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The EMBS Chapter of the IEEE Ottawa Section was recognized as the Best Ottawa Chapter in 2008, 2010, 2014, 2019, and 2022 and received the Outstanding Chapter Award from IEEE EMBS in 2011!

Workshop on Radars and Radar Signal Processing

Photo of Dr. Tony Ponsford

Dr. Tony Ponsford, PhD, SMIEEE, IEEE AESS Distinguished Lecturer

Engineering Fellow, Site Technical Director and Manager R&D, , Raytheon Canada Limited

Dr. Bhashyam Balaji, PhD

Defense Scientist , Defense Research and Development Canada

Monday May 12, 2014 10:00 - 15:00

Room CBY-A707, Colonel By Hall, 161 Louis Pasteur, University of Ottawa

Co-sponsored by IMS - Instrumentation and Measurement Society, SP, OE, & GRS - Joint Chapter of Signal Processing, Oceanic Engineering, and Geoscience and Remote Sensing, VTS - Vehicular Technology Society, AESS - Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, WIE Affinity - Women in Engineering, Life Members Affinity, andYoung Professionals


10:00-11:00, An Introduction to Modern Radar, Dr. Dr Anthony (Tony) Ponsford
11:00-11:30, Break and discussion
11:30-12:30, Mathematical and Practical Aspects of Radar Signal Processing, part 1, Dr. Bhashyam Balaji
12:30-13:00, Lunch break – pizza will be served
13:00-14:30, Mathematical and Practical Aspects of Radar Signal Processing, part 2, Dr. Bhashyam Balaji
14:30-15:00, Discussion

An Introduction to Modern Radar

Radar has been described as the "invention that changed the world" and is one of the most significant inventions of the 20th Century. Radar's come in all shapes and sizes and there uses are diverse, from large scale defense systems, to commercial air traffic control, imaging, remote sensing, navigation, astronomy, vehicular anti-collision systems; ocean surveillance systems, outer space surveillance, rendezvous systems; meteorological; medical, altimetry, bird tracking; ground-penetrating radar and the list goes on.

The term RADAR, an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging, was coined in 1940 however the invention dates back over a 100 years to 30th April 1904, when the Telemobiloscope was patented. This rudimentary radar operated in much the same way as a foghorn but in this case radio impulses were radiated and reflected from distant metallic objects. The resultant echo was received and the time delay between the transmitted impulse and the returned echo providing a measure of the target's range.

It was not until the threat of hostilities within Europe in the late 1930's that the potential of radar for providing 'early warning' was fully appreciated. The British engineer Wattson Watt took radar from a research novelty into critical and integral part of military operations with the installation of a radar network that feed target locations into an intelligence centre.

Since these early days radar has come a long way. This presentation introduces the major components of the modern radar system. It starts with the derivation of the radar range equation. The talk then proceeds to use the radar range equation to investigate options and techniques available to the design engineer to improve the performance of the radar for a given application. The talk concludes with a review of basic tracking and a summary of some of the data product available from a modern radar.


Tony graduated with distinction in Radar from Plymouth Navy College (UK) in 1977. In 1982 he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Radar and Maritime Technology, graduating with first class honours, from the University of Wales. Whilst working at the University of Birmingham (UK), Tony was awarded his doctorate, under the special regulation of the University, in recognition of his pioneering work in High Frequency Surface Wave Radar (HFSWR).

Whilst at Birmingham University, Tony's work came to the attention of the Canadian Government who subsequently offered him the opportunity to further develop HFSWR and the concept of Integrated Maritime Surveillance. In 1987 he joined NORDCO Limited in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, as the Senior Scientist and Technical Director of the newly formed Integrated Maritime Surveillance business unit. In this capacity he established Canada's first HFSWR test bed facility at Cape Bonavista. This development progressed into the world's first shore-based, real-time, EEZ surveillance sensor that provides persistent, all-weather, tracking of ships, icebergs and aircraft throughout the EEZ. Two operational systems were subsequently deployed on the Canadian East Coast and international sales followed. In 2011 Raytheon Canada received a contract from the Canadian Government to design and deliver the third Generation HFSWR systems.

Dr. Ponsford is a regular participant in national and international forums on Radar and Domain Awareness and has established a number of collaborative research programs between Raytheon Canada and Universities. Tony is also one of the founding members of the Canadian Tracking and Fusion Group and has over 50 publications related to Radar and Domain Awareness. Tony also holds 5 radar related patents with a further 7 patents pending. His TracShare system for exchanging navigation radar track data was the overall winner of Raytheon's Innovation Challenge Competition in 2011.

In 2011 Tony received the IEEE Ottawa Section "Outstanding Engineer Award" for his scientific contributions in the development and advancement of High Frequency Surface Wave Radar and Maritime Domain Awareness.

He is Co-Chair of the IEEE AESS Ottawa Chapter and was Co-Chair of the Organizing Committee for IEEE Radar Conference 2013 that took place in Ottawa with the theme "The Arctic - The New Frontier".

Mathetmatical and Practical Aspects of Radar Signal Processing

The aim of this talk is to give a broad overview of the mathematical and practical aspects of radar signal processing. It starts with a brief review of the basic concepts of linear algebra, stochastic processes that are needed to fully understand much of the literature in the field. Wiener filter theory is then used to study problems in adaptive array processing and space-time adaptive processing. The important problem in practice is the estimation of the interference covariance matrix, which is discussed next. This is followed by a discussion of salient aspects of detection theory, parameter estimation. We conclude with discussion of SAR-MTI and a brief summary of some of the recent research directions in the field

  • Mathematical Preliminaries
  • Adaptive Array Processing
  • Space-time Adaptive Processing
  • Covariance Matrix Estimation
  • Detection and Detectors
  • Parameter Estimation
  • Miscellaneous Topics


Bhashyam Balaji received his B.Sc. (Hons) degree in physics from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, India and Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics from Boston University, Boston, MA, in 1997. Since 1998, he has been a scientist at the Defence Research and Development Canada, Ottawa, Canada. His radar research interests include radar signal processing, nonlinear filtering, multi-target tracking, and multi-sensor data fusion. His recent research also includes the application of Feynman path integral and quantum field theory methods to the problems of nonlinear filtering and stochastic control.

Last updated May 9, 2014

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