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ECE Newsletter: Winter 2015

Message from Kris Hollot

Hi UMass Amherst ECE alumni and friends:

Invitations, invitations and invitations. We extend invitations to a number of fantastic UMass ECE events this spring (if spring decides to show up!)

  • 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., March 13, 2015: 3rd Annual ECE Ph.D. Poster Session: 25 Ph.D. students will present their research. Take this Friday the 13th afternoon off and visit the campus, department, and professors. See the latest research we are conducting.
     
  • 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., April 24 and 25, 2015: Senior Design Demo Day and Projects Expo: 21 teams will be demoing their senior design projects. Here’s a sneak preview of this year’s projects.
     
  • June 5 and 6, 2015: Alumni Weekend 2015. Join alums from ECE and other engineering departments. I look forward to visiting with you and giving tours of the department.
     

Also, I invite you to peruse the news items included in this winter newsletter. The alumni star of this cycle is Columbia University Professor Vishal Misra (M.S. ’96, Ph.D. ’00). We honored Vishal this past fall with the ECE Outstanding Junior Alumni Award. In addition to his stellar academic credentials, Professor Misra is founder and CTO of Infinio Systems, which won the “2013 Start-up to Watch” award from the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.  Moreover, one of our newsletter stories, just hot off the press, describes how Vishal’s doctoral and post-doctoral research at UMass provided the foundations for a solution to the so-called “bufferbloat” problem by inspiring an algorithm that Cisco Systems, Inc. developed and that is to be deployed on most cable modems. You’ll have to read the article to find out just what bufferbloat is!

All for now, and hope you will accept our invitation to visit campus for these spring events.

kris

 

Got Bufferbloat? UMass Amherst Research Is Behind the Fix!

There are few things more frustrating than being on an online real-time phone call when it suddenly gets the jitters, your caller’s voice doesn’t match up to his or her facial expressions, and your conversation doesn’t sync correctly. Likewise, gamers are infuriated when sudden lags cause them to lose at what they’ve been playing for hours. These lags and jitters are caused by a phenomenon known as “bufferbloat.”
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Zink and Irwin Funded to Create CloudLab

Computer systems engineers Michael Zink and David Irwin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department recently received a three-year, $390,000, National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to help create a new instrument for the national research community known as a “cloud laboratory.” Dubbed CloudLab, it will among other things allow scientists to run huge or very complex experiments on an enormous and flexible new shared network of reliable, secure, and fast computers. 
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Siqueira Part of Science Definition Team on $600-Million NASA Mission

Paul Siqueira of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is one of 15 scientists selected by NASA to serve on the Science Definition Team of a $600-million collaborative mission between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). In a meeting in Toronto on September 30, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of ISRO, signed two documents to launch a NASA-ISRO satellite mission to observe Earth and establish a pathway for future joint missions to explore Mars.
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CASA Champions New Mobile App for Storm Warnings

According to an article by the UMass Amherst News Office, the Engineering Center for Collaborative Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) at UMass Amherst has a four-year, $2.48-million National Science Foundation grant to study how mobile devices carried in our pockets, bags, and backpacks can serve as the next generation of weather warning systems in the coming decade.
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Hollot Applies Control Theory in $2.4-million NSF Research

C.V. Hollot, the head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, is a member of the interdisciplinary research team from UMass Amherst and the University of Minnesota that received a four-year, $2.4-million, National Science Foundation grant to study the increasingly complex ways in which content is delivered to users on the Internet and to invent new architectural and algorithmic mechanisms to coordinate these interactions better.
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UMass Team Wins $5,000 Hackathon First Prize

On November 13 through 17, three graduate students from the UMass Amherst College of Engineering and School of Computer Science won the $5,000 first prize in the Juniper/Comcast Northeast Division Hackathon. The winning team was composed of Rufina Chettiar, School of Computer Science, advisor Professor Jim Kurose; Abhishek Dwaraki, Electrical and Computer Engineering, advisor Professor Tilman Wolf; and Divyashri Bhat, Electrical and Computer Engineering, advisor Professor Michael Zink.
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McLaughlin Holds Second Annual Smart Car Extravaganza

On December 5, Professor David McLaughlin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department held his second, annual, end-of-class demonstration of model, collision-avoiding  “smart cars,” as built by the students in his Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering course, ECE 361. The event is a sort of anti-demolition derby, in which 60 model smart cars, built in teams by the 193 mechanical and industrial engineering students in McLaughlin’s class, duck, dodge, and dart across the floor in a choreography of collision avoidance.
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Ganz Featured in Boston Globe

A holiday feature story and sidebar in The Boston Globe looked at the indoor navigation system to help the visually impaired designed by Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Her system will be installed in the Arlington Street station of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).
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ECE Students Build Camera-packing Drone to Videotape Extreme Sports

A team of four seniors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has conceived, designed, and is currently building a camera-toting drone aircraft that can hover above a mountain biker, surfer, climber, or any of the country’s 4.88-million action athletes and videotape the performance.
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