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Steven W. McLaughlin - Georgia Tech College of Engineering. Atlanta, GA, US

Steven W. McLaughlin

Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering | Georgia Tech College of Engineering


Dr. McLaughlin's research interests are in the general area of communications and information theory






School Chair Steve McLaughlin On His ECE Hero The Uncommon Engineer: It Came From Outer Space with Brian Gunter The Uncommon Engineer: When Drones Descend with Jon Rogers Dean Steve McLaughlin: My Passions




Dr. Steven W. McLaughlin is the Dean and Southern Company Chair of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. He serves as the chief academic officer of the College and provides leadership to more than 450 faculty members and 13,000 students, the largest engineering college in the country.

Dr. McLaughlin received the B.S.E.E. degree from Northwestern University, the M.S.E. degree from Princeton University, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan. He joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech in September 1996. From 2012-2017, he served as the Steve W. Chaddick School Chair in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. From 2007-2012, he was Vice Provost for International Initiatives and Steven A. Denning Chair in Global Engagement.

In 2014, Dr. McLaughlin co-founded CREATE-X, a campus-wide effort to instill entrepreneurial confidence in students and help them launch companies. In its first three years, the program has successfully launched 72 student-led companies and engaged 1,500+ students in the principles and practice of evidence-based entrepreneurship.

In 2011, Dr. McLaughlin was awarded the honor Chevalier dans l`Ordre Nationale de Merite, (Knight of the French National Order of Merit), the second highest civilian award given by Republic of France. He was the first Georgia Tech recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), where he was cited by President Clinton "for leadership in the development of high-capacity, nonbinary optical recording formats." He a past President of the IEEE Information Theory Society and is a Fellow of the IEEE..

Dr. McLaughlin's research interests are in the general area of communications and information theory. His research group has published in the areas of forward error correction and equalization in wireless communications. magnetic/optical data storage, data security, and privacy. His group has published more than 250 papers in journals and conferences and holds 36 U.S. patents.

Areas of Expertise (3)


Student Entrepreneurship

Student Mental Health

Selected Accomplishments (2)

Chevalier dans l'Ordre National du Mérite (Knight of the National Order of Merit)

Awarded by the President of the Republic of France (2011)

National Science Foundation Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers


Education (3)

University of Michigan: Ph.D.

Princeton University: M.S.E.

Northwestern University: B.S.E.E.

Affiliations (1)

  • IEEE Information Theory Society : Fellow

Selected Media Appearances (5)

Where the Engineering Jobs Are in 2019

IEEE Spectrum  online


“All we’re hearing is data, data, data,” says Steve McLaughlin, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering, in Atlanta.

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Ahuja, Koon Named to National Academy of Engineering

Georgia Tech News Center  online


Krish Ahuja, Regents Professor of aerospace engineering, and John Koon, civil engineering professor of the practice, have been selected for membership in the prestigious National Academy of Engineering.

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Leadership Search Committees Announced

Georgia Tech News Center  online


The Office of the President has announced the formation of several search committees that are charged with identifying candidates for key leadership roles within the Institute.

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Steven McLaughlin Named Dean of Engineering

College of Engineering  online


Following an international search, Steven W. McLaughlin, the Steve Chaddick School Chair and professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), has accepted the role of dean in the College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair, effective Sept. 15.

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McLaughlin Named Dean of Engineering

Georgia Tech News Center  online


McLaughlin first came to Georgia Tech in 1996. From 2007 to 2012 he was vice provost for International Initiatives, a position in which he provided oversight and strategic direction for Georgia Tech’s global engagement, education, and economic development initiatives. During that time, he also served as the Steven A. Denning Chair in Global Engagement. He was a Ken Byers Professor from 2005 to 2012 and was previously deputy director of Georgia Tech-Lorraine.

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Selected Articles (5)

Wireless information-theoretic security

IEEE Transactions on Information Theory

Matthieu Bloch, João Barros, Miguel RD Rodrigues, Steven W McLaughlin

2008 This paper considers the transmission of confidential data over wireless channels. Based on an information-theoretic formulation of the problem, in which two legitimates partners communicate over a quasi-static fading channel and an eavesdropper observes their transmissions through a second independent quasistatic fading channel, the important role of fading is characterized in terms of average secure communication rates and outage probability. Based on the insights from this analysis, a practical secure communication protocol is developed, which uses a fourstep procedure to ensure wireless information-theoretic security:(i) common randomness via opportunistic transmission,(ii) message reconciliation,(iii) common key generation via privacy amplification, and (iv) message protection with a secret key. A reconciliation procedure based on multilevel coding and optimized low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes is introduced, which allows to achieve communication rates close to the fundamental security limits in several relevant instances. Finally, a set of metrics for assessing average secure key generation rates is established, and it is shown that the protocol is effective in secure key renewal—even in the presence of imperfect channel state information.

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Applications of LDPC codes to the wiretap channel

IEEE Transactions on Information Theory

Andrew Thangaraj, Souvik Dihidar, A Robert Calderbank, Steven W McLaughlin, Jean-Marc Merolla

2007 With the advent of quantum key distribution (QKD) systems, perfect (i.e., information-theoretic) security can now be achieved for distribution of a cryptographic key. QKD systems and similar protocols use classical error-correcting codes for both error correction (for the honest parties to correct errors) and privacy amplification (to make an eavesdropper fully ignorant). From a coding perspective, a good model that corresponds to such a setting is the wire tap channel introduced by Wyner in 1975. In this correspondence, we study fundamental limits and coding methods for wire tap channels. We provide an alternative view of the proof for secrecy capacity of wire tap channels and show how capacity achieving codes can be used to achieve the secrecy capacity for any wiretap channel. We also consider binary erasure channel and binary symmetric channel special cases for the wiretap channel and propose specific practical codes. In some cases our designs achieve the secrecy capacity and in others the codes provide security at rates below secrecy capacity. For the special case of a noiseless main channel and binary erasure channel, we consider encoder and decoder design for codes achieving secrecy on the wiretap channel; we show that it is possible to construct linear-time decodable secrecy codes based on low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes that achieve secrecy.

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Quantum key distribution over 25 km with an all-fiber continuous-variable system

Physical Review A

Jérôme Lodewyck, Matthieu Bloch, Raúl García-Patrón, Simon Fossier, Evgueni Karpov, Eleni Diamanti, Thierry Debuisschert, Nicolas J Cerf, Rosa Tualle-Brouri, Steven W McLaughlin, Philippe Grangier

2007 We report on the implementation of a reverse-reconciliated coherent-state continuous-variable quantum key distribution system, with which we generated secret keys at a rate of more than 2 kb∕ s over 25 km of optical fiber. Time multiplexing is used to transmit both the signal and phase reference in the same optical fiber. Our system includes all experimental aspects required for a field implementation of a quantum key distribution setup. Real-time reverse reconciliation is achieved by using fast and efficient low-density parity check error correcting codes.

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Broadband MIMO-OFDM wireless communications

Proceedings of the IEEE

Thomas G Pratt Gordon L Stuber, John R Barry, Steve W Mclaughlin


Energy efficiency based packet size optimization in wireless sensor networks

Proceedings of the First IEEE International Workshop on Sensor Network Protocols and Applications

Yore Sankarasubramaniam, Ian F Akyildiz, SW McLaughlin

2003 This paper addresses the question of optimal packet size for data communication in energy constrained wireless sensor networks. Unlike previous work on packet length optimization in other wired and wireless networks, energy efficiency is chosen as the optimization metric. The use of fixed size packets is proposed in light of the limited resources and management costs in sensor networks. The optimal fixed packet size is then determined for a set of radio and channel parameters by maximizing the energy efficiency metric. Further, the effect of error control on packet size optimization and energy efficiency is examined. While retransmission schemes are found to be energy inefficient, it is shown that forward error correction can improve the energy efficiency eventhough it introduces additional parity bits and encoding/decoding energy consumptions. In this regard, binary BCH codes are found to be 15% more energy efficient than the best performing convolutional codes, which have thus far been considered for error control in sensor networks.

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