Chris Hayes sees his career at the Laboratory as one of always moving on to the next difficult technical challenge, developing digital signal processing (DSP) that allows him and his colleagues to turn high-level concepts for communication systems into functioning prototypes. In November 2017 under the afternoon sun of the Arizona desert, Chris was excited to watch an array of 10 high-altitude balloons successfully serve as a communication system for regions where it could be dangerous or impossible to use systems carried on aircraft or satellites. He was observing the test of the balloon-borne communication systems in preparation for his designing the DSP for the next generation of these units. Chris has been involved in developing several of the Laboratory's communication systems, most recently one that outwits adversaries' attempts to use consumer wireless test equipment to intercept military radio communications.
Having worked in industry before joining the Laboratory, Chris understands the limitations on R&D posed by a commercial focus on production; thus, he gets great satisfaction from the opportunities and freedom he has found at the Laboratory to explore innovative ideas, build prototype systems using those ideas, and then demonstrate those prototypes in live, real-time field tests.