Des Taylor, an IEEE Life Fellow and Emeritus Professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, died on May 5, 2022, at the age of 80 in New Zealand. Des Taylor was born in Noranda, Quebec, Canada on July 5, 1941. He received the B.Sc.(Eng.) and M.Sc.(Eng.) degrees from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 1963 and 1967 respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in 1972 in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He was one of the few Fellows of IEEE in New Zealand as well as having been a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and a Fellow of both the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand.
From July 1972 until June 1992, he was with the Communications Research Laboratory and Department of Electrical Engineering of McMaster University. In July 1992, he joined the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand as the Tait Professor of Communications. He established the Communications Research Group, which remains active today in conjunction with the Wireless Research Centre. He supervised a substantial number of students during his career, many who have continued in the field in both industry and academia. His impact in the field lives on in their work and through his publications.
Des was world renowned for his contributions to robust, bandwidth-efficient modulation and coding techniques and the development of iterative algorithms for joint equalization and decoding of the fading, dispersive channels typical of mobile radio communications. He was the author or co-author of over 250 published papers and held patents in spread spectrum and wideband communications One of his papers won the S.O. Rice Award for the best Transactions paper in Communication Theory of 2001. He recently branched out into neuroscience research, showing his passion for lifelong learning and research.
Des was very active volunteering in the IEEE Communications Society for many decades in many roles. He was Director of Journals in 2004-2007 and served as a Member of the Board of Governors in 1996-1999 and 2004-2007. He served as Editor in Chief of several journals including setting up IEEE Communications Letters in 1996. In 2004 he was awarded the IEEE Communications Society Joseph LoCicero Award for Exemplary Service to Publications. Des was someone who could be relied upon to handle difficult cases in the IEEE Communications Society. He was in charge of investigating plagiarism in our publications for many decades until 2020, establishing the criteria for penalties and fairly resolving many difficult cases. He also served as Ombudsman, handling a wide range of complaints, in 2014-2015.
As both a leading technical innovator and dedicated ComSoc volunteer, the contributions Des made to our technical community will be long remembered.
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