MegaDroid harnesses 300,000 Android phones
What would a ‘city’s worth of Android smartphones’ look like? Well, one answer is given by the New York Times, covering research at the Sandia National Laboratories in its Bits technology section… It’s a rack of 500 computers, aka MegaDroid.
All that computer power is being harnessed to provide a distributed software simulation, mimicking the behaviour of an entire city’s worth of Android smartphones. The idea is to approximate the hundreds of thousands of phones in a real mobile network, modelling how they could behave and interact.
John Markoff writes:
So far, the researchers have emulated the behaviour of a network of 300,000 Android phones, down to details like sending text messages and transmitting wireless data, and even the behaviour of the phone’s radios or sensors.
In the future, they hope that their software, which will be freely available through an open-source license, will be used by groups designing social network applications like Foursquare, military battle planners, disaster relief workers and American hackers who are building mesh wireless networks intended to make the Internet available inside nations controlled by dictators, among others.
A major area of research possible with Megadroid, say staff at Sandia, is to study mobile security, and defences against possible “attack vectors”…
“Smartphones are now ubiquitous and used as general-purpose computing devices as much as desktop or laptop computers,” said Sandia’s David Fritz (pictured above). “But even though they are easy targets, no one appears to be studying them at the scale we’re attempting.”
Their website writes:
A key element of the Android project, computer scientist John Floren said, is a “spoof” Global Positioning System (GPS). He and his colleagues created simulated GPS data of a smartphone user in an urban environment, an important experiment since smartphones and such key features as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities are highly location-dependent and thus could easily be controlled and manipulated by rogue actors.