A goal-oriented problem solver

Gerald Q. Maguire Jr. had a solid academic background when he left USA to become a full professor at KTH 1994. He sees his work with his students as his most important activity. All of his students work in industry, and all of their theses are motivated by real-life problems. He wants to encourage industrially relevant work.

Gerald Maguire completed his Ph.D. & M.S. in Computer Science at the University of Utah and a B.A., magna cum laude, in Physics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In July 1994 he became Professor of Computer Communication (Datorkommunikation).

“My research area is the broad area of Computer Communication, with particular emphasis on personal computing and communication systems”, Maguire explains. In recent years an emphasis has been on adaptive and context aware computing and communication systems.

Gerald Q. Maguire – or “Chip” as he is often called - has previously been on the faculty of Columbia University, Gastprofessor at Graz University of Technology, Acting & Guest Professor at KTH, Invited Lecturer at Leiden State University, and Program Director for Experimental Systems, U.S. National Science Foundation. He had a Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship at Karolinska Institutet. He has published 5 books, 5 chapters, 51 journal papers, 106 conference papers, and given more than 210 invited lectures. He has produced 8 doctoral students (4 at KTH), 9 licentiate students, supervised >30 MS/Civ.Ing. students, examined >300 Civ.Ing. theses & a number of BS/Ing. theses, and been an opponent or member of numerous doctoral committees.

Computer Communication Systems Lab

Prof. Maguire has been associated with the Wireless@KTH center since its inception. He is also responsible for the Computer Communication Systems lab within the department of Communications Systems.

“There are no staff or students in this lab, and no plans for having any”, Maguire says. All of my doctoral students work in industry, where they spend part of their time on their doctoral studies. The goal is to encourage industrially relevant work and to transition ideas to realization as quickly as possible.

In addition, numerous licentiate students have followed this path of combining working in industry with their graduate studies. Gerald Maguire thinks that key features of successful doctoral students are that they must be very intelligent, highly motivated, work extremely hard, and focus on a problem which they (and hopefully their employer) believe is important.

“Students who are not driven to be outstanding leaders in their field are encouraged to find another advisor”, Gerald Maguire says. One of the worst things a professor can do is to produce low quality doctoral students - as they can reproduce. This damages the field and generally leads to a downward spiral in the quality of the students which they in turn produce.

Industry-related theses projects

A major portion of his time is devoted to advising & examining master thesis students. The majority of these students carry out their thesis project in industry.

“This activity as very important as such projects are one of the ways which (particularly Swedish) industry takes risks”, Maguire explains. In some cases it may lead to disruptive technological innovations.

Prof. Maguire has frequent collaborations with industry, some of these have resulted in products or standards; the most important changed the direction which industry took.

In addition to work in computer communications, he has also published extensively - frequently together with Prof. Marilyn E. Noz, his wife and main collaborator on medical imaging. Together they have published four books, 38 journal papers, and many conference papers & posters. Together with Prof. Ellen M. McGee (a medical ethicist), he has published a seminal paper concerning the ethics of implantable neural interfaces.

“Unlike many researchers who are concerned with applying for grants & contracts, I have chosen not to waste time in this way”, Gerald Maguire concludes. Instead I have focused on helping students to be the best that they can be and to innovate in an organic fashion driven by problems, rather than doing research which is not related to or motivated by solving real problems.


Successful doctoral students and their topics:

  • J. Mitola III (Consulting Scientist, The MITRE Corporation) - lead to the whole new area of cognitive radio;
  • Theo Kanter (Ericsson Research, now professor at Mid-Sweden University) – adaptive personal communication
  • Roch H. Glitho (Ericsson Research, now also Adjunct Associate Professor at Concordia University) - mobile agents for services in internet telephony.
  • Yuejin (George) Liu (Ericsson Research, later Professor at Linköping University, now professor at East China Jiaotong University) – mobility architectures for mobile computing

Interview 2007

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