5G: Opportunities and Challenges


July 17, 2015


Aakanksha Chowdhery, Heather Zheng, Sharon Gillett, Sundeep Rangan, and Xinyu Zhang


Microsoft Research, New York University, University of Wisconsin Madison, University of California-Santa Barbara


The demand for Internet speeds continues to explode with the new applications such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence on mobile devices, and Internet of Things. As more and more wireless devices connect to the Internet and more and more data flows to and from the cloud, the wireless spectrum once deemed sufficient to handle such traffic quickly is getting stretched. The challenges include enabling 1–100 Gigabits/sec of speeds per device to 1,000x more devices within 10-millisecond latency at lower costs and longer battery lives. Come and learn about how 5G promises to overcome these challenges from both technical and policy perspectives of a panel of prominent academic and Microsoft researchers.


Aakanksha Chowdhery, Heather Zheng, Sharon Gillett, Sundeep Rangan, and Xinyu Zhang

Dr. Aakanksha Chowdhery is a postdoctoral researcher in the Mobility and Networking Group at Microsoft Research. She completed her MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. In 2012, she became the first woman to win the Paul Baran Marconi Young Scholar Award, given for the scientific contributions in the field of communications and the Internet. She also received the Youngmi Joo Stanford School of Engineering Fellowship and the Stanford’s Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence (DARE) fellowship. Prior to joining Stanford, she completed her Bachelor’s degree at IIT Delhi where she received the President’s Silver Medal Award. Her research focuses the design of algorithms and protocols for next-generation mobile systems, wireless and wire-line networks.

Ms. Sharon Gillett has been principal technology policy strategist at Microsoft Corporation since June 2013. Ms. Sharon Gillett is head of the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable. Ms. Gillett is a member of Advisory Board at Meadow Networks, Inc. Her experience includes 10 years in the high-tech industry developing software and managing projects in computer networking (at BBN) and supercomputing (at Thinking Machines Corporation). She served as the executive director and research associate for the Internet and Telecoms Convergence Consortium, an industry-sponsored consortium at MIT. Her research lies at the intersection of Internet infrastructure technology and policy. She has published numerous peer-reviewed and trade-press articles focusing on broadband policy issues and has been a lecturer for communications policy at both MIT and Cambridge University in the UK.

Dr. Sundeep Rangan received the B.A.Sc. at the University of Waterloo, Canada and the M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, all in Electrical Engineering. He has held postdoctoral appointments at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Bell Labs. In 2000, he co-founded (with four others) Flarion Technologies, a spin-off of Bell Labs that developed Flash OFDM, the first cellular OFDM data system. Flarion grew to over 150 employees with trials worldwide. In 2006, Flarion was acquired by Qualcomm Technologies. Dr. Rangan was a director of Engineering at Qualcomm involved in OFDM infrastructure products. He joined the ECE department at Poly in 2010. His research interests are in wireless communications, signal processing, information theory, and control theory.

Xinyu Zhang is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received the B.E. degree in 2005 from Harbin Institute of Technology, China; the M.S. degree in 2007 from the University of Toronto, Canada; and the Ph.D. degree in 2012 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research interest lies in designing and implementing protocols that improve the capacity, interoperability, and energy-efficiency of wireless networks. He is a recipient of ACM MobiCom Best Paper Award in 2011 and NSF CAREER Award in 2014.

Heather Zheng received Ph.D. (1999) and M.S.E. (1998) degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong University, China (1995). Zheng is currently an associate professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Barbara where she leads the LINK Lab, part of the Next Generation Networking Group. Before coming to UCSB in 2005, she spent six years in industry research positions at Bell-Labs, Murray Hill, and Microsoft Research Asia. In 2006, her work on Cognitive Radios was featured in MIT Technology Review as a Top-10 Emerging Technology, and she recently became a fellow of the World Technology Network. In 2005, she was one of MIT Technology Review’s Top 35 Innovators under the age of 35 for her work on cognitive radios. Zheng received Bell Laboratories President’s Gold Award from Lucent Bell-Labs (2002), and the George Harhalakis Outstanding Graduate Student Award from Institute of System Research, University of Maryland, College Park (1998–1999). She was admitted to the highly gifted class of Xi’an Jiaotong University, China at age of 15, and graduated with the highest honors.