A picture of three gold trophies.

Carleton Professor Receives Outstanding Engineer Award

Carleton University’s Amir Banihashemi, a professor in Systems and Computer Engineering, won the 2017 IEEE Ottawa Section Outstanding Engineer Award for “outstanding and pioneering contributions in theory and practice of error correction coding schemes and digital communications.”

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) is a non-profit, technical professional association. The IEEE Ottawa Section is part of IEEE Canada, which promotes events regarding electrical, computing, and software engineering and recognizes engineers for their outstanding contributions each year.

“It’s definitely a great honour and I’m really happy to get this recognition,” said Banihashemi.

For the past 20 years, Banihashemi worked in digital and wireless communications. Most of his research has focused on error correction coding schemes.

In any communication systems where you’re transmitting information, there is room for error. A code is used to correct those errors so the information received is accurate. Banihashemi and his research team work to develop those coding schemes.

“For example, if you’re sending account information to the bank or if you want to withdraw or transfer money, any errors in information sent could be potentially very costly and catastrophic,” said Banihashemi. “Therefore we want to prevent any error from happening during the transmission of information.’’

Banihashemi’s recent work has involved developing schemes when extremely low error rates are crucial. This applies to storage devices where electronic memory is stored, such as USB drives. This category of information can only tolerate minimal errors compared with information transmitted through a wireless Internet connection, which can tolerate more.

“Designing these types of schemes is very challenging, requiring advance techniques,” said Banihashemi.

Many companies are interested in working with Banihashemi and his research team, which reviews codes from organizations and provides them with schemes to correct any errors and improve the quality of transmitted information.

“This is the butter and bread of my research. It’s the biggest chunk of my work,” said Banihashemi. “There are still lots of open problems in error correction coding to be solved. The whole thing is a matter of doing the same job faster, with low complexity. No matter what scheme you come up with today, there will always be improved schemes you will come up with in the future.”

Banihashemi will receive the award at the 73rd Annual General Meeting Banquet of the IEEE Ottawa Section on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.