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NYU-Poly Professor Wins 2013 IEEE Communications Society Award for Advances in Wireless Communications

Elza Erkip, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, has received the 2013 IEEE Communications Society Award for Advances in Communication for her paper “User Cooperation Diversity-Part I: System Description," which was published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Communications in 2003.

Elza Erkip

The award is given to an outstanding paper that appeared in any IEEE Communications Society publication in the previous 15 calendar years, a time frame that ensures that the winning piece has had a vital and long-lasting impact.

This marked the second time the paper had been honored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): In 2004, shortly after its publication, “User Cooperation Diversity-Part I and Part II" had won the IEEE Communications Society’s Stephen O. Rice Paper Prize, which is awarded annually to a stellar paper from the preceding three years that the organization predicts will have significant importance—in Erkip’s case, an exceptionally accurate prediction.

The paper, which was co-written by Andrew Sendonaris and Behnaam Aazhang, addresses a problem familiar to any user of a mobile phone: dropped calls and poor reception due to variations in signal strength. Erkip and her colleagues formulated a plan in which the signal on an individual’s mobile device could be boosted by tapping into the collective power of surrounding smartphones, laptops, and other wireless devices. “Results show that, even though the inter-user channel is noisy,” they wrote, “cooperation leads not only to an increase in capacity for both users but also to a more robust system, where users’ achievable rates are less susceptible to channel variations.”

“Dr. Erkip has contributed significantly to the basic knowledge that enables better and faster communication in the 21st century, and NYU-Poly is honored to count her among our faculty in one of our core academic areas,” said NYU-Poly President Katepalli R. Sreenivasan. We congratulate her on this important recognition by her peers.”

Erkip is a Fellow of the IEEE, the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology. The organization includes more than 425,000 members in some 160 countries; has more than 1,400 standards and projects under development; and publishes almost 150 transactions, journals, and magazines.

Her other IEEE honors include: the IEEE ICC Communication Theory Symposium Best Paper Award in 2007, a Distinguished Lectureship in the IEEE Information Theory Society, the General Chairmanship of the 2013 IEEE International Symposium of Information Theory, and membership on the Board of Governors of the IEEE Information Theory Society. Additionally, Erkip was an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Information Theory from 2009 to 2011, an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Communications from 2006 to 2008, a Publications Editor of IEEE Transactions on Information Theory from 2006 to 2008 and a Guest Editor of IEEE Signal Processing Magazine in 2007.

A finalist for the New York Academy of Sciences Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in 2010, she has also been the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the IBM Faculty Partnership Award.

Erkip, who has chaired numerous conferences and workshops, was elected in 2013 to the Science Academy Society of Turkey. She currently serves as the Associate Director of NYU WIRELESS, the world’s first academic research center combining wireless, computing, and medical applications.


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