The recipient of the 2012 Forum International Achievement Award for significant contributions to the further development of software designed radio and cognitive radio presented at the Wireless Innovation Forum in January, is Jeffrey H. Reed, the Willis G. Worcester Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech.

Reed, also director of Wireless@Virginia Tech, a research center that is part of the university's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, was cited for his leading role, along with his colleagues, in the research and academic collaboration in this part of the wireless spectrum.

The leaders of the forum also credited Reed for his leadership in developing academic programs for undergraduates and graduates in this area, and for influencing a number of these Virginia Tech graduates to become entrepreneurs, developing their own companies. Among these companies are: Power Fingerprinting, a cyber security company; Cognitive Radio Technologies, a company that is developing approaches to adding intelligence to radio systems; and Allied Communication, developing next generation technologies for wireless communications.

Wireless research at Virginia Tech has its origins in the late 1960s, and the work of this group in this burgeoning field has served as the technological basis for companies such as Direct TV, Iridium Satellite, and Globalstar.

A defining moment for the Virginia Tech wireless group came in 1993 when Reed was one of the researchers to land the group's first major funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a $1.7 million contract to develop a revolutionary approach to wireless communications. Reed and his colleagues combined new technologies in computer chips, antennas, and digital signal processing in a novel way, eventually allowing wireless devices to be extremely small, yet able to adapt to interference in a radio channel.

They accomplished their goals and showed an order of magnitude increase in the number of radio devices that could share a single radio frequency, thereby increasing the capacity of wireless users in a specific region of space. This award started the long-standing relationship between Virginia Tech and DARPA that remains in place today.

Most recently, Reed was one of the invited technical experts who submitted a report in 2012 to President Barack Obama on realizing the full potential of government held spectrum to spur economic growth. In a synopsis, Reed and the other members of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Working Group developed a plan for securing more spectrum as a catalyst for growing the economy, while also guaranteeing that the national security and public safety sectors have the spectrum they need to maintain and advance their missions. Currently the FCC is in the process of adopting many of the report's recommendations.

In just two years, the astonishing growth of mobile information technology -- exemplified by smartphones, tablets, and many other devices -- has only made the demands on access to spectrum more urgent, the panel wrote. Their report responds to the challenges and opportunities that have arisen since Obama requested in a presidential memorandum in 2010 that 500 megahertz of spectrum be made available for commercial use with in 10 years.

Reed is a three-time graduate of the University of California, Davis, receiving his bachelor's degree, master's degree, and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering.

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