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Wireless pioneer honored

Thomas Marzetta received the 2019 Armstrong Medal for outstanding achievements to radio arts and sciences

James Breakall  presents the Armstrong Medal to Thomas Marzetta

Radio Club of America Director James Breakall (left) presents the 2019 Armstrong Medal to Thomas Marzetta, the director of NYU WIRELESS, a Distinguished Industry Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and the originator of Massive MIMO antenna technology.

On November 23, at the Radio Club of America (RCA) Banquet and Awards Ceremony in New York City, NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Distinguished Industry Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Thomas Marzetta, who was recently named director of NYU WIRELESS, received the 2019 Armstrong Medal for his outstanding achievements and lasting contributions to radio arts and sciences.

This marks the second year in a row that a faculty member of NYU Tandon and NYU WIRELESS has garnered the honor: The 2018 winner was Theodore “Ted” Rappaport, the David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering and the founding director of NYU WIRELESS, a multidisciplinary center whose researchers are developing the fundamental theories and techniques for next-generation mass- deployable wireless devices.

The gala ceremony — which was keynoted by John Miller, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism — took place directly after an RCA technical symposium, where Marzetta spoke about the importance of Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology to fifth-generation (5G) wireless. During his talk he explained that the technology, which he pioneered, involves base stations employing arrays of small, individually controlled antennas to communicate with numerous user terminals, where the number of base station antennas is considerably greater than the number of active users. He continued with an examination of how, with ever-increasing demand for wireless service, researchers are looking beyond Massive MIMO to Holographic Massive MIMO (also called Holographic RF System, Holographic Beamforming, and Large Intelligent Surface) for breakthroughs in the wireless physical layer.

It was an informative, enlightening day, followed by an evening of well-deserved honor, and the entire NYU Tandon community congratulates Professor Marzetta on this latest laurel.