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5G Researcher Receives international Marconi Young Scholar Award

By Ken Briodagh September 12, 2018

Qurrat-Ul-Ain Nadeem, a PhD candidate at King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), has been honored with a 2018 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award for her work in full-dimension (FD) massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) transmission technology.

Established in 1974 by the daughter of Guglielmo Marconi, the Nobel Laureate who invented radio, the Marconi Society promotes awareness of key technology and policy issues in telecommunications and the Internet and recognizes significant individual achievements through the Marconi Prize and Young Scholar Awards.

“I am a Pakistani woman pursuing a Ph.D. in Saudi Arabia, which speaks about the country’s new focus on research and innovation,” Nadeem said. “KAUST has definitely taken the lead in promoting science and technology in the country, and I think that this award will definitely encourage more women in the region to enter the field of science and accomplish even greater things. I'm really, really honored to be considered worthy of being among Marconi Society Young Scholars and to have my work recognized by luminaries in the fields of wireless communications and networking.”

A native of Pakistan, Nadeem received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS.) She received an M.S. at KAUST and has been working on her Ph.D. in the research group of Professor Mohamed-Slim Alouini in the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science Division at KAUST since 2016.

The Communication Theory Lab (CTL) at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) looks into the modeling, design, optimization, and performance analysis of modern and emerging wireless communication systems and networks.

FD-MIMO has attracted substantial attention from the wireless industry recently as a promising technology for Fifth Generation (5G) cellular systems. It utilizes an active antenna system with a planar array structure to provide adaptive electronic beam control in the 3D space.

“Qurrat’s work establishes a proper link between the industry’s vision for FD-MIMO and the theoretical study of 3D beamforming,” said Mohamed-Slim Alouini, KAUST professor and Nadeem’s advisor. “She published pioneer works on the development of 3D channel models and spatial correlation functions. More recently, she put different aspects of FD-MIMO together to provide a mathematical framework for the design of elevation beamforming schemes in single-cell and multi-cell scenarios. Her works have gained a lot of visibility in a short time.”

“The challenges I tackled to make this technology viable included the design and implementation of large scale antenna arrays and the extension of the 3GPP 2D spatial channel model to the third dimension,” Nadeem said. “I think the most important outcome of my study on FD-MIMO is that it allows you to exploit the channel’s degrees of freedom in the elevation to design these so-called elevation beamforming schemes that enable better spatial separation of the users.”

Young Scholar candidates are nominated by their academic advisors. Winners are selected by an international panel comprised of engineers from leading universities and companies and receive a $5000 prize plus expenses to attend the annual awards event. Three other Young Scholars were also selected this year.

All will receive their awards October 2 in Bologna, Italy, at the same event where Akamai cofounder F. Thomson Leighton, a key contributor to the development of content delivery networks, will be honored with the $100,000 Marconi Prize.


Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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