CAC Broadens International Partnerships for Signal Processing and its Applications

The Center for Advanced Communications (CAC) has broadened its relationships with several prominent international institutions which are globally recognized by the signal processing technical community. These relationships not only strengthen the CAC’s profile abroad, but also create opportunities for new research and collaboration in France, Australia, and Germany for the CAC and, in general, for the College of Engineering’s faculty and students.

“We are pleased to serve as a resource to such esteemed institutions as the Grenoble Institute of Technology in France, the University of Wollongong in Australia, and Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany,” says Dr. Moeness Amin, Director of the CAC. The CAC is widely recognized as a global leader in signal processing by academic, government, and industry communities.

Christian Debes, Dr. Cornel Ioana, Dr. Abdelhak Zoubir, Dr. Moeness Amin, and Dr. Salim Bouzerdoum
Christian Debes, Dr. Cornel Ioana, Dr. Abdelhak Zoubir, Dr. Moeness Amin, and Dr. Salim Bouzerdoum (pictured left to right)

The CAC kicked off the spring semester by welcoming two master’s of science degree candidates from the Grenoble Institute of Technology in France. Xavier Pons i Masbernat and Xavier Rivenq are pursuing advanced degrees in electronics, electrical engineering, automation, and signal processing. They are spending five months at the CAC, conducting research in the Radar and Ultrasound Imaging Labs as part of their graduate studies program. The radar imaging problem deals with detection of moving targets using change detection techniques, while the ultrasound imaging research is geared toward detection of anomalies and cracks in material through nondestructive testing approaches. Both students decided to come to the CAC for its high reputation in applied signal processing and its impressive facilities.

In addition to students, faculty members from international engineering institutes also visited the CAC in recent months to further advance their research.

In April, the CAC welcomed Dr. Abdelhak Zoubir, Head of the Signal Processing Group at Darmstadt University of Technology, back to Villanova, where he is spending two months working in the Through-the-Wall Radar Imaging Lab to develop statistical and analytical methods for target detection and classification, with an emphasis on waveform design. Dr. Zoubir’s research associate, Christian Debes (whose Ph.D. dissertation is co-supervised by Dr. Amin) conducted similar research in the CAC’s Radar and Ultrasound Imaging Labs over a two-week visit in May. “Our collaborative research with Darmstadt is poised to achieve tangible outcomes that will lead to the advancement of knowledge in the area of signal processing for radar and ultrasound,” says Dr. Amin.

On the heels of Dr. Amin’s visit to the University of Wollongong earlier this year, Dr. Salim Bouzerdoum, Professor of Computer Engineering; Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Informatics; and leader of the Visual and Audio Signal Processing Laboratory at the University’s ICT Research Institute; spent the month of May at the CAC as part of his sabbatical leave. “Dr. Bouzerdoum’s visit was an opportunity to advance the CAC’s existing collaboration with his research group,” says Dr. Amin. Together, they hold a five-year joint grant from the Australia Research Council (ARC) on Advanced Processing for Through-the-Wall Radar Imaging—among the most prestigious and most competitive Australian grants in engineering and science. Their recent collaborative work included collecting real data at CAC facilities and conducting joint research on high-resolution radar imaging using compressive sensing and multi-view imaging.

Dr. Amin’s visit to Australia also contributed to the recent approval of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities which encompasses the schools’ engineering, science, and math departments. The partnership establishes an agreement that will develop and expand academic collaborations and exchanges in these fields and contribute to an enduring linkage between universities. Dr. Bouzerdoum also looks forward to exploring the possibility of student exchange between the two universities at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr. Cornel Ioana, Associate Professor at the Grenoble Institute of Technology and researcher with GIPSA-lab laboratory in Grenoble, France, visited the CAC in May to support his current research in signal processing methods as applied to natural phenomena. At Villanova, Dr. Ioana collaborated with Dr. Amin and the CAC on current problems related to the modeling of signals issued from dynamic radar scenes. Dr. Ioana is the supervisor, from the French University side, of the internships currently being conducted by Xavier Pons i Masbernat and Xavier Rivenq at the CAC. During his visit he monitored the progress of their research in radar and ultrasound imaging as part of their graduate studies program. The result of Dr. Ioana’s visit is the definition of important research directions of great interest to the ultra-sonic community with wide applications in industrial and medical sectors. For this and many other collaborative initiatives, the Grenoble Institute of Technology, GIPSA-lab presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Dr. Amin for his "admirable, longstanding and successful research collaboration with GIPSA-lab/Department 'Images-Signal'" in June.