Jim Cavers' personal pages

  My research

You can read about my research at the standard Engineering Science faculty page and at the page for the Mobile Communications Laboratory.  Transmission and detection of signals in radio channels form the core of what I do.  My primary research thrust right now is multiuser detection combined with "smart antennas" - adaptive antenna arrays for mobile and personal communications. Call it MIMO-MUD (multi-input, multi-output antenna arrays with multiuser detection), or multiuser-MIMO-MUD.  Following this line, my students and I have found ways to dramatically increase the number of users a narrowband (i.e., TDMA-like) system can support – both uplink and downlink.  We have also devised minimum-computation, but nevertheless optimum, methods for handling multiuser macrodiversity in CDMA and narrowband systems.  In a quite different area, my students and I have made a number of advances in radio transceiver design - integrated DSP/RF for radio amplifier linearization, correction of modulator and demodulator impairments, etc. I'm not an RF guy, though - I'm just a signals guy who strayed from the path.

What does it add up to? Better quality cell phone conversations, with fewer system busy signals. Cheaper calls, too, since the equipment the cellular operator installs becomes cheaper – and, more importantly, that expensive radio spectrum is used more effectively. For manufacturers who use the techniques developed in my group, it means increased market share through innovative products. For example, one licensee of the adaptive digital predistorter technology has already generated over $35 million U.S. in sales with their first-generation product. We expect licensees in the near future for the adaptive feedforward technology.

Downloadable Un-Publications

At the standard Engineering Science faculty page, you can download some of my publications.  You can also download some useful unpublished fragments – analyses, programs, reports, workshop presentations, etc. – written by my students and myself at the “un-publication” site. 

For those of you wanting to buy my book Mobile Channel Characteristics, a 225-page hardcover from Kluwer Academic Publishers, there is bad news and good news.  The bad news: the first edition has sold out.  But the good news that the greatly expanded second edition is now available as an interactive text from Shady Island Press.  Even better, it comes only in CD ROM form, which is how I conceived of the text in the first place.  Once installed on your computer, you get all the features – the explanations, the interactive demos, the animations, the simulations and all those links to researcher websites and online journals.  And better still is that a CD ROM is way cheaper than hardcover, which scales it to a student budget.  You’ll also find some free downloads at the Support section of the Shady Island Press site.

Some awards

I've been named…

  a 2002 Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) “for contributions to the theory and practice of digital transmission over wireless channels.

  a 2001 Canada Research Chair in wireless communications.

• the 2000 recipient of the R.A. McLachlan Memorial Award from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC).

• the 1998 recipient of the Manning Foundation’s Principal Award of $100,000. This national award recognizes outstanding innovation that has led to commercial success; in this case, for my development of adaptive digital predistortion.

• the 1995 recipient of the Gold Medal in Engineering and Applied Science from the Science Council of British Columbia for research and practical inventions in telecommunications in both university and industry.

• the 1992 recipient of the Stentor Telecommunications Research Award of $5,000. This national award recognizes outstanding collaborations between university and industry; in this case, for my contributions to the next generation Airfone, an in-flight telephone system.


Teaching and research go hand-in-hand. It's clear that an active research program allows a teacher to enrich the students' courses with examples, tips and insights. Less often recognized is that it works the other way, too - teaching keeps a researcher razor-sharp on the fundamentals, which saves time in analysis and often leads to novel techniques. That's why universities are special institutions. They're not just teaching colleges, and they're not just research organizations. They're both - and they're driven by the energy of young people and the curiousity of seasoned researchers. Not to mention the cheap coffee.

I enjoy teaching. Here are some Engineering Science courses I have taught. At the undergraduate level:

ENSC 320 Linear Systems      

ENSC 380 Linear Systems      

ENSC 428 Digital Communications

At the graduate level:

ENSC 810 Digital Signal Processing    

ENSC 832 Mobile and Personal Communication

My life in fast forward

I grew up in Port Alice, B.C., Canada. I received a B.A.Sc. in engineering physics in 1966 and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1970, both from the University of British Columbia.  From 1970 to 1979 I was an Assistant, then Associate, Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa. I spent 1979 to 1982 as a program manager at MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, in Vancouver, followed by a year as senior engineer at Glenayre Electronics, also in Vancouver. In 1983 I joined the School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University, where I hold the rank of Professor. From 1990 to 1994, I was Director of the School.


I spent January-May 1998 as a Visiting Erskine Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. I was also there for 6 months in 1995. Why New Zealand? First, the communications research group at Canterbury is excellent. Second, the research group in radio systems at the University of Auckland is doing innovative work in propagation modelling. And third, well, New Zealand is beautiful - have a look.