Logo: University of Southern California

Two Viterbi School Faculty Win Okawa Research Grants

September 15, 2006 — Two Viterbi School engineers — Gaurav S. Sukhatme and Giuseppe Caire — have won 2006 Okawa Foundation research grants to continue their work in robotic sensor networks and wireless information systems, respectively.
Gaurav Sukhatme

Sukhatme, an associate professor of computer science, is interested in multi-robot systems and robotic sensor networks. Currently he is working on applications of sensor networks to large-scale environmental monitoring, with a particular emphasis on aquatic environments.
“This award validates Gaurav’s vision of autonomous robotic sensor networks,” said Gerard Medioni, chairman of the computer science department. ”We are very pleased that the Okawa Foundation recognizes both Gaurav’s achievements and potential in this emerging field.”

In addition to his work with aquatic applications, Sukhatme is also well known for developing autonomous robot helicopters that can hover, land and track targets using onboard cameras.  These prototypes have been used to help NASA develop more effective spacecraft landing systems.  

Sukhatme holds joint appointments in the Viterbi School’s departments of computer science and electrical engineering-systems. He is co-director of USC’s Robotics Research Laboratory, and is founder and director of the Robotic Embedded Systems Laboratory, which studies distributed robotics and large-scale robotic sensor networks.

Caire, who joined the department of electrical engineering-systems in fall 2005, has made many notable advances in information theory, along with very significant practical applications in data and telecommunications.
Giuseppe Caire
He is the recipient of the joint "best paper" award of the IEEE Information Theory and Communications Societies for 2004, as well as other professional and technical awards. The Okawa Foundation grant will support his research on multiuser wireless systems.

"I am very happy to hear that Giuseppe has been selected as a recipient of a 2006 research grant from the Okawa Foundation for information and telecommunications,” said Alexander Sawchuk, chairman of the department of electrical engineering-systems. “He has a distinguished research record in information theory and wireless telecommunications. This award is a significant achievement that recognizes his accomplishments.”

The Okawa Foundation, established in 1986 by the late Isao Okawa, subsidizes studies in information technology and telecommunications.  Each year, the foundation awards $10,000 grants to individual researchers whose work shows promise of advancing the field.

Sukhatme and Caire will accept their prizes at an awards ceremony on Oct. 5 in San Francisco.