 engineering outreach has typically focused on elementary electrical and mechanical engineering or robot experiments integrated in science or math classes. In contrast, we propose a novel outreach program focusing on communication network principles that enable the ubiquitous web and smart-phone applications. We design outreach activities that illustrate the communication network principles through activities and team competitions in physical education (PE) as well as story writing and cartooning in English Language Arts (ELA) classes. The PE activities cover the principles of store-and-forward packet switching, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) web page download, connection establishment in cellular wireless networks, as well as packet routing in Software-Defined Networking (SDN). The proposed outreach program has been formatively evaluated by K-12 teachers. A survey for the evaluation of the impact of the outreach program on the student perceptions, specifically, the students' interest, self-efficacy, utility, and negative stereotype perceptions towards communication network engineering, is also presented.
  2. With the emergence of small cell networks and fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks, the backhaul becomes increasingly complex. This study addresses the problem of how a central SDN orchestrator can flexibly share the total backhaul capacity of the various wireless operators among their gateways and radio nodes (e.g., LTE enhanced Node Bs or Wi-Fi access points). In order to address this backhaul resource allocation problem, we introduce a novel backhaul optimization methodology in the context of the recently proposed LayBack SDN backhaul architecture. In particular, we explore the decomposition of the central optimization problem into a layered dual decomposition model that matches the architectural layers of the LayBack backhaul architecture. In order to promote scalability and responsiveness, we employ different timescales, i.e., fast timescales at the radio nodes and slower timescales in the higher LayBack layers that are closer to the central SDN orchestrator. We numerically evaluate the scalable layered optimization for a specific case of the LayBack backhaul architecture with four layers, namely a radio node (eNB) layer, a gateway layer, an operator layer, and central coordination in an SDN orchestrator layer. The coordinated sharing of the total backhaul capacity among multiple operators lowers the queue lengths compared to themore »conventional backhaul without sharing among operators.« less