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The Father of Massive MIMO

Late last year, Thomas L. Marzetta, a Bell Labs Fellow but a name with which you may not be familiar, received the IEEE 2017 Communications Society Industrial Innovation Award for conceiving the concept of Massive MIMOwhile at Bell Labs.

Thomas Marzetta, 'Father of Massive MIMO'

Thomas Marzetta, 'Father of Massive MIMO'

Marzetta wrote numerous technical articles while with Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent which can be seen here. (Coincidently, I met Marzetta once when I was a Texas Instruments Accounts Manager/Applications Engineer for Alcatel-Lucent-Bell Labs worldwide)

We all know that 5G is strongly dependent upon Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) technology since it uses many small, individually-controlled, low-power antennas to direct streams of information, selectively and simultaneously, to many users. This architecture has spectral efficiency orders of magnitude greater than that experienced in 4G, with the added bonus of high-quality service throughout the cell, simplicity and scalability, and outstanding energy efficiency. In 2021, mobile traffic will be seven times higher than it was in 2016, video will account for more than 78 percent of all mobile data, and smart terminals will consume an average of 15 GB of data per month.

In September 2017, Marzetta joined NYU Tandon as a Distinguished Industry Professor and member of the faculty of NYU Wireless, which is a multi-school research center. This is another connection I have since my Undergraduate BEEE was from NYU in 1972 and my MSEE was from Polytechnic University in 1989, which is now NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.

Marzetta’s paper on Massive MIMO entitled ‘Noncooperative cellular wireless with unlimited numbers of base station antennas’, published in 2010 in IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, has been cited nearly 3,000 times. He is the author or co-author of more than 220 published papers and is the lead author of the book Fundamentals of Massive MIMO, published last year. IEEE Xplore has an extensive list of his published white papers title here. You will need to register and pay a fee to view these, but it is well worth it.

As a faculty member of NYU WIRELESS, a multidisciplinary research center founded in 2012 to develop the fundamental theories and techniques for next-generation mass-deployable wireless devices, Marzetta is now focusing on the sixth generation of wireless technology. Within a research initiative known as “Beyond Massive MIMO”, he is investigating entirely new principles of operation which could result in wireless systems performing at a level orders-of-magnitude above that of Massive MIMO.

Although Marzetta’s revolutionary work on antenna arrays began as an academic idea, it is now one of the hottest topics in wireless and will be a cornerstone of next-generation mobile technology for information and entertainment, healthcare, smart homes and cities, manufacturing, transportation and more.

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