I was born in Stoneham MA, June 29, 1978, and have spent all of my life living in Andover, MA, a small town about 25 miles north of Boston. I have 2 brothers, one two-years older than myself named Damon, and one two-years younger than myself named Aron. I had always been a good student in both science and mathematics, however, neither really held much interest for me until my senior year of high school, in which I opted to take a Physics class with a teacher named Dr. Francis. He made the class so interesting and enjoyable, that I decided that I would pursue a field related to physics for my collegiate studies. Because students in the latter years of high school so rarely have a firm grasp on what course of study to take in college, I believe it to be extremely important for teachers to show students how interesting any subject can be. Coincidentally, this was my main reason for joining the GK-12 program at Harvard University.
I chose to attend the University of Massachusetts, at Lowell, and pursue a major in engineering. My decision to study at UMASS was made mostly due to the good reputation that its school of engineering had, and the relative low cost of in-state tuition. Initially, my major was chosen to be mechanical engineering, a decision that was made, admittedly, due to a lack of knowledge of the different engineering disciplines and because it was the choice of my older brother, father, and uncle. After almost 2 semesters of study, I made the decision that Electrical Engineering was a better fit for my interests. As a senior at UMASS, every student is required to complete a project before graduation. Along with my partner Gary Nigg, we designed and implemented a Voice-Activated Environmental Control System for a paraplegic client living in Boston’s North End. The system, which we personally installed in his home, allowed him to control things such as his lights, the channels and volume of his television, opening and closing his front door, and answering and dialing his telephone, all through use of his voice.
I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts in the year 2000, and received the Dean’s Medal for maintaining the highest academic standing in the college of engineering throughout my 4 years there. In the fall of 2000, I began working towards my master’s degree in Engineering Sciences at Harvard University. It was during my first semester that I took a class entitled, Advanced Digital Communications with Dr. Aleksandar Kavcic. I found the topic so interesting that I chose to take an ES299r course (a directed research course) with Dr. Kavcic the following semester. Soon after starting the course, I knew that I wanted to continue my education and obtain a Ph.D. under the guidance of Dr. Kavcic. Fortunately, he accepted me into his group upon the completion of the Master’s Degree in the spring of 2001.
Since my work with Dr. Kavcic began, I have done research on a number of topics, commencing with the development of codes for multiple-antenna wireless systems. This work allowed me to travel to Yokohama, Japan, in June of 2002 to present my findings, and the final stages of the acceptance of a journal paper based on an extension of this work are currently ongoing. Soon after, I began a collaborative effort between my advisor, Dr. Vahid Tarokh (now a professor at Harvard University), and Dr. Saeed Ghassemzadeh, and engineer at AT&T Labs-Research. My work focused on an old technology that had recently been approved for use by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) named Ultra-Wideband. My initial involvement in this collaboration was through helping to obtain a measurement database of the Ultra-Wideband channel, which, even 2 years after its completion, is still the largest of its kind in existence. Since this effort, many people have expressed interest in using the database for their work, a group that includes the FCC for use in the standardization of an Ultra-Wideband channel model. After this work, I began a study of the interference to and from Ultra-Wideband systems and IEEE standard 802.11a wireless Local Area Networks. I was able to present my findings at the IEEE Global Communications Conference in San Francisco, CA, in December of 2003. Based on my results, I next looked into the design of low-interference codes for Ultra-Wideband signals, which I subsequently presented at the Vehicular Technology Conference in Los Angeles, CA, in September of 2004. This work is now the topic of a patent filed with the United States Patent Office, by AT&T, for which I am a primary author.
Since my collaborative work with AT&T, I have been working on the topic of my thesis, design of better decoding algorithms for a type of error correction code known as a Reed-Solomon Code. I expect to finish up my work and defend my thesis sometime in the next calendar year.
Currently I live in Lawrence, MA, with my girlfriend Robin and our animals (4 cats and a dog). I do much of my research from home since the commute can be rather hectic, something that is made possible by an extremely understanding advisor. I hope to move somewhere warmer after graduation and begin work in research in development somewhere in the communications industry.