What do you work on at Lincoln Laboratory, and what interests you about this work?
My work is mainly about raising the technology readiness level of innovative ideas and techniques. I am involved with developing or maturing novel concepts by taking them through system prototyping for real-time operation in field tests or deployment.
System prototyping appeals to me in many ways. It is never as clear-cut and well specified as building a product, and the use cases usually change from time to time. It is a challenge to strike a balance among the objectives and constraints throughout the course of the project. Along the way, refinements to the concepts get made to better fit real-life use cases and to mitigate risks for subsequent development into usable products. On one hand, system prototyping is about bringing new things into existence, but on the other it is about introducing novel capabilities into an existing system, which sometimes require creative solutions to make square pegs fit into round holes. A good open-architecture framework helps tremendously in rapid prototyping. It is challenging and fun to bring novel concepts to reality.
What sparked your interest in your field?
I’ve always been interested in applied math. One day long ago, a friend told me about his project building a mathematical model of the ear as part of a quest to build better hearing aids. I started to find signal processing fascinating, and I wanted to enable more applications by building specialized signal processors with low SWaP (size, weight, and power). The intersection between mathematical algorithms and computational architectures can bring out the optimal solution.
How is Lincoln Laboratory a good fit for you?
Lincoln Laboratory is a place where innovative radar and signal processing algorithms are developed, and there is a strong commitment to see them prototyped in systems – not just described in research papers or simulations. The environment here is in between academics and industry, which to me is a nice balance between intellectual freedom and solving real-world problems.
What involvement have you had with the Laboratory's outreach activities?
I coached FIRST Lego League teams at Lincoln Laboratory for three years and met many nice parents. It was lots of work, but the kids had a good time. My son’s friendship with the group grew as they came back year after year. It was a very nice experience as a parent.
What goal would you like to accomplish in the future?
I am fascinated by new possibilities enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) and working on incorporating techniques into power-efficient embedded applications.
On a lighter note, I am picking up my guitar again ─ working on "Hotel California." There are many interesting variants out there, some by AI!