Posted on June 12, 2018

Ramy Atawia receiving his award

Dr. Ramy Atawia is a recent ECE graduate who has been presented with the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal. A highly prestigious and competitive prize, the Gold Medal is awarded each year to a student graduating with the highest average from a doctorate degree. We got to chat with Ramy when he visited campus for the award ceremony. Here is what he had to say about his ECE memories, how wireless networks are getting smarter, and where he sees his research taking him.

The team

“I was working on my thesis with Prof. Hassanein and Prof. Noureldin. The relationship I had with my supervisors was very comfortable – open door policy, open discussions, freedom to focus on my research. During your PHD you need lots of guidance in general, not just with technical or academic details. You want someone to rely on when you’re worried about deadlines, scheduling, and handling the workload. I published nine papers during the four years in parallel to my internship and degree work. One of these papers was able to get a best paper award at one of the top conferences. Juggling so many things was not easy on me or on my supervisors, but they were always there for me.”

The thesis

“My research was on resource management in wireless networks. What that means is that we were trying to find paradigms that would help large mobile companies to be able to deliver high-quality connection even with a large number of users on the network. For example, if the user is moving towards a location where there are fewer users we can hold off for a second or two before streaming a video until the phone is in the range of that network and can stream the video quickly and in higher resolution. It is also about how to model for uncertainty in these predictions – not sending users content they didn’t actually want, correctly predicting where they are going to be, etc.”

What’s next

“Since graduating, I have moved to Ottawa where I work as a 5G systems designer with Ericsson. I’m working on radio research management, which is very close to my study topic. In industry it’s a little bit different than academia, you have to think practically and apply your research step by step. You take 1% of your research and start applying it, because the system is too complicated and too big to apply all possible solutions at once. I’m lucky that my research aligns with the business needs in the industry – there is a high demand for optimizing networks for energy savings, robustness, etc.”

The Queen’s experience

“The department was always a source of great support. I can’t imagine what academic life would be like without our graduate advisor Debbie Fraser, for example, she was always the go to person for me. During my program I travelled to Belgium for a year and a half. That internship was promoted by ECE and I am now where I am in my career because of it. In my team at Ericson we have three Queen’s graduates. There are many more in the other teams, and the management is recognising the reputation of Queen’s grads. That’s something to be proud of.”