We have recently been informed of and with great sadness inform the IEEE community about the passing (on 30 November 2018) of one of our esteemed IEEE volunteers Prof. Hendrik Christoffel Ferreira.
Professor Ferreira was born and educated in South Africa where he received the DSc. (Eng) degree from the University of Pretoria in 1980. He joined the Rand Afrikaans University in 1983, where he was appointed full Professor in 1989. Since 1984, he has been a visiting researcher at seven universities and two companies in both the USA and Europe, and was the founder of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Center for Telecommunications. Under his guidance, a number of postgraduate students have graduated and pursued academic and research careers at eight different universities in South Africa and internationally.
Prof. Ferreira was a pioneering initiator and stimulator of the research fields of Information Theory and Power Line Communications in South Africa and published close to 200 research papers receiving over 3,300 citations. With his work he introduced and developed a new theme in Information Theory, namely coding techniques for constructing combined channel codes, where error correction and channel properties are considered jointly. Prof. Ferreira received the Presidential Award of the FRD in 1989, and was a NRF A-Rated Researcher to date, with the rating reserved to “Researchers who enjoy considerable international recognition as independent researchers for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs”.
Prof. Ferreira served IEEE and its goals with distinction both locally and internationally. Prof. Ferreira was the founding Chair of the Information Theory Chapter of the IEEE South Africa Section in 2010-2012, following the roles of the Vice-Chair for IEEE South Africa Section in 1991, and the Chair of the Joint Communications and Signal Processing Chapter in 1991-1993.
He was a member of the Technical Committee for Power Line Communications of the IEEE Communications Society and served as Chair of several IEEE conferences, including the 17th IEEE International Symposium on Power-Line Communications and its Applications (ISPLC 2013), that was held in Johannesburg. He served on the Technical Program Committee of several IEEE conferences, including the IEEE (ISIT) International Symposium on Information Theory, the IEEE (ISPLC) International Symposium on Power Line Communications, and the IEEE Africon and Chinacom conferences. He organized several international events including the international 1999 IEEE Information Theory Workshop held in the Kruger National Park, and the 2010 IEEE African Winter School in Information Theory and Communications. Between 1997 and 2005, he also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Transactions of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE), which is a national Society partner of IEEE South Africa.
It is with sadness we extend our sincere condolences to Prof. Ferreira's family, friends and colleagues. We trust that his legacy as a true engineer shall remain within those he taught, guided, worked and lived to further human knowledge and improve the lives of countless people.
On behalf of IEEE South Africa ExCom
Dr Albert Lysko, Darryn Cornish, Dauda Ayanda, Dr David Oyedokun and Shaun Kaplan