Research Talk


Georgios Giannakis

Georgios B. Giannakis (Fellow’97) received his Diploma in Electrical Engr. from the Ntl. Tech. Univ. of Athens, Greece, 1981. From 1982 to 1986 he was with the Univ. of Southern California (USC), where he received his MSc. in Electrical Engineering, 1983, MSc. in Mathematics, 1986, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engr., 1986. He was with the U. of Virginia from 1987 to 1998, and since 1999 he has been a professor with the U. of Minnesota, where he holds a Chair in Wireless Communications, a University of Minnesota McKnight Presidential Chair in ECE, and serves as director of the Digital Technology Center.  His general interests span the areas of communications, networking and statistical signal processing – subjects on which he has published more than 430 journal papers, 720 conference papers, 25 book chapters, two edited books and two research monographs (h-index 132). Current research focuses on data science and network science with applications to social, brain, and power networks with renewables. He is the (co-) inventor of 32 patents issued, and the (co-) recipient of 9 best journal paper awards from the IEEE Signal Processing (SP) and Communications Societies. He also received Technical Achievement Awards from the SP Society (2000), from EURASIP (2005), and the inaugural IEEE Fourier Tech. Field Award (2015). He is a Fellow of EURASIP, and has served the IEEE in various posts including that of a Distinguished Lecturer.

Title of the Talk:

Online Learning and Management for Edge Computing in IoT


Internet-of-Things (IoT) envisions an intelligent infrastructure of networked smart devices offering task-specific monitoring and control services. The unique features of IoT include extreme heterogeneity, ubiquitous low-power devices, and unpredictable dynamics also due to human participation. The need naturally arises for foundational innovations in network design and management to allow efficient adaptation to changing environments, and low-cost service provisioning, subject to stringent latency constraints. To this end, the overarching theme of this talk is a unifying framework for online learning and management policies in IoT through contemporary communication, networking, learning, and optimization advances. From the network architecture vantage point, the unified framework leverages a promising architecture termed fog that enables smart devices to have proximity access to cloud functionalities at the network edge, along the cloud-to-things continuum. From the algorithmic perspective, key innovations include online approaches adaptive to different degree of nonstationary in IoT dynamics, and their scalable implementation under limited feedback that motivates bandit approaches, along with local information exchanges that enable distributed approaches. The outlined framework can serve as a stepping stone that leads to systematic designs and rigorous analysis of task-specific learning and management schemes for IoT.

Sidney Fels

Sidney Fels has been in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia since 1998. Sidney received his Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Computer Science at the University of Toronto in 1994 and 1990 respectively. He received his B.A.Sc in Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 1988. He was recognized as a Distinguished University Scholar at UBC from 2004. He was a visiting researcher at ATR Media Integration & Communications Research Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan from 1996 to 1997. He also worked at Virtual Technologies Inc. in Palo Alto, CA. He is internationally known for his work in human-computer interaction, biomechanical modeling of human anatomy, and new interfaces for musical expression and interactive arts.

Title of the Talk:

Design for Human Experience and Expression at the HCT Laboratory


Research at the Human Communications Technology (HCT) laboratory ( has been targeting design for human experience and expression. In this presentation, I’ll start with a discussion of gesture-to-speech and voice explorations, including Glove-TalkII and the Digital Ventriloquized Actors (DIVAs). I’ll connect these to other explorations of the new interfaces for musical and visual expression that we have created.  I will discuss our work on modelling human anatomy and function, such as speaking, chewing, swallowing and breathing with biomechanical models using our toolkit Artisynth ( and our real-time acoustic wave synthesis engine using an accelerated 2D finite-difference, time domain (FDTD) approach. This work is motivated by our quest to make a new vocal instrument that can be controlled by gesture. I’ll discuss some of the activities we have been doing on some new 3D displays: pCubee and Spheree. Finally, these investigations will be used to support a theory of designing for intimacy and discussions of perspectives on human computer interaction for new experiences and forms of expression.

Nicolas A. F. Jaeger

Nicolas A. F. Jaeger is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC).  Since his appointment in 1989, his work has included the development of optical sensors to measure primary voltage and current in power transmission and distribution systems, the development of optical sensors to monitor the health of installed power equipment, the development of ultrahigh-speed, integrated-optic modulators in compound semiconductors and the special electrodes used in them, and the development of photonic integrated components and circuits on silicon-on-insulator platforms.  To date, his research has resulted in two spin-off companies.  He currently offers a nationwide graduate course in silicon photonics with colleagues at UBC, Université Laval, and CMC Microsystems.  For research and technology transfer, Professor Jaeger has received the Canadian Institute of Energy’s Research and Development Award, the BC Advanced Systems Institute’s Technology Partnership Award, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Conference Board of Canada’s Synergy Award for Innovation, the Canadian Association of Physicists and the National Optics Institute’s Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Applied Photonics, and the British Columbia Technology Industries Association’s Excellence in Technical Innovation Award.  For teaching and mentoring, Professor Jaeger has received the Killam Teaching Prize and the Killam Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring.

Title of the Talk:

Silicon Photonics: Smaller, Cheaper, Faster.


As the name suggests, “silicon photonics” refers to technologies that use optical components fabricated in silicon (using techniques developed for fabricating silicon electronic circuits) for signal processing and transmission applications. Silicon photonics has been seen to be a promising technology since the 1980s; in fact, it has been viewed as a potentially disruptive technology for nearly two decades. While there are several silicon photonic platforms, those based on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technologies are most widely used. The “nano-photonic” devices that are formed on SOI platforms have large refractive index contrasts between their silicon “nanowire” waveguide cores and the surrounding media and, as a result, allow many orders of magnitude reduction in the on-chip real estate required by integrated optical components fabricated on SOI as compared to their traditional counterparts. Two benefits of this significant reduction in component size (as well as the ability to leverage standardized processing techniques) are an even greater reduction in the cost of each component and a manifold increase in the number of components that can be fabricated on a nano-photonic integrated circuit. Recent developments in high-speed modulators and photodectors for use on SOI platforms, combined with the increased ability to integrate multiple components on a single chip that is provided by these platforms, have enabled the designs of nano-photonic integrated circuits that have extremely large bandwidths and aggregate data rates. In addition to being smaller, cheaper, and faster, such silicon nano-photonic integrated circuits offer the high reliabilities associated with silicon-based technologies. This presentation will review work currently being conducted by numerous reseach groups and companies, including our silicon photonics research group here at UBC, that is moving silicon photonics toward realizing its long promised potential.

Vincent Wong

Vincent Wong, is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. His research areas include protocol design, optimization, and resource management of communication networks, with applications to the Internet, wireless networks, smart grid, fog computing, and Internet of Things. Dr. Wong is an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Communications and an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing. He has served as a guest editor of IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications and IEEE Wireless Communications.He is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Title of the Talk:

Non-Orthogonal Multiple Access in 5G Wireless Networks


Non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) is a spectrally efficient multiple access technique, which has the potential to meet the rapidly increasing traffic demand of the fifth generation (5G) wireless networks. With NOMA, multiple users can be simultaneously served by the same base station via exploiting the power domain in addition to the time and frequency domains. However, by sharing the frequency channel and transmit power among the paired NOMA users, NOMA may not always achieve better performance than orthogonal multiple access (OMA). In this talk, the basic idea of NOMA transmission is discussed. For downlink NOMA transmission with dynamic traffic arrival for spatially random users, two variants of NOMA schemes, namely opportunistic NOMA and cooperative NOMA with full-duplex relaying, are proposed to enhance the stable throughput region, which is characterized by using tools from queuing theory and stochastic geometry.  Results show that the sum rates of the proposed NOMA schemes over OMA are higher when users having more diverse target data rates are paired.

Shen-En Qian

Dr. Shen-En Qian received his Ph.D. in Telecommunication and Electronic Systems in 1990. He is currently a top Canadian government scientist and technical authority at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). He provides leadership to industry and academia in advancing Canadian space programs. He is an internationally recognized expert in optical spacecraft payloads, space technologies for satellite missions and deep space exploration, remote sensing, satellite signal processing and enhancement, on-board satellite data compression and data handling. He has over 30 years of experience in these areas. Together with ISO Technical Committee members from NASA and the European space sector, he has developed three international standards for spacecraft data systems. These standards have benefited over fifty space missions. Dr. Qian holds 35 patents worldwide developed in Canadian government laboratories. He is the sole author of two books on satellite signal processing (Optical Satellite Signal Processing and Enhancement; Optical Satellite Data Compression and Implementation) and a co-author of four other books. He led around 200 experts in the world (NASA, ESA, CSA, JAXA, etc.) and edited a must-have handbook “Optical Payloads for Space Missions”. He has published over 100 scientific papers and produced 100 unpublished proprietary technical reports. The Governor General of Canada presented him the prestigious Canadian national award “Public Service Awards of Excellence”, the only individual recipient in the category Scientific Contribution. He was the first recipient of the Canadian Government Invention Award at the CSA. He received the Marie Curie Award issued by the European Union. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal for the Applied Remote Sensing. He is an adjunct professor at York University. Dr. Qian is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), a fellow of the International Society of Optics and Photonics Engineering (SPIE), and a Senior Member of IEEE.

Title of the Talk:

Satellite Observation for Coastal Ocean and Inland Waters.


The Canadian Space Agency (CSA), in collaboration with other Canadian government departments and international partners, has been developing advanced satellites for coastal ocean and inland waters. Canada’s extensive coastal areas and inland water bodies offer great value to Canadians. Meanwhile, they are under increasing pressures from direct human impacts and are experiencing unprecedented changes from modifications to our climate. Satellite observations have played an important role in the monitoring and study of the oceans and inland waters. In this talk, Dr. Qian will briefly present the development on strategies and sustainability of ocean and inland waters, then the basic principle of ocean color satellites, followed by the Canadian satellites for ocean and waters, and finally the main ocean satellites developed in the world.

Behraad Bahreyni

Behraad Bahreyni is an Associate Professor and the founding Director of the Intelligent Sensing Laboratory (ISL) at the School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering at Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada. He received his BSc in electronics engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Iran, and MSc and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Manitoba, Canada, in 1999, 2001, and 2006, respectively. He was a post-doctoral researcher with the NanoSicence Centre at Cambridge University, UK, where he conducted research on interface circuit design for microresonators. He joined Simon Fraser University in 2008 after a one-year tenure in the industry as a MEMS design engineer. Over the past decade, his research activities have focused on the design and fabrication sensing systems comprising micro/nano sensors from silicon, polymers, or nanocomposites, their interface electronics, and the required signal processing algorithms. Dr. Bahreyni is the author of more than 100 technical publications including a book on the fabrication and design of resonant microdevices.

Title Of The Talk: Vector Microsensors for Acoustic and Optical Signals

Abstract: In many applications, it is necessary to locate a signal source. Various techniques have been employed that employ models for signal propagation through a media and often rely on some information about the source, such as signal strength or time-of-flight. Locating an unknown source is typically based on estimating the propagation vector, and hence, requires extraction of both the amplitude and direction information from the received signals.

In this talk, we will discuss the applications of micro-sensors for two such cases. In the first case, the goal is to detect an underwater object based on sonar signals received by an array of transducers. The rationale and challenges of using micromachined devices for this application will be presented. For the second case, the goal is to improve the safety of humans when they collaborate on factory floors with robots. Considering humans as infrared sources, we are developing sensors that reveal the direction of an incoming beam of light, and hence, can be used to locate the humans around the robots with the goal of avoiding potential collisions.

Important Deadlines

Full Paper Submission:2nd September 2018
Acceptance Notification: 17th September 2018
Final Paper Submission:20th October 2018
Early Bird Registration: 4th October 2018
Presentation Submission: 20th October 2018
Conference: 1st – 3rd Nov 2018

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• Conference Proceedings will be submitted for publication at IEEE Xplore Digital Library
• Conference Record No 44577