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Ramesh Rao Assumes Newest Chair Endowed by QUALCOMM

A distinguished cohort of faculty, friends and industry supporters turned out on April 12 to celebrate the appointment of Ramesh Rao as the first holder of the QUALCOMM Endowed Chair in Telecommunications and Information Technologies. Rao is a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Jacobs School, and directs the San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)²]. "Ramesh Rao is distinguished as an academic and expert in wireless communications, and has also been a driving force behind new research and education projects," said dean Frieder Seible.

The new chair - the 21st at the Jacobs School - is one of four at the School provided by QUALCOMM through its $15 million corporate commitment to Cal-(IT)². Company founder Irwin Mark Jacobs attended the reception with his wife Joan, and recognized Rao's "distinguished career in theory and in applied technology, and his commitment to make UCSD an even stronger source of world-class technology leaders."

Rao joined UCSD in 1984, after receiving his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to Cal-(IT)², he directed UCSD's Center for Wireless Communications. Rao's research covers areas including energyefficient communications as well as protocols for wireless channels to support mobile multimedia users.

In his Cal-(IT)² role, Rao runs the institute's operations on the UCSD campus, working closely with his counterpart at UC Irvine, Albert Yee, as well as the institute's overall director, Larry Smarr. "It has been an honor to work with Ramesh in bringing up Cal-(IT)² at UCSD from scratch," said Smarr, who holds the Harry E. Gruber Chair in Computer Science and Information Technologies in UCSD's Computer Science and Engineering department. "He has set a high standard for interdisciplinary education and research, across UCSD departments, between UCSD and UC Irvine, as well as with industry. I totally rely on his can-do attitude to form innovative collaborative teams and 'living laboratories'."

Several of those living labs arose out of multi-disciplinary, multi-million-dollar projects on which Rao is a principal investigator. In the past year alone, he has shepherded several high-profile projects to fruition with colleagues from the UCSD School of Medicine and San Diego's first-responder community. The National Science Foundation funded RESCUE (Responding to Crises and Unexpected Events), and the National Institutes of Health gave the green light to WIISARD (see article Page 5), and to StrokeDoc (Multimedia Telemedical Diagnostic System). The latter harnesses high-speed video over the Internet to allow specialists to examine possible stroke victims remotely - to determine whether they are candidates for a drug therapy that can limit the lasting damage from a stroke.