Prof. Georgios Giannakis (McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair) is the 2019 recipient of the IEEE Communications Society Education Award for “for excellent teaching, educational tools in Wireless Communications, and mentorship of graduate students with outstanding careers in academia, government, and industry.”
The well deserved award recognizes Georgios’ influential educational tools in the field of signal processing, his dedication to supporting his students, excellence in the classroom, and overall contributions to his field of expertise through monographs, papers, committee and other service responsibilities.
Georgios is a keen advisor and mentor to his students, committed to helping them navigate graduate level academics and all the accompanying complexities in ways that have made them successful students as well as professionals. Reflecting on the impact of his dedication to and enthusiasm for his craft, one of Georgios’ PhD graduates, Prof. Shengli Zhou (currently a faculty at the University of Connecticut) says: “[He] inspired me to pursue an academic [career] path, turning an undecided student into a motivated faculty member, with him as my model for a researcher and teacher.”
In his tenure as a professor over the last 28 years, Georgios has awarded 50 doctoral degrees, including 12 women and four Arican Americans. All his graduates are pursuing successful careers in academia, government labs, and industry in the areas of wireless communications, networking, power systems, and data science. 30 out of his 50 students are now faculty members at high ranking universities across the country and abroad (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Tech., University of Texas – Austin, Virginia Tech, Shanghai Tech and IIT, India are just a few of them),15 of them are high ranking industry professionals (Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice-president of 5G labs and Innovation at Verizon to name just one), and 5 of them are scientists at government labs such as National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), NRL (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory), and Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR).
He is deeply engaged in guiding his students not only in the actual research process, but also everything that surrounds research: communicating ideas and results, presenting them to a diverse audience, writing, revising, and editing journal articles, seeking funding opportunities and preparing appropriate proposals for these opportunities. Bearing testimony to his work as a teacher and mentor are the 9 journal papers and conference paper awards that that his graduate student co-authors have won. In fact, 15 of his students are IEEE Fellows and of those who went on to pursue careers in academia, 15 are recipients of NSF CAREER awards.
Georgios has also generously devoted his time to giving tutorial presentations at numerous flagship conferences worldwide. Some of these include the 2018 IEEE GLOBECOM, BigDat 2017, CAMSAP, and EUSIPCO to name a few. He has also served as a member of the steering committee of IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, inaugural chair of the IEEE Technical Committee for Signal Processing In Communications, IEEE Distinguished Lecturer (2006-2008), and delivered over a 100 keynote and plenary speeches. He has also led other service responsibilities as editor, member, secretary, chair and co-chair of many IEEE boards, groups, and committees, as well as non-IEEE committees, and agencies. Additionally, he has co-authored two influential and widely taught research monographs, and 25 book chapters.
Georgios is the recipient of several awards and honors in recognition of his scientific, teaching, and service contributions. These include the IEEE Fourier Award for Signal Processing (2015), the IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award (2001), and the EURASIP Technical Achievement Award (2008). He currently holds an ADC Endowed Chair in Wireless Telecommunications (since 2001), and is a recipient of the McKnight Presidential Chair from the University of Minnesota, one of the University’s highest honors.
The 2019 IEEE Communications Society Education Award will be presented at GLOBECOM 2019 slated to be held in Waikoloa, Hawaii in December. The award comprises a plaque, certificate, and an honorarium.
Georgios earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering and mathematics from the University of Southern California (USC), and his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from USC in 1986. He began teaching at the University of Virginia in 1987, rising from assistant to full professor by 1998. In 1999, he moved to the University of Minnesota and currently directs the Digital Technology Center (since 2008).