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Thanks to the work of Someshwar Gupta and his SMU graduate students, phones may not be used only for talking anymore. Gupta, the Cecil H. Green Professor of Engineering, is contributing to the development of standards for broadband wireless services that will transform the voice-only cellular telephone into a mobile communication device with multiple functions.

The standard Gupta is helping develop is called Wide Code Division Multiple Access, or WCDMA. It will enable voice, text, the Internet, and even movies to be sent through cellular phones. Standards help the world’s 470 million wireless users to communicate with one another without a lot of interference.

Broadband can accommodate more voice traffic along a network than the limited bandwidth now in use, Gupta says. The technology, however, becomes more complicated when more than voice data is sent.

"With different kinds of services, you need different rates at which data is sent. One person could be talking, another could be receiving a fax, another could be receiving stock quotes, and another could be sending pictures – all at different rates. The question is, how do we develop a standardized procedure that can handle all the different rates?" Gupta says.

His experience researching wireless communication stretches back almost 20 years, when the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research gave him a series of grants to solve problems found in the emerging technology. Today he receives most of his support from wireless communication companies such as Raytheon Telecommunications Systems and Ericsson Inc., which has awarded several grants to support a team of Ph.D. students researching problems associated with WCDMA.

"Ericsson has been supporting me for five or six years, and every couple of years it changes the nature of the problem. I enjoy working on problems that have meaning and will advance practical uses, but that also require very advanced mathematics, probability theory, and electrical engineering to solve," he says.

Gupta joined the SMU School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1967 and served as chair of the Electrical Engineering Department from 1982 to 1989. During his 30-year career, he has supervised more than 60 Ph.D. dissertations, written three books, and published more than 100 journal articles. Recently he was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), one of the highest honors bestowed upon an engineer. Gupta received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

For more information: Someshwar Gupta
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