Technology futures | 1 February, 2017
Dr Trung Duong The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology, and School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Dr Trung Duong has been on a remarkable journey. It has taken him from Vietnam to Belfast, from playing with walkie-talkies as a child to being awarded an outstanding professional accolade, a Research Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE).
He says, ‘I was always interested in electronic devices so when I finished high school I decided to pursue a career in the field of telecommunication.’ That career path has led to a key research role at the Centre for Wireless Information, one of the pillars of ECIT, the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology at Queen’s. Trung studied for a Masters in South Korea, then travelled across the globe to the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden to pursue a PhD.
‘I wanted to get a broader world view so I decided to go to Europe. I finished my PhD in 2012, then a year later I applied to Queen’s for a job as a lecturer and was very lucky to get it. Normally you need to have several years as a postdoc but when I came for interview I think they saw some kind of potential in me.’
Two years later, the RAE was describing him as one of the UK’s top early career engineering researchers. The RAE Fellowship recognises his work in bringing together advances in signal processing to help develop a two-tier network system for wireless traffic.
This is in order to increase the capacity of the available wireless spectrum as the number of wireless devices increases rapidly.
Trung says, ‘It’s an increasingly smart world. It’s changing very quickly. At Queen’s we’re tackling major issues in digital innovation, especially in cyber security, in wireless communication and in scalable analytics. We focus on the hottest research topics in the world. ‘Every ten years the standard for wireless mobiles changes – 3G, 4G and soon 5G which will be a whole new revolution. We’re going to have more than 11 billion mobile phones connected to the internet. That’s 1.5 phones per capita. ‘Ten years ago, we just talked on the phone or sent a message. Now we have everything. Imagine your bus is coming in 15 minutes. You have your cellphone so you decide to watch a live video. Just think how much data that is. And now imagine that everyone’s doing this at the same time. ‘We have to satisfy a huge growing demand and my research is about how we tackle this.’
Trung is collaborating with a number of technology companies, like Keysight. ‘With the increase in information you need to encrypt the data. The broadcasting nature of the wireless channel makes it very vulnerable to cyber attacks so now we need additional levels of security as well as the traditional cryptography.
‘We can exploit the random characteristics of wireless channels, and physical layer security is a new research direction in wireless security. My research is tackling those challenges – high capacity and high security.’
Through his RAE Fellowship he is also collaborating with the two world-leading researchers in his field – Professor Vincent Poor, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University, and Professor Lajos Hanzo, Head of the Southampton University Wireless Group.
He says, ‘I was very lucky to get this Fellowship but the reputation of ECIT and Queen’s is very strong and that led to my success. It’s also another success for the University and it’s more evidence that ECIT is the best telecommunications research centre in the whole of the UK.’
Trung also received an accolade from Queen’s recently when he was awarded the Vice- Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher Prize.
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