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NEWS RELEASE

November 27, 2001

Media Contact:
   Doug Ramsey, (858) 822-5825 or dramsey@ucsd.edu

Senior Ericsson Researcher Magnus Almgren Finishes Faculty Stint in ECE.

When industry researchers teach at the Jacobs School, it's usually a one-time seminar, or possibly a short course. Instead, Magnus Almgren joined the UCSD faculty on a temporary basis to teach a full course during the fall quarter. And as he prepared to return Dec. 5 to his family in Stockholm and his research position at Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson, he already had his sights set on a return engagement in San Diego.

"I would like that but it depends on my wife who is back in Sweden," laughed Almgren. "Compared to some other campuses I have visited, the atmosphere here is friendlier, the faculty and staff easier to access," said Almgren. "My students are very good, easy to teach, and they understand easily. I really like to be around them."

"We consider Magnus Almgren part of the Jacobs School family and would love to have him return," said the school's dean, Robert Conn. "His presence this fall on the campus was a unique opportunity for students to learn about system design and system simulation techniques from one of the world's leading authorities in this exciting field."

Almgren's special-topics course in electrical and computer engineering (ECE 287A) was called "Radio Networks and Simulation Models." In retrospect, he says, the course title may have confused some students, because the class was essentially an introduction to the design and performance analysis of cellular systems. "Students learned about handover strategies, power control, network capacity, system stability and service assignments," noted Almgren. "But if I teach the course again, I will call it 'Wireless Networks' because that is more readily recognizable."

The Swedish researcher first visited UCSD when Ericsson was negotiating to buy the infrastructure division of Qualcomm—a deal that was completed in October 2000. After speaking with Jacobs School faculty including Ramesh Rao, Larry Milstein and Rene Cruz, Almgren agreed to give a seminar. He later returned for a few weeks to do a short course of five lectures last spring, and after spending the summer in Sweden, he returned to UCSD for the fall quarter.

"Even for Ericsson, I have a unique type of job," said Almgren. "They encourage me to maintain strong contacts in the university community here, in Sweden, and even in China. We believe that an easy flow of people and information between the university and business will improve innovation on both sides.” Within Ericsson, Almgren specializes in radio resource allocation: “I look at how you use your resources. That includes power control, channel allocation, and how you mix different services like voice and data."

While at UCSD, Almgren has also been involved in helping Ericsson define the scope of its research relationship as a founding industrial partner of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. "Within Ericsson we are doing very in-depth research to deploy radio networks or cellular systems, and in some ways we are ahead of the universities because that is our business," said Almgren. "But our notice to university researchers is to push ahead of us, to work on research ten years into the future. That's the program we have put together now within Cal-(IT)², and we hope it will push the institute in front of [Ericsson]."

As for the type of research he and Ericsson would like to see done at UCSD, Almgren insists that faculty and students should take a "more systems-oriented approach. You have to lift your eyes a bit and look at the bigger picture. ECE is great on in-depth knowledge about transferring information through a link from point A to point B. But now we need to focus more on integrating multiple links in the same space."

Apart from the potential know-how generated by researchers at the university, Almgren says Ericsson also stands to benefit if the Jacobs School's brightest students get to know the company better. “Ericsson now has a major presence in San Diego," he said. "We are going to take some interns and we will have an ongoing need for young engineers, so it is helpful for me to keep an eye out for students who might one day work for Ericsson."

The nine students enrolled in Almgren’s class were divided into five teams. (Several other students audited the class.) Their grades depend on team projects set to be presented this Tuesday and Thursday (from 2:30 to 3:40 p.m. in Warren Lecture Hall 2110).


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