Science Foundation Ireland

Subhrakanti Dey: Human of CONNECT

Subhrakanti Dey is a CONNECT Funded Investigator at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

How did you get to this point in your life?
As a secondary school student growing up in India, I was always fascinated by Physics and Mathematics. I wanted to study Particle Physics, but the trend for students in India in those days was to study medicine or engineering, simply because of the increased employment opportunities. So I opted for Electronic Engineering. I went to Australia for my PhD studies, and then worked as a researcher and faculty member in a number of countries before joining Maynooth University as a Professor in 2018.

Is there anything about life that you didn’t expect?
I am a keen traveller and one of the great benefits of being a researcher includes the opportunities to travel to many different places and meet people from diverse cultural backgrounds. While I knew that I would travel a lot for work, I did not anticipate that I would end up working in three different continents (Australia, America and Europe (Sweden and Ireland)).

Tell us about an experience that taught you a life lesson?
While I was living in Australia, I used to volunteer for a Science Museum every Saturday. We used to organize hands-on workshops for children aged 5-10 – usually some activity that would explain how science works behind everyday phenomena. Although I chose the volunteering activity to fill a void in my life, I soon realized how enjoyable it was. When you really like what you do, it can make a world of difference.

What do you think could be the next defining trend in technology?
I wish we could be truly wireless – in that, all kinds of device charging and power delivery could be wireless, using energy harvesting and wireless power transfer. While we are not going to get rid of power transmission lines anytime soon, I hope that we can soon carry all our devices (laptops, smartphones and everything else) without having to carry portable chargers or cables or other charging devices that have to be connected to the mains supply.

What’s the best piece of life advice you have ever received?
Learn to cook.

Tell us about your research. What do you enjoy most about it?
I work in the multi-disciplinary domain of cyber-physical systems, which include physical components (such as autonomous cars) interacting with the Internet through wireless networks and making decisions, sometimes with the intervention of humans. There are very interesting fundamental questions to be answered and communication networks to be designed that can meet challenging latency demands, while still delivering data reliably at very high speed (think high resolution images).  I enjoy applying principles of fields such as control and optimization theory, and machine learning to wireless communication network design.

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

Humans of CONNECT