Sarmad Ahmed Shaikh hopes to “make a contribution to the ongoing development of wireless communication.” Thus, he left Karachi to pursue his Master’s degree in Istanbul and now he completed his doctoral degree in Klagenfurt. His research revolves around the localization of radio nodes.
Large-scale, so-called “massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)” systems are continuously improving nowadays, not least due to the drive propelling wireless communication. When numerous antenna elements receive and transmit signals simultaneously, signal processing becomes highly complex. This is particularly true for the future generations of mobile communication, such as 5G.
In this environment, which is increasingly becoming faster and more complex, it is important to be able to localize individual radio nodes with simplified system architecture. Over the past three years, Sarmad Shaikh has worked on new technologies designed to render the localization process simple and efficient. “We combine an electromagnetic lens with a massive antenna array to perform the localization of the radio nodes based on the angle of arrival of the incident electromagnetic waves”, he explains. However, anyone picturing Sarmad Shaikh criss-crossing the Lakeside Park area weighed down by mobile phones whose position he is trying to determine, would be mistaken: “I only work with simulations, and I develop and test algorithms. The experiments I run are the mathematical kind.”
Sarmad Shaikh completed his research work at the Institute of Networked and Embedded Systems under the supervision of Andrea Tonello. Assisted by a scholarship awarded jointly by the government of Pakistan (HEC) and the Austrian agency for international mobility and cooperation in education, science and research (OeAD), he arrived in Klagenfurt in November 2015, having successfully navigated the “highly complicated bureaucratic procedure” of entering Austria. Prior to that, he completed his Master’s degree in “Electronics engineering” at the Sabanci University in Istanbul and Bachelor’s degree in “Telecommunications Engineering”, at National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Islamabad.
When we asked him about his early days in tranquil Klagenfurt, he told us: “At first it was rather boring.” However, he went on to discover the mountains and lakes, the joys of cycling and hiking, and came to appreciate the peaceful surroundings. “Nowadays, I’d rather not leave”, he tells us with a smile. Nonetheless, he is due to return to his native country of Pakistan, where he will take up a position as Assistant Professor at the Pakistan Air Force-Karachi Institute of Economics and Technology (PAF-KIET) University, Karachi. He will be taking a big portion of motivation with him, as he tells us: “Nothing is impossible, and we can solve even the most challenging problems, provided that we work hard. Wireless communication shapes our daily lives and I want to do my part to ensure that the technology is continuously optimized.” Sarmad Shaikh has not yet decided whether he wants to work in the field of academic research or in the industrial sector in the long term. With brothers and sisters who have also trained as engineers, he feels at home in the world of international academia and he is excited about the wealth of interesting development opportunities ahead of him.