New Faculty: Christoph Studer
Christoph Studer, Assistant Professor, Cornell ECE
M.S. & Ph.D. Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 2005 & 2009
Research Scientist, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas, 2013
Originally from a small town in Switzerland reminiscent of Ithaca, Christoph Studer possesses a diverse background in theory of signal and image processing, wireless communications, algorithm design, and digital systems. Using a unique interdisciplinary approach, he implements complicated and complex algorithms in integrated circuits, and works on the theory side as well.
At Cornell, his work will focus on unconventional imaging using computational photography, a novel approach that enables the design of better cameras. The state-of-art approach produces amazing photos and videos, but can take up to a full day to process.
“My goal,” says Studer, “is to come up with new algorithms, analyze their properties, and then implement these algorithms in digital integrated circuits so you can have a portable, real-time computational camera. This work pushes the limits of what we can do with today’s cameras.”
In addition to unconventional imaging, Studer is also working on signal processing and wireless communications. His research topics all share a similar problem: the best algorithms are computationally too complex to implement. To address this, the idea is to break down these algorithms and make them fast, efficient, and suitable for hardware implementation.
“Unconventional imaging, wireless communications, and signal processing all sound very different, but the underlying tools are very similar,” says Studer. “If you make a discovery in one field, you can basically transfer that idea and apply it to other fields.”
There are several big challenges, however. The algorithms get more and more complex, and as such, implementing them requires more powerful tools. At the same time, integrated circuits get smaller and become more unreliable, which causes implementation issues. The technologies grow in different directions, each at a high pace, and researchers have to bridge the ever-growing gap between theory, algorithms, and integrated circuits.
A very important part of this interdisciplinary research approach is collaboration, which Studer sees as characteristic of Cornell. “The people at Cornell are very willing to collaborate, are experts in very diverse fields, and are excellent researchers. Collaboration is very important; I like to interact with other researchers and students. This is what I enjoy most about my job: working with others and solving exciting and complicated problems together.”