Israeli researcher awarded IEEE medal, the Nobel Prize of engineering

Hagit Messer-Yaron recognized for contributions to sensing environment using wireless communication networks from world's largest professional association
Prof. Hagit Messer-Yaron from Tel Aviv University (TAU) is the recipient of the 2024 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) medal for Environmental and Safety Technology for outstanding accomplishments in the application of technology in the fields of interest of IEEE that improve the environment and/or public safety. The award consists of a bronze medal, certificate, and cash honorarium.
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Messer-Yaron's medal is for contributions to sensing the environment using wireless communication networks.
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פרופ' חגית מסר ירון
פרופ' חגית מסר ירון
Prof. Hagit Messer-Yaron
(Photo: Tel Aviv University)
"In the evaluation process, the following criteria are considered: public benefits of the contribution; degree in improvement in important performance metrics; innovative design, development, or application engineering; favorable influence on the contribution on technical professions; and quality of nomination," The IEEE wrote on their website.
IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers established in 1884, is the world’s largest international professional association, with about 450,000 members worldwide. IEEE strives to advance technological innovation and entrepreneurship for the benefit of humanity, and the IEEE Medal is regarded by electrical engineering researchers as the “Nobel Prize” in their field.
Prof. Messer-Yaron’s research addresses two of today’s greatest scientific and technological challenges: climate change and its implications for life on Earth and processing big data in AI systems. "The first challenge necessitates close monitoring of precipitation and other climatic phenomena in any place inhabited by humans. Today, the presence of people is highly correlated with the existence of wireless communication networks," TAU said.
“The technology we developed enables processing and analyzing the ‘Big Data’ collected by these existing communication networks for other purposes,” Prof. Messer-Yaron said. “Specifically, it uses changes in signal intensity to monitor meteorological phenomena in general and precipitation. This is a breakthrough in monitoring climate change and the ways to address it.”
Her research enables the use of existing coverage of cellular networks to monitor weather and precipitation, eliminating the need to install separate infrastructures of weather radars and local designated stations that would be sufficiently widespread to provide reliable measures.
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A house partially submerged in flood water following the flash floods in Afghanistan
A house partially submerged in flood water following the flash floods in Afghanistan
A house partially submerged in flood water following the flash floods in Afghanistan
(Photo: Mohsen Karimi / AFP)
Messer-Yaron first presented her idea in the Science journal and a 2009 study demonstrated that it can also be used to predict flash floods. For these achievements, she and her team received the Best Inventor Award from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Messer-Yaron said she was thrilled to receive the IEEE medal and that her work is being recognized. “I see great importance in utilizing existing technologies for the benefit of humankind and wish to thank my colleagues and students at TAU and in other research groups for their contribution to advancing this concept,” she said.
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