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Dr. Moeness Amin Wins One of 10 Chief of Naval Research Challenge Awards

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has selected Dr. Moeness Amin, Professor and Director of the Center for Advanced Communications (CAC), to receive one of only 10 Chief of Naval Research (CNR) Challenge awards through its prestigious $1 million annual competition. The competition is open to all U.S. academic and industry communities to propose research that addresses the ONR’s key "challenges.” Dr. Amin will use the $100,000 award to advance research in the area of compressive sensing (CS), an emerging technology that can improve radar imaging for both civilian and defense applications.

“The ONR’s Chief of Naval Research Challenge is regarded as one of the most competitive research funding opportunities available. It is certainly a high honor to be selected as one of this year’s award winners,” says Dr. Amin.

CS has become a very powerful approach to sense sparse environments using various signal modalities, including communications, radar, and acoustics. In sparse environments, only a few features or targets exist in an almost blank or zero background. CS utilizes such sparseness and achieves both improvements and efficiencies in information extraction and data acquisition time. Reductions in data volume and acquisition time lead to smart systems which achieve their goals with minimum cost and simplest operation logistics.

The CNR challenge, which is being addressed by the CAC, is in radar imaging applications that traditionally require large signal frequency bandwidth and large antenna arrays. Both requirements are costly and in many cases, difficult to provide. The CAC’s CS research will focus on achieving significant reductions in the number of antennas and frequencies without any corresponding reduction in image quality.

Each year at its annual Naval Science and Technology Partnership Conference, the ONR calls for research white papers centered on pre-selected focus areas. CS was one of six challenge areas outlined for the most recent competition, which draws hundreds of applicants annually. After an intensive review process, conducted by a high-level committee within the U.S. Navy, 10 winners of 2010 CNR Challenge were selected, and each was awarded a $100,000 research grant.

The CAC has enjoyed a longstanding and productive relationship with the ONR, marking 15 years of partnership in 2010. ONR-sponsored research projects conducted within the CAC have included topics such as anti-jam GPS, wireless networking, electrically small antennas, direction finding, acoustic signal processing, sonar, and blind source separation.

The CAC is internationally renowned for its faculty researchers and leading edge facilities in antenna, radar imaging, wireless communication and positioning, and ultrasound and acoustic research. 


Dr. Moeness Amin
Dr. Moeness Amin, Director of the College of Engineering’s Center for Advanced Communications (CAC) Photos taken by Aurora Imaging Co.