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SIE News Spring 2014
SIE News Spring 2014:
Department Takes on the Challenges of Next Generation Wireless

Associate Professor Stephen Patek

Wireless is on the verge of a metamorphosis. As next generation systems offer data rates unimaginable just a few short years ago, a technology currently associated with cell phones is about to become ubiquitous. Highbandwidth services like video currently delivered on wired networks are jumping to wireless. Even more disruptive, inexpensive wireless sensors will turn the fabric of everyday life into an enormous data source, setting the stage for new applications that we can only imagine.

As part of the newly formed Broadband Wireless Access and Applications Center, the University of Virginia will be working with major technology companies like Mitre Corporation, Leidos and EOIR Technologies to develop the knowledge needed to facilitate and manage this transformation successfully. Established last July, this prestigious Industry-University Cooperative Research Center, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, groups U.Va. with such other academic leaders as Auburn University, Notre Dame University, the University of Arizona and Virginia Tech.

“This close partnership with industry has advantages that go beyond funding for proposed research projects,” says Associate Professor Stephen Patek, who directs the U.Va. site. “It gives researchers firsthand exposure to the specific application needs of the industry, while providing recruiting opportunities for our students.”

BWAC builds on expertise fostered by a previous I/U CRC, the Wireless Internet Center for Advanced Technology, which was led by Professor Barry Horowitz. In consultation with its industrial partners, U.Va. researchers in electrical and computer engineering, computer science, and systems and information engineering could conduct research covering a broad range of issues, including wireless health, cybersecurity for mobile systems, and power-reduction techniques and technologies for wireless devices.

Currently, Patek is meeting with faculty around the Engineering School and the University, building a University base for BWAC initiatives. “The more people that get involved, the more opportunities BWAC will generate,” he says. “I want BWAC to be as broad and useful as possible to all of SEAS.”