What is your area of expertise, and what kinds of problems do you apply it toward?
I develop, analyze, and experimentally validate algorithms for radio-frequency antenna arrays. We use arrays of antennas to suppress jammers and restore communications, and for direction-of-arrival estimation and geolocation. I’ve worked on many different platforms and scenarios in which array processing was essential. These platforms include a Humvee, a Chevy Suburban, various Twin Otter aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and high-altitude balloons. More recently, I’ve been designing and implementing array processing algorithms for a small satellite in low Earth orbit.
Are you involved in any groups or activities at the Laboratory?
When I joined the Laboratory, I was involved with recruiting at my alma mater, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with frequent trips to campus. I’ve continued to be involved in recruiting at the group level for summer and full-time candidates.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was part of a team of people from across the Laboratory who used received signal strength indications from Bluetooth beacons emitted by cell phones to detect close encounters. The team quickly leveraged off-the-shelf apps to collect cell phone data and devise an exposure detection approach, called Private Automated Contact Tracing, which we handed over to Apple and Google.
During the 2020 fiscal year, I was a member of the Technology Advisory Group, which peer reviews proposals for internal funding in all research areas across the Laboratory. I’ve learned more about how to define problems and describe novel solutions, and provide critical but useful feedback to proposers. It’s been an eye-opening experience to see the proposal process from the reviewer point of view.
Who or what inspires you?
I immigrated from India with my parents when I was eight years old. My parents taught me the value of dedication and hard work through their careers and with the attention they gave to my upbringing and education. My dad was a chemical engineer at a small company in Connecticut for 27 years, becoming the go-to person for technical challenges and problems. My mom was a detail-oriented person who used to teach biology in a medical school in India but struggled to find similar work here and had to settle for less-rewarding positions. At the Laboratory, I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with others who are diligent and seek insight into problems. I’m inspired both by my parents and the colleagues whom I work with.
Where have you traveled, and which other places would you like to visit?
I’ve gone on a few backpacking trips through Banff/Jasper, Iceland, and part of the Everest trek in Nepal, all before we had children. Last summer, my family and I spent a couple of months in New Hampshire; our kids loved the outdoors and hiking. We’ve been on a few camping and hiking trips with them since, and we plan to continue exploring the Northeast. We’re also hoping to visit California sometime soon to see longtime hiking friends.