ECE PhD Student Wins IEEE ICC 2022 Best Paper Award

Zihuan Wang, a PhD student in UBC Electrical and Computer Engineering, received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Dalian University of Technology (DLUT), Dalian, China, in 2017 and 2020, respectively. Zihuan has several awards to her name, including the National Scholarship of DLUT, a UBC Four Year Fellowship, a Mitacs Accelerate Fellowship, and a Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) Award from the ECE Department. Most recently though, Zihuan won the Best Paper Award at the 2022 IEEE International Conference on Communications!

We are excited to share an interview with Zihuan below, where we connected with her about the award, her research focusing on machine learning applications in wireless systems and integrated sensing, and her future plans!

Congratulations on winning the IEEE ICC 2022 Best Paper Award! How do you feel about receiving this award?

It is wonderful to receive this award! I feel very encouraged by this acknowledgement and recognition of my work. It motivates me and strengthens my confidence in continuing my research in this area. And I am greatly thankful to my supervisor Prof. Vincent Wong who has suggested this research topic to me and provides me continual support and helpful guidance. 

What topic are you researching for your PhD and what is it that excites you about this topic?

My research areas include the applications of machine learning techniques in wireless networks. In particular, I developed a deep neural network for traffic prediction in wireless networks and I tested its performance using a real-world collected dataset. I felt very excited when I first saw the greater performance improvement of my proposed approach than the other schemes, and realized how my research work can help the real-world wireless systems. 

What has your career path looked like so far? How did you end up at ECE, and why did you choose our department?

I obtained my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in China. After that, I applied for the Ph.D study in UBC ECE. I would like to become a researcher in wireless communications in the future. To gain a wider and deeper vision in research, UBC ECE is a perfect choice for me because of its advanced resources. Also, I was interested in Prof. Vincent Wong’s research areas, and looking forward to joining his research lab. 

Where do you hope you’ll be in 5 years?

I hope at that time I am still passionate about researching wireless communications. I hope to become a researcher who can contribute to the development of wireless networks. 

 What do you like to do outside of work/research and what makes these activities enjoyable for you?

I really love the beautiful environment in Vancouver. Outside of work, I usually go hiking. I feel relaxed during hiking, and it is a lot of fun to explore new places in nature when going on a hike. I also love watching movies, as I can see various worlds, feel different emotions, and learn new things.

For any inquiries, Zihuan can be contacted at