Marconi Society Names Four 2018 Paul Baran Young Scholars

Innovative researchers are honored for game-changing work advancing wireless and optical networking and disruptive healthcare applications

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, September 11, 2018

The Marconi Society, dedicated to furthering scientific achievements in communications and the Internet, has named four 2018 Paul Baran Young Scholars, honoring them for their outstanding research and academic performance. The four will receive their awards at the Society’s annual awards ceremony in Bologna, Italy on October 2, 2018.

Dr. Di Che, a Member of Technical Staff at Nokia Bell Labs, is selected for his work on short-reach optical links for applications like data center inter-connectivity and optical access networks. His work is critical for companies like Google and Facebook, who build data centers around the world to support huge data transfers. These networks use large numbers of optical transceivers and Che’s proposed digital subsystems can be applied to upgrade existing systems in a cost-effective manner that increases speed while reducing power consumption.

Che’s advisor from the University of Melbourne, Professor William Shieh, says, “Di has conducted breakthrough work on coherent optical short-reach communications that significantly and cost-effectively increases the capacity-distance product. Some of this original work on novel digital optical subsystems has created new research directions which are being investigated in recent top-tier conferences like the Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC) and the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC).”

Qurrat-Ul-Ain Nadeem, Marconi Young ScholarQurrat-Ul-Ain Nadeem, a PhD candidate at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), is recognized for her work in full-dimension (FD) massive MIMO technology. FD-MIMO has attracted significant attention from the wireless industry as a promising technology for Fifth Generation (5G) cellular systems. Her research bridged the gap between the 3GPP’s vision for FD-MIMO and the theoretical study of elevation beamforming by proposing efficient active antenna array designs, developing 3D channel models and characterizing spatial correlation functions to support and evaluate this technology. The proposed elevation beamforming schemes can significantly increase the number of served mobile broadband subscribers in 3D urban macro/micro scenarios while guaranteeing a significantly improved quality of service.

“Qurrat’s work establishes a proper link between the industry’s vision for FD-MIMO and the theoretical study of 3D beamforming,” says KAUST Professor Mohamed-Slim Alouini, Nadeem’s advisor. “She published pioneering works on the development of 3D channel models and spatial correlation functions. More recently, she put different aspects of FD-MIMO together to provide a mathematical framework for the design of elevation beamforming schemes in single-cell and multi-cell scenarios. Her works have gained a lot of visibility in a short time.”

Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, Marconi Young ScholarRajalakshmi Nandakumar is PhD candidate at the University of Washington conducting ground-breaking work that enables the detection of potentially life-threatening health issues using commonly available smartphones. Taking inspiration from the sonar-based navigation system that bats use, Nandakumar created technology that turns an ordinary smartphone into an active sonar system capable of detecting physiological activities, such as movement and respiration, without requiring physical contact with the device. Her technology has been licensed by a leading provider to help patients detect sleep apnea from the comfort of their own bedrooms, rather than in expensive and uncomfortable sleep lab settings. Nandakumar’s technology is also being tested to detect opioid overdoses.

“Rajalakshmi has a knack for selecting problems with high social impact,” says Dr. Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and Nandakumar’s advisor. “What’s incredible is that she has developed technology that seems like science fiction and has gotten it adopted by hundreds of thousands of people in the real world. It is rare for a graduate student to have such impact with even one application, and she is doing it time and again.”

Ding Nie, Marconi Society Young ScholarDr. Ding Nie, an RF Engineer at Apple, is recognized for his work in developing models and systems to greatly increase throughput in wireless systems. Over the past decades, technical advances and consumer demand started the shift to devices with multiple antennas. While multiple antennas should theoretically increase throughput, they often suffer from issues associated with coupling, or the transmission of power between the antennas. Nie developed new throughput bounds for today’s multi-antenna systems by understanding the effects of coupling, guiding the design of antennas and circuits that will lead to increased throughput and faster wireless communications for consumers worldwide.

“Ding is the kind of person that you can let loose on a problem with little guidance and he comes up with very original ideas for solutions. He made a big advance in solving an open problem by coming up with new results that let us apply Bode-Fano bounds to multi-antenna systems,” says Dr. Bertrand Hochwald, Nie’s PhD advisor at the University of Notre Dame. “Ding’s work is so important that it attracted funding and leaves a legacy in my lab for another group of researchers.”

Young Scholar candidates are nominated by their academic advisors. Winners are selected by an international panel comprised of engineers from leading universities and companies and receive a $5000 prize plus expenses to attend the annual awards event. This year’s Young Scholars will be honored at the annual Marconi Awards Dinner where Akamai Co-founder, Dr. F. Thomson Leighton, a pioneer in the content delivery network services industry, will receive the $100,000 Marconi Prize.

About the Marconi Society

Established in 1974 by the daughter of Guglielmo Marconi, the Nobel Laureate who invented radio, the Marconi Society promotes awareness of key technology and policy issues in telecommunications and the Internet and recognizes significant individual achievements through the Marconi Prize and Young Scholar Awards. More information may be found at www.marconisociety.orgSubscribe. Follow: LinkedIn,Twitterand Facebook

Contact:

Hatti Hamlin
Hattihamlin@MarconiSociety.org
925.872.4328

Paula Reinman
Preinman@MarconiSociety.org
415.254.2004

Rajalakshmi Nandakumar

Research Area Wireless sensor technology
Current position PhD candidate at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
Education Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Guindy, India
Young Scholar Prize Research Using smart phones to track physiological activities, such as respiration and movement, to solve pressing health care problems from sleep apnea to opioid overdoses.
Other Honors 2018 Judy Su Clinical research award UW
2018 Rising Stars Program
2016 UW CoMotion Graduate Student Innovator award
2016 Honorable mention award in ACM CHI conference
Fun Fact I love heights and always look for adventure activities in my vacations. Some of the memorable ones are bungee jumping in Victoria Falls, parasailing in Bangkok and skydiving in Seattle.

Qurrat-Ul-Ain Nadeem

Research Area Applications of random matrix theory (RMT) in wireless communications, with focus on channel modeling and performance analysis of elevation beamforming and linear precoding/detection in massive MIMO settings.
Current position PhD Candidate, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia
Education MS, Electrical Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia
BS, Electrical Engineering, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore, Pakistan
Young Scholar Prize Research Development of Full-Dimension (FD) MIMO/elevation beamforming technology for evolution towards 5G and beyond wireless communication systems. This research bridged the gap between the 3GPP’s vision for FD-MIMO and the theoretical study of elevation beamforming by proposing efficient active antenna array designs, developing 3D channel models and characterizing spatial correlation functions to support and evaluate this technology. The proposed elevation beamforming schemes can significantly increase the number of served mobile broadband subscribers in 3D urban macro/micro scenarios while guaranteeing a significantly improved quality of service.
Other Honors 2013-2018 KAUST Graduate Fellowship for MS/PhD Degree.
2009-2013 LUMS Dean’s Honour List Scholar.
2007 World Top in GCE O Level Additional Mathematics.
Fun Fact I cannot work without music and spend most of my spare time watching sitcoms. I have watched Friends eight times in the last ten years.

Ding Nie

Research Area High-bandwidth multiport radio-frequency circuits and systems.
Current position RF Systems Integration Engineer, Apple
Education PhD in Electrical Engineering, University of Notre Dame
Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Electronic Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Young Scholar Prize Research Establishing the fundamental limit on the bandwidth of coupled multi-antenna systems, thus generalizing the classical Bode-Fano bounds to arbitrary antenna systems.
Other Honors 2018 IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society Harold A. Wheeler Applications Prize Paper Award
2016 IEEE Antennas and Propagation Symposium Student Paper Competition Honorable Mention
2016 IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Outstanding Young Author Award
2014 DARPA Spectrum Challenge Finalist
Fun Fact Basketball is my favorite game to play. So much so that I almost do not do any other sports. American football is my favorite game to watch. But I have never played it myself.