Two New Samueli Chairs in Engineering Announced

Syed Jafar (left) and Soroosh Sorooshian are appointed Samueli Chairs in Engineering.

Aug. 30, 2023 - UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman has appointed Syed Jafar and Soroosh Sorooshian as Henry Samueli Chairs in Engineering. Jafar is a Chancellor’s Professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Sorooshian is a Distinguished Professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Established in 2005 by the regents, with funding from Henry and Susan Samueli, the endowed chair positions were created in support of engineering programs and other related disciplines within the UCI Samueli School.

“Both of these professors are highly visible and respected leaders in their fields, conducting innovative and impactful research, and I am happy to see them receive this well-deserved recognition,” said Samueli School Dean Magnus Egerstedt.

Jafar’s research explores the fundamental performance limits of wireless communication networks. Determining network capacity – the maximum data rates that can be reliably supported – is the holy grail of network information theory, according to Jafar and others. And with the rapid growth of wireless communication networks, the quest has taken on unprecedented urgency. Jafar’s research group has gained worldwide recognition for its numerous seminal contributions to this topic, including its groundbreaking work on interference alignment in wireless networks. His research found that data rates are not limited by the number of devices sharing the radio frequency spectrum, a discovery that changed the thinking about how wireless networks should be designed.

“I feel fortunate and grateful to be chosen for this honor out of so many outstanding colleagues, and would like to thank Henry and Susan Samueli for their commitment toward promoting research excellence,” said Jafar. “This is so encouraging for our group to continue to pursue high-risk, high-reward research goals."

Sorooshian’s research focuses on water resources systems, climate studies and application of remote sensing to Earth science problems, with an emphasis on the hydrologic cycle and water issues in arid and semi-arid zones. As founding director of UCI’s Center for Hydrometeorology & Remote Sensing (CHRS), he and his team specialize in the development of advances in machine learning and neural network algorithms and their application for tracking and measuring global precipitation. The center’s work over nearly two decades has been well recognized worldwide by many countries, and Sorooshian ’s contributions in water research have had significant impact on hydrological system analysis and helped advance the field of high-resolution precipitation estimation globally.

“Needless to say, I am humbled and honored by being included among Samueli Chair holders in our school which also bears the name of Henry Samueli,” said Sorooshian.

These two professors join the school’s existing three Henry Samueli Endowed Chairs in Engineering:  Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou and Xiaoqing Pan.

– Lori Brandt