Dear UMass Amherst ECE alumni and friends,
I'm pleased to introduce this ECE department update, which includes news about alums, students, and faculty members. Unfortunately, we start off with sad news coming with last-year's passing of Professor Jack Keil Wolf (UMass faculty member 1973-1984) and Dr. Apostle (Butch) Cardiasmenos (Ph.D. '78).
Professor Wolf was an internationally recognized expert in information theory and was a member of both the national academies of engineering and science. He served as our department head before moving to the University of California at San Diego as director of the Center for Magnetic Recording Research. We were fortunate to have Jack back on campus in 2008 as a distinguished lecturer. More details of Professor Wolf's numerous contributions can be found in this ECE news article.
Dr. Butch Cardiasmenos had deep interests in physics, astronomy, and engineering research and enjoyed a rich career of technical leadership at Raytheon, L-3 Communications, and Lockheed-Martin. Butch demonstrated great passion for his alma mater, serving as recent chair of the ECE External Advisory Board, as a cheerleader for the department, and as a persistent advocate for a university innovation institute which, fittingly, became reality this past summer. At homecoming, the department posthumously recognized Dr. Cardiasmenos with the 2011 Outstanding Senior Alumni Award – details of which can be found in the accompanying story.
At this same event in November, we also recognized the 2011 Outstanding Junior Alumni Award winner Brain Huppi (BSEE '98), honored for his technical contributions at Apple, where he helped develop the touchscreen technology used in iPhone and iPad products, at Tesla Motors, at Amazon, where he helped redesign the Kindle, and most recently at Nest Labs, which just announced their first product, the Nest Learning Thermostat.
The department's Ph.D. students had a banner year in winning a number of best paper awards. One story highlighted in this newsletter links a present graduate student with an alum - Dr. Roberto Padovani (Ph.D. '85), who served as Qualcomm's chief technology officer. Professor Dennis Goeckel's Ph.D. student, Adam Polak, demonstrated his technical excellence during a summer internship at Qualcomm, which landed him a prestigious and handsome scholarship named in honor of Roberto.
Finally, we sprinkle this newsletter with the story of a high-GPA and high-vaulting ECE student-athlete and with shameless self-promoting briefs on various faculty accomplishments.
I hope you enjoy catching-up with our ECE department. Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and please have a Happy New Year!