Pioneer Series Archive

The MHI-sponsored Pioneer Series showcases members of our very own USC Electrical Engineering Faculty! These talks not only offer a technical presentation from faculty, but more importantly, will feature an oral history interview. These series of interviews will capture the inspiring journeys and stories of the many individuals who have helped shape and develop our department.


Alexander A. (Sandy) Sawchuk
Leonard M. Silverman Chair Professor, Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering

Wednesday, Jan. 31st, 2018, 3 – 5PM, EEB 132

Title: Signal and Image Processing: Analog, Digital, and Everything In-Between

I summarize my career in signal, image and information processing research, and applications of these principles in various systems over the years. My work has involved both analog and digital computing using optical, photonic and electronic techniques. It includes imaging system modeling; image restoration and enhancement; optical digital computing, interconnections, networks, and data storage systems; digital holography; 3D, stereo, and panoramic image acquisition, interaction and display; multimedia systems; wireless health and body area networks; multimodal sensing and machine learning. I will also review the history of signal and image processing work at USC and the remarkable advancement and evolution of the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering in recent years.
Alexander A. Sawchuk received the S.B. degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He has been with the University of Southern California since 1971, and was Systems Chair of the Department from 2005-2012. He served in the past as Director of the Signal and Image Processing (SIPI) Institute for more than ten years, and as Deputy Director of the Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC). His recent research includes: image processing, wireless health, body area networks, multimodal sensing and machine learning. He is the author or co-author of more than 300 technical publications in these fields, including several books and book chapters, and has supervised the Ph.D. research of 40 students. He is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). Among his awards are the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, the OSA Distinguished Service Award, the USC Mellon Academic Mentoring Support Program Certificate of Recognition, and the USC Faculty Mentoring Faculty Award. He also received the Halliburton Award for Exceptional Service, the Lockheed Senior Research Award, and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
He has served in many professional positions for scientific and technical communities. He is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of the OSA Foundation. In the past he has served as Chair of the OSA Planning Committee, Chair of the Technical Council, and Board of Directors Member and Board Executive Committee Member. He was General Chair of Topical Meetings on Optical Computing, was Associate Editor for Optics Letters, and was Editor of the Information Processing Division of Applied Optics.
He has been a member of the IEEE Photonics Society Electronic Services Committee and was Area Editor for Optical Computing of the Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing. He has been a Member, Delegate, and Chair, United States Advisory Committee for the International Commission for Optics (USAC-ICO), and is past Treasurer of the International Commission for Optics (ICO). He has served often on technical program committees for various professional societies.
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Andrew J. Viterbi
University of Southern California Trustee, Presidential Chair and Professor of Electrical Engineering

Monday, Sept. 25th, 2017, 3 – 5PM, EEB 132

A Tale of Two Careers: “It was the worst of times, it was the best of times” (with apologies to Mr. Dickens)

The last two thirds of the 20th Century was a period of tremendous upheaval and progress, social, political and especially technological. This was the period during which I pursued two careers which were tightly intertwined. Curiously both were also influenced by our nation’s most threatening competitor, Russia. The first was my academic career and the second my entrepreneurial career, both of which covered over thirty years, with considerable overlap. Though unrecognized at the time, my academic research had roots in the work of the Russian mathematician Andrei Markov, while with full recognition, my entrepreneurial career was launched and initially supported by our Defense research efforts to counter the Soviet threat…

Watch Dr. Viterbi’s Presentation

Download the Powerpoint Presentation

Robert Scholtz
Robert A. Scholtz, PhD
Friday, May 2, 2014 – EEB 132 – 11:30 a.m.

Synchronization Dreams
The Reflections of Bob Scholtz
Fred H. Cole Professor of Engineering

Beginning with a bizarre adventure from the “biography” of Secret Agent 00111, selected applications of synchronization to digital communication systems are revealed in a quasi-technical, quasi-historical fashion. Learn about the structure of comma-free codes, what characterizes a spread-spectrum system and how spreading and de-spreading systems are related to synchronization, thoughts about communication jamming, adaptation, and randomization, etc. Shakespeare, a science-fiction writer, a Holy Roman Emperor, a movie star, a bookshelf, and several USC faculty can be spotted along the way. This talk will conclude with some applications of synchronization to antenna systems (that is, if we can synchronize this presentation to the allotted time!)

Friday, May 2, 2014 – EEB 132
11:30am Introduction & Welcome
11:35am Synchronization of Dreams – The Reflections of Bob Scholtz, Fred H. Cole Professor of Engineering
12:20pm Break
12:30pm Bob Scholtz in Conversation with Urbashi Mitra
1:30pm Reception – Light Refreshments to be served

Robert (Bob) A. Scholtz, PhD Technical Presentation –
“Synchronization Dreams”

Robert (Bob) A. Scholtz, PhD In Conversation with Urbashi Mitra, PhD