Students win $50K and honorable mention for Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship

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Brad Campbell and Pat Pannuto

CSE doctoral students Brad Campbell and Patrick Pannuto have been awarded a $50K prize and received an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship for their proposal entitled, “Decoupling Synchronization from Communication is Key to Continued Scaling of Indoor Wireless Sensors.”

The proposal described a new wireless sensor network architecture that decouples synchronization from communication. Using a different medium for node synchronization, such as visible light from LED light bulbs and a 1 nW optical receiver, instead of typical RF radios, will enable energy harvesting nodes at cubic millimeter scales to participate in wireless mesh networks. These tiny, battery-less sensor nodes can then be deployed densely throughout a building to measure, actuate and enable the Smart Building. The students are working with Professor Prabal Dutta on this project.

Qualcom invited applications from teams of two students for the fellowship from 15 top EECS or related departments across the country. Of the 138 submitted proposals received, Qualcomm selected 33 finalists (acceptance rate: 24%). According to Qualcomm, “The judges had the difficult task of selecting the 8 winning teams (acceptance rate: 6%) out of the 33 finalists, who are awarded a $100,000 Fellowship each. In fact, the competition was so strong that this year for the first time we are recognizing two additional teams with an Honorable Mention and a $50,000 grant each.”

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