Alberto Valdes-Garcia

Dr. Alberto Valdes-Garcia

IBM T. J. Watson Research Center

Talk Title: Vertical integration for mmWave Systems: Building a Bridge Between Antennas and AI




Alberto Valdes-Garcia is currently a Research Staff Member and Manager of the RF Circuits and Systems Group at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. He received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2006. His current research work is on multiple aspects of millimeter-wave technology including silicon-based ICs, antenna-in-package solutions, and systems for imaging and communications. From 2006 to 2009, Dr. Valdes-Garcia served in the IEEE 802.15.3c 60GHz standardization committee. Since 2009 he serves as Technical Advisory Board member with Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), where he was Chair of the Integrated Circuits and Systems Sciences Coordinating Committee in 2011 and 2012. He holds 36 US patents and is a co-Editor of the book 60GHz technology for Gbps WLAN and WPAN: From Theory to Practice (Wiley, 20011). His scholarly work (100+ peer-referred publications) has already received more than 3000 independent citations from index publications.  Dr. Valdes-Garcia is the winner of the 2005 Best Doctoral Thesis Award presented by the IEEE Test Technology Technical Council (TTTC), the recipient of the 2007 National Youth Award for Outstanding Academic Achievements, presented by the President of Mexico, a co-recipient of the 2010 George Smith Award presented by the IEEE Electron Devices Society, and a co-recipient of the 2017 Lewis Winner Award for Outstanding Paper, presented by the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference. In 2013, he was selected by the National Academy of Engineering for its Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. He was inducted into the IBM Academy of Technology in 2015 and was recognized as an IBM Master Inventor in 2016.


Si-based millimeter-wave transceivers and associated antenna-in-package integration techniques have recently reached a high level of complexity and maturity. These advances have enabled the commercial deployment of millimeter-wave systems in mobile communication networks and automotive radar systems.

The complexity and reconfigurability enabled by the co-integration of digital and millimeter-wave circuits has also resulted in a practically infinite configurability space, especially in the context of beamforming systems. Current millimeter-wave beamforming systems employing hand-crafted configuration algorithms can access <1% of this space. At IBM Research, we envision a future where the application space of millimeter-wave systems enters new domains as the capabilities of such systems are fully realized by AI-driven adaptation and data interpretation. Effective mmWave hardware-to-software vertical integration is a key step towards the realization of this vision by closing the gap between antennas and AI.

This talk presents two examples of such vertically integrated systems. First, a Software Defined Phased Array Radio (SDPAR) is discussed. The SDPAR consists of a highly configurable 64-element dual polarized phased array operating at 28 GHz, a Software Defined Radio (SDR), and a software stack enabling access to both radio and spatial beamforming functions from a single API. The second example is a multi-spectral imaging platform consisting of a 60-GHz imaging radar, an IR camera, a visible domain camera, and software for the joint visualization of information from these three distinct spectral domains. Experimental results obtained with these platforms will be presented along with an outlook of their evolution towards the development of AI technology tailored to adaptive communication systems and portable imaging devices.