ECE alumnus and Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Alejandro Ribeiro is featured in Penn Engineering Magazine, a biennial magazine put out by the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). In a feature titled “Expanding Applications of Network Science,” he points out that the real power of networks lies in the connections they establish. Prof. Ribeiro uses “complex mathematical frameworks to understand how networks behave” and spends his time examining not the individual parts of the network, but how these parts interact with each other.
His research has taken him in some interesting and perhaps slightly unlikely directions. One area is the examination of Shakespeare’s plays, especially the ones that have had particularly problematic authorship. Another area Prof. Ribeiro is investigating is the creation of ad-hoc communication networks that could help swarms of robots communicate with each other in a way where these drones can independently analyze and decide on what might constitute a good connection. A third area of research is an examination of why some individuals display greater cognitive flexibility (the ability to switch easily from one task to another) as compared to others. In all these explorations, Prof. Ribeiro uses a technique he has developed over the last several years called Graph Signal Processing (GSP). The technique allows him to scrutinize the network as a whole and how the parts connect to each other.
Prof. Ribeiro, clearly a pioneering researcher, is also an earnest teacher and mentor. He is the recipient of the S. Reid Warren, Jr. Award (2012) for outstanding mentorship presented by Penn Engineering undergraduate students, and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2017) awarded by the University of Pennsylvania. Read more about this trailblazing ECE alumnus in the Penn Engineering Magazine’s spring 2018 issue.