Santa Clara University


Sarah Kate Wilson

Professor Sarah Kate "Katie" Wilson teaches ELEN 50, the first course in circuit analysis for electrical engineering students. In class, her students determine the current, voltage, power and energy consumption in a circuit containing resistors, capacitors, inductors and op-amps. As Wilson notes, learning how to calculate power and energy consumption is key to understanding the efficiency of an electrical circuit.

Wilson's research in wireless digital communications exemplifies the area of sustainability that focuses on contributing to solutions to social need while creating social parity. According to the United Nations' 1992 definition, for authentic progress to be made in sustainability, there must be economic development, ecological health, and social equity. One of the goals of her research is inexpensive, low-power, efficient communications for an expanding market.

She and Prof. JoAnne Holliday, computer engineering, have been researching the feasibility of using small, turn-key base stations for cellular networks that would inexpensively increase the digital capacity on high traffic networks, and also extend the reach of existing cellular networks in third-world or developing countries. Wilson envisions agile base-stations (ABS) that will not only improve network connectivity in developed countries, but will also help fishermen in a remote village determine which market will bring the best price for their catch.

Such technology would mitigate the digital divide by providing an inexpensive, flexible, and efficient way of increasing cellular network productivity for everyone. The professors are concentrating their research on increasing the number of low-cost, low-rate service channels, such as pagers or voice, making wireless communication accessible around the world, and allowing many to benefit from the information age.

Visit Prof. Wilson's faculty page.