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Introduction to Professor Zhi Ding and His Lab at University of California, Davis

  1. Could you briefly introduce yourself (and your University/Lab)?

I have a team of enthusiastic students/researchers at University of California, Davis.  My undergraduate degree was in wireless engineering.  This means that I have been a student and then a researcher of wireless communications, networking, and signal processing for over 40 years. These topics continue to amaze me with the many progresses over the years and contributions to the hi-tech industry.

  1. What have been your most significant research contributions up to now?

I devoted a significant amount of research efforts into wireless physical layer designs and optimization. That’d be my signature research contribution. I am also an educator with a textbook in communications with B. P. Lathi.

  1. What problems in your research field deserve more attention (or what problems will you like to solve) in the next few years, and why?

Despite the success of machine learning as a general tool in many applications, the application of machine learning in wireless communications and networking must leverage strong domain-spective knowledge. Domain specific machine learning for communications would certainly be my focus.  Another perhaps even more important area is the design of communication networks that can better serve the needs of machine learning and data science.

  1. What advice would you like to give to the young generation of researchers/engineers?

I would suggest focusing on at least two aspects:  1) to learn some of the most widely useful tools that will less likely become obsolete;  2) try to spend more time learning about different engineering applications and their underlying problem models.  It is very risky to look for problems that would fit some solutions we already know. It is equally problematic when we do not learn how to solve certain well known problems and draw lessons from the past successes, since we need to stand on the shoulder of giants.