Physics-Based Communication Theory

Nov 16, 2023, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
B205 Engineering Quadrangle



Event Description


My group at NYU works on communication theory based on physics-derived models. This guarantees both novel and fascinating communication-theoretic problems, as well as the potential for impactful new technology. Our research projects include wireless communication in resonant chambers, communication via conductive heat transfer, and super-directive wireless power transfer.

Approximately eight years ago, I asked the question "How much power must we extract from a receiver antenna to support a specified bit-rate?".  Finding no ready answers, I began long-term research into the problem. The final pieces of the puzzle fell into place recently. Answer: Subject to the laws of classical statistical mechanics (the science upon which all existing communication systems are based), NONE!


Thomas Marzetta is Distinguished Industry Professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, ECE Department, and Director of NYU WIRELESS. Born in Washington, DC, he received the PhD and SB in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978 and 1972, and the MS in Systems Engineering from University of Pennsylvania in 1973.

Prior to joining NYU in 2017 he had three industrial research careers: petroleum exploration (Schlumberger-Doll Research, 1978–1987), defense (Nichols Research Corporation, 1987–1995), and telecommunications (Bell Labs, 1995–2017). At Bell Labs he directed the Communications and Statistical Sciences Department within the former Mathematical Sciences Research Center, and he was made a Bell Labs Fellow. He originated Massive MIMO, the most spectrally efficient wireless scheme yet devised and a foundation of 5G wireless technology. He is lead-author of the book “Fundamentals of Massive MIMO”.

Marzetta was elected a member of National Academy of Engineering in 2020. Additional recognition for his contributions to Massive MIMO include the 2019 Radio Club of America Armstrong Medal, the 2017 IEEE Communications Society Industrial Innovation Award, the 2015 IEEE Stephen O. Rice Prize, and the 2015 IEEE W. R. G. Baker Award. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2003 and he received an Honorary Doctorate from Linköping University, Sweden, in 2015.