Prior to 2007

Newell Award Presented to Christopher J. Hegarty

Dr. Christopher Hegarty

Dr. Chris Hegarty was awarded the 2006 Newell Award in a ceremony on the WPI campus on Monday, May 1, 2006. Christopher J. Hegarty is the Director for Spectrum Management within The MITRE Corporation's Center for Advanced Aviation System Development. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1990 and 1992, respectively, and his D.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from The George Washington University in 1997.

Dr. Hegarty's interest in GPS was kindled by completing his WPI MS thesis under Dr. Per Enge, a world renowned GPS expert now at Stanford University. According to Hegarty, "I had just finished my master's thesis on the design of a differential GPS network and was interested in working further in this area. GPS systems engineering is a fascinating field in that it bridges a number of disciplines, including signal processing, electromagnetics, geodesy and statistics."

As a result of his interests in GPS Dr. Hegarty was introduced to a senior member of the MITRE Center for Advanced Aviation System Development and learned of its unique relationship with the FAA. Subsequently, Dr. Hegarty joined the MITRE corporation in 1992 and, shortly thereafter, enrolled in the MITRE Advanced Graduate Degree Program where he earned his Ph.D. while working for MITRE.

Between 1992 and 1997 Dr. Hegarty made a number of important contributions to the development of civil aviation augmentation to GPS. For example, in 1993 he developed a technique to provide accurate corrections for rapidly varying GPS errors over low data rate channels. This technique is used today within the FAA Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). Other contributions included a large number of studies on varied GPS topics ranging from atmospheric effects to cost-benefit studies of alternative GPS based landing systems.

"I had just finished my master's thesis on the design of a differential GPS network and was interested in working further in this area. GPS systems engineering is a fascinating field in that it bridges a number of disciplines, including signal processing, electromagnetics, geodesy and statistics. "

As a result of his interests in GPS Dr. Hegarty was introduced to a senior member of the MITRE Center for Advanced Aviation System Development and learned of its unique relationship with the FAA. Subsequently, Dr. Hegarty joined the MITRE corporation in 1992 and, shortly thereafter, enrolled in the MITRE Advanced Graduate Degree Program where he earned his Ph.D. while working for MITRE.

Between 1992 and 1997 Dr. Hegarty made a number of important contributions to the development of civil aviation augmentation to GPS. For example, in 1993 he developed a technique to provide accurate corrections for rapidly varying GPS errors over low data rate channels. This technique is used today within the FAA Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). Other contributions included a large number of studies on varied GPS topics ranging from atmospheric effects to cost-benefit studies of alternative GPS based landing systems.

In 1997 Dr. Hegarty become the Editor of the Institute of Navigation (ION) premier journal NAVIGATION while he continued his work for MITRE on various GPS and precision navigation systems. In 1998 Dr. Hegarty was recognized by ION with the EARLY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for his work on improvements to the civil GPS signals. The following year he also was a co-recipient of The MITRE Corporation's PRESIDENT AWARD for his civilian GPS improvement work.

According to MITRE colleague Dr. Jim Chadwick during this period of Dr. Hegarty's work at MITRE;

"[Dr. Hegarty] is one of the brightest, most inquisitive and intellectually honest engineers that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I always depended on him for thorough, objective and accurate work, and he always delivered."

From September 1999 until October 2000, Dr. Hegarty served as the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Global Positioning System (GPS) Modernization Project Leader under an Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignment. In this capacity he was responsible for leading the FAA's GPS modernization activities. During and subsequent to that assignment he has been a technical advisor to the U.S. Government in a number of bilateral and multilateral international settings, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Telecommunications Union, and in negotiations regarding the compatibility of GPS with foreign systems such as GLONASS, GALILEO, and space-based augmentations to GPS. In particular, his colleagues note his seminal role in making a number of important contributions to the US-European Community agreement on GPS-Galileo that was signed by Colin Powell on behalf of the United States in 2004. As a result of his work on this agreement, he was a co-recipient of the Department of State's SUPERIOR HONOR AWARD.

For the past few years Dr. Hegarty has been co-chair of the RTCA Special Committee 159. RTCA, the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, was formed in 1935 as a private, not-for-profit corporation that develops recommendations for communications, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management systems for numerous government, industry and academic organizations throughout the world. Their recommendations are, for example, used by the FAA as a basis for policy, program and regulatory decisions. Nearly all RTCA recommendations are produced by special committees staffed by volunteers.

According to the RTCA web site Special Committee 159 develops "standards that form the basis for FAA approval of equipment using GPS as a primary means of civil aircraft navigation". Recommendations of the committee encompass technologies such as GPS/WAAS, GPS/LAAS, GPS/Inertial and GPS/Galileo applications. Working with this committee, Dr. Hegarty is the technical lead responsible for the modernized GPS civil signal design. In the words of Dr. A. J. Van Dierendock, President of AJ Systems and a colleague of Dr. Hegarty;

"Without Dr. Hegarty's significant contributions to the GPS Modernization activities within the government, the modernized GPS civil signals might well not be underway today."

Again according to Dr. Van Dierendock,

"The appointment of Dr. Hegarty to the RTCA SC159 was a significant appointment and substantiated the aviation community's confidence in his leadership and technical skills."

Dr. Hegarty is also an active member of ION, The Institute of Navigation - a non-profit professional society dedicated to the advancement of the art and science of navigation. He is currently the ION's Eastern Region Vice President and continues to be Editor in Chief of ION's quarterly journal, NAVIGATION. In 2005 Dr. Hegarty was selected for the coveted ION Johannes Kepler Award "To Honor an individual during their lifetime for sustained and significant contributions to the development of satellite navigation." The list of previous winners is a venerable who's who list of those who have made nationally and internationally recognized leadership contributions in the area of precision satellite navigation.

Dr. Hegarty and Department Head Fred Looft

In addition to his many technical activities and contributions, Dr. Hegarty has taught graduate-level courses in digital communications at The George Washington University and, since 2000, seminars on GPS for NavtechGPS. He was the program chair of ION GNSS 2004 and the general chair of ION GNSS 2005. He is the co-editor/co-author of the Artech House text Understanding GPS: Principles and Applications (2006). He has authored or coauthored over 40 conference/journal articles on GPS and spread spectrum receiver design.

On a more personal side, MITRE colleague Kelly R. Markin provided the following note.

Chris is such a delightful colleague and friend. He is a rare combination of exceeding brilliance and charming humility--I've never met anyone who doesn't respect his knowledge and like him as an individual. We've yet to discover any technical challenge he can't handle, yet he always makes the results seem understandable and the whole team feels they were part of the success. He is one of those folks you're glad to see advance. I once remarked to another colleague "one day we'll all work for Chris, and we'll be glad to do it."

On a personal note, Chris has a unique sense of humor--you can count on him to lighten up any occasion with an off-the-wall observation. Chris also plays a mean electric guitar--when he lived in northern Virginia, we jammed together in a basement band (I played bass and our friend Jim played drums). We never made the big times but had a lot of fun and downed a lot of margaritas!

 

Dr. Christopher Hegarty's accomplishments in the past decade would have made Hobart Newell a proud man. The WPI ECE Department is honored by Dr. Hegarty's achievements.

F. Looft
Professor and Head, ECE

For Further Exploration and Information

Hobart Newell Award

Each year one graduate of the WPI ECE department is honored for outstanding professional contributions. The namesake of the award, Prof. Hobart Newell, was a leader of a much earlier telecommunications revolution, beginning his career at Westinghouse Labs after his WPI graduation in 1918. While at Westinghouse, he was instrumental in establishing the pioneering broadcast station KDKA in Pittsburgh. Prof. Newell joined the WPI faculty in 1921, and taught electrical engineering here for 44 years. He brought modern electronics into a profession and a department that had been dominated by electrical power engineering, and he received the first Trustees Award for Outstanding Teaching at WPI. Prof. Newell was a Fellow of the IEEE.

The Newell Award, presented to an alumnus of the WPI ECE Department, was inaugurated in academic year 1990-91. The previous winners of this award represent a rich history of individuals involved in the breath and depth of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ranging from those involved in cutting-edge research and development, to heads of large corporations, educational innovators and Presidents of Universities. The long records of accomplishment of our previous alumni have established a high standard for this award.

 

 

1www.mitre.org/emplyment/employee_splotlight/chris-hegarty.html

2"The Institute of Navigation is a non-profit professional society dedicated to the advancement of the art and science of navigation. It serves a diverse community including those interested in air, space, marine, land navigation, and position determination. Although basically a national organization, its membership is worldwide, and it is affiliated with the International Association of Institutes of Navigation." - http://www.ion.org/about_ion/

3 www.rtca.org

4 The European GNSS

May 1, 2006