Prof. Constantine Caramanis Begins Term as WNCG Director

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The spring semester is in full swing, and as WNCG continues on the forefront of research, the group has welcomed a new Director. Prof. Constantine Caramanis began his three-year term as WNCG Director at the start of the new calendar year. Prior to that, he served as the group’s Associate Director.

With Caramanis stepping into the new role, Prof. Alex Dimakis was chosen among WNCG faculty to serve as Associate Director. WNCG’s leadership system allows the Associate Director to learn the ropes over the course of the term before serving their own term as Director. 

WNCG’s previous Director, Prof. Sanjay Shakkottai, officially concluded his term in January after four years in the position. Shakkottai began his directorship in Spring 2015.

“I have been fortunate to work with an incredibly talented group of researchers both within WNCG and our affiliate members,” Shakkottai stated. “We have established several focused initiatives…and [others] are underway.”

During Shakkottai’s tenure as Director, he oversaw the creation of two research initiatives: SAVES (Situation-Aware Vehicular Engineering Systems, focusing on the integration of communications, sensing and analytics) and UT-MINDS (Machine Intelligence and Decision Systems). SAVES is led by Prof. Robert Heath, while MINDS is led by Prof. Joydeep Ghosh.

Shakkottai also led the group in celebrating its 15th anniversary, which included a special edition of the group’s signature event, Texas Wireless Summit.

Shakkottai also presided over the group’s move from transitional space at one of The University of Texas’s annex administrative buildings back to main campus. WNCG has now been housed at the newly built Engineering Education and Resource Center since Fall 2017.

With both the SAVES and MINDS projects flourishing—and even more developments on the horizon—Shakkottai is confident in the group’s bright future. “I look forward to WNCG growing and excelling under the leadership of Profs. Constantine Caramanis and Alex Dimakis,” Shakkottai stated.

Caramanis and Dimakis have long been collaborators, and not only within WNCG; the two spearheaded the launch of Texas ECE’s undergraduate data sciences track.

"I am excited to be part of WNCG and eager to continue working on our high-impact research program,” Dimakis stated. “I believe that interaction between academia and industry is key for innovations that have real-world impact and WNCG facilitates this in a unique way. I look forward to working with our new director Prof. Caramanis, as the Associate director of WNCG."

Since joining WNCG in 2006, Caramanis has been highly involved in not only his research with WNCG but also graduate and undergraduate teaching. He currently holds the William H. Hartwig Fellowship in Electrical Engineering. He is Faculty Mentor for UT’s Undergraduate Machine Learning and Data Science Club and is also involved with UT-MINDS. Most recently, Caramanis was also one of the faculty coordinators for the 2018 Texas Wireless Summit.

“WNCG has seen four fantastic years of growth and impact under Prof. Shakkottai’s leadership,” Caramanis stated. “Working with him, and all the dynamic faculty and students in WNCG has been a true privilege. And we’re just getting started! We have several initiatives in the works that I believe will continue WNCG’s leadership position in the space of wireless, machine learning and transformative applications. I look forward to working with Alex Dimakis as associate director, and also everyone else in WNCG in the coming years.”