School of Engineering (Okanagan campus)
What is your educational and professional background?
I studied electronics at the Lebanese University in Beirut, Lebanon. Then I traveled to Germany to pursue my graduate studies, receiving my master’s in communications engineering at the University of Ulm and my PhD (Dr-Ing) in electrical engineering and information technology at the Ruhr-University of Bochum. Since then, I have been an active researcher in the areas of communications and information theory, with a focus on designing and analyzing schemes for interference mitigation in wireless networks, relaying and multihop communications and optical wireless communications. I have also designed and tested optical wireless communications experimentally for both terrestrial and underwater applications. I plan to continue my research in these areas, in addition to exploring new interesting research areas with theoretical and practical impact.
During my undergraduate studies, I always wondered how bits travel from point A to point B over a shared wired or wireless medium securely and without errors. The answer to my question was in electrical engineering, particularly communications engineering. Ever since, the more I learned about this area, the further I wanted to explore its fascinating details.
UBC is one of Canada’s top universities and a highly ranked university worldwide. This reputation attracts many national and international students, some of them with excellent research potential. Students interested in my research area can join my group and we can work together to expand the body of knowledge of communications and information theory.
What are your research/teaching interests and current projects?
My research interests are in the areas of communications and information theory. These areas have impact on many aspects of our daily lives, including educational, financial and social aspects. My current research focus is on applications of information theory in cloud radio access networks and in optical wireless communications, with a focus on reliable and secure transmission. I am also interested in applications of information theory in machine learning, bioinformatics and molecular communications.
I like to teach topics related to my research area, such as probability and statistics, linear algebra and signals and systems. I also like to teach related advanced topics such as digital communications and network information theory.
How do you hope your work will impact society/students?
I hope my current research work will contribute to solving the eminent spectrum crisis that faces wireless communications nowadays. In particular, to allow wireless communication systems to cope with the rapidly increasing demand on data due to the fast development of many data-hungry applications. I hope that the development of optical wireless communication will lead to the adoption of this technology for indoor visible light communication (VLC) in the market for energy-efficient, fast and secure communication, thus offloading some traffic of radio-frequency wireless systems.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in engineering?
Engineering is a way of life! Once you start studying engineering, it will affect many aspects of your life for the better. Nevertheless, keep the job market in mind and choose your engineering area carefully. Learn your area deeply, but try to maintain a broad view by having sufficient understanding of other engineering areas in order to be ready for multidisciplinary projects/jobs.
What are you passionate about outside work?
I enjoy reading about languages and scripts, history and poetry.