Professor, Engineering and Public Policy; Electrical and Computer Engineering
Jon Peha has addressed information networks from positions in industry, government, and academia.
In government, he served at the Federal Communications Commission as Chief Technologist, in the White House as Assistant Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy, in the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and at USAID where he helped launch and lead a US Government interagency program to assist developing countries with information infrastructure. In industry, he has been Chief Technical Officer for three high-tech companies. At Carnegie Mellon, he is a Professor in the Dept. of Engineering & Public Policy and the Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and former Associate Director of the university's Center for Wireless & Broadband Networking. Dr. Peha is an IEEE Fellow and an AAAS Fellow, and was selected by AAAS as one of 40 Featured Science and Technology Policy Fellows of the last 40 years ("40@40"). He has received the FCC's "Excellence in Engineering Award," the IEEE Communications Society TCCN Publication Award for career contributions, and the Brown Engineering Medal.
Professor Peha's research addresses social and policy issues that are inseparable from the technological evolution of computer and telecommunications networks. One such area is wireless systems. A shortage of available spectrum impedes the creation of valuable new wireless products and services. This shortage can be greatly alleviated through new spectrum policies that take advantage of emerging technology, and especially the potential for spectrum sharing. Another area of wireless research concerns the communications systems used by emergency responders, such as firefighters, paramedics, and police. Changes to both technologies and policies associated with these systems can save lives, as well lowering costs and conserving spectrum. A third area of Professor Peha’s wireless research addresses vehicular networks. If motor vehicles can establish wireless links between each other, and with roadside devices, they can collectively create an important new form of wireless infrastructure to be used for anything from automotive safety to Internet access.
Professor Peha’s research interests also include broadband networks, which have blurred the traditional distinctions between Internet, cable TV, and telephony. Research issues include policies intended to promote fair and open competition such as “network neutrality,” universal service policies intended to help underserved communities and individuals (in both developed and developing countries), policies intended to advance security or privacy, and surveillance polices that must both help law enforcement and intelligence agencies do their jobs and protect the privacy and security of individuals and organizations.
Evolution of wireless and broadband networks can spark the creation of new applications that revolutionize industries and policies. In this realm, Professor Peha is researching the dissemination of copyrighted material over broadband networks, and its technical and policy implications. He has also considered Internet payment systems, and the related complexities of bringing financial services to people without bank accounts, enforcing tax law on electronic commerce, protecting privacy, enhancing security, and combating fraud. Broadband has also facilitated the growth of less desirable applications, such as spyware, spam, and viruses, that must be considered.