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Ultra Electronics Research Chair At Dal

Building on its reputation for excellence, Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Engineering has added another top-notch researcher to its roster as its newest Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair – among several in the faculty.

Dalhousie recently became the research home to Dr. Christian Schlegel, an expert in communications and information processing. He joins Dalhousie as the NSERC/Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems Industrial Research Chair in Wireless Information Transmission and Networking. He’ll lead the Ultra Marine Digital Communications Centre (UMDCC) – a partnership between the faculty and Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems Inc., of Dartmouth, NS – a leading producer of underwater sonar devices.

After spending 10 years at the University of Alberta as the iCORE Chair for Digital Communications, he decided this opportunity at Dalhousie was the right move for him and his family.

“This NSERC Chair is quite unique in its capability to interact with industry. That’s very important to engineering research and was a real positive to Dalhousie and Halifax,” says Dr. Schlegel.

Dr. Schlegel’s research explores ways to communicate and send data from one device to another without losing information and with minimal resources. For example, when you electronically send a file or photo, you want it to arrive quickly and intact. While Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) microprocessors and integrated circuits have created even faster devices, ensuring that transmission quality of the data keeps up with that increased speed is critical.

“We live in a world where we want more and we want it faster, and this is true in all aspects including industry,” says Dr. Schlegel. “As an engineer, I’m not so much interested in why we want it faster, but how to make it happen.”

The work of Dr. Schlegel, his associates and post-doctoral students, includes working with underwater acoustic devices and exploring the best ways to communicate and send information underwater. The results of this work could have far reaching implications for how we operate at sea and underwater, relating to defence, shipping, weather prediction, marine resource monitoring, etc.

An avid skier, rock-climber and athlete, Dr. Schlegel holds a degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, and MS and PhD engineering degrees from the University of Notre Dame. His work with industry has resulted in eight patents in the area of spread spectrum communication, error control coding, and digital and analog communications systems.

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