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ECE professor joins NSF as a program director

August 21, 2023 - by Kim Delker

photo: Sudharman K. Jayaweer
Sudharman K. Jayaweera

Earlier this month, Professor Sudharman K. Jayaweera, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a program director in the Washington, D.C., area.

In this limited-term appointment of up to four years, he will serve as the cognizant program director in the wireless topic space in the emerging technology section in the Innovation and Technology Ecosystems division of the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP).

According to the NSF, the mission of the TIP Directorate is to harness the nation's vast and diverse talent pool to advance critical and emerging technologies, address pressing societal and economic challenges, and accelerate the translation of research results from lab to market and society. It is also expected to improve U.S. competitiveness, growing the U.S. economy and training a diverse workforce for future, high-wage jobs.

The CHIPS and Science Act tasked the TIP directorate with developing a roadmap to guide investment decisions in use-inspired and translational research over a three-year time frame to advance U.S. competitiveness and develop the U.S. workforce in 10 critical technology areas. Jayaweera will be the cognizant program director for one of these critical technology areas: Advanced communications technology and immersive technology.

Jayaweera, who received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton University, joined UNM in 2006. He is an expert in cognitive radios, machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI) who has worked extensively in autonomous wireless communications through advanced ML/AI techniques. In 2014, Jayaweera also founded the R&D company Bluecom Systems and Consulting.

He was an early proponent of game-theoretic approaches to dynamic spectrum sharing and spectrum coexistence through dynamic spectrum leasing and a leader in ML/AI based cognitive jamming and anti-jamming communications. In particular, he technically and programmatically managed and led one of the first demonstrations of reinforcement learning based cognitive anti-jamming communications in space and satellite environments in 2018 in collaborations with NASA’s Glenn Research Center.

In recent years, Jayaweera’s research has been focused in mobile, satellite and aerial cognitive wireless communications, spectrum sharing and coexistence, security and robustness in machine learning and artificial intelligence-based systems, statistical signal processing, space and spectrum situational awareness and information theory.