Indian-American gets top Bell Labs Prize for pioneering transceiver technology

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Assistant Professor Kaushik Sengupta of Princeton University received the top Bell Labs Prize for 2017. (Photo: David Kelly Crow, Princeton University)

An Indian-American Princeton University professor has been awarded a prestigious prize for his pioneering work on transceiver technology.

Kaushik Sengupta, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University, was the top winner in the 2017 Bell Labs Prize, winning a $100,000 award for his invention of transceiver chip technology that has the potential to improve wireless communications and open the door for new applications by reducing size and cost.

The Bell Labs Prize recognizes disruptive technology innovations with the potential to solve critical challenges faced by humanity over the next ten years. This year’s competition, the fourth since the award’s inception, attracted more than 330 proposals from 35 countries.

Sengupta will be given the opportunity to collaborate with researchers at Nokia Bell Labs to develop his research into the next generation of integrated technology employing extremely high frequency waves, a Dec. 14, press release from the University said.

A 2007 B.Tech and Integrated M.Tech graduate in electronics and electrical communications engineering, from Indian Institute of Technology, Sengupta did his MS in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2008, and earned his Ph.D from the same institution in 2012.

Silicon-based integrated circuits have gone through a generational change in the last ten years, according to Sengupta, who says “We believe future innovations in such diverse high-impact technology will not be achieved through innovations in one discipline, but through mutli-thronged approach and a close alliance of various allied scientific disciplines in a synergistic environment.”

In pursuit of this vision, he adds, “We innovate on both techniques and architectures that can leverage the strengths of concepts and techniques across disciplines and blend them to create novel and high-performance integrated systems.” His research interests including Silicon-based RF, mm-Wave and THz circuits and systems; Onchip active electromagnetic field synthesis and control for sensing and actuation; self-healing and reconfigurable integrated circuits and systems in Silicon; as well as theoretical understanding of fundamental limits of circuits and related systems.

Sengupta has received several awards over the course of his career, including the IBM Ph.D Fellowship for 2011-2012, and India’s Prime Minister Gold Medal from IIT Kharagpur in 2007.

Nokia announced the top three winners of its fourth annual Bell Labs Prize Dec. 13. This year’s competition attracted more than 330 proposals from 35 countries, which were narrowed down to around 20 semi-final applications shortlisted for collaboration with Bell Labs researchers over a two-month period. These refined semi-final proposals were then reviewed by the Bell Labs leadership team and the nine finalists selected, with each finalist having the chance to extend their collaboration with leading researchers at Bell Labs.

Seven well known scientists from the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields chose the three finalists, with Sengupta winning the top spot.

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