Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces Boom or Bust?

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Giedt Hall 1001


Research on large intelligent metasurfaces in the wireless communications community has exploded in the past 5 years, due to their promise of creating tunable RF propagation environments that can be exploited to enhance coverage, provided highly direction beamforming gains, and mitigate interference. Increasingly exotic designs and applications have been proposed with relatively little consideration of the practical issues associated with the deployment of such metasurfaces. In this talk, we will discuss the promising gains offered by reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS) alongside some of these practical issues that must be overcome before they can become widely adopted. We will also discuss how RIS in the hands of an adversary can disrupt legitimate communications systems without transmission power (i.e., jamming) or prior information about the propagation environment.



A. Lee Swindlehurst received the B.S. (1985) and M.S. (1986) degrees in Electrical Engineering from Brigham Young University (BYU), and the PhD (1991) degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He was with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at BYU from 1990-2007, where he served as Department Chair from 2003-06. During 1996-97, he held a joint appointment as a visiting scholar at Uppsala University and the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. From 2006-07, he was on leave working as Vice President of Research for ArrayComm LLC in San Jose, California. Since 2007 he has been with the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department at the University of California Irvine, where he is now a Distinguished Professor and currently serving as Department Chair. During 2014-17 he was also a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Technical University of Munich. In 2016, he was elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA). His research focuses on array signal processing for radar, wireless communications, and biomedical applications. Dr. Swindlehurst is a Fellow of the IEEE and was the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing. He received the 2000 IEEE W. R. G. Baker Prize Paper Award, the 2006 IEEE Communications Society Stephen O. Rice Prize in the Field of Communication Theory, the 2006, 2010 and 2021 IEEE Signal Processing Society’s Best Paper Awards, the 2017 IEEE Signal Processing Society Donald G. Fink Overview Paper Award, a Best Paper award at the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Communications, and the 2022 Claude Shannon-Harry Nyquist Technical Achievement Award from the IEEE Signal Processing Society.

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