The Faculty Member: Ronny Hadani

Credit Jeff Wilson

Associate professor of mathematics and co-founder of Cohere Technologies. Interviewed by Marc Airhart.

Your company improves wireless communications. What problem does your technology help solve?

Wireless communication often happens in a very complicated environment. Your cell phone signals reflect off of buildings and other objects. If you’re moving, the frequency of the signals shifts. These effects limit how much information you can reliably transfer in a given amount of time.

“Mathematics is a hammer that, in the right hands, can break big walls. It’s powerful knowledge that allows you to solve non-trivial problems.”

How effective is your solution?

With this technology you can transmit twice as much information as current systems. Maybe, eventually, even five or ten times as much.

How do you hope your work will impact everyday people?

People are talking about all kinds of applications for this boosted capacity. For example, doctors might be able to do robotic surgery from a distance. It’s impossible to do that today because wireless communication is not fast enough or reliable enough. You can’t send an instruction to make a cut and then have a delay before it actually happens. Advancements like these will change our lives, but they will require a much bigger digital highway. So you could say I am in the highway business.

What do you love the most about being a mathematician?

First of all, I love the beauty and the simplicity. A lot of people think of mathematics as a complicated subject, but it’s not true. It’s the simplest. It becomes simpler as your understanding gets deeper. As you mature into mathematics, you remember less and less because you can develop all the tools you need from scratch. And at the same time, you become stronger because you know how to solve more things. 

Secondly, I was attracted by its raw power. Mathematics is a hammer that, in the right hands, can break big walls. It’s powerful knowledge that allows you to solve non-trivial problems. I felt it as a young man and it always fascinated me. 

To learn more about Hadani’s novel technology, read our extended interview.

2016cns utexasQ&A, Mathematics