2009 Finalist: Outstanding Leadership In Alberta Technology
Research Has Economic And Environmental Benefits
Dr. Fadhel Ghannouchi is motivated by the research he does in the Intelligent RF Radio Technology Laboratory (iRadio Lab) at the University of Calgary and by the students and researchers with whom he trains and works.
Dr. Ghannouchi is a world-renowned research engineer and scientist and respected technical leader and innovator. He is an iCORE professor and senior Canada Research Chair in RF radio technology at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering. From Dr. Ghannouchi’s perspective, his most important contribution to science is developing smart radios and reducing their energy consumption.
“This kind of state-of-the-art work keeps me motivated,” he says. “I feel the need to contribute to reducing energy consumption in the communications industry. It’s not only helpful economically. By reducing our greenhouse-gas-emission footprint we contribute in cleaning up our environment and hence give our children a better future. That is important to society.”
Improving Radio Communication
Dr. Ghannouchi established the iRadio Lab in 2005 with $5.5 million in funding from all levels of government and industry. Its mandate is to address problems from an individual device to a systems level and deliver specialized designs to industry, which develops the technology into distinct products for commercialization. The lab is developing radio technology that focuses on energy efficiency and optimizing the flexibility, mobility, and universality of the radio communication terminals. The niche lab is one of a kind in Canada and has few parallels in the world.
“We are working towards a very high-efficiency radio device that we hope will reduce by half the energy consumed on a network level,” Dr. Ghannouchi explains. He is excited by his research into reducing energy consumption of an entire network, rather than that of only the base station. “We have broadened our research to address the design of the network from a hardware, software, and a systems-level approach so we can reconfigure an entire network, where significant energy savings can be made.”
Dr. Ghannouchi’s research is also looking at the universality and sustainability of the technology. He is developing a communication terminal that can be used anywhere safely, without sacrificing the performance. He wants to build a company to commercialize iRadio Lab’s technology “to get a return from the investment that we and society have put into this venture.”
Of all his significant accomplishments in radio frequency (RF) electronics, Dr. Ghannouchi views his training and mentorship of more than 60 graduate students as the most gratifying of his endeavours.
“My students have helped shape my career and influenced me to produce interesting work,” says the professor in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has trained students from all parts of the world, who are now high-ranking professors at prestigious universities, senior researchers, and executives at high-tech companies.