Jack Keil Wolf Lecture: Insight from Simple Questions: Three Examples

Henry Pfister, Duke University

 

Date: 2017-12-01
Time: 2p Lecture; 3p Recep
Location: Wolf Auditorium, CMRR Building, UC San Diego

Guest Speaker: Henry Pfister, Duke University
Associate Professor


Host: CMRR and ECE


DESCRIPTION/ABSTRACT:

UC San Diego electrical and computer engineering alumnus Henry Pfister explores three research problems and their relationship to the late professor Jack Wolf's work.

This talk covers three research problems I have considered and their relationship to Jack Wolf's work. Each topic is motivated by a simple question whose answer provided some insight into a deeper question. First, the connection between Prony's method and algebraic decoding (described by Wolf in 1967) will be used to motivate the question: Can one computer the amplitude and frequency of two complex sinusoids using only three samples, and what does this mean for error correction? Next, a multi-user detection problem for wireless communication will be used to motivate the question: How can cellular systems with successive cancellation approach the equal-rate point of the multiple-access with equal-power users? Finally, the close connection between Polar codes and Reed-Muller codes motivated the question: Can Reed-Muller codes achieve capacity?

The format of this talk was motivated by Jack Wolf's penchant for asking simple playful questions that contain the essence of a deeper problem. This style makes research fun and helps keep students engaged. Of course, selecting the right question is more art than science.


SPEAKER BIO:

Henry D. Pfister received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2003 from UC San Diego and is currently an associate professor in the ECE department at Duke University with a secondary appointment in Mathematics. His current research interests include information theory, communications, probabilistic graphical models, and machine learning. Prior to Duke, he was a professor at Texas A&M University (2006-2014), a postdoctoral fellow at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (2005-2006), and a senior engineer at Qualcomm Corporate R&D in San Diego (2003-2004). Pfister received the NSF CAREER Award in 2008 and a Texas A&M ECE Department Outstanding Professor Award in 2010. He is a co-author of the 2007 IEEE COMSOC Best Paper in Signal Processing and Coding for Data Storage and co-author of a 2016 Symposium on the Theory of Computing (STOC) Best Paper. Pfister served as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory from 2013 to 2016, and a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Information Theory Society (2015-2016). 

MORE INFORMATION:

This talk is organized by the Center for Memory and Recording Research (CMRR) and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).