Dr. Naofal Al-Dhahir
Professor of electrical engineering
Erik Jonsson Distinguished Professor
Born to educators, Al-Dhahir knew his career path would lead to academia.
"I get tremendous satisfaction from the feeling that I am making a positive impact on the lives of students by teaching them to be creative thinkers and fearless researchers."
But he wanted to gain industry experience first.
After earning his master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, Al-Dhahir worked at the General Electric Corporate Research and Development Center for five years, where he developed signal processing algorithms that are programmed in modems.
He then worked at AT&T's Shannon Laboratory, where he developed technology that used multiple antennae to improve the reliability of second-generation (2G), third generation (3G) and 4G wireless digital cellular systems.
Al-Dhahir joined UT Dallas in 2003 and continues to work on enhancing the speed and reliability of broadband communication systems.
That work includes collaborating with several local companies to develop algorithms that improve 4G cellphone performance and decrease interference on Wi-Fi routers. He also works with a start-up company that is developing new technologies for the next generation of DSL systems.
"I want to make sure that cellphones and the Internet are always available when needed, and at faster speeds."
For his "contributions to high data-rate communication over broadband channels," Al-Dhahir was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2007.
He said that his interactions with students are as important to him as recognition from colleagues.
"The most rewarding part of my job as a professor at UT Dallas is daily interaction with students as a teacher in the classroom and as a research supervisor in the lab."
When not at work, Al-Dhahir enjoys practicing yoga, watching his daughters Danya and Fay play soccer, and spending time with his wife, Alia, and baby son, Rayan.
Al-Dhahir has held this chair since 2011, when it was established anonymously to support the research and scholarly activities of a faculty member to benefit the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
An authority on baseband processing for broadband communications, Al-Dhahir is best known for his research on equalization algorithms for wire-line and wireless broadband communications. The results of his work – more than 30 patents – have been deployed in a number of commercial applications, including digital televisions, DSL modems and fourth-generation (4G) cellphones.
"Applying my algorithms to commercial products that are affecting the lives of millions of people is the kind of contribution I like making."