Professor Georgios Giannakis elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair and ECE Professor Georgios Giannakis has been elected a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He will join 72 other experts who have been elected this year for their contributions to engineering and technology. The members of the 2023 cohort of Fellows have each made "exceptional contributions to their own sector, pioneering new innovations, leading progress in business or academia, providing high level advice to government, or promoting wider understanding of engineering and technology."

Giannakis is a prominent figure in the field of signal processing and its wide ranging applications. He has been recognized for path-breaking research contributions to the areas of statistical signal processing, data modeling, and information transmission, that have markedly advanced several fields, including wireless communications, networks, data science, and machine learning. His early research on blind identification methods has enabled power and bandwidth efficiency that prolongs battery lifetime and boosts data rates in mobile communication systems. His approach to `blind separation’ of superimposed independent, yet unobservable, information sources serves as a milestone in disciplines as diverse as unmixing of audio and brain signals. Giannakis’ seminal contributions to telecommunications include optimal compression modules for transmission and archiving, as well as innovative designs to effect reliable and efficient wireless links by mitigating fades induced by the propagation medium that would otherwise cause dropped calls while using cell phones. Several of these designs have been adopted by standards that regulate the operation of base stations and cell phones worldwide. Broadly speaking, Giannakis’ research has improved the speed and reliability of mobile access to the internet. Besides wireless communications, he has made seminal interdisciplinary contributions to wireless sensor networks, smart power grids, and more recently in data science, graph learning, and artificial intelligence.

Contributions to education

As a professor of electrical and computer engineering, Giannakis has been an advisor and mentor to a diverse population of students including 60 doctoral, 35 master’s, and 15 undergraduate thesis advisees. In addition, he has also mentored 30 postdoctoral associates. All of his doctoral students (a third of whom are from underrepresented groups) are pursuing stellar careers of their own as faculty members in academia and researchers in industry and government laboratories. Several of them are IEEE Fellows and in leadership positions in academia and industry. 

Giannakis has integrated research with education through research monographs, 26 book chapters, two books, keynote and plenary speeches, as well as tutorials delivered at hundreds of scientific meetings and conferences over the last 36 years. He holds 36 patents, is the recipient of several technical field and achievement awards, and has received 10 awards for his journal publications all of which bear testimony to the impact of his work. 

Giannakis received his undergraduate degree in electrical and electronic engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece in 1981. He went on to receive master’s degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics in 1983 and 1986 and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1986, all from the University of Southern California. After serving as a professor at the University of Virginia, Giannakis joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1999. 

The class of 2023 Fellows of the RAE will be inducted at a special ceremony in London on November 28. 

Learn more about the RAE's 2023 class of Fellows