Dr. Tallal Osama Elshabrawy

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Until November 2018, Dr. Elshabrawy will conduct research as a guest scientist at FAU. (Image: Sally Nafie)

Humboldt Research Fellow at the Chair of Information Technology with focus on Communication Electronics

Dr. Tallal Osama Elshabrawy, Ph. D., from Egypt has more than 10 years of experience in physical and MAC layer research within telecommunications networks. He obtained a B.Sc. in Electronics and Communications Engineering (Distinction with Honours) in 1998 at the Ain Shams University in Cairo and an M.A. Sc. In Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2000 at the Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. From 2000 to 2006, Dr. Elshabrawy conducted doctoral research at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he was then awarded a Ph. D. During his time at McGill University, Dr. Elshabrawy was research assistant in two joint projects, one with Ericsson Canada and one with InterDigital Canada respectively. From 2012 to 2014, he was a student of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the American University in Cairo, from which he graduated with a major in Finance.

Furthermore, Dr. Elshabrawy holds several important positions at the Faculty of Information Engineering & Technology, Department of Networking at the German University in Cairo to date: he is the Head of the Department, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor.

He also served as Principle Investigator for two research projects, namely “Integrated Wireless Indoor Planning and Optimization Tool” (2012 – 2014) and “An IoT Framework for Smart Energy Management” (2015 – 2016).

Dr. Elshabrawy will further his research at FAU´s Chair of Information Technology with a focus on Communication Electronics until November 2018.

I have had great interaction with the researchers at FAU. My colleagues are making sure that I feel at home, providing me with all needed tools and the environment to achieve the mutual benefit expected from my research stay.

What is your field of research and what initially sparked your interest in this area?

My field of research is on wireless communication networks for telemetry applications. Over the last twenty years, the focus within telecommunication networks research has been directed towards more voice, more video and more data. The Internet-of-Things, also known as IoT, has become the new paradigm for telecommunications that foresees their contribution in a diverse set of industries. The new paradigm and underlying new applications constitute new challenges in the domain of wireless telecommunications.

What were your reasons for choosing FAU as your host institution for a research stay abroad?

I have been collaborating with FAU since 2013 in the form of summer research stays. Such collaboration has been stemmed on the cooperation between FAU´s Chair for Information Technology (Communication Electronics) (LIKE) and my faculty within my home university which is the Faculty of Information Engineering & Technology at the German University in Cairo. The cooperation has started with the enrolment of my previous master students in the Ph.d program hosted by the LIKE chair.

How well known is FAU internationally in your field of research?

The LIKE chair has significant expertise in applied research due to the close engagement with the Fraunhofer Institute IIS.

How do you find the interaction between researchers at FAU thus far? Does it differ from your experience in Cairo?

I have had great interaction with the researchers at FAU. My colleagues are making sure that I feel at home, providing me with all needed tools and the environment to achieve the mutual benefit expected from my research stay. I would not really say that there is a significant difference in interacting with colleagues. The difference may be the availability of more time directed towards the focus on rather more applied and practical research at FAU.

Could you give us a short summary of the project your research group is working on?

Today, telecommunication networks have become an integral component of numerous businesses and applications such as, home automation, health monitoring, industrial automation, and smart grids, etc.

In the scope of the project of our research group, IoT technologies provide the necessary platform for collecting massive amounts of energy meters data at different locations across the energy grid as well as other relevant environment sensors data (e.g., temperature and humidity). More specifically, the main focus is on developing a data collection infrastructure that enables reliable and timely wireless communication of data reported by the dense population of meters towards the relevant data servers.

And what is your main task within your research group?

My main task is to investigate the new research challenges that arise within the IoT framework due to different traffic behaviours, heterogeneity of meters/sensors in the IoT environment, ultra-dense deployments as well as augmented scale of asymmetry between IoT end devices and IoT gateways in terms of reception conditions and processing capabilities. One vital research track to address these challenges is devising new medium access control (MAC) schemes and/or enhancing existent ones. The new medium access control (MAC) schemes should have the ability to regulate the wireless channel access to hundreds of thousands and even millions of IoT devices. The problem is compounded more by the fact that IoT technologies typically operate in un-licensed bands that are usually subject to interference from external systems. Such limitation should also be addressed by the schemes to be proposed within the scope of this research.

How does your research affect society?

The advancement of IoT technologies can play a vital role in going green by enabling efficient energy management/planning solutions at low cost. Moreover, effective energy management solutions derived from collected data would translate to significant economic benefits whether in optimizing operation of the current grid or in relieving some of the grid expansion expenditure requirements.

What were your first (and subsequent) impressions of the Erlangen-Nuremberg region?

As I have said, I have been visiting the Erlangen-Nuremberg region on a regular basis in the summer period since 2013. What I like the most about Erlangen is that it is a small residential city. I think it is quite relaxing to live in Erlangen. Everything is accessible within a walking distance or using a short transportation trip if needed. I prefer it to metropolitan cities like Nuremberg or Munich.

Do you already have a particular highlight of your stay?

I would not say there is a particular highlight. Knowing how difficult it had been to find accommodation in Erlangen during the previous five years, one thing I am happy about is that I was able to secure a suitable accommodation before I arrived to my research stay.

What are your favourite places at FAU and in Erlangen or Nuremberg?

No favourite place in particular but I enjoy walking in the centre area and I hope to enjoy some jogging around Erlangen in the summer period.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dr. Joerg Robert and Prof. Albert Heuberger for hosting me and creating an excellent environment for me to benefit from my research stay.

Thank you for the interview, Dr. Elshabrawy.