Marconi Society Names Four 2017 Paul Baran Young Scholars

Cutting edge researchers drive significant advances in machine learning, wireless communications, and network localization and navigation

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, September 12, 2017 – The Marconi Society, dedicated to furthering scientific achievements in communications and the Internet, has named four 2017 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 Summit, NJ on October 3, 2017.


Wenhan Dai 2017 Marconi Young ScholarWenhan Dai, a Chinese native who is a Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was selected for his work on network localization and navigation (NLN). Dai’s research enables services that touch the lives of many people each day through applications ranging from conveniences like finding an open restaurant nearby to mission-critical search and rescue operations. By solving a challenging problem in localization and navigation – how to prioritize different nodes and measurement links for maximum resource efficiency – Dai’s innovations significantly improve localization and navigation performance, doubling the network lifetime.

“In fact, Wenhan has gone beyond theory by implementing his solution in a real system, and he has demonstrated that node prioritization can significantly improve the efficiency of a localization network,” says Dr. Santiago Mazuelas of Qualcomm Technologies.


Negar ReiskarimianNegar Reiskarimian, an Iranian native who is a fourth-year PhD student at Columbia University, was selected for her work on non-reciprocal microwave components for new wireless communication paradigms. Her research has focused on the fundamental physical principles and the engineering applications of breaking Lorentz Reciprocity, which allows signals to be routed in new ways, enabling new wireless communication applications. Her advisor, Associate Professor Harish Krishnaswamy, calls it “the highest-impact research that I have had the privilege of participating in throughout my career.” The work has garnered nearly $4.5M of research funding from NSF, DARPA and through industrial funding from Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

A paper on the physical principles behind Reiskarimian’s work was published in Nature Communications, and a full-duplex receiver using her circulator was reported on at IEEE ISSCC 2016 followed by publication in the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits.


2017 Young Scholar Shu SunNYU PhD candidate Shu Sun, also a native of China, was selected for research that focuses on making the case for the viability of 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) communications as the next generation of high capacity wireless communications promising broadband access to people around the world, regardless of location. She was the lead student author of the 2013 seminal paper in the field, based on an analysis of NYU’s massive data sets, called “Millimeter Wave for 5G Cellular: It Will Work.” Sun has also led the 3GPP global standards body to adopt her optional close-in free space model, and developed the world’s first open source channel modeling software, NYUSIM, which accurately recreates difficult-to-take field measurements on a computer and is relied upon by over 8,000 engineers worldwide to understand radio propagation.

“The ability to influence and change the minds of others who are ‘set in their ways’ or bound to legacy thinking is the hallmark of an entrepreneur. Shu Sun has demonstrated her ability to change minds and lead the world to completely new approaches that were once thought impossible or untenable,” said Theodore Rappaport, NYU WIRELESS Founding Director and David Lee / Ernst Weber Professor at NYU, as well as Sun’s PhD advisor and nominator for the award. “Were it not for her intellect and tenacity to attend conferences, work with industry leaders, and continually urge consideration for what she knew and that others had not yet come to accept, we probably would not now be talking about 5G millimeter wave wireless communications.”


2017 Young Scholar Ananda Theertha SureshIndian native Ananda Theertha Suresh, a Google research scientist, was selected for his research focusing on understanding efficient ways to use information, data and communication. As the first in his family to attend college, Suresh’s goal is to deeply understand the fundamental limits of what is possible in data science so that he can develop a set of tools that will make an impact on people who have access to only limited resources.

While a PhD candidate at UC San Diego, he demonstrated why Good-Turing frequency estimation works well and developed improvements to the technique, creating an estimator that works across fields ranging from genetics to ecology to language modeling. At Google Research, his work helps provide sophisticated communications capabilities and applications to people with low bandwidth Internet connections and low-end devices.

According to Dr. Michael D. Riley, Principal Research Scientist and Manager at Google Research, “Ananda’s research has already led to algorithms that give better compression for a given decompression time budget than we have previously used and this work is now used by millions of people within speech and keyboard input applications in Google products.”


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 $4000 prize plus expenses to attend the annual awards event. This year’s Young Scholars will be honored at the same event where former Bell Labs chief Arun Netravali, regarded as the “father of digital video,” will receive the $100,000 Marconi Prize, and Stanford Professor Thomas Kailath will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Media Contact:

Hatti Hamlin

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: Twitter and Facebook


Wenhan Dai

Research Area Communication theory, stochastic optimization and their applications to wireless communication and network localization.
Current position Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Education Ph.D. Candidate, Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
M.S., Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
B.S. Mathematics, Tsinghua University
B.S., Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University
Young Scholar Prize Research Developing ubiquitous localization systems, designing efficient localization and navigation networks, and the modeling wideband ranging systems.
Other Honors First Prize of the IEEE ComSoc Student Competition “Communications Technology Changing the World” (team leader), IEEE Communications Society, 2016
Award for Outstanding Students Abroad, Government of China, 2016
Outstanding Thesis Award, Tsinghua University, 2011
Fun Fact I enjoy jogging along the Charles River and playing ping-pong during my spare time.

Negar Reiskarimian

Research Area Non-reciprocal microwave components for new wireless communication paradigms.
Current position Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University
Education Doctor of Philosophy, 2013-present, Columbia University, New York, NY
Master of Philosophy, 2013- 2017, Columbia University, New York, NY
Master of Science, 2011- 2013, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Bachelor of Science, 2007- 2011, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Young Scholar Prize Research The fundamental physical principles and the engineering applications of breaking Lorentz Reciprocity, which allows signals to be routed in new ways, enabling new wireless communication applications.
Other Honors Recipient of IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S) Graduate Fellowship (2017)
Selected as Caltech’s Young Investigator Lecturer in Engineering and Applied Sciences (2017)
Recipient of ISSCC Analog Devices Outstanding Student Designer Award (2017)
Recipient of IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (SSCS) Predoctoral Achievement Award (2017)
Recipient of Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship (QInF) (2016)
Two-year fellowship award of Iranian National Elite Foundation (2011 – 2013)
Fun Fact I did a tandem skydive recently and cannot wait to do it again. I also love swimming, cooking and listening to music.

Shu Sun

Research Area Understanding the propagation characteristics of millimeter wave channels and the potential of directional beam antennas for improved capacity for millimeter wave wireless communications.
Current position Ph.D. candidate, NYU
Education Ph.D. Candidate, Electrical Engineering, New York University
M.S., Electrical Engineering, New York University
B.S., Applied Physics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Young Scholar Prize Research Making the case for the viability of 5G mmWave communications as the next generation of high capacity wireless communications through measurement-based analysis and influencing 5G development by creating a close-in free space path loss model and the world’s first open source channel modeling software.
Other Honors Lead author of the paper receiving the 2017 Neil Shepherd Memorial Best Propagation Award
Co-author of IEEE VTC2016-Spring Conference Best Paper
Lead student author of the paper receiving the 2015 IEEE Donald G. Fink Award
2012 Outstanding Graduate of Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Fun Fact I love dancing and playing the piano, and have been the lead dancer in several performances.