Silvia Nittel

Welcome to my faculty home page! My name is Dr. Silvia Nittel, and I am an Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Information Science.

Academic Appointments

I obtained a doctorate in computer science from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, in 1994, and spent 5 years as a Research Associate in the Computer Science department at UCLA. Since 2001, I am a faculty at the University of Maine, and currently a member of the Spatial Computing group in the School of Computing and Information Science.  

I teach primarily graduate courses in the Spatial Information Science and Engineering, and MSIS program. In 2005, I received an NSF Early Career Award, and have been otherwise funded by NASA, NGA and NSF. I am also the director of the Geosensor Networks Lab.

From 2013-2018, I have been the Computer Science Undergraduate Coordinator.

Since July 2022, I am the Co-Director of the UMaine Data Science and Engineering Graduate program and the Graduate Coordinator for the Spatial and MSIS Graduate programs

Professional / Academic Interests

My current research interests are in extending data management technology to support wireless sensor networks, especially geosensor networks. My research focuses on three overlapping areas:

  • My research group investigates the extension of data stream engines (DSEs) for real-time analytics of massive amounts of spatially distributed sensor data streams. These sensor data streams sample spatially and temporally continuous phenomena such as environmental phenonmena or indoor ambient fields. This work is currently funded via a NSF award. The extensions include the Field Data Type Hierarchy for Stream Data Models, and stream operator frameworks for real-time spatio-temporal interpolation of continuous phenomena.
  • A second research area focuses on the real-time analytics of manufacturing data such as machine vibrations of large robotics drills in collaboration with GE.
  • The third resarch area focuses on understanding events monitored by sensor networks through the integration of sensor network data, DBMS and ontologies (in collaboration with Dr. Hahmann).
  • My fourth research focus is on in-network data aggregation algorithms for quantitative and qualitative spatial queries in geosensor networks to identify and track the boundary of events over space and time in a decentralized way. Algorithms for in-network intelligence also include applications of geosensor networks in intelligent transportation networks, mobile ad-hoc ocean drifter sensor networks and the LocalAlert approach for decentralized coordination in emergency situations.
  • My fifth area of interest is blockchain technology for healthcare data, focusing on privacy-based storage and access control as well as storage of health care data streams. 

I am  the co-founder of the conference series “Geosensor Networks”,  author of two books on Geosensor Networks and author of the topic “geosensor networks” in 4 encyclopedias. I was the editor for a special issue of the SIGSPATIAL newsletter on Geosensor Networks in 2015. I currently a guest editor for a Special Issue “Geosensor Networks and the Sensor Web”, International Journal of Geo-Information.

See  “A Survey of Geosensor Networks: Advances in Dynamic Environmental Monitoring” for a geosensor networks overview article. Sensors 2009, 9(7), 5664-5678; doi:10.3390/s90705664, published: 15 July 2009.