Benjamin Woodacre

Hometown: Massachusetts
BS ’02, MS ’04, PhD ‘10

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
As an incoming undergraduate, I was attracted to the project-based education, smaller class sizes than a large university, and the opportunities for off-campus project work.

What research projects are you involved in at WPI?
As a graduate student working on my MS and PhD, I worked in the Precision Personnel Location group, advised by Profs. Cyganski and Duckworth. We've been working on technologies to help locate firefighters (and other first responders) in indoor environments, should they get lost or trapped during a fire or other emergency. My PhD research is on determination of the coordinates of the sensors which locate the firefighters, that is, before we can estimate someone's position indoors, we must know the where all our sensors are located on a grid. Since our system must be re-deployed at every location that it is used, there has to be an automatic way to do this that doesn't use up precious time in an emergency.

How have the professors in ECE impacted your life and studies?
My advisor Professor Cyganski is very enthusiastic about our research, and always willing to help work through a difficult problem.  When I first came to WPI, I was a little out of step with the courses my peers were taking, and my undergraduate advisor really helped me get my course schedule in order. I think the focus on undergraduate education at WPI pulls in more faculty who are enthusiastic about teaching than at other universities.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What would be your ideal job?
Now that I have my PhD, I hope to put my background in signal processing to work, in research and development. I enjoy mathematics and theory, but it's also nice to roll up your sleeves, working on software and hardware, to conduct a real-world experiment and build something physical that works.

Please list any other groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI.
Student member and former chapter treasurer of the IEEE student branch, and member of HKN and Tau Beta Pi honor societies. Member of WPI Student Pugwash.


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