13 Nov 2023 |
Research article |
Sensors, Networks and Connectivity
Calculating Transmission Quality
Bassant Selim is inspired by calculations, formulas and infinite numbers.
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Some fall into the magic potion when they are little, for others, it’s maths. It’s in their nature to get it before they learn it. Bassant Selim, a professor in the Department of Systems Engineering, is one of those inspired by calculations, formulas and infinite numbers. “I didn’t need to learn the rules. They just came to me.” For Bassant, mathematics is a universe without frontiers, where possibilities multiply as technology advances by leaps and bounds.
When Math Leads to Engineering
Born in the United Arab Emirates, Bassant Selim grew up in Montreal until her teens. That was when her parents decided to return to their native Egypt. There, Bassant Selim pursued a bachelor’s degree at the French University of Egypt, opting for the electrical engineering program. Why? “Because it’s very, very math-intensive!” she replies.
An agreement between the French University of Egypt and the Université Pierre et Marie-Curie in Paris facilitated Bassant Selim’s transition to her master’s studies, where she focused her research on communicating systems. She chose Khalifa University in the United Arab Emirates for her PhD studies.
Her thesis supervisor, Sami Muhaidat, offered her a flexible framework in which Bassant learned to develop her autonomy. Her work focuses on the transmission quality of radio communication channels. Several phenomena can affect radio transmissions, including atmosphere, distance between transmitter and receiver, and even obstacles. Modelling is used to evaluate the performance of system components. Is the transmitter power sufficient? Are modulation or data received correctly? “Error rate analysis is based on complex mathematical operations. And most of the time, we end up with an integral that we can’t solve.” So the young PhD student proposed a Gaussian mixture that can model any type of channel. She earned her PhD in 2017.
A Dual Career in AI and Telecommunications
Bassant Selim decided to pursue her career in Montreal, a city she knew well since childhood, and where the horizons in her field of expertise seemed broader, especially for a woman. Her thesis supervisor strongly encouraged her to follow this path. She completed two postdoctoral internships at ÉTS, the first in partnership with Hydro-Québec and the second with telecommunications giant Ericsson. Her dual background in artificial intelligence and telecommunications proved to be an asset. After two months, Ericsson recruited her for its GAIA innovation center, a global artificial intelligence accelerator. There, Bassant remained for two years. The department where the young researcher worked brings together some thirty experts whose mission is to accelerate the integration of artificial intelligence into Ericsson products and services. Bassant Selim’s team developed five technological solutions that are now patented. She is the main inventor of the solution relating to interference reduction using artificial intelligence.
Contributing where I Want to
Despite her sadness at leaving her colleagues and a rewarding job at Ericsson, Bassant accepted the position of assistant professor at ÉTS. Even as a child, she dreamed of teaching. “I like to explain what I’ve understood.” In the age of connected objects, intelligent systems and Industry 4.0, communication is at the heart of this new paradigm.
So she joined the Systems Engineering Department at ÉTS. Passing on her knowledge to future engineers seems essential to her. “It’s a complex world, and information comes from multitude sources,” says Bassant. Teaching feeds motivated minds, but a curiosity to explore new avenues often leads to invention. Professor Selim intends to push her students in this direction.
Understanding where it Comes from
Access to knowledge requires understanding. This awareness is essential in the world of research. “When I teach, I try to prove what I’m explaining. I don’t like to give only theoretical statements.” Bassant wants students to figure out the theory on their own. She encourages them to analyze problems and identify solutions.
The Changing Landscape of Technology
The Internet of Things, smart metasurfaces, quantum technologies, 6G—so many possible directions, and Bassant wants to explore them with her students. One thing is certain: Bassant Selim is determined to leave her mark. “I’d really like to create something that people use, that has an impact.” Recognized for her cutting-edge expertise in telecommunications and AI, she is continuing her research into minimizing signal losses in the radio-frequency transmission chain to increase the reliability of critical systems.
What will the future sound like? If Bassant Selim is to be believed, communication will be crystal-clear instantly, anywhere, anytime.