Andrew Adams

Andrew Adams

Credit: APL

Press Release

Andrew Adams Receives Black Engineer of the Year Award for Research Leadership

Andrew Adams, an engineer in the Asymmetric Operations Sector at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Maryland, will be awarded the Research Leadership Award during a gala at the 2018 Black Engineer of the Year Awards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math conference, to be held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 8–10.

The BEYA STEM Conference and awards were established 32 years ago to promote career opportunities in engineering, science and technology to historically underrepresented groups in STEM fields through professional and career development, educational programs, awards programs and career placement opportunities. The awards are hosted by U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, the Council of Engineering Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The Research Leadership Award is given to scientists who have proven to be consistent leaders in discovering, developing and implementing new technologies, and whose work changes the way people live and work.

Adams “has firmly established himself as a thought leader and has developed considerable technical skills for research in the fields of cognitive radio engineering and intelligent radio frequency spectrum monitoring,” says Donna Gregg, who heads APL’s Asymmetric Operations Sector. “His contributions have directly impacted our nation’s critical communications capabilities and the ability to defend these systems against adversarial jamming, remotely detonated explosives, and cyber-attack.”

He supervises a section of staff members focused on military radio waveforms. He also leads several research projects that bring machine intelligence for communications to applications areas across the Laboratory’s sponsor base. He is the principal investigator for a project that applies novel machine-learning research techniques for the autonomous characterization of communications links. He also led a design team of engineers who reverse-engineered a complex electronic warfare system, and then completely reengineered it, an effort that included a novel consolidation of functions onto a single field-programmable gate array. His vision enabled this military system to leap a generation ahead in capabilities.

Adams — who has a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an M.S. in electrical and computer engineering from the Johns Hopkins University — helped organize a collaborative research effort between APL and Morgan State University, a Historically Black College/University, to help students gain expertise in research for blending general-purpose and specialized architectures to enhance digital signal processing performance for low-cost software-defined radio platforms.

Adams’ award comes at a particularly critical time for the United States, said BEYA CEO Tyrone Taborn. “Recent reports show that STEM enrollments are declining at a time when the global economy is driving up demand. America’s competitiveness rests in [his] narrative being shared with our nation’s youth. This is especially important for all young people.”