Picture of Alyosha Molnar

Alyosha Christopher Molnar

Associate Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Phillips Hall, Room 402


Alyosha Molnar received a B.S. in engineering with highest honors from Swarthmore College in 1997. After working as a deckhand on a fishing boat, he joined Conexant Systems Inc in Newport Beach CA in 1998. At Conexant, he worked as a RFIC design engineer and co-led the design of their first generation direct conversion GSM transceiver, which has sold more than 20 million parts to date. He entered graduate school at UC Berkeley in 2001 and received his MSEE in 2003 for his design of an ultra-low power RF transceiver for "Smart Dust" working with Professor Kris Pister. He then joined Frank Werblin's neurobiology lab where he completed his doctoral work (still in electrical engineering), focusing on dissecting the neuronal circuitry of the rabbit retina using a combination of electrophysiology, pharmacology and anatomy. After receiving his Ph.D. in May 2007, Alyosha joined the ECE department at Cornell as an assistant professor. He is currently an associate professor and continues his interdisciplinary research in integrated circuits, imaging and neurobiology.

Research Interests

We have been developing integrated circuits (chips) in three general areas: ultraflexible radios, imaging and neurobiology. In Ultraflexible, software defined radios, we have introduced an new architecture of wireless receiver, using the properties of passive mixers. Both theoretical and experimental results so that this architecture provides receivers extremely good performance while providing unparalleled program-ability of its antenna interface. In imaging, we have developed a new class of pixel, in standard CMOS, and have demonstrated that arrays of these Angle Sensitive Pixels can be used to capture 3-D image information both in as parts of cameras, but also without a lens as ultra-low-cost imaging platforms suitable for simple biological and medical assays. We have also developed a new class of algorithms for solving basis pursuit problems that are especially applicable to lensless imaging. Finally, in neuroscience, we have been working with collaborators to develop better instrumentation for recording from and manipulating large numbers of interconnected neurons in tissue slice, as well as on a theoretical framework for interpreting these results and possibly applying them to new circuit topologies.

Teaching Interests

Teaching this year was split between ECE 2100 (Spring 2010, 2011), with an average of 60+ students. This is a lab class for sophomores. I made several adjustments, including adding a new lab (the "black box lab") which was especially effective in getting students engaged in thinking about circuits. In 2010, ECE2100 generated student reviews well above the college average. In the Fall I taught a graduate class (ECE5040) in "neural interfaces to ECE and BME students. I also acted as faculty director of 2010's CATALYST academy for promising high-school students from under-represented minorities. This involved designing and overseeing 6 week-long projects for groups of 6 students: at least one of these students has been admitted early decision to Cornell.

Selected Publications

  • Hirsch, M., S. Sivaramakrishnan, S. Jayasuriya, A. Wang, Alyosha Christopher Molnar, R. Raskar, G. Wetzstein.  2014. "A Switchable Light Field Camera Architecture with Angle Sensitive Pixels and Dictionary-based Sparse Coding."  Paper presented at International Conference on Computational Photography (ICCP), May.
  • Yang, D., Alyosha Christopher Molnar. 2014. "A Widley Tunable Active Duplexing Transceiver with 6dB NF, - 18dBm Transmitted Power, and 33dB Rx/Tx Isolation." Paper presented at Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Symposium (RFIC).
  • Yüksel, H., D. Yang, Alyosha Christopher Molnar.  2014. "A Circuit-level Model for Accurately Modeling 3rd Order Nonlinearity in CMOS Passive Mixers." Paper presented at Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Symposium (RFIC).
  • Vinogradov, V., J. Ha, C. Lee, Alyosha Christopher Molnar, S.H. Hong. 2014. "Dynamic Ternary CAM for Hardware Search Engine." Electronic Letters.
  • Johnson, B., S. T. Peace, T. A. Cleland, Alyosha Christopher Molnar. 2013. "A 50um Pitch, 1120-Channel, 20kHz Frame Rate Microelectrode Array for Slice Recording." Paper presented at IEEE Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference (BioCas), November.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship (awarded to Changhyuk Lee) 2013
  • National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award (National Science Foundation) 2012
  • Lewis Winner Award for Outstanding Paper at the 2012 IEEE Internatinal Solid-State Circuits Conference (IEEE) 2012
  • Best Student Paper Award (2nd Place) - Awarded to Albert Wang (IEEE Sensors) 2011
  • IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS), honorary mention for best paper award (Awarded to Changhyuk Lee) 2011


  • B.S. (Engineering), Swarthmore College, 1997
  • M.S. (Electrical Engineering), University of California-Berkeley, 2003
  • Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering), University of California-Berkeley, 2007


In the News

Molnar and Alumni win Best Paper Award

Cornell Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Alyosha (Al) Molnar and several former students recently received the 2017 IEEE Sensors Journal Best Paper Award for their paper, “A Polar Symmetric CMOS Image Sensor for Rotation Invariant Measurement.” His co-authors include Sriram Sivaramakrishnan, Ph.D. ’15, Changhyuk Lee, Ph.D. ’14, Ben Johnson, Ph.D. ’14.

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