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PhD Student Places Second in International Telemetry Conference

Morteza Shoushtari

Doctoral student Morteza Shoushtari placed second in the graduate category in this year’s International Telemetry Conference (ITC) for incorporating physical layer security concepts into telemetry.

His paper, “Secrecy Coding in the Integrated Network Enhanced Telemetry (iNET)” proposes a secure coding technique for the iNET communications system that can be coupled with modern encryption schemes. It marked the first time that type of coding was proposed in the telemetry industry.

"Being awarded in this conference shows that our proposed coding algorithm can practically be used in such an application,” Shoushtari said.

Shoushtari has been pursuing his doctorate for the past three years, but he studies physical layer security in a wireless communications application, not telemetry. He and his faculty advisor, Dr. Willie Harrison, realized while working on physical layer security that the concept could apply to the telemetry industry as well.

Shoushtari emphasized the support of Dr. Harrison during his journey. “He’s like my big brother,” he said.

Shoushtari’s win means the ITC is now a family affair. His wife, Farah Arabian, has already placed two times in the conference.

As far as he knows, he and Arabian are the only couple to have both placed in ITC as well as the only couple to be pursuing their doctorates together in BYU’s electrical and computer engineering graduate program.

Shoushtari’s next ambition is to have a paper accepted by the best conference in his own field: IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT). He’s currently working on his results for this conference.

His field of study was completely new for him when he first began his doctorate after working in the industry in Iran, but he said he likes the challenges.

He said if he could give any piece of advice to undergraduate students considering (or who may someday consider) pursuing a doctorate, it would be this quote from Zig Ziglar: “it’s your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.”

“What matters is that you believe in yourself,” he said. “This is the attitude that you need in your journey.”

He said that placing in the ITC conference showed him that all the hard work paid off in the end.