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The Interdisciplinary Telecom Program (ITP) welcomes Lijun Chen, PhD, as its newest member. Dr. Chen joins us as Assistant Professor of Telecommunications, and comes to us from Caltech in Pasadena where he obtained his PhD and was a Research Scientist in Computing and Mathematical Sciences.
Professor Chen’s current research focuses on architecture design for emerging networks and on the smart grid, which itself is an emerging network that combines energy and communications technologies. His previous research on cross-layer architecture for wireless networks has earned Professor Chen more than 600 citations.
ITP Director Tim Brown says, “Lijun’s fundamental research into the nature of communication networks will help ITP establish itself as a place for world-class research in network science.”
Professor Chen points to a parallel between the Internet and smart grids, saying that in the early nineties most people did not expect the Internet to advance to what it has become today; and the electricity smart grid is poised to develop into something remarkable ten or twenty years from now.
Professor Chen will begin teaching next semester with a new course on the analytical foundations of networked systems. The course covers “cyber-physical systems.” For example, a smart grid is a networked cyber-physical system—the cyber part is the information technology and the physical part is the power grid. He says, “My course is about analytical or mathematical foundations, so it prepares students for all kinds of research.” In the future, Professor Chen is likely to also teach a class on data communication networks.
Professor Chen says that his grandfather, who was a teacher, influenced his love of science and technology when he was young. He likes living in Boulder and notices in particular the clean air and blue sky, after living in Southern California where “the pollution is heavy.” He also appreciates the rich community of faculty and researchers in Boulder. He says, “One of the reasons I came here is because I see a lot of opportunities to collaborate with faculty and researchers and conduct interdisciplinary research.”
Professor Chen notes that ITP “keeps expanding in both education and research.” He continues: “Nowadays the kind of research at ITP is interdisciplinary and spans technology, economics, and policy. That’s very exciting.” He says, “The program can prepare students with a full range of skills and knowledge to handle complex real world problems when they go to work in industry or academia.”