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Marconi Society Honors Dinesh Bharadia With Paul Baran Young Scholar Award

By Paula Reinman

Making full duplex radios a reality

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, September 14, 2016

Marconi Young Scholar Dinesh Bharadia

Dinesh Bharadia

When he came to Stanford to pursue his MS and PhD a few years ago, Dinesh Bharadia, an Electrical Engineering graduate of IIT Kanpur, wanted to solve “an interesting, hard problem.” He chose one that had stumped scientists for almost 150 years. Now, the 28-year-old Stanford PhD, currently a researcher at MIT, has been honored for the resulting work with the 2016 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award. The Marconi Society is dedicated to furthering scientific achievements in communications and the internet.

Bharadia’s research disproved a long-held assumption that, “it is generally not possible for a radio to receive and transmit on the same frequency band because of the interference that results.”. His work culminated in making full-duplex radios a reality through the development of effective self-interference cancellation technology.

“Let’s say you are shouting at someone and they are shouting at you,” Bharadia explains. “Neither of you can hear the other, because you are both shouting in the same frequency. The noise in your ears (“interference”) from your own shout prevents you from hearing the other person. That’s a good analogy for why radios have needed to use two different frequencies to transmit and receive simultaneously. It’s also why solving the challenge of developing “full duplex radios” effectively doubles the efficiency of the available spectrum.”

The problem is more difficult than it sounds, says Bharadia. First, the interference is extremely strong, nearly a hundred billion times stronger than the signal that the radio might be trying to receive, and the resulting interference depends on the environment and its reflectors, changing in real-time as people move around. Plus, typical radios (e.g., Wi-Fi) span many frequencies and use multi-antenna systems. Nonetheless, Bharadia was able to demonstrate systems that overcame all these obstacles. He turned full-duplex radios into a commercial reality by inventing new formulas that could in real-time model the non-linear, time-varying self-interference as well as analog and digital self-interference cancellation circuits to apply the model to the known transmitted signal and cancel the self-interference, referred in combination as self-interference cancellation fitler.

The self-interference cancellation filter Bharadia developed also unleashed the potential for many more applications. The unique architecture had to allow cancellation in all environments. According to Bharadia’s PhD advisor at Stanford, Prof. Sachin Katti, “Dinesh’s work enables a whole host of new applications, from extremely low-power Internet of Things connectivity to motion tracking. It has the potential to be used for important future applications such as building novel wireless imaging that can enable accuracy in driverless cars during severe weather scenarios, helping blind people to navigate indoors, and much more.”

Bharadia thinks receiving the Marconi Young Scholar award is especially rewarding because his work has a direct connection to Marconi. “Marconi invented the radio and I was able to make radios full-duplex,” he says. “It’s fitting that this work should be recognized by the Marconi Society.”

Young Scholar candidates are nominated by their academic advisors. Winners are selected by an international panel comprised of engineers from leading universities and companies, and receive a $4000 prize plus expenses to attend the annual awards event. Three other Young Scholars were selected this year. All will receive their awards at the same event where Brad Parkinson, considered the “father of GPS,” will be honored with the $100,000 Marconi Prize.

About the Marconi Society

Established in 1974 by the daughter of Guglielmo Marconi, the Nobel Laureate who invented radio, the Marconi Society promotes awareness of key technology and policy issues in telecommunications and the Internet, and recognizes significant individual achievements through the Marconi Prize and Young Scholar Awards. More information may be found at www.marconisociety.orgSubscribe. Follow: Twitter and Facebook