Can you give us a little background about yourself?
I have always been different. My mom convinced me to go to college. ☺ Pursuing my passion to work on problems that excites me made my student career circuitous, spanning two continents and ultimately ending at Stanford University, where I completed my PhD thesis – What an experience that was.
Can you tell us about your work as an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Alabama? Could you describe a typical work day?
The work never stops for an assistant professor. ☺ Teaching, research, and services intertwine in such a way that there is always something to do. The notion of separation between work days and weekends become quite blurred. You can only do this job if you are passionate about it.
What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
I am quite proud of them. During my PhD, I interned at Microsoft Research Redmond and HP Labs Palo Alto. These experiences, together with my PhD work at Stanford, profoundly shaped my career henceforth. I was/am closely affiliated with cutting-edge technology start-ups (Vidyo, Mainframe2), which broadened my technical horizons further. Being a postdoc and senior scientist at EPFL for a few years was yet another transformative experience for me.
Can you tell us about your book, “Rate-Distortion Optimized Packet Scheduling for Video Streaming: Optimizing Video Delivery in Packet Networks”?
The book grew out of my PhD thesis that investigated formally Internet video streaming. There is a lot of passion and hard work that went into it. Every time someone surprises me by showing me his/her copy, it brings a smile to my face.
What are your current research interests?
Immersive communication, graph-based signal processing, heterogeneous cellular systems, and UAV swarms.
You received many awards and recognitions. What were your secrets that lead you in achieving those awards and recognitions?
Motivation and hard work. Always aiming for the best.
Do you participate in professional organizations? Can you tell us about it?
I am a Senior Member of the IEEE. I regularly participate in the organizing and technical program committees of its major conferences in our area on a yearly basis.
What are you currently working on?
I recently received an NSF grant award to explore the performance limits of immersive communication. The Department of Defense is funding another current project on addressing the control-communication-imaging aspects of UAV swarms jointly. I am very excited about these investigations that will last for three years, due to the broad societal impact that these technologies can have.
What do you usually do during your free time?
That is a non-existing item in the life of an assistant professor. ☺ Still, I try to incorporate leisure activities in my busy schedule regularly, e.g., swimming, weight lifting and cardio training, hiking, etc. I also love traveling and try to take advantage of my frequent business trips to explore every place I visit.
Is there anything you’d like to say to young people to encourage them to pursue Engineering?
It can challenge you to reach new horizons. Believe in yourself.
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