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Dan Kim

Associate Dean recognized with two academic fellowshipsNovember 30, 2021

Steve Hranilovic, professor and associate dean (academic), has been recognized for his significant leadership and research concerning optical wireless systems with two distinguished fellowships.

Steve Hranilovic, professor of electrical and computer engineering and associate dean (academic), has been named as both an Optica Fellow and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for contributions to optical wireless communication systems.

“Helping Canada tackle the digital divide gives me great pride, and I am honoured to be a Fellow of both organizations. These achievements would not have been possible without the support of my graduate students, colleagues and staff at McMaster.”

Optica Fellows exemplify leadership in the fields of optics and photonics and are recognized for their contributions to education, research, engineering and society. The fellowship is highly competitive and recognizes sustained and distinguished research contributions in optics and photonics.  This year's cohort comprises 106 newly elected Fellows from 24 countries. 

Similarly, the rank of Fellow of the IEEE is prestigious and recognizes extraordinary accomplishments in research within electrical and electronic engineering.  The IEEE has more than 400,000 members and publishes nearly a third of the world’s technical literature in electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics.   In a given year, at most 0.1% of IEEE members can be elevated to the rank of Fellow. 

Hranilovic’s elevation to IEEE Fellow has been a lifelong goal.

“This is the realization of a dream I have held since the earliest days of my career. It is such an honour to be elevated to Fellow of both the IEEE and Optica, and I will continue to devote my research to advancing wireless communications using light.” 

Using optical wireless communications, Hranilovic’s research is focused on developing technological solutions to bring internet access to Canada’s northern, remote, and rural communities.

Hranilovic has made foundational contributions to modelling and communications architectures of optical wireless systems spanning applications in space, visible light communications (VLC), terrestrial free-space optics (FSO) and short-range visual MIMO links.

“These are both prestigious fellowships and the practical applications of Steve’s work really conveys what Mac Eng is all about – research with an impact,” says Heather Sheardown, acting dean of the faculty of engineering and professor in the department of chemical engineering.

Optical wireless systems use light rather than radio waves for wireless communications.  Such optical wireless systems are essential to overcoming the limited amount of available radio bandwidth, termed the “spectral-crunch”, hampering the development of 6G networks.

For over 20 years, Hranilovic has researched and written about this area extensively. He holds four patents and has published over 135 papers in refereed conference proceedings and journals, as well as a book on the fundamentals of optical wireless communications, widely cited as a seminal reference.

He also appears in the 2020 database of the world's top 100,000 scientists (among 7 million) and three of his works were selected for inclusion on the “IEEE ComSoc Best Readings in Optical Wireless Communications.”