Ericsson Funds Two Outstanding Wireless Researchers at UCSD, Calit2

San Diego, CA, March 20, 2007  -- For their excellent work in the field of wireless communication, Geoff Voelker and Rene Cruz – professors at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering and Calit2-affiliated researchers – have been named Jacobs School Ericsson Distinguished Scholars.

Geoff Voelker and Rene Cruz
Geoff Voelker (left) and Rene Cruz (right) have been named Jacobs School Ericsson Distinguished Scholars. Voelker and Cruz are professors at the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering.

Each award from Ericsson includes $25,000 per year for five years, effective January 1, 2007, to support teaching, research, and service activities. This award is a part of Ericsson’s long-term engagement with the UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

“We are delighted to continue to support and recognize Calit2-affiliated faculty at UCSD who are engaged in important research areas,” said Olle Viktorsson, Director, External Research at Ericsson.

The research partnership between Ericsson and Calit2 at UCSD dates back to the institute’s launch in 2000 and a subsequent series of sponsored research projects. The largest, co-funded by the UC Discovery Grant program starting in 2002, invested approximately $2 million over five years in the development of so-called “adaptive systems.”

“Adaptive wireless systems ensure an always-on connectivity environment regardless of location or of the competing wireless standards deployed in a given space,” said Ramesh Rao, principal investigator on the project and director of Calit2’s UCSD division. “Both Rene Cruz and Geoff Voelker have been co-principal investigators on that project, and worked side-by-side with Ericsson researchers in our labs for the past four years, so this is a wonderful vote of confidence in continued collaboration with Rene, Geoff and Calit2.”

Calit2 Headquarters at UC San Diego
Calit2's Atkinson Hall viewed from the Computer Science and Engineering building.
According to Rao, the relationship with Ericsson has been a blueprint for engaging industry researchers. Two Ericsson scientists – Per Johansson and Rajesh Mishra – worked for four years in a Calit2 lab. In addition, Magnus Almgren, a Senior Specialist at Ericsson Corporate Research in Stockholm, has spent one quarter of each year at UCSD, teaching and working closely with students, faculty and staff researchers on hands-on projects.

“Ericsson’s long research relationship with UCSD is a successful example of how researchers from industry and academia can jointly engage in extensive research activities,” said Almgren, who is spending the Winter 2007 quarter at Calit2 in San Diego. “This intellectual proximity – despite the thousands of miles separating Stockholm and San Diego – happened in large part because of the willingness of Rene Cruz, Geoff Voelker and other UCSD researchers to find a new model for R&D collaboration with engineers from the corporate world, and from Ericsson in particular.”

Geoff Voelker is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Rene Cruz is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Both are working on new concepts in advanced wireless networking, and security issues in large-scale wireless networks.

“They are addressing research needed to prepare the wireless industry for the challenges ahead with respect to quality and performance in large and dense mobile broadband networks,” said Per Johansson, Ericsson partnership program manager at Calit2, and formerly with Ericsson Research.

Rene Cruz
Rene Cruz, Jacobs School Ericsson Distinguished Scholar and professor of electrical and computer engineering in the school.
“I am honored,” said Cruz, who is currently on a leave of absence from UCSD to launch Mushroom Networks Inc., a San Diego company developing technology that grew out of the adaptive-systems project. “Ericsson has generously supported my research over the past several years, and this continued support is greatly appreciated. Not only have I benefited from the financial support, but my interactions with Ericsson personnel at UCSD have been intellectually stimulating and rewarding. This is a great model for university-industry interactions.”

Cruz’s research has focused on the design and performance analysis of communication networks, with an emphasis on high-speed wireless and optical systems, scheduling, routing and “network calculus” – a research area that Cruz developed in order to characterize the flow of data through the Internet and other packet-switching networks.

Geoff Voelker’s wide-ranging research endeavors include computer systems research in operating systems, distributed systems, networking, and mobile and wireless computing.

“I am very excited to have been named an Ericsson Distinguished Scholar,” said  Voelker. “Since I arrived at UCSD in 2000, my students and I have worked on many projects in collaboration with Ericsson researchers. This award will help us to continue pursuing the kind of innovative research in wireless communications that is only possible with close collaborations between industry and academia.”

Geoff Voelker
Geoff Voelker, Jacobs School Ericsson Distinguished Scholar and professor of computer science and engineering.
Having set the precedent of embedding its own researchers in Calit2 projects, last year, Ericsson sent Peter Benko from its Budapest research office to work with Voelker on a wireless measurement platform called Jigsaw. With Jigsaw, the computer scientists are capturing huge amounts of information regarding the activity of a large wireless network in order to understand the reasons behind an all-too-common-occurrence: a wireless network goes down or slows to a crawl and no one knows why. The research resulted in a publication co-authored by Voelker, Benko and UCSD computer science Ph.D. candidate Yu-Chung Cheng, at SIGCOMM 2006, the premier networking conference for computer scientists.

“The Jacobs School and UCSD value the contributions of Geoff Voelker and Rene Cruz in the field of wireless networking,” said Frieder Seible, dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering. “Their academic and research achievements and outstanding reputations have over the years brought distinction to our campus.”

These Ericsson awards are being administered through the Jacobs School’s Distinguished Scholars Program, which was created to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and students.

Cruz and Voelker are the second and third UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering faculty members to be recognized through the Distinguished Scholars Program. Miroslav Krstic – a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor and leader of the newly-organized Center for Control Systems and Dynamics (CCSD) – was the first. Kristic was named the Jacobs School Harold W. Sorenson Distinguished Scholar in 2005.

Related Links
Rene Cruz Website
Geoff Voelker Website

Media Contacts

Media Contacts: Daniel Kane, 858-534-3262, or Doug Ramsey, 858-822-5825,