Featured Of The Week – Engr. Christos Masouros

Featured of the week is Interview With Engineer Christos Masouros from Greece.

Christos Masouros, Featured Engineer

What name would you like us to use for the interview?

Christos Masouros

Can you give us a little background about yourself?

Born in Patras, Greece in 1982, I received a Diploma degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Patras in 2004 and an M.Sc. degree by research and Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Manchester, U.K., in 2006 and 2009, respectively. Between 2009-2010 I was a Research Associate in the University of Manchester and between 2010-2012 a Research Fellow in Queen’s University Belfast.

I am currently a Lecturer in the Communications and Information Systems research group, Dept. Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University College London, where I hold a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship 2011-2016. Research interests include wireless communications and signal processing with a particular focus on interference mitigation techniques, precoding for multicarrier and multiple-input-multiple-output communications, and cognitive radio networks.

Out of many fields of expertise to choose from, why Engineering?

Engineering is about making, breaking, failing, and occasionally succeeding. But when succeeding, satisfaction and fulfillment is priceless. And so is the impact. Most of what you do in your everyday life involves Engineering. Writing this text I’m sitting in a building designed by engineers, powered by the electrical grid designed by engineers, typing on my computer designed by engineers, connected to the internet designed by engineers, and the list goes on.

Can you please tell us what is your webpage all about?

I maintain a web page with the intention of making my teaching and research material available not only to my own students but to students, researchers, and the general public anywhere in the world. It summarizes the principles of my research and promotes the results to the beneficiaries and the public.

What are you currently working on?

My current research is in the area of wireless communications and signal processing with a particular focus on interference mitigation techniques and transmitter based precoding schemes. The novel angle we bring is the ways with which we take advantage of interference as a useful resource, instead of trying to cancel it as done with traditional techniques.

In addition, I teach in the Dept. Electrical & Electronic Engineering here in UCL, modules on Digital Signal Processing and Advanced Wireless Communications

Do you have any noteworthy engineering experiences?

I find my everyday work a noteworthy experience, as, apart from exciting research, it involves interacting with diverse young people and, in a way, shaping their background and skills and therefore influencing their future.

In terms of research projects, a particular engineering highlight I can recall is designing transceivers for underwater sensor networks, and a group of us testing them in a 2m x 2m x 10m water tank at Manchester University. We got wet…

What is the trickiest bug you have fixed?

A major ‘bug’ in telecommunications is that today’s wireless communication systems are energy inefficient. We have come up with ways to reduce power consumption by up to orders of magnitude depending on the transmission scenarios, and we are still working on further improving it.

What books do you like to read?

I read telecommunications books, network books, maths books as well as Ph.D. These, but when I need a break I read literature.

Can you please tell us a little background about “Adaptive Transmission Schemes” research?

Adaptive Transmission involves signal processing at the transmitter. The central scenario this applies to is at the Base Stations of cellular communication systems, but quite a few more applications exist. Adaptive transmission refers to the ways in which you shape the signal you transmit, to achieve certain goals. These goals can be efficient usage of spectrum, improvement in the reliability of the communication link, power efficiency, interference management, introducing diversity in your transmission by using multiple antennas, and so on. There are a lot of trade-offs between these goals which require critical decisions in the designs. That’s where an engineering way of thinking comes in handy.

You have profusely of publications, which one of these is your favorites?

It would have to be the IEEE Communication Magazine entitled “Known Interference in Wireless Communications: A Limiting factor or a Potential Source of Green Signal Power?”,  which summarizes my research in a not-too-technical manner.

What did you do during your free time?

My daily work routine can be quite sedentary, so I try to exercise. I also enjoy playing the guitar, traveling and walking the quieter streets of London.

Do you believe this quote “Engineers like to solve problems? If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.”

I think it can be very true sometimes and actually very creative. I understand it as a cynic way of describing visionary thinking. Some important advancements have been made in this way and today we have certain facilities for which their absence we didn’t consider a ‘problem’ before their discovery. Think about the TV, the mobile phone, the touch screen, etc. Asking the question is essential for coming up with an answer.

What direction do you see yourself heading in the next few years?

I aim to expand my research both thematically and in terms of collaboration. I’d like to spend some time in the research & development department in the industry, to enhance the industrial aspect of my research. I aspire to become a Full Professor by 2020.

As a professor, what words of encouragement you give to your students?

My favorite – The higher the mountain, the better the views from the top. It motivates hard work and resilience by impact and fulfillment.

Is there anything you’d like to say to young people to encourage them to pursue Engineering?

Look around you, the things you use, the places you go, the means by which you get there, and think who has conceived, designed, and made them. Engineering is best for creating an impact.

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