Exploring New Partnerships Abroad

Lehigh is expanding its footprint abroad, this time in India. In January, seven professors will join Mohamed S. El-Aasser, vice president and associate provost for international affairs, on a trip to the country to visit several universities and explore possible partnerships.

This trip grew out of the work of the India Faculty Study Group, which first convened in April 2010 to explore opportunities in the region. It includes faculty members from all four of Lehigh’s colleges. The group worked together to identify university goals, themes, desired outcomes and prospective partners for collaboration.

One of the members is Shalinee Kishore, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. For several years, she has been working with Chandra Murthy, a professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore. Their collaboration began when one of Murthy’s researchers began pursuing a Ph.D. at Lehigh, and together, they’ve submitted several papers together about cognitive radio networks.

“Unlike systems like cellular phones, television broadcast and wi-fi laptops,” says Kishore, “these are wireless communication systems in which the frequency spectrum that is used to communicate between devices is not pre-set.

“Since all frequency spectrum is actually meant for some primary user (like a television station), the cognitive radios are secondary users, meaning that they will have to ensure that they do not interfere with the transmissions made by the primary user. Our research has been focused on how to quantify the best data rates that can be achieved by such secondary users in such communication scenarios.”

Kishore is planning to visit with Murtha this spring to further develop their collaboration. She’s planning to change directions and concentrate on the Smart Grid—an electrical grid that uses information and communications technology to adapt and control electricity flow in real time.

Her Smart Grid research has focused on the signal processing, communication and networking methodologies such technology requires.

She explains, “For example, how can we implement a mechanism to have electricity demand respond to time-varying electricity prices? Or how can intermittent renewable resources like wind be made more reliable by using energy storage devices (like batteries)? What is the impact of all this in terms of communication between different smart grid entities? What is the impact on the electricity market of such technologies?”

Kishore’s visit to IISc follows the Lehigh delegation spearheaded by the faculty study group. She hopes that along with the delegation trip, her work with Murthy will help cement Lehigh’s relationship with IISc.