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Alireza Vahid receives ECE Outstanding Thesis Research Award

Monday, March 2, 2015

Alireza Vahid, Ph.D. ‘15 ECE was recently honored with the 2015 Outstanding Thesis Research Award from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Cornell University. 

Vahid’s research has focused on feedback, which plays a central role in many engineering systems, in particular control and communications. In the context of wireless communication systems, feedback provides wireless nodes with vital information about the network state such as connectivity, channel statistics, and channel gains. Due to theoretical complications, researchers have overwhelmingly simplified feedback in wireless networks to come up with tractable models.

However, with the emergence of large-scale, mobile, and fast-fading wireless networks brought about by the success of online media streaming and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, researchers are obliged to develop more realistic models for feedback. Additionally, future progress in wireless communications depends on a deeper understanding on the impact of feedback on the behavior of wireless networks.

“I dedicated my Ph.D. research efforts to adjust the assumptions on feedback to better understand real-world, large-scale wireless networks,” said Vahid. “In wireless systems, feedback is low-rate, unreliable, scarce, and is subject to delay. Contrary to prior results, I incorporated such characteristics into my research.”

Vahid received the B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran in 2009, and earned both M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University in 2012 and 2015, respectively, under Salman Avestimehr. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the Information Initiative at Duke University.

"It has been a great pleasure to have Alireza in my group in the past five years,” said Avestimehr. “What strikes me the most about him is his fearless characteristic to jump on new challenging problems, and solving them. In his thesis, Alireza has made strong contributions to wireless communications and information theory, and this award is indeed a great recognition of his accomplishments."

“At heart, I am a Cornellian, and I will always be a Cornellian,” said Vahid. “I was lucky to have a great advisor in Prof. Avestimehr, and such supporting committee members in Lang Tong and Stephen Wicker. At Cornell, I have had the chance to chat with and discuss research problems with some of the brightest people I have known, and I will forever cherish my time at Cornell ECE.”

In addition to this award, Vahid received the Director’s Ph.D. Teaching Assistant Award in 2010 from Cornell ECE, and a Jacobs Scholar Fellowship in 2009. He received a Qualcomm Innovation fellowship in 2013 for his joint research with Illan Shomorony on “Collaborative Interference Management,” which provides a framework for innovatively handling interference in heterogeneous networks.

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