Haitham Hassanieh

Assistant Professor
Systems and Networking Research Group
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Office: 463 Coordinated Science Laboratory
1308 W Main Street, Urbana, IL 61801
Email: haitham AT illinois DOT edu


I am an Assistant Professor in the ECE Department at UIUC. I am interested in networking, wireless and RF systems, mobile and sensing systems, sparse recovery applications. I lead the systems and networking research group (SyNRG) at UIUC.

Before coming to UIUC, I received my PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT where I was advised by Professor Dina Katabi. My PhD thesis titled: "The Sparse Fourier Transform: Theory & Practice" developed the theoretical foundations for Sparse Fourier Transform algorithms which compute the Fourier transform in sub-linear time faster than FFT. It also demonstrated the applications of the Sparse Fourier Transform in the areas of wireless networks, mobile systems, graphics, medical imaging and biochemistry. The Sparse Fourier Transform was named by Technology Review as one of the top ten breakthrough technologies.


I am teaching a new graduate course this fall on Wireless Networks and Mobile Systems https://courses.engr.illinois.edu/ece598hh/



  • Securing RFIDs by Randomizing the Modulation and Channel,
    Haitham Hassanieh, Jue Wang, Dina Katabi, and Tadayoshi Kohno
    NSDI'15, USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, May 2015
    [PAPER]     [SLIDES]

  • Fast Multi-dimensional NMR Acquisition and Processing Using the Sparse FFT,
    Haitham Hassanieh, Maxim Mayzel, Lixin Shi, Dina Katabi, and Vladislav Yu Orekhov
    Journal of Biomolecular NMR, Springer, 2015

  • Light Field Reconstruction Using Sparsity in the Continuous Fourier Domain
    Lixin Shi, Haitham Hassanieh, Abe Davis, Dina Katabi and Fredo Durand
    SIGGRAPH'15, ACM Transactions on Graphics Volume: 34, No: 1, November 2014
    [PAPER]     [WEBSITE]

  • High-Throughput Implementation of a Million-Point Sparse Fourier Transform
    Abhinav Agarwal, Haitham Hassanieh, Omid Abari, Ezz Hamed, Dina Katabi, and Arvind
    FPL'14, International Conference on Field Programmable Logic and Applications, Munich Germany, September 2014

  • D-BigBand: Sensing GHz-Wide Non-Sparse Spectrum on Commodity Radios
    Lixin Shi, Haitham Hassanieh and Dina Katabi
    MOBICOM'14 S3, 6th Annual Workshop on Wireless of the Students, by the Students, for the Students, September 2014

  • GHz-Wide Sensing and Decoding Using the Sparse Fourier Transform
    Haitham Hassanieh, Lixin Shi, Omid Abari, Ezzeldin Hamed, Dina Katabi
    INFOCOM'14, IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications, Toronto Canada, April 2014
    [PAPER]     [SLIDES]    

  • Correlation Chemical Shift Imaging with Sparse-FFT and Real-time Motion and Shim Correction,
    Ovidiu Andronesi, Lixin Shi, Haitham Hassanieh, Wolfgang Bogner, Borjan Gagoski, Aaron Hess, Dylan Tisdall, Andre van der Kouwe, Dina Katabi, and Elfar Adalsteinsson.
    ENCí14, 55th Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference, Boston USA,March 2014
    [PAPER]     [POSTER]    

  • A 0.75 Million-Point Fourier Transform Chip for Frequency-Sparse Signals
    Omid Abari, Ezz Hamed, Haitham Hassanieh, Abhinav Agarwal, Dina Katabi, Anantha Chandrakasan, and Vladimir Stojanovic.
    ISSCCí14, International Solid-State Circuits Conference, San Francisco USA, February 2014
    [PAPER]     [SLIDES]    

  • Sample-Optimal Average-Case Sparse Fourier Transform in Two Dimensions
    Badih Ghazi, Haitham Hassanieh, Piotr Indyk, Dina Katabi, Eric Price, Lixin Shi
    Allerton'13, 51st Annual Allerton Conference on Communication, Control, and Computing, October 2013
    [PAPER]     [EXTENDED PAPER]     [SLIDES]     [ARXIV]    

  • MRS Sparse-FFT: Reducing Acquisition Time and Artifacts for In Vivo 2D Correlation Spectroscopy
    Lixin Shi, Ovidiu Andronesi, Haitham Hassanieh, Badih Ghazi, Dina Katabi, and Elfar Adalsteinsson
    ISMRM'13, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine Annual Meeting & Exhibition , Salt Lake City USA, April 2013
    [PAPER]     [POSTER]    

  • Shift Finding in Sublinear Time
    Alexander Andoni, Haitham Hassanieh, Piotr Indyk, and Dina Katabi.
    SODA'13, ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, New Orleans USA, January 2013
    [PAPER]     [SLIDES]    

  • Faster GPS Via the Sparse Fourier Transform
    Haitham Hassanieh, Fadel Adib, Dina Katabi, and Piotr Indyk.
    MOBICOM'12, ACM International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking , Istanbul Turkey, August 2012
    [PAPER]     [SLIDES]    

  • Efficient and Reliable Low-Power Backscatter Networks
    Jue Wang, Haitham Hassanieh, Dina Katabi, and Piotr Indyk.
    SIGCOMM'12, ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication, Helsinki Finland, August 2012
    [PAPER]     [SLIDES]     [POSTER]   

  • Nearly Optimal Sparse Fourier Transform
    Haitham Hassanieh, Piotr Indyk, Dina Katabi, and Eric Price.
    STOC'12, ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, New York USA, May 2012.
    [PAPER]     [SLIDES]     [ARXIV]     [WEBSITE]    

  • Simple and Practical Algorithm for Sparse Fourier Transform
    Haitham Hassanieh, Piotr Indyk, Dina Katabi, and Eric Price.
    SODA'12, ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, Kyoto Japan, January 2012
    [PAPER]     [SLIDES]     [CODE]     [WEBSITE]    

  • They Can Hear Your Heartbeats: Non-Invasive Security for Implanted Medical Devices
    Shyamnath Gollakota, Haitham Hassanieh, Ben Ransford, Dina Katabi and Kevin Fu.
    SIGCOMM'11, ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication, Toronto Canada, August 2011

  • SourceSync: A Distributed Wireless Architecture for Exploiting Sender Diversity
    Hariharan Rahul, Haitham Hassanieh, and Dina Katabi.
    SIGCOMM'10, ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication, Delhi India, September 2010
    [PAPER]     [SLIDES]    

  • A Novel Solution to the Energy Hole Problem in Sensor Networks
    Mohamad Watfa, Haitham Al Hassaneih, and Samir Selman
    Journal of Network and Computer Applications, Volume: 36, No: 2, Page(s): 949-958, 2013

  • Multi-Hop Wireless Energy Transfer in WSNs
    Mohamad Watfa, Samir Selman, and Haitham Al Hassaneih
    IEEE Communication Letters, Volume: 15, No: 12, Page(s): 1275-1277, 2011

  • Extended Minimum Classification Error Training in Voice Activity Detection
    Takayuki Arakawa, Haitham Al-Hassanieh, Masanori Tsujikawa, and Ryosuke Isotani
    ASRU'09, IEEE Workshop on Automatic Speech Recognition and Understanding, Merano Italy, December 2009

  • Stereosight: A Package for Viewing and Creating Stereogram Images
    Haitham Al-Hassanieh, Amer Chamseddine, and Hassane Slaibi
    FEASC'09, 8th FEA Student Conference at AUB, Beirut Lebanon,May 2009
    Best Undergraduate Paper Award

  • The Road to Immortal Sensor Nodes
    Mohamad Watfa, Haitham Hassanieh, and Samir Selman
    ISSNIP'08, IEEE Int. Conf. on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Info. Processing, Sydney Autralia, December 2008


  • The Sparse Fourier Transform: Theory & Practice.
    Haitham Hassanieh.
    PhD Thesis, EECS MIT, Feb. 2016.

  • Encryption on the Air: Non-Invasive Security for Implantable Medical Devices.
    Haitham Hassanieh.
    Masters Thesis, EECS MIT, June 2011.



  • The Sparse Fourier Transform: Theory and Applications
    UCSD, UIUC, Cornell, Wisconsin Madison, MSR Redmond, 2015
  • Overview of Sparse Fourier Transform Applications
    FOCS 2014 Workshop on The Sparse Fourier Transform: Theory and Applications, October 2014
  • GHz-Wide Sensing and Decoding Using the Sparse Fourier Transform
    INFOCOMí14 Conference, April 2014
  • BigBand: Realtime GHz Spectrum Sensing & Decoding
    MIT Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing Annual Retreat, October 2013
  • Sample Optimal Sparse Fourier Transform in Two Dimensions
    Allerton 2013 Conference, October 2013
  • GPS Synchronization via the Sparse Fourier Transform
    Workshop on Sparse Fourier Transform, MIT, February 2013
  • Shift Finding in Sublinear Time
    SODAí13 Conference, January 2013
  • Sparse FFT: Faster Than the Fast Fourier Transform
    Allerton 2013 Conference, October 2012
  • Faster GPS Via the Sparse Fourier Transform
    MOBICOMí12 Conference, August 2012
  • Faster Algorithms for Sparse Fourier Transform
    EECE Complexity Seminar, AUB, July 2012
  • Simple and Practical Algorithm for the Sparse Fourier Transform
    Invited Talk, UMass Dartmouth, April 2012

Wireless & Mobile Networks
Algorithms & Applications

Wireless & Mobile Networks:

  • RF-Cloak: Securing Deployed RFID Cards

  • RFIDs are widely used today in a variety of sensitive applications such as access control, passports, credit cards, car keys, etc. Most of these deployed systems have been shown to be insecure allowing eavesdroppers to obtain sensitive and confidential data. To address this, I designed and implemented RF-Cloak; a system that randomizes the signal and the wireless channel, preventing an eavesdropper from decoding the RFIDsí data. It does so simply by modifying the RFID reader and hence provides a solution for billions of insecure RFIDs in customersí hands worldwide.
    Paper: [NSDI'15]
  • BigBand: GHz-Wide Realtime Spectrum Acquisition

  • I demonstrated a working receiver that can acquire a wireless signal whose digital bandwidth is 6x larger than the receiverís sampling rate. The new receiver enables realtime GHz spectrum sensing using cheap components (low-speed ADCs) typically used in WiFi receivers..
    Paper: [INFOCOM'14]
  • QuickSync: Faster and Lower Power GPS

  • GPS receivers typically have to perform tens of millions of operations to lock onto a each GPS satellite which quickly drain the smartphone's battery. I designed and implemented a system that reduces the time and power it takes a GPS receiver to lock on its location.
    Paper: [MOBICOM'12]
  • Buzz: Efficient and Reliable RFID Communication
  • RFIDs lack many of the basic wireless functionalities such as carrier sense and rate adaptation. This leads to collisions of the RFID transmissions and significant message loss. To address these issues, I proposed viewing the network as a single virtual sender and treating collisions as rate-less code across the bits transmitted by the different RFIDs. This approach enabled me to design complex distributed rate adaptation and medium access protocols that provide significant throughput gains and eliminate message loss.
    Paper: [SIGCOMM'12]

  • IMDShield: Securing Implantable Medical Devices
  • Most medical implants today such as cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers are equipped with wireless connectivity to allow continuous monitoring of patients. However, they lack any form of encryption or authentication. This enables an adversary to modify a patientís treatment or snoop on their vital signs. I designed and built IMDShield, a system that uses an external wearable device equipped with a full-duplex radio to secure transmissions to and from the medical implant without any modifications to the implant.
    Webpage: http://netmit.csail.mit.edu/IMDShield/
    Paper: [SIGCOMM'11] (Best Paper Award)
  • SourceSync: Distributed Wireless Synchronization
  • Building distributed protocols that improve the performance of the network typically requires individual wireless nodes to be synchronized in time. I built SourceSync; a system that can synchronize the transmission of distributed wireless nodes up to tens of ns. This enables different wireless nodes to act as a single node and forward packets at significantly higher data rates than they could have achieved separately.
    Paper: [SIGCOMM'10]

    Algorithms and Applications:

  • The Sparse Fourier Transform: Theory
  • For signals of length n that are (approximately) k-sparse in the frequency domain i.e., can be approximated by k non-zero frequency coefficients, the sparse Fourier transform computes the Fourier transform in sublinear time; faster than FFT and using less input samples.

  • Running Time: For exactly sparse signals, I gave an algorithm with runtime O(k log n), which is essentially optimal. For approximately sparse signals, I gave a an algorithm with a runtime of O(k log n log (n/k)). Both algorithms improve over FFT for any sparsity k < o(n) and are often faster than FFT in practice.
  • Sampling Complexity: I gave algorithms with the optimal sampling complexity in the average case. The algorithms require only O(k) samples for exactly sparse and O(k log n) samples for approximately sparse signals while keeping the same runtime complexity above.
  • Webpage: http://netmit.csail.mit.edu/sFFT/
    Papers: [SODA'12], [STOC'12], [Allerton'13]

  • The Sparse Fourier Transform: Applications

    • GHz-Wide Spectrum Acquisition in Real-time:

    I demonstrated a working receiver that can acquire a wireless signal whose digital bandwidth is 6x larger than the receiverís sampling rate. The new receiver enables realtime GHz spectrum sensing using cheap components (low-speed ADCs) typically used in WiFi receivers..
    Paper: [INFOCOM'14]
    • Faster and Lower Power GPS:

    GPS receivers typically have to perform tens of millions of operations to lock onto a each GPS satellite which quickly drain the smartphone's battery. I designed and implemented a system that reduces the time and power it takes a GPS receiver to lock on its location.
    Paper: [MOBICOM'12]
    • Light Field Photography with Fewer Cameras:

    Light-field photography can re-focus an image, extract its depth, or change its viewpoint in post-processing. I designed a light field reconstruction based on the sparse FFT that reduces sampling requirements and improves reconstruction quality.
    Webpage: http://netmit.csail.mit.edu/LFSparseRecon/
    Paper: [SIGGRAPH'14]
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):

    Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) detects the biochemical content of each voxel in the brain and can be used to discover disease biomarkers. I demonstrated that processing MRS data using the sparse FFT algorithm enhances image quality, and reduces the time the patient has to spend in the machine by 3x
    Papers: [ISMRM'13], [ENC'14]
    • Biomolecular Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR):

    NMR is a technique that provides the detailed structural properties of chemical compounds; providing the 3D structure of complex proteins and nucleic acids. However, collecting NMR measurements is a very time consuming and costly process. I demonstrated that the sparse FFT reduces experiment time by 16◊; hence it enables high-dimensional NMR, which is needed for detecting more complex protein structures.
    Paper: [J. Biomol. NMR'15]
    • Radio Astronomy:

    The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) is a radio telescope spread over an area of one square kilometer in order to provide the highest resolution images ever captured in astronomy. However, the amount of incoming data will be too large to process with todayís computational power. I developed a method for processing images of the sky 100◊ faster than FFT.
    • The Sparse Fourier Transform Chip:

    Developed a chip that delivers the largest Fourier Transform to date for sparse data (0.75 million point), while consuming 40◊ less power than prior FFT VLSI implementations.
    Papers: [ISSCC'14], [FPL'14]
  • Pattern Matching Algorithms
    For a code of length m and a signal of length n >> m, the goal of pattern matching is to find the best shift that minimizes the distance between the code and the signal.
    I gave two sublinear time algorithms; the fastest of which has a runtime O(n/ m^0.359) . The algorithms also Work for large number of mismatched coordinates between the code and signal.
    Papers: [SODA'13]

    Awards & Honors:

    • SciTech Best Graduate Student Award (2013)
    • TR10: Technology Review's 10 Breakthrough Technologies (2012)
    • SIGCOMM Conference Best Paper Award (2011)
    • 8th FEASC Conference Best Paper Award (2009)
    • Rank #1 in Graduating Class of the Faculty of Engineering at AUB (2009)
    • American University of Beirut Deanís Honor List (2005-2009)
    • Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research Scholarship (2005-2009)
    • Rank #1 in the Lebanese Baccalaureate National Examinations (2005)


    Insight - U.S. government probes medical devices for possible cyber flaws
    Reuters, Jim Finkle, October, 2014.

    100 Top Stories of 2013: 34. Better Math Makes Faster Data Networks
    Discover Magazine, Gilian Conahan, January, 2013.

    10 Breakthrough Technologies: A Faster Fourier Transform
    Technology Review, Mark Anderson, May, 2012.

    A Faster Fast Fourier Transform
    IEEE Spectrum, David Schneider, March, 2012

    Faster-Than-Fast Fourier Transform
    Slashdot, January, 2012.

    The Faster-Than-Fast Fourier Transform (frontpage)
    MIT News, Larry Hardesty, January, 2012.

    Personal Security: A Wearable Jamming Technology Could Protect Patients with Implants from Potentially Life-Threatening Attacks.
    Technology Review, Stephan Cass, August, 2011.

    Protecting Pacemakers From Hackers.
    Forbes, Alex Knapp, June, 2011.

    Shielding Medical Implants from Cyberattacks
    MSNBC, Mary Staub, June, 2011.

    Researchers Shield Implants From Hackers With Wireless Charm of Protection.
    EnGadget, Terrence O'Brien, June, 2011.

    Wireless Jamming System Secures Electronic Medical Implants.
    Network World, Layer 8, Michael Cooney, June, 2011.

    Protecting Medical Implants From Attack.(frontpage)
    MIT News, Larry Hardesty, June, 2011.