Christopher O'Lone - graduate student | ECE | Virginia Tech

Christopher O'Lone ECE graduate student


Portrait photograph of Christopher O
Christopher O'Lone

Where were you born?

Suburban Philadelphia

What are your hobbies?

I love to play guitar and piano. Playing guitar is a great stress relief when I need a break from homework. I also cook a great deal and end up spending a good bit of time in the kitchen and researching healthy recipes. I also like to run and lift weightsâ?¦ I ran track for many years, so Iâ??ve been programmed to spend some time each week at the track.

What's one interesting fact about you?

I have never been west of where I am right now (Blacksburg). Iâ??ve traveled to multiple countries and have been all up and down the east coast (from the southernmost tip of Key West, all the way up to Toronto), but Iâ??ve never made it out west. I guess I need to hop in a car and explore some more!

What are you researching? How might it impact society?

Currently, my research involves the statistical characterization of localization performance in wireless networks. In order to characterize localization performance, I study what is called the Cramer-Rao lower bound. In terms of my research in localization, this bound provides a theoretical limit on how well any localization algorithm can perform. Thus, it provides an excellent benchmark with which to analyze position error.

While this bound has been well studied, the novelty here lies in the fact that we may model anchor node placements as random, which implies that this bound becomes random. Therefore, deriving the distribution of this bound will result in a distribution of localization error across an entire wireless network.

The ultimate goal of this research is to give network designers an analytical tool with which they can use to determine what network parameters they can tweak (i.e. detection thresholds, anchor node density, processing gain, etc.) in order to meet required localization error tolerances. This tool will aid in the design of current and emerging wireless networks. An example of how this work might impact society is that it will help first responders to locate people in need with greater accuracy.

What influenced you to choose ECE at Virginia Tech?

Virginia Tech has one of the top ECE programs in the country, and that directly influenced my decision to pursue my graduate work here.

I was also drawn here by the opportunity to work with the director of the Wireless @ Virginia Tech research group, Dr. R. Michael Buehrer. He has given me the flexibility to pursue my passions while providing the continual encouragement and guidance I need in order to achieve my research and career goals.

Additionally, the ECE department at Virginia Tech offers the Bradley Fellowship, a three-year fellowship for electrical engineering graduate students, and I was fortunate to be a recipient. This fellowship enabled me to focus on my research while alleviating the financial stress of pursuing a Ph.D.

How do you like living in Blacksburg and the surrounding area?

I quickly came to love Blacksburg and found that itâ??s the perfect place to pursue a Ph.D. Itâ??s a quiet and peaceful area when you need to get work done, but for those times when you need to break away, Blacksburg has plenty to offer.

What is your ideal job? Why?

My ideal job is one in which the focus is on fundamental research and impactful work which helps society. Upon graduation, I could see myself working at an institution which offers me the opportunity to do truly meaningful work aligned with my interests.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self that, in the end, the hard work will pay off. The genuine enjoyment that you will receive from research and exploration of complex topics will be worth it!