Accelerating Wireless Communications

Edmund Yeh, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Statistics, received a Humboldt Research Fellowship from the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This prestigious award supports young, outstanding scientists to pursue extended research projects at collaborating institutions in Germany.

Several years ago, Yeh began exploring the design and management of wireless communication systems. One of the fundamental problems in a cellular telephone system is the natural interference among calls that are associated with the same base station. To resolve this difficulty, Yeh proposed dynamically adjusting the transmission strategy depending on how much data each transmitter wishes to send. The algorithm that Yeh devised was further developed and later implemented in Berlin, which improved the wireless communication system there to achieve record efficiency and speed. Yeh remarked, “[I developed] this theory with an eye towards practice, but I did not expect it to be put into practice on a large scale. I was much more flattered about that than the [Humboldt] award – but the award is very nice.”

Yeh, in collaboration with Holger Boche, a Professor for Wireless Communications at the Technical University of Munich, will focus his research on further advancing the 4G wireless technology, examining the possibility of increasing transmission capacity by putting relay stations between the cell phone and the base station. Yeh observed, “We are really entering a new era for wireless communication. So much has changed in the last three years with the advent of the iPhone. We need to make further progress if we are going to handle this extra traffic.” With these goals in mind, Yeh will head to Germany next June.