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Concordia professor and power electronics global thought leader is elevated to IEEE fellow

Akshay Kumar Rathore becomes the university’s youngest academic to hold the professional organization’s highest honour
January 27, 2021
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Akshay Kumar Rathore: “When I engage with industry and conduct academic research to solve an industry problem, other ideas arise that I consistently pursue and document.”

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) announced Akshay Kumar Rathore as a newly minted IEEE fellow in fall 2020. Rathore is associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Concordia’s Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.

The achievement is significant for the now 41-year-old, who became the youngest Concordian to receive the coveted distinction. The institute also usually prefers to elevate full professors to the fellowship.

For electrical engineers, becoming a fellow of the IEEE is the ultimate career accomplishment, typically bestowed upon seasoned professionals. It is a global recognition of the extraordinary career accomplishments that have made an impact on society.

“To receive this distinction early in my career opens doors to rare opportunities,” says Rathore, who is also graduate program director and chair for the MASc in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“I can be invited to contribute to high-level technical fields, participate in senior-level technical societies and have my work considered for IEEE technical field awards and medals. Medals are the highest level of awards in engineering that recognize a global standard of excellence.”

“Dr. Rathore’s significant contributions to the advancement of power electronics and drives research, particularly in the area of current-fed converters and multilevel inverters, are undeniable,” says Kaushik Rajashekara, IEEE fellow and distinguished professor of engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Houston in Texas.

“He has established himself as a thought leader.”

“Dr. Rathore is regularly active in the field of power electronics, which is an enabling technology for the energy transition from fossil fuels to a more electric world based on sustainable energy sources,” adds José Rodríguez Pérez, IEEE fellow, IEEE medal holder and professor in the Department of Electronic Engineering at the Universidad Andrés Bello in Chile.

“His work resulted in a substantial reduction in energy losses.”

Industry x passion

Rathore’s philosophy and approach to success accelerated his progress and professional exposure. He pursued ideas that stem from personal interests alongside those he is researching academically.

“When I engage with industry and conduct academic research to solve an industry problem, many other questions and ideas arise. By consistently pursuing these ideas and actively documenting my findings, I position myself at the forefront of solving that problem,” Rathore explains.

His 2009 postdoctoral work conducted at the University of Wuppertal in Germany with Joachim Holtz was titled “Optimal low frequency pulse width modulation of medium voltage multi-level converters” and it piqued the interest of Brazilian electric-electronic equipment company WEG. The innovative approach is focused on driving significant energy savings in the high-power sectors.

While establishing himself in the control of heavy machines for these high-power sectors, he pursued his interests in renewable energy applications and electric vehicle (EV) charging.

In 2011, Rathore started to develop inverters for solar power to build reusable equipment that have a low environmental carbon footprint. “Not all parts of the world have access to electrical energy, so I wanted to look at ways where remote areas can benefit from energy using renewable sources that did not generate any waste.”

He also mentored and supervised two PhD students who pursued their thesis studies in renewable energies. The IEEE IAS Student Thesis Contest awarded the 25-year-old women first place in the PhD Category in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

“One thing I insist on with the students I supervise is my belief that patience, consistency and motivation lead to success,” Rathore notes. “You need to be self-motivated and consistent and you will surely be successful. I am proud of the accomplishments of the students I mentored and the quality work that they produced with me and beyond.”

For his work on wireless EV chargers, Rathore’s PhD student Suvendu Samanta received the 2018 Governor General Academic Gold Medal, 2019 Concordia University Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Prize and 2019 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Doctor of Philosophy Convocation Award. Samanta is now an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India.

New frontiers

A small leap and a little inspiration took Rathore from his work on EVs to electric aircraft. He is currently developing an AC to DC high-density power supply for electric aircraft. This innovative application is supported by Concordia through its commitment to aerospace research, and it received an award of $25,000 from IEEE.

Rathore is also now exploring plug-in chargers for electric local transportation through solar-based charging, and electric vehicle-to-vehicle power transfer, a new and in-demand research area for the EV market.


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