Monisha Ghosh becomes FCC's first female Chief Technology Officer

Monisha Ghosh, center, a Research Professor at University of Chicago, has been appointed Chief Technology Officer of FCC.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Monisha Ghosh, an IIT alumna, and currently a rotating Program Director at the National Science Foundation and a Research Professor at University of Chicago, has been appointed the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and will create history by becoming the first woman to hold this position at this agency when she starts work on Jan. 13, taking over from Eric Burger, who has been serving at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy since October.

Announcing her appointment on Dec. 20, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said, “As the FCC moves aggressively to advance American leadership in 5G, Dr. Ghosh’s deep technical knowledge of wireless technologies will be invaluable.”

“Dr. Ghosh has both conducted and overseen research into cutting-edge wireless issues in academia and industry. Her expertise is also broad, ranging from the Internet of Things, medical telemetry, and broadcast standards,” he said, and added, “And it bears noting that this is an historic appointment — I am proud that Dr. Ghosh will be the FCC’s first female CTO, and hope her example inspires young women everywhere to consider careers in STEM fields.  I’m grateful to her for serving in this important position at this important time.”

The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

An independent U.S. government agency overseen by the U.S. Congress, the FCC is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing the country’s communications law and regulations.

The FCC’s CTO serves as the senior technology expert in the agency, and Ghosh besides being Pai’s chief adviser on technology and engineering issues, under her mandate will also work closely with the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology.

Ghosh is a B.Tech graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Kharagpur (Class of 1986) majoring in Electronics and Electrical Communications Engineering, and after immigrating to the U.S. for post-graduate studies, received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California(Class of 1991).

She then joined Philips Research in 1991 as a Senior Member of Research Staff and was a member of the team that developed the first digital broadcast HDTV system where her work on the physical layer led to the first VSB IC implementing a blind decision feedback equalizer. 

Between 1998-1999 Ghosh was a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, where she worked on (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multi-Uder Access (OFDMA) for cellular systems, a precursor to 4G LTE. She returned to Philips in 1999 as a Principal Member of Research Staff and had key contributions to 802.22, the first cognitive radio standard for the TV White Spaces  In 2011, she initiated research in the use of probabilistic methods for health analytics in a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic.

In 2012, she joined Interdigital where she continued to work on standardization for 802.11.

Ghosh joined NSF in Sept. 2017, serving as a rotating Program Director at its Computer and Network System Division within the Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering, where she managed the core wireless research portfolio as well as special programs such as Machine Learning for Wireless Networking Systems (MLWiNS).

She also worked as a Research Professor at the University of Chicago, with a joint appointment at the Argonne National Laboratories, where she conducted research on wireless technologies for the IoT(Internet of Things), 5G cellular, next generation Wi-Fi systems and machine learning for predictive oncology.

Erwin Gianchandani, NSF’s acting Assistant Director for Computer Information Science and Engineering, in hailing Ghosh’s appointment, said, “Dr. Ghosh has done outstanding work during her time at the National Science Foundation,” pointing out that “as a program director within our Division of Computer and Network Systems, she has contributed to programs supporting advanced wireless research, including innovative uses for spectrum and wireless spectrum sharing.”

Ghosh has authored over 50 scientific papers and holds over 40 patents. She received the Distinguished Engineer Award in Philips in 2008 and is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

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