IEEE / UBC ECE Seminar

UBC ECE Seminar, co-sponsored by the IEEE Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter

Title: Learning to maximize a convex quadratic function with application to intelligent reflection surface for wireless communication

Presented by: Prof. Zhi-Quan (Tom) Luo
Vice President (Academic), Professor
School of Science and Engineering
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen)

Date and time: Friday, January 7, 2022, from 10:30 am to 11:30 am

Zoom link 
Meeting ID: 631 414 5651
Passcode: 431623

Abstract: In this talk we consider learning and optimizing a rank-2 convex quadratic function over N variables, each taking K discrete values on the unit circle. This problem arises from optimal design of a passive beamformer for intelligent reflecting surface (IRS) in order to maximize the overall channel strength. When K=2 and the quadratic function (or channel state information) is known, we propose a linear time algorithm that is capable of reaching a globally optimal solution of the problem. When the quadratic function is unknown (i.e. in the absence of channel state information) we propose a random max sampling (RMS) method and a conditional sample mean (CSM) method to maximize the quadratic function. We show that RMS method can provide a SNR boost that is linear in N (the number of reflective elements in IRS), while the CSM can boost the SNR quadratically (in N), all with polynomial number of samples.  Field trial results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed CSM method in the commercial 5G communication networks, providing >10dB SNR gain in both typical indoor and outdoor scenarios, and with no need to modify the current communication protocols and design.

Biography: Zhi-Quan Tom Luo received his B.Sc, Applied Mathematics, from Peking University in 1984 and PhD from MIT in 1989. He was with the McMaster University, Canada, from 1989 to 2003, where he served as the Head of the ECE Department and held a Canada Research Chair in Information Processing. He has been with the ECE Department at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), since 2003-2014. He is Vice President (Academic) and Professor of School of Science and Engineering, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen) (2014-present). His research interests lie in optimization algorithms for signal processing, data analytics and digital communication. He is a Fellow of IEEE and SIAM. In 2014 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada, and to the Chinese Academy of Engineering as a foreign member in 2021. He has been an active IEEE volunteer (e.g., serving as the EIC for the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing) and has received numerous awards and recognitions (e.g., best paper awards, the 2010 Farkas Prize, the 2018 prize of Paul Y. Tseng Memorial Lectureship in Continuous Optimization).

IEEE VDL Talk by Osvaldo Simeone

IEEE VDL Talk by Osvaldo Simeone
IEEE Virtual Distinguished Lecturer (VDL) Talk, co-organized by the IEEE Kingston Section Chapter, Saint Maurice Section Chapter, Toronto Section Chapter, and Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter.
Title: Learning to Learn to Communicate
Presented byProf. Osvaldo Simeone, King’s College London

Date and time: June 24, 2021, from 8 am to 9 am

Event details and registration info:
Abstract: The application of supervised learning techniques for the design of the physical layer of a communication link is often impaired by the limited amount of pilot data available for each device; while the use of unsupervised learning is typically limited by the need to carry out a large number of training iterations. In this talk, meta-learning, or learning-to-learn, is introduced as a tool to alleviate these problems. The talk will consider an Internet-of-Things (IoT) scenario in which devices transmit sporadically using short packets with few pilot symbols over a fading channel. The number of pilots is generally insufficient to obtain an accurate estimate of the end-to-end channel, which includes the effects of fading and of the transmission-side distortion. To tackle this problem, pilots from previous IoT transmissions are used as meta-training data in order to train a demodulator that is able to quickly adapt to new end-to-end channel conditions from few pilots. Various state-of-the-art meta-learning schemes are adapted to the problem at hand and evaluated, including MAML, FOMAML, REPTILE, and CAVIA. Both offline and online solutions are developed.
Bio: Osvaldo Simeone is a Professor of Information Engineering with the Centre for Telecommunications Research at the Department of Engineering of King’s College London, where he directs the King’s Communications, Learning and Information Processing lab. He received an M.Sc. degree (with honors) and a Ph.D. degree in information engineering from Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, in 2001 and 2005, respectively. From 2006 to 2017, he was a faculty member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), where he was affiliated with the Center for Wireless Information Processing (CWiP). His research interests include information theory, machine learning, wireless communications, and neuromorphic computing. Dr Simeone is a co-recipient of the 2019 IEEE Communication Society Best Tutorial Paper Award, the 2018 IEEE Signal Processing Best Paper Award, the 2017 JCN Best Paper Award, the 2015 IEEE Communication Society Best Tutorial Paper Award and of the Best Paper Awards of IEEE SPAWC 2007 and IEEE WRECOM 2007. He was awarded a Consolidator grant by the European Research Council (ERC) in 2016. His research has been supported by the U.S. NSF, the ERC, the Vienna Science and Technology Fund, as well as by a number of industrial collaborations. He currently serves in the editorial board of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine and is the vice-chair of the Signal Processing for Communications and Networking Technical Committee of the IEEE Signal Processing Society. He was a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Information Theory Society in 2017 and 2018. Dr Simeone is a co-author of two monographs, two edited books published by Cambridge University Press, and more than one hundred research journal papers. He is a Fellow of the IET and of the IEEE.

IEEE VDL Talk by Shahrokh Valaee

IEEE VDL Talk by Shahrokh Valaee
IEEE Virtual Distinguished Lecturer (VDL) Talk, co-organized by the IEEE Kingston Section Chapter, Windsor Section Joint Chapter, Toronto Section Chapter, Ottawa Section Joint Chapter, Canadian Atlantic Section Chapter, and IEEE Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter.
Title: Localization in Drone Assisted and Vehicular Networks
Presented byProf. Shahrokh Valaee, University of Toronto

Date and time: June 17, 2021, from 10 am to 11 am

Event details and registration info: 
Abstract: The next generation of wireless systems will employ networking equipment mounted on mobile platforms, unmanned air vehicles (UAV), and low orbit satellites. As a result, the topology of 6G wireless technology will extend to 3D vertical networking. With its extended service, 6G will also give rise to new challenges which include, the introduction of intelligent reflective surfaces (IRS), the mmWave spectrum, the employment of massive MIMO systems, and the agility of networks. Along with the advancement in networking technology, user devices are also evolving rapidly, with the emergence of highly capable cellphones, smart IoT equipment, and wearable devices. One of the key elements of 6G technology is the need for accurate positioning information. The accuracy of today’s positioning systems is not acceptable for many applications of future, especially in smart environments. In this talk, we will discuss how positioning can be a key enabler of 6G, and what challenges the next generation of localization technology will face when integrated within the new wireless networks.
Bio: Shahrokh Valaee is a Professor with the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto, and the holder of Nortel Chair of Network Architectures and Services. He is the Founder and the Director of the Wireless and Internet Research Laboratory (WIRLab) at the University of Toronto. Professor Valaee was the TPC Co-Chair and the Local Organization Chair of the IEEE Personal Mobile Indoor Radio Communication (PIMRC) Symposium 2011. He was the TCP Chair of PIMRC2017, the Track Co-Chair of WCNC 2014, the TPC Co-Chair of ICT 2015. He has been the guest editor for various journals. He was a Track Co-chair for PIMRC 2020 and VTC Fall 2020. From December 2010 to December 2012, he was the Associate Editor of the IEEE Signal Processing Letters. From 2010 to 2015, he served as an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications. Currently, he is an Editor of Journal of Computer and System Science. Professor Valaee is a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, and a Fellow of IEEE.

IEEE Technical Seminar by Giovanni Geraci

IEEE Technical Seminar
This event is co-organized by IEEE Seattle Section Joint Chapter, IEEE Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter, and IEEE Victoria Section Joint Chapter.
Title: The Future of UAV Cellular Communications: A Journey from 5G to 6G
Presented by: Dr. Giovanni Geraci, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Date and time: June 10, 2021, from 12 pm to 1 pm
Event details and registration info: 
Abstract: What will it take for UAVs—and the associated ecosystem—to take off? Arguably, ubiquitous high-capacity links paired with hyper-reliable command and control all along. And indeed, meeting these aspirations may entail a full-blown mobile network support. While the understanding of UAV cellular communications has been advancing, many fundamental challenges remain to be addressed, with new applications demanding original solutions. In this talk, we blend academic and industrial views, navigating from 5G to 6G UAV use cases, requirements, and enabling technologies.
Biography: Giovanni Geraci is an Assistant Professor at University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. He was previously a Research Scientist with Nokia Bell Labs and holds a Ph.D. from the UNSW Sydney. He is an IEEE ComSoc Distinguished Lecturer, an Editor for two IEEE journals, and a co-Editor of the book “UAV Communications for 5G and Beyond” by Wiley—IEEE Press. Giovanni received the IEEE ComSoc Outstanding Young Researcher Award for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

IEEE Technical Seminar by Andreas F. Molisch

IEEE Technical Seminar
This event is co-organized by IEEE Seattle Section Joint Chapter, IEEE Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter, and IEEE Victoria Section Joint Chapter.
Title: Sub-THz Wireless Propagation Channels and Their Impact on System Design
Presented by: Prof. Andreas F. Molisch, University of Southern California
Date and time: June 14, 2021, from 6 pm to 7 pm
Event details and registration info:
Abstract: The frequency range from 0.1-1 THz is of great interest for beyond 5G (B5G) wireless communications, due to the enormous amount of (currently fallow) spectrum in that band. In order to assess the potential of this band, and anticipate possible pitfalls, measurement and modeling of the corresponding propagation channels is the vital first step. This is particularly relevant since many of the dominant propagation effects are significantly different from those at the traditional cm-wave frequencies (i.e., microwave range). This talk will first provide a review of physical propagation processes and how they are distinct at THz channels. We then proceed to the measurement techniques, which are considerably more challenging than at lower frequencies, as well as deterministic (ray tracing/launching) methods for high frequency ranges. We will then review key measurement results, emphasizing outdoor environments, for which we recently performed the first directionally resolved long-distance (up to 100m) measurements. Throughout the talk, impact of the propagation on the system design will be emphasized.
Biography: Andreas F. Molisch received his PhD and habilitation from TU Vienna in 1994 and 1999, respectively. After 10 years in industry he joined the University of Southern California, where he is now the Solomon Golomb – Andrew and Erna Viterbi Chair Professor. His research interest is wireless communications, with emphasis on wireless propagation channels, multi-antenna systems,  ultrawideband signaling and localization, novel modulation methods, caching for wireless content distribution, and edge computing. He is the author of four books, 21 book chapters, more than 260 journal papers, 360 conference papers, as well as 70 granted patents; his work has been cited more than 50,000 times. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, IEEE, AAAS, and IET, as well as Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and recipient of numerous awards.

IEEE VDL Talk by Besma Smida

IEEE VDL Talk by Besma Smida
IEEE Virtual Distinguished Lecturer (VDL) Talk, co-organized by the IEEE Quebec Section Joint Chapter, Ottawa Section Joint Chapter, Kingston Section Chapter, IEEE Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter, and other chapters.
Title: MIMO IBFD Transceiver Design
Presented by: Prof. Besma Smida, University of Illinois at Chicago

Date and time: June 1, 2021, from 1 pm to 2:30 pm

Event details and registration info:
Abstract: Next generation wireless communication system requirements have spurred recent research activities on multi-antenna transceiver hardware architectures and relevant intelligent communication schemes. Among these are Full Duplex (FD) and Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) architectures, which offer the potential for simultaneous uplink and downlink communications in the entire frequency band. However, as the number of antenna elements increases, the interference signal leaking from the transmitter of the FD radio to its receiver becomes more severe. In this talk, I will present a unified FD massive MIMO architecture comprising analog and digital transmit and receive BeamForming (BF), as well as analog and digital SI cancellation, which can be jointly designed for various performance objectives and complexity requirements. Performance evaluation results for applications of the proposed architecture to fully digital and hybrid analog and digital BF operations using recent algorithmic designs, as well as simultaneous communication of data and control signals, are presented. The proposed architecture, for both small and large numbers of antennas, should enable improved spectral efficiency FD communications with fewer analog cancellation elements compared to various benchmark schemes. The talk will be concluded with a list of open challenges and research directions for future FD massive MIMO communication systems.
Bio: Besma Smida (Senior Member, IEEE) is an Associate Professor of electrical and computer engineering with the University of Illinois at Chicago. After completing her appointment as a Post-Doctoral Researcher and later a Lecturer at Harvard University, she became an Assistant Professor of electrical and computer engineering with Purdue University Northwest. She received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Quebec (INRS), Montreal, QC, Canada. She was a Research Engineer with the Technology Evolution and Standards Group of Microcell, Inc., (now Rogers Wireless), Montreal. She took part in wireless normalization committees (3GPP, T1P1). She has served as the Chair for IEEE Women in Engineering, Chicago Section, from 2011 to 2013, and has been the Chair of IEEE Communication Chapter, Chicago Section, since 2019. She currently serves as Editor for the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS, Editor of the IEEE OPEN JOURNAL OF THE COMMUNICATIONS SOCIETY, and a Guest Editor SENSORS OPEN ACCESS JOURNAL.  Previously she served as an Associate Editor for the IEEE COMMUNICATION LETTERS, and a Guest Editor for special issues of the IEEE JOURNAL ON SELECTED AREAS IN COMMUNICATIONS. She is a Communication Society Distinguished Lecturer for 2021-2022. She was awarded the INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine’s 2015 “100 Inspiring Women in STEM”. She received the Academic Gold Medal of the Governor General of Canada in 2007 and the NSF CAREER award in 2015. Her research focuses on In-band Full-Duplex systems and applications, backscatter modulation, IoT, and two-way communication networks.

IEEE Technical Seminar by Melike Erol-Kantarci

IEEE Technical Seminar
This event is co-organized by IEEE Seattle Section Joint Chapter, IEEE Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter, and IEEE Victoria Section Joint Chapter.
Title: AI-Enabled Wireless Networks
Presented by: Prof. Melike Erol-Kantarci, University of Ottawa
Date and time: May 20, 2021, from 12 pm to 1 pm
Event details and registration info: 
Abstract: Future wireless networks are expected to support a multitude of services demanded by Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-Reliable and Low-latency Communications (uRLLC), and massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) users. Heterogeneous devices with different quality of service (QoS) demands will require intelligent and flexible allocation of network resources in response to network dynamics. To meet these demands, future wireless networks must incorporate a paradigm shift in network resource optimization, in which efficient and intelligent resource management techniques are employed. Artificial intelligence, or more specifically machine learning algorithms stand as promising tools to intelligently manage the networks such that network efficiency, reliability, robustness goals are achieved and QoS demands of users are satisfied. In this talk, we will provide an overview of the state-of-art in machine learning algorithms and their applications to wireless networks, in addition to their challenges and the open issues in terms of their applicability to various functions of future wireless networks.
Biography: Melike Erol-Kantarci is Canada Research Chair in AI-enabled Next-Generation Wireless Networks and Associate Professor at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa. She is the founding director of the Networked Systems and Communications Research (NETCORE) laboratory. She is a Faculty Affiliate at the Vector Institute, Toronto, and the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at University of Ottawa. She has over 150 peer-reviewed publications which have been cited over 5500 times and she has an h-index of 39. She has received numerous awards and recognitions. Recently, she received the 2020 Distinguished Service Award of the IEEE ComSoc Technical Committee on Green Communications and Computing and she was named as N2Women Stars in Computer Networking and Communications in 2019. Dr. Erol-Kantarci has delivered 50+ keynotes, tutorials and panels around the globe and has acted as the general chair and technical program chair for many international conferences and workshops. Her main research interests are AI-enabled wireless networks, 5G and 6G wireless communications, smart grid and Internet of things. She is an IEEE ComSoc Distinguished Lecturer, IEEE Senior member and ACM Senior Member.

IEEE VDL Talk by Feifei Gao

IEEE VDL Talk by Feifei Gao
IEEE Virtual Distinguished Lecturer (VDL) Talk, co-organized by the IEEE Kingston Section Chapter, Quebec Section Joint Chapter, IEEE Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter, and other chapters.
Title: Deep Learning for Physical Layer Communications: An Attempt towards 6G
Presented by: Prof. Feifei Gao, Tsinghua University, China

Date and time: May 18, 2021, from 5 pm to 6:30 pm

Event details and registration info: 
Abstract: Merging artificial intelligence into the system design has appeared as a new trend in wireless communications areas and has been deemed as one of the 6G technologies. In this talk, we will present how to apply the deep neural network (DNN) for various aspects of physical layer communications design, including the channel estimation, channel prediction, channel feedback, data detection, and beamforming, etc. We will also present a promising new approach that is driven by both the communications data and the communication models. It will be seen that the DNN can be used to enhance the performance of the existing technologies once there is model mismatch. More interestingly, we will show that applying DNN can deal with the conventionally unsolvable problems, thanks to the universal approximation capability of DNN. With the well-defined propagation model in communication areas, we also attempt to explain the DNN under the scenario of channel estimation and reach a strong conclusion that DNN can always provide the asymptotically optimal channel estimations. We have also build test-bed to show the effectiveness of the AI aided wireless communications. In all, DNN is shown to be a very powerful tool for communications and would make the communications protocols more intelligently. Nevertheless, as a new born stuff, one should carefully select suitable scenarios for applying DNN rather than simply spreading it everywhere.
Bio: Prof. Gao’s research interest include signal processing for communications, array signal processing, convex optimizations, and artificial intelligence assisted communications. He has authored/ coauthored more than 150 refereed IEEE journal papers and more than 150 IEEE conference proceeding papers that are cited more than 10000 times in Google Scholar. Prof. Gao has served as an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing (Lead Guest Editor), IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking, IEEE Signal Processing Letters, IEEE Communications Letters, IEEE Wireless Communications Letters, and China Communications. He has also serves as the symposium co-chair for 2019 IEEE Conference on Communications (ICC), 2018 IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference Spring (VTC), 2015 IEEE Conference on Communications (ICC), 2014 IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM), 2014 IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference Fall (VTC), as well as Technical Committee Members for more than 50 IEEE conferences.

IEEE VDL Talk by Shiwen Mao

IEEE Virtual Distinguished Lecturer (VDL) Talk, co-organized by the IEEE New York Section Chapter, North New Jersey Section Joint Chapter, IEEE Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter, and other chapters.

TitleRFID for Human Activity Sensing: Challenges, Solutions and Applications 
Presented byProf. Shiwen Mao, Auburn University

Date and time: Sunday, May 2, 2021, at 5 pm (PDT)
Event details and registration info: 
AbstractWith the rapid development of radio frequency (RF) sensing in the Internet of Things (IoT), human activity sensing, detection and tracking have attracted increasing attention. Among the various RF sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) has its unique advantages of low-cost, small form factor, battery-free, and robustness to surrounding interference. Beyond its original use of responding stored Electronic Product Code (EPC) data when interrogated by a reader, RFID tags can be used as wearable sensors on the human body. In this talk, we will investigate the various technical challenges on fully exploiting RFID for human activity recognition and tracking, such as frequency hopping, and the noisy and sparse RFID data, and examine potential solutions. We will then review several of our recently works on RFID based human vital sign monitoring, drowsy driving detection, and 3D human pose monitoring and tracking. We will conclude this talk with thoughts on future work in the area.
Biography: Shiwen Mao received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, NY. He held the McWane Endowed Professorship from 2012 to 2015 and the Samuel Ginn Endowed Professorship from 2015 to 2020 in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Auburn University, Auburn, AL. Currently, he is a professor and Earle C. Williams Eminent Scholar Chair, and Director of the Wireless Engineering Research and Education Center (WEREC) at Auburn University. His research interest includes wireless networks, multimedia communications, and smart grid. He is a Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE Communications Society, and is on the Editorial Board of IEEE TWC, IEEE TNSE, IEEE TMC, IEEE IoT, IEEE OJ-ComSoc, IEEE/CIC China Communications, IEEE Multimedia, IEEE Networking Letters, and ACM GetMobile, among others. He received the IEEE ComSoc TC-CSR Distinguished Technical Achievement Award in 2019 and NSF CAREER Award in 2010. He is a co-recipient of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society 2020 Jack Neubauer Memorial Award, the 2004 IEEE Communications Society Leonard G. Abraham Prize in the Field of Communications Systems, and several conference best paper awards. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.

IEEE Technical Seminar by Ibrahim Gedeon of TELUS

IEEE Technical Seminar, co-organized by the IEEE Seattle Joint ComSoc/VT/BT/IT/ITS Chapter and IEEE Vancouver Joint Communications Chapter

Title5G Roll-Out at TELUS 
Presented byIbrahim Gedeon of TELUS

Date and time: Thursday, April 22, 2021, at 6 pm
Event details and registration info: 
AbstractAttendees will learn about the TELUS 5G roll-out and the assumed use cases. Ibrahim will also share his thoughts on where 5G standards need to go in order to deliver on the customer-centric view of 5G. He will also speak to the roles that MEC and ORAN play – two critical elements that must be considered by an operator moving from 5G coverage to true 5G services.
Biography: Ibrahim Gedeon is one of the global telecommunications industry’s eminent thought leaders. He has carved out an international career by combining insight and skill as an applied scientist with a lighthearted approach to leadership. As Chief Technology Officer for TELUS, a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, he is responsible for all technology development and strategy, security, service and network architecture, service delivery and operational support systems, as well as service and network convergence, and network infrastructure strategies and evolution. Under his leadership the TELUS wireless broadband network has become one of the best in the world. Ibrahim serves on the board of the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions and the Institute for Communication Technology Management. In addition to his industry leadership roles, he has been awarded with IEEE Communications Society’s prestigious Distinguished Industry Leader Award and elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE) for his significant contributions to the field of engineering. Ibrahim has also been named one of the 100 most powerful and influential people in the telecoms industry in Global Telecoms Business magazine’s GTB Power 100. Ibrahim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the American University of Beirut, a Master’s in Electronics Engineering from Carleton University and an Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of British Columbia and is passionate about supporting engaged, high-performing teams.