Praveen Jain receives 2011 IEEE William E. Newell Award
By Alyssa Dalton
December 14, 2011 – IEEE, an international technical professional association, has recognized Praveen Jain with this year’s IEEE William E. Newell Power Electronics Award, describing it as the highest field award in power electronics.
The award, sponsored by the IEEE Power Electronics Society, honours Jain for advancements in the theory and practice of high-frequency power conversion systems. The award was presented at the 2011 IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition in Phoenix, Ariz., in September.
Calling Jain an internationally acclaimed researcher, the association said Jain’s advancements of power conversion methods have improved the reliability and efficiency of power electronics for practical real-life applications.
“A signature of Jain’s work is its simplicity and practicality in advancing power conversion technologies,” it said. “Jain’s most significant work has dealt with high-frequency power conversion methods that have benefitted the space, telecommunications and computing industries. Among his pioneering achievements, he was one of the first researchers to propose constant and high-frequency resonant power conversion topologies with significantly reduced conduction and switching losses.”
During the late 1980s, Jain developed a new class of single-stage alternating current-to-direct current converters for high-frequency distribution systems that was of practical importance to the space industry, said the association.
“His innovative technology provided the advantages of reduced mass and volume as well as conservation of stored energy on a spacecraft,” said IEEE. “This work led to the Canadian Space Agency’s fully functional high-frequency power distribution prototype for the Canadarm 2 and other power conversion systems for the International Space Station.”
During the 1990s, he was one of the first researchers to propose using asymmetrical pulse width modulation control for constant frequency operation of resonant converters.
“This pioneering work revolutionized the design of highly reliable, high-density power supplies for the telecommunications industry,” it said.
The centralized power plant and power system in telecommunications networks need to be able to operate reliably under severe load conditions.
“Jain’s patented converter technologies maintain lossless switching in these conditions, and were applied by Nortel Networks in many of its telecommunications products,” IEEE continued.
He has also developed a digital transient controller for ultra-high-speed computer processors. Supplying nearly glitch-free voltage to the processor, his controller eliminates the need for bulk energy storage capacitors by supplying just-in-time energy between the input and the output, described IEEE, adding that this lower-cost solution increases reliability and efficiency while meeting the technical requirements of the processor.
According to the association, its success led to the establishment of the CHiL Semiconductor in Boston, Mass., in 2005 to develop and market digital controller chips to major computer manufacturers. Jain also founded SPARQ Systems, Kingston, Ont., which develops microinverters for photovoltaic systems.
An IEEE Fellow, Jain is also a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. His awards include the Ontario Distinguished Researcher Award, the Innovation Award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Engineering Medal from the Ontario Professional Engineers.
Jain holds a master’s and doctoral degree from the University of Toronto. He is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Power Electronics in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER) at Queen’s University.