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K. J. Ray Liu is 2021 IEEE President-Elect

He has led many IEEE organizations including Technical Activities and the Signal Processing Society

2 min read
Photo of K. J. Ray Liu
Photo: IEEE

THE INSTITUTE IEEE Fellow K. J. Ray Liu has been elected as the 2021 IEEE president-elect. He is set to begin serving as president on 1 January 2022.

Liu, who was nominated by the IEEE Board of Directors, received 21,120 votes in the election. Life Fellow Saifur Rahman received 15,781 votes and Fellow S.K. Ramesh received 12,852 votes.

At press time, the results were unofficial until the IEEE Board of Directors accepts the IEEE Teller’s Committee report in November.

Liu is a Distinguished University Professor and Christine Kim Eminent Professor of Information Technology at the University of Maryland in College Park. He leads the university’s Signal and Information Group, which researches signal processing and communications.

He has founded several startups including Origin Wireless, which pioneered artificial intelligence for wireless sensing and indoor tracking. Under Liu’s leadership as chief executive, the company invented the world’s first centimeter-accuracy indoor positioning and tracking system. The product is available in more than 150 countries and won a 2020 Consumer Electronics Show Innovation Award.

Liu has held many volunteer positions. He was the 2019 vice president of IEEE Technical Activities. As 2012–2013 president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, he established a new membership board to offer more benefits to society members—which resulted in increased membership. In 2005 he cofounded the IEEE Signal Processing chapter in Washington, D.C. From 2003 to 2005, he was editor-in-chief of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine.

He was also the 2016–2017 Division IX director.

Liu created IEEE DataPort, a platform where members can upload and store datasets for free, independently of, or in conjunction with paper submission to more than 64 IEEE journals. It launched last year.

He also proposed and co-led the development of the IEEE mobile app, which allows members to personalize how they engage and connect with all things IEEE, as well as network globally.

Liu was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2003 “for contributions to algorithms, architectures, and implementations for signal processing.”

He was inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Inventors last year and elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008.

He has received numerous IEEE honors and recognitions including two IEEE Technical Field Awards: the 2016 IEEE Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award and the 2021 IEEE Fourier Award for Signal Processing. He is also the recipient of the 2009 IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award and the 2014 IEEE Signal Processing Society Award“for influential technical contributions and profound leadership impact.”

To find out who was chosen as IEEE-USA president-elect, IEEE Technical Activities vice president-elect, and more, read the full annual election results.

This article appears in the December 2020 print issue as “K. J. Ray Liu Is 2021 IEEE President-Elect.”

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

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Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

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