Staff, students and collaborative teams were recognised this month with awards from Imperial College and the global research community.
Imperial College President's Awards 2021
Two members of the EEE community have received Imperial awards for their outstanding contributions in early career research, and in innovation and entrepreneurship.
The annual President’s Awards for Excellence are presented to individuals or teams doing outstanding work across the College in community, education, research and societal engagement. Those awardees judged to have made particularly exceptional contributions in each category are selected to receive the President’s Medal.
Dr Ayush Bhandari and Professor Esther Rodriguez Villegas were announced as winners at a virtual celebration event attended by the President and Provost.
Dr Ayush Bhandari
President’s Medal for Outstanding Early Career Researcher
Ayush joined us in 2018. His award reflects his early success including a prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship of £1.2m for his work in next generation digital sensing and imaging.
"This recognition is a culmination of my scientific activities starting from the first day of my doctoral tenure in 2015. I am thankful to my advisor, Ramesh Raskar at MIT for giving me complete scientific independence, even if it meant that I was to pursue topics that were different from his expertise. In 2018, I met Michael Bronstein in Boston who encouraged me to apply to Imperial College. I was welcomed here in the EEE Depatment by Eric Yeatman and Kin Leung among others, with great positivity and warmth. Since then, the Imperial community, and in particular the Communications and Signal Processing group, has been the home to my scientific dreams."
Professor Esther Rodriguez Villegas
President's Award for Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
This award celebrates the achievements of academics at Imperial, recognising unique activities breaking new frontiers, the effective and appropriate exploitation of research, and realised or prospective economic or social impact.
Esther is recognised for her pioneering — and commercially successful — innovations in wearable medical electronics.
"I am very honoured to have received this career award which, although, on paper is a personal recognition, I could not have achieved without the amazing people who have surrounded me for the last two decades. Especially the students and postdocs in my research lab who made coming to work a reason to smile on a daily basis."
INFLUENTIAL PAPER AWARDED PRESTIGIOUS COMMUNICATIONS PRIZE
A collaborative research team — including former PhD student Dr Shiqiang Wang of IBM Research in New York, Tiffany Tuor, a current PhD student, and Professor Kin Leung of our department — has been awarded with the Leonard G. Abraham Prize by the IEEE Communications Society for their paper, entitled Adaptive Federated Learning in Resource Constrained Edge Computing Systems and published in the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications.
The Society recognised their work on distributed machine learning techniques that operate optimally under resource constraints for defence and civilian applications.
This work is an outcome of long-standing collaborations between Professor Leung’s team with other partners of the US-UK DAIS ITA program. Other co-authors include members at IBM, Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
When this work was carried out, federated learning was in its infancy. This research further extends the capability and applicability of federated learning, which enables devices at dispersed locations to collaboratively learn a shared prediction model, while keeping all the local training data on the devices, thus avoiding a need of transferring and processing a huge volume of raw data by a central server.
“We have developed an efficient federated learning technique that makes the best use of limited computation and communication resources at the network edge; our algorithm adapts the internal procedure of federated learning to suit system dynamics and train a near-optimal model within the resource budget,” said Dr Wang.
According to the IEEE, the paper demonstrated high quality, originality, utility, timeliness and clarity of presentation. "The fact that this paper is able to propose a solution that jointly addresses various related issues in a coherent manner makes it a very valuable scientific contribution," Dr Wang added.
“In terms of implications for defence applications, this new technology enables distributed training or adaptation of analytics models in resource-constrained environments, to allow coalition partners or defence units to help each other learn similar tasks without the need of sharing their sensitive data due to privacy considerations or lack of communication resources,” said Professor Leung. “The new approach provides the cutting-edge capability for national defence.”
In general, the developed technique is applicable to a wide range of applications. Dr Wang said, "The proposed technique is critical for future Internet of Things, edge computing, and cellular — 5G, 6G and beyond — systems, where many applications will be AI-driven, devices will be equipped with computational and storage capabilities, and data privacy will be increasingly important." Dr Wang further added, "In fact, the paper has influenced many other researchers, as reflected by over 440 Google Scholar citations since its publication in 2019.”
The prize was awarded at a virtual presentation at the IEEE International Conference on Communications on June 15. The team thanked the Society for the honour and recognition.
“We also thank our sponsors; namely, the UK Dstl and US Army Research Laboratory. Winning the prize reflects the excellent research collaboration across the country and organisational boundaries, and the finest environment the ITA programs have created where research talents are nurtured and flourish.” — Professor Kin Leung.
WIRELESS POWER TEAM CONTINUES TO 'WOW'
A paper from EEE's Wireless Power Lab was awarded the Best Paper prize in the 2021 IEEE Workshop on Emerging Technologies: Wireless Power (WoW), one of the two tracks of IEEE Wireless Power Week.
Second year PhD student Nunzio Pucci excelled in the online event this year with his work which discusses the developments in bidirectional wireless power transmission using high frequency inductive power transfer systems.
Head of the Lab Professor Paul Mitcheson has been a key member Wireless Power Week for several years — giving tutorials (2020-2021), panel discussions on the future trends of the technology (2018), and in 2019, co-chairing the London conference at Savoy Place with Hubregt Visser from Tu Eindhoven.
Wireless Power Lab members have been involved in every Wireless Power Week (or its predecessor conferences) since 2014, and this new paper award brings their winning count up to five paper awards as well as a one-off hardware demo competition in 2018, with their wirelessly powered drone.
Late last year group launched spin-out company Bumblebee Power Ltd to commercialise their work.
AN OUTSTANDING COLLECTIVE
Nonstationary portfolios: Diversification in the spectral domain, a paper by B. Scalzo Dees, A. Arroyo, L. Stankovic, A. G. Constantinides, and D. P. Mandic, was named one of the three selected by the IEEE to receive the Outstanding Paper Award, from 1734 contributions to the IEEE ICASSP 2021 Conference.
"CASSP is the foremost conference in the area, and for as long as I have been here, EEE have not had the best paper award in this conference. Although Ayush Bandhari was on a best Student paper award in 2019. A significant point to observe is that the list of authors includes: one of our final year undergraduate students, one of our PhD students, one of our Academic Visitors, one of our full-time professors, and one of our Emeritus professors. The success of this collective effort underscores our own Imperial College belief that "Innovation Starts with Education." — Professor Danilo Mandic.
Congratulations to all our award winners!
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