Dr. Shengli Zhou (Electrical & Computer Engineering) was elected a Fellow of the IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) in recognition of his “contributions to wireless and underwater acoustic communications.” Dr. Zhou is co-director, with Dr. Jun-Hong Cui, of the Underwater Sensor Network (UWSN) Lab at UConn and an expert in underwater acoustic communications and networking, multi-user and multi-carrier communications, space-time coding, adaptive modulation, and cross-layer designs for wireless systems.
Dr. Zhou’s focus lies on underwater communications and, in particular, acoustic signaling. Effective and reliable underwater communications are important for a myriad of applications, from environmental health sensing, weather sensing and commercial fisheries to energy and defense.
Dr. Zhou explains that because radio does not work well underwater, acoustic signaling is the primary method for data communication. Underwater acoustic channels are viewed as among the most difficult channels in today’s communication systems, and high data-rate communication methods such as orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) – which have made wireless Internet a reality – have been regarded as infeasible in challenging underwater acoustic channels. Dr. Zhou and his research group have solved this long-standing problem and demonstrated, for the first time that OFDM is in fact feasible within aquatic environments through the application of novel signal processing methods that overcome the non-uniform Doppler effects characteristic of water environments. This breakthrough has produced a wave of investigations of OFDM technologies in different underwater scenarios and helped to propel Dr. Zhou’s research.
In 2007, Dr. Zhou was one of just 67 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award recipients, and that year he also received a prestigious Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program (ONR YIP) award. The PECASE Awards are the nation’s highest honor for professionals at the outset of their scientific research careers, and Dr. Zhou is the only UConn faculty member to receive the PECASE honor.
According to the IEEE, the distinction of Fellow is reserved for select members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting of this prestigious grade elevation. The organization has approximately 400,000 members in 160 countries and is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.
The organization states that it publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, has developed more than 900 active industry standards, and sponsors or co-sponsors nearly 400 international technical conferences each year.
Strange things happen at small scales, one of which was observed and explained by the team of Electrical & Computer Engineering associate professors, Drs. Ali Gokirmak and HelenaSilva, post-doc and alumnus Dr. Gokhan Bakan (Ph.D. ’12), and alumnus and former Nanoelectronics Laboratory member Niaz Khan (M.S. ’11) in, “High-temperature Thermoelectric Transport at Small Scales: Thermal Generation, Transport and Recombination of Minority Carriers,” in Scientific Reports, the open access journal of Nature (published online September 23, 2013). The manuscript, which Dr. Gokirmak notes is the culmination of seven years’ research, explains why a current carrying uniform micro-wire melts on one-end but not the other.