Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor and Class of 1948 Career Development Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Prof. Katabi is known for translating theory into surprising new practical applications in the wireless realm, with a focus on ways to optimize, secure, and repurpose Wi-Fi (802.11) data transmissions. Her group, the MIT Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing, discovered that low-power WiFi signals can be used for highly accurate 3D motion tracking, even through walls and obstructions. This “WiTrack” system is could replace Kinect and other line-of-sight sensors as an interface for video games; it could also be used for elderly monitoring, fall detection, controlling household appliances, and other types of interactions with computers.
Katabi’s group also works on computing and spectral efficiency techniques to enable high-bandwidth communications applications. The Sparse Fast Fourier Transform algorithm her group developed enables computers to process audio and video signals 10 to 100 times faster than algorithms using previous FFTs. Born in Damascus, Syria, Kataba was a 2012 recipient of the ACM’s Grace Hopper Award and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow.