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Dr. Monika Aggarwal was born in Dehradun, India. She received the B.Tech. degree in Electrical Engineering and the M.Tech. degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the Regional Engineering College, Kurukshetra, India, and the PhD. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India, in 1993, 1995, and 2000, respectively.
She was employed with Hughes Software Systems (HSS), Gurgaon, India from 1999 to 2002. During 2001 she was a visiting researcher in the Dept. of Systems and Control, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
She joined C.A.R.E, I.I.T Delhi as Assistant Professor in Jan.2003.
What motivated you to become a signal processing professional?
Though I belong to a family of academicians, I never thought that I will join academia until I started pursuing my PhD degree. I joined PhD program due to a lack of job prospects. I was not able to find a suitable job. This proved to be a turning point, and a blessing in disguise.It was during my PhD I could delve deeper into my research interest and connect with my passion of towards research and teaching. Further to be sure about my decision I joined industry and after spending a year over there came back to academia for good. This combination of academic and industry sets me apart and has helped me in many of endeavours.
How does your work affect society?
We are all surrounded by many audio, visual, infra-red, microwave, ultra violet, and so many other types of signals. I feel signal processing researchers form the backbone, as many real world problems/systems need to handle signals, by designing novel, simpler, and innovative methods. They play an important role in many fields. I am an academician, a teacher, and I am preparing the next generation of engineers, scientists, researchers, and etrepreneurs, who will be motivated, be proactive and determined and will also be equipped with newest technology and will work towards improving existing and innovating many newer technologies.
My research is towards developing newer technologies for communication mainly for underwater communication to understand the hidden world underwater. I am also trying to use the 5G/6G communication technology to make newer and smarter IOT systems for better and improved living. Major part of my research is towards developing novel technologies for biomedical signal/image analysis to achieve better understanding of the human body and conduct fast and accurate diagnostics.
Collaboration with industry, government, defence and others is helping us move towards making our ideas see the day of light and defining new ideas to life. New products, services, and innovations are all towards improving the life of humans, environment, and all living organism.
What challenges you had to face to get where you are today?
The world is full of challenges, but life become easier when you have people who support, motivate, and encourage you. My parents have supported me throughout my life, and because of them I could overcome most of my hurdles and challenges, could face more with courage and strength.
Being a female in a male dominated society is always difficult. I still remember when I presented my first conference paper, the chairperson while introducing me said, I do not know whether she is “Miss or Mrs”. I still do not understand what is the impact of this on my research quality? I feel when we manage our work, home, kids, and the extended family, we become more mature and learn to adapt with the changing environment. This has always made me stronger and more determined to achieve my goals in a more focussed manner.
What advice would you give to scientists/engineers in signal processing?
Like any other field, signal processing is growing and evolving. As a student I has studied a different kind of signal processing, and now it is totally different. We should also grow at the same pace. The best way to do it is by staying up-to-date, and learning new things with the newer generation. Curious, inquisitive, and a creative mind is the mother of many inventions and discoveries. One should never stop thinking outside of the box.
Collaborating with others is the best way to grow your research. Collaborate with like-minded people and more importantly dissimilar-minded people. I feel diversity can bring innovation and create new perspectives.
Always be focused and also always be ready to learn and experiment new things. Life is like a sine wave/curve, if there is a downward wave, there will soon be an upward wave. Do not ever lose hope and faith in yourself.
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