Young scientist paving the way for the 4th Industrial Revolution

24 October 2018
Developing more sustainable, equitable and efficient communications systems
2018 Young Scientist Dr Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam, an expert in Internet of Things and sustainable power sources, attended the World Economic Forum in Tianjin to discuss the fourth Industrial Revolution with leaders in business, government and academia.
Dr Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China

Dr Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China  



Dr Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam from the School of Electrical and Information Engineering was nominated as a 2018 Young Scientist for the World Economic Forum. We asked Mahyar about his research and what it means to receive this accolade.


Tell us a little about your research

I am working to develop an ultra-low power communication strategy for Internet of Things (IoT), the network of interconnected objects that seamlessly communicate with each other. This is especially important as we move towards industrial uses for IoT such as automotive, manufacturing and industrial control. As they have been engineered predominantly for human-based communications and require frequent battery recharge, wireless communication systems can only support a short lifespan. By 2025, it is estimated there will be more than 50 billion IoT devices, the majority of which will be battery operated. The batteries are expected to operate for more than 10 years, with only one battery charge.


My research aims to fundamentally change communication strategies and tailor them for the minimum energy consumptions required for many IoT applications. It involves replacing batteries with piezoelectric materials, which accumulate charge from vibrations in their environment. Our environment is a rich source of energy, including solar, mechanical and wireless energy, and has the potential to provide a limitless energy resources for these devices.


I am also designing very highly-reliable and low-latency communication strategies, which is required for many industrial and mission-critical applications such as industrial control and remote surgery. For example, with a surgeon remotely operating on a patient, a communication delay of more than 1ms could lead to unnecessarily cutting a vein and potentially causing a catastrophe. My research will ensure communication delays of less than 1ms and reliable data delivery.

Tell us more about the World Economic Forum

Each year, the World Economic Forum honours 50 extraordinary scientists under the age of 40 for their contributions to advancing the frontiers of science, engineering and technology. Scientists are selected from all regions of the world and from a diverse range of disciplines to engage with global researchers and to dedicate time to improving the state of the world as a member of the Young Scientists community. The Forum brings together leaders from business, government and academia to help shape global, regional and industry agendas. 

What does being a Young Scientist involve?

As a Young Scientist of the World Economic Forum, I am invited to two annual meetings of New Champions; I have just returned from the first of these in Tianjin and the next meeting will be in Dalian, China next year. Being a Young Scientist, I have access to all sorts of incredible forums and communities, such as the Young Scientist Community and Expert Networks, as well as several initiatives on the fourth industrial revolution to share ideas on shaping the future. The fourth industrial revolution is about riding the digital revolution that has been building since the middle of the last century. It is a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres. I meet with policy makers, public figures, political figures, great scientists and entrepreneurs from around the world.

We are experiencing the most dynamic period the telecommunication industry has ever faced. We are solving fundamental problems and designing communication systems for contradicting requirements in reliability and latency. Though difficult and challenging, the outcome will be brilliant, and I am proud to be part of this revolution.
Dr Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam

What are some of the goals of the Young Scientists Class of 2018?

The 2018 meeting of New Champions carries the theme ‘Shaping Innovative Societies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, which is discussing the essential elements required for creating the innovative societies of the future. One of my research goals is to create a sustainable yet efficient communication system for Internet of Things application and services. My work is aimed to create flexible and tailored communication systems prepared for the fourth industrial revolution. The World Economic Forum offers the Young Scientists continuous support through its academic and expert networks as well as engagement opportunities with its initiatives.

What does being a World Economic Forum Young Scientist mean to you?

The World Economic Forum identifies Young Scientists not solely based on their academic achievements, but according to their passion and vision to make a big impact. I am passionate about my research and the way that it will make people’s lives better. It is part of my commitment to promote a healthier, more sustainable, inclusive and equitable future. I am trusted to be the next generation of science leaders from across academic disciplines and continents.

Can you share with us some of your experiences in Tianjin at the annual meeting of the New Champions? What was the best aspect of the meeting?

The annual meeting was focused on developing relationships with people from wider communities outside our areas of research. These experts are committed to solving real-world problems and shaping the future of our societies. Science and technology are now evolving at a much faster pace than ever before, and I could really see these changes through the deep discussions between world leaders, political figures and scientists. The unique feature of the meeting was the diversity of sessions, discussions and forums. Everyone was passionate about making changes to improve the state of the world.

What is next for you?

I am continually working with World Economic Forums in different communities and technical discussions. I actively participate in several initiatives on Internet of Things, the fourth Industrial Revolution and digital communications for communities. In 2019, I will attend the annual meeting and present a talk on my recent progress in designing future-proof communiction systems.


Visit the School of Electrical of Information Engineering for more information about our leading research in Internet of Things