Thomas Marzetta takes over from Rappaport to Lead NYU Wireless

NYU WIRELESS, an academic research center that is pushing the boundaries of wireless communications, sensing, networking, and devices, has appointed Thomas Marzetta – the originator of antenna technology that is enabling vast improvements in wireless communications – as director of the world-recognized research center at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

He succeeds another researcher credited with seminal findings that underpin 5G: Theodore (Ted) S. Rappaport, who founded the research center in 2012. Before Rappaport published his 2013 paper, “Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work,” few experts acknowledged the possibilities of tapping that underutilized spectrum. He will retain his title of the founding director of NYU WIRELESS and maintain leadership and research roles at the center. Rappaport is also the David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering at NYU Tandon, a professor of computer science at NYU Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and a professor of radiology at the NYU School of Medicine.

Marzetta, who joined NYU Tandon in 2017 as a distinguished industry professor of electrical and computer engineering, is celebrated for originating the concept of Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), a key enabler for 5G. It utilizes numerous small, individually controlled, low-power antennas to direct streams of information, selectively and simultaneously, to many users. This confers spectral efficiency orders of magnitude greater than that experienced in 4G service, along with high-quality service throughout the cell, simplicity and scalability, and outstanding energy efficiency.

He is now focusing on the sixth generation of wireless technology. Within a research initiative that he calls “Beyond Massive MIMO,” Marzetta is investigating entirely new principles of operation that could result in wireless systems performing at previously unimaginable levels.

Marzetta’s seminal paper on Massive MIMO, "Noncooperative Cellular Wireless with Unlimited Numbers of Base Station Antennas," published in 2010, has been cited well over 4,000 times. The lead author of the text Fundamentals of Massive MIMO, he developed the concept during his 22 years at Bell Labs, where he directed the Communications and Statistical Sciences Department within the former Mathematical Sciences Research Center. In 2014, he was accorded the rare honor of being elected a Bell Labs fellow. Also a fellow of the IEEE, he has received the Guglielmo Marconi Prize Paper Award, the Stephen O. Rice Prize, the W. R. G. Baker Award, the Fred W. Ellersick Prize, the IEEE Communications Society Industrial Innovation Award, the GreenTouch 1000X Award, and the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award, among many others.

Marzetta is taking the helm of NYU WIRELESS as it expands its exploration into fundamental research and applications for future decade, including terahertz communications and sensing, mobile edge and low latency networking, quantum devices and low-power circuits, and communications and machine learning foundations.  

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