Skip directly to: Main page content

The Campaign for UC Davis

Stories of inspired gifts … stories that inspire giving

Office of University Development

UC Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-5270

(530) 754-4438 phone
(530) 754-2294 fax

Portrait of Wireless Communication

Professor Qing Zhao is working to help billions communicate better, wirelessly.

Wireless communication is quickly revolutionizing the way billions of people worldwide interface. Qing Zhao, professor of electrical and computer engineering, is one of the world’s leading researchers on improving the efficiency of wireless communication.

While the demand for radio frequencies used in wireless communication is growing, the supply of those frequencies — which are a natural resource — is limited.

“On the surface, it seems like we are running out of usable radio frequencies, but measurements of actual usage indicate that the shortage is a result of management policy rather than the physical scarcity of useable frequencies,” Zhao said. “My team is among the first to look at this emerging area of research on dynamic strategies for accessing and sharing the radio spectrum.”

Zhao and her team of international scholars at UC Davis are researching a new way to organize and reuse radio frequencies so that new wireless users can access a frequency without causing harmful interference with those who have primary rights to the frequency.

Zhao’s work on opening up a secondary frequency market has gained national and international attention from such organizations as the Federal Communications Commission, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Zhao also has earned recognition at UC Davis for her work. In 2011, she was named a Chancellor’s Fellow — an early-career faculty award that is supported by private contributions to the UC Davis Annual Fund.

Zhao said this philanthropic support has allowed her to expand her research into new and important areas.

“Philanthropy is critical in terms of expanding knowledge and academic partnerships,” she said. “Different from research grants, philanthropic support provides the freedom necessary to support emerging research areas and set up international and interdisciplinary collaborations, which have helped me broaden my research program. I’m so grateful to annual fund donors and all who donate to UC Davis.”