ECE Colloquium - April 10th

Dr. Ananya Sen Gupta, University of Iowa

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 10:00am - 11:00am

CoRE Building Lecture Hall

Title: "Studying the environment as a complex system: breaking the barrier of traditional assumptions"


Traditional signal processing approaches are often built on well-known assumptions such as linearity, time-invariance, and incoherence among the signals involved. In reality, many of these assumptions are violated in physical environments and therefore, conventional techniques fail to solve signal processing issues effectively in real-world systems. For example, a classic challenge to quantifying the environmental impact of a major oil spill such as the 2010 Macondo well spill in the Gulf of Mexico lies in distinguishing its fingerprint against closely correlated natural seeps and other reservoirs in the area. Multi-user detection in the presence of high correlation and amplifier saturation, tracking the time- varying delay spread of shallow water acoustic channels, sonar detection against severe clutter, among many other applications also face similar challenges.

My talk will focus on some of these problems encountered in challenging physical environments, such as the ocean, as they relate my research in adaptive signal processing, sparse optimization and signal separation techniques. While the techniques I will discuss have been developed with target applications in mind, the scope of signal processing innovations go beyond specific applications to the broader paradigm of other well-known problems with similar issues. In particular, I will present my vision on how breaking the barrier of traditional assumptions and constraints can enable the scientific study of the environment as a diverse, complex and dynamic system, with the end goal of enhancing better balance between anthropogenic activities and environmental health and sustenance.


Dr. Ananya Sen Gupta got her MS (Aug. 2001) and PhD (Dec. 2006) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her broad area of expertise is signal processing, particularly interference mitigation, channel estimation and sparse optimization techniques. Throughout her research career Dr. Sen Gupta has been interested in seeking novel solutions for signal processing challenges commonly encountered in real environments. Her Master's research was in dynamic MRI imaging under the supervision of Dr. Zh-Pei Liang, and her doctoral research was in non-linear multi-user interference suppression under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Singer. Aug 2008-2012 she has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution under the supervision of Dr. James Preisig, working in shallow water acoustic channel tracking using adaptive sparse optimization techniques. As her continuing position at WHOI, she has been actively collaborating with Dr. Christopher Reddy to develop novel informational methods that provide collective forensic interpretation of petroleum samples found in the ocean using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography. More recently, she has joined the University of Iowa, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as tenure-track faculty. Her active research interests involve signal processing challenges commonly encountered in complex environments, with particular focus on fingerprinting and sparse optimization across a variety of applications.