Education

  • Ph.D., Electrical & Computer Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

  • M.S.E., Aerospace Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

  • M.S., Electrical & Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University

  • B.E. with Honors, Electrical Engineering, Lebanese American University

Research Interests

  • Cyber-physical systems

  • Estimation theory

  • Navigation systems

  • Autonomous vehicles

  • Intelligent transportation systems

  • Target tracking

About me

Zak Kassas 

I joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) in 2014 as an Assistant Professor. Since joining UCR, I established the Autonomous Systems Perception, Intelligence, and Navigation (ASPIN) Laboratory. The research focus of the ASPIN Laboratory is developing theory and technologies for future autonomous systems deployed in minimally known environments. ASPIN Laboratory pursues research in three main thrusts: (1) Develop cognitive software-defined radio (SDR) that is called MATRIX (Multichannel Adaptive TRansceiver Information eXtractor) to exploit signals of opportunity in the environment for situational awareness, (2) Synthesize collaborative opportunistic navigation architectures, and (3) Design optimal autonomous decision-making strategies in dynamic, stochastic environments to balance the potentially conflicting objectives of information gathering and mission fulfillment. ASPIN Laboratory's breakthrough research received numerous awards at prestigious conferences, appeared on magazine covers, and was featured in dozens of national and international media outlets. I was appointed an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems in 2016. My research at UCR has attracted nearly $2M in competitive federal grants from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Zak Kassas 

I received my Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) in 2014. My Ph.D. advisors were Professor Todd Humphreys and Professor Ari Arapostathis. From 2011 through 2014, I was a graduate research assistant at the Radionavigation Laboratory. My Ph.D. research studied a novel navigation paradigm, termed collaborative opportunistic navigation (COpNav), to enable navigation in global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-challenged environments (e.g., indoors, deep urban canyons, and environments under jamming and spoofing attacks). COpNav receivers extract navigation information from ambient radio frequency signals of opportunity (e.g., cell phone, digital TV, and Iridium satellites) to construct and continuously refine a global signal landscape within which the receivers localize themselves in space and time. My research studied two problems pertaining to COpNav: (i) Observability and estimability analyses and (ii) Motion planning for optimal information gathering. My theoretical results were validated via numerical simulations and experimental demonstrations with the aid of software-defined receivers.

Zak Kassas 

From 2008 through 2011, I was an adjunct professor at the Ingram School of Engineering at Texas State University. I taught the senior-level undergraduate courses: MFGE 4376: Control Systems and Instrumentation in the Spring 2008, 2009, and 2010 semesters and EE 4377: Digital Signal Processing in the Spring 2011 semester.

Zak Kassas 

I received my Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) degree in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) in 2010. In my M.S.E. Report, I designed optimal H2 and H∞ controllers for large segmented telescopes. My M.S.E. advisor was Professor Robert H. Bishop.

Zak Kassas 

From 2004 through 2010, I worked with the Control Design and Dynamical Systems Simulation Group at National Instruments Corporation (NI) as a research and development engineer. My responsibilities at NI included the full-development cycle (research, implementation, and testing) of six major and minor releases of the following products: LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module, LabVIEW System Identification Toolkit, and LabVIEW PID and Fuzzy Logic Toolkit. The software I developed was multi-platform, spanning off-line design and simulation and real-time (RT) and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) deployment.

Zak Kassas 

I received my Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University (OSU) in 2003. In my M.S. Thesis, I designed optimal nonlinear Bayesian filters for in-surveillance and out-of-surveillance ground target tracking via unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). While pursuing my graduate studies at OSU, I worked as a graduate research associate at the Collaborative Center of Control Science (CCCS). My M.S. advisor was Professor Umit Ozguner.

Zak Kassas 

In 2000, I conducted an internship at Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation, where I rotated among the following departments: electrical systems design and analysis, power systems studies, instrumentation and calibration, and protection relays.

Zak Kassas 

I received my Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) degree with Honors in Electrical Engineering from The Lebanese American University (LAU), Byblos, Lebanon in 2001. In my senior design project, I proposed a power matching algorithm for Global Positioning System (GPS) coverage extension and validated the proposed algorithm experimentally. While pursuing my undergraduate studies, I worked as a teaching and a research assistant in the Electrical Engineering Laboratories. My B.E. advisor was Professor Samer Saab.