Wornell is appointed to the Sumitomo Electric Industries Professorship of Engineering

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 9:30am

Gregory Wornell is appointed to the Sumitomo Electric Industries Professorship of Engineering

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department Head Anantha Chandrakasan announced on Jan. 21, 2013, the appointment of Professor Gregory Wornell for the Sumitomo Electric Industries Professorship of Engineering. Greg Wornell is a recognized leader in the fields of signal processing and information theory.

Department Head Chandrakasan wrote about this appointment to department faculty members.

Greg's research lies where information meets the physical world. One important focus has been on the design of reliable high-speed wireless communication networks. He has a long track record of making contributions in this area. As a recent example, Greg and his collaborators have developed a novel ‘rateless’ coding architecture that drastically simplifies and improves upon the current systems embodied in existing RF standards. Greg's interests include optical and acoustic communication as well. For instance, he and his colleagues have developed coding architectures for multi-mode photon-efficient free-space optical communication. And he is co-designer of the recently demonstrated ‘super-Nyquist’ modem for underwater acoustic communication.

Greg's work with his students and colleagues is truly multidisciplinary. As one example, he has worked on neural decoding from pre-motor cortex measurements in advanced real-time brain-machine interfaces. As another, he has also worked on emerging millimeter-wave imaging system design based on novel computationally-enhanced digital phase-array  technology. And as a third, he has worked on security techniques that exploit a variety of physical phenomena, a recent example of which is his development of codes for practical entanglement-based quantum secret-key distribution systems.

Greg has made major contributions to the curriculum of EECS. Over the last decade, Greg's contributions redefined and shaped the department's curriculum in statistical inference. Together with Prof. Polina Golland and other faculty, he led the development of two graduate courses in statistical inference, 6.437 and 6.438. These courses introduce graduate students to the fundamentals of inference, and its interactions with the principles of information and computation. The courses are very popular among EECS students and attract a broad set of students from many departments in the School of Engineering and across the Institute. For his contributions, Greg was awarded the Smullin award for teaching excellence. Several other universities have adopted Greg's viewpoint on this topic and have utilized the course material as a template for their own classes. More recently, Greg and his colleagues spearheaded a new undergraduate course on statistical inference. Currently offered in its pilot form as 6.s080, the course is slated to become an integral part of the EECS undergraduate curriculum.