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Faculty Spotlight: Waleed Khalil

Bob Dylan once said, “I know my song well before I start singing.”

The work of Waleed Khalil at The Ohio State University requires a similar full understanding of many scientific disciplines and teamwork in order to succeed.

Comprehending the entire electrical system, and looking beyond what the current technological industries are creating, remain two vital points Khalil preaches.

An associate professor in Ohio State's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the ElectroScience Lab, Khalil started at Ohio State in 2009 after he left Intel Corporations, where he helped create systems like 3G and CMOS image sensors in digital cameras.

“I like to work on something for a period of time, grasp it and then work on something new,” he said. “You get a little bit of exposure and diversity; it’s different than research.”

Khalil enjoys fast-paced work environments, continuously adapting and developing something new and marketable. After many years in the industry, though, he realized he missed teaching, something he previously did while obtaining his PhD at Arizona State University.

“From a direct impact tool in society, there is a good feeling you get when you see your students… become successful and they’re attributing some of their knowledge they succeeded from you,” he said.

Today, Khalil has published three books/book chapters, authored and co-authored 15 patents and produced over 80 journal and conference papers, all while teaching and running his student-based Circuit Lab for Advanced Signals and Systems (CLASS).

CLASS, which includes 12 Ph.D. candidates, three MS students and a handful of undergraduates, are all advised by Khalil and his three research associates: Dr. Brian DupaixDr. Shane SmithDr. Eslam Yahya. The team focuses on “advancing beyond state-of-art mixed-signal/RF circuits and systems to enable new technology frontier.”

One of CLASS’s current breaking performance barriers is its heterogeneous integration of silicon and III-V devices. Since the technologies are completely different, Khalil said bringing the two together creates more favorable performing systems.

“The marrying of the two technologies will enable new devices or a new circuit frontier that has not happened before,” he said. “We have the capabilities to actually work, build, utilizes and define the interface successfully between the two. We can actually build an entire system.”

Khalil stresses how CLASS does not focus purely on signal processing. The course he created, "Introduction to RF Systems," teaches students how to create entire systems by implementing knowledge from many scientific disciplines, such as physics, digital communication, and internal signal processing.  

Recently, Khalil helped oversee research completed by a former CLASS member, Lucas Duncan, a longtime Buckeye who gained his undergraduate, masters and PhD at Ohio State. Duncan utilized Khalil’s advice of implementing multiple topics to develop a high functioning system; his paper dealt with increasing frequency performance by using electromagnetic theory.

Khalil said he was proud to see Duncan present this work in the ISCC conference where only 20 percent of the contestants are from academic institutions. Among the 10 percent of all paper entries, Duncan’s was selected for publication in the prestigious Solid State Journal.

“I structured my research group exactly like a company,” Khalil said. “The type of research that we do, because the problem is so dense and complicated as we build the system, one student cannot build it all. … The students learn to share and help each other, and that’s important because otherwise, we cannot succeed.”

Story by: Lydia Freudenberg, ECE Student Public Relations Writer