ECE Newsletter: Spring 2013

Message from Kris Hollot

Dear UMass Amherst ECE alumni and friends:

We've just started school for the Spring 2013 semester, and with this newsletter I am pleased to report on some ECE department happenings since last June, when it was much, much warmer. 

In September of 2012, we brought in 140 first-year students into our introductory ECE class. This continues a rebound in our undergraduate numbers, which dipped in 2002-2010, as did all ECE programs nationwide. At this same time, we admitted 61 new M.S. and 11 Ph.D. students. Overall, we have around 400 undergraduates, as well as 180 M.S. and 77 Ph.D. students. We've got our hands full.

The fall gave us a number of good opportunities to recognize our alums.

In October, Dr. Ellen J. Ferraro ('89 B.S., '94 Ph.D., ECE), the director of the Systems Architecture Design and Integration Directorate for Integrated Defense Systems at Raytheon in Waltham, delivered the 13th annual Tang Lecture. The title of her lecture was "The Art of Systems Thinking Within the Science of Systems Engineering."

A few weeks later we had the pleasure of presenting Eric A. Swanson ('82 B.S. EE) with ECE's Outstanding Senior Alumni Award at the college's Alumni Award Dinner held annually during Homecoming Week. Earlier in the fall, Eric was one of the recipients of the 2012 António Champalimaud Vision Award, which recognizes contributions to overall vision research and to the alleviation of visual impairments.

And we are very thankful for our alums' generosity.

In September, we celebrated the new Hluchyj Fellows, the growing family of 10 scholars spawned by the Hluchyj Fellowship and the collaboration between the College of Engineering and School of Nursing. The Hluchyj Graduate Fellowship was started by Dr. Michael Hluchyj, a 1979 alumnus of the ECE department, and his wife, Theresa "Terry" Hluchyj, a 1977 alumna from the School of Nursing.

Every year we thank alumnus Paul Engel ('74 B.S. CSE) and his wife Debi Engel, who have been long-time supporters of the College of Engineering. Their legacy here includes a scholarship they established in 2000 and named after the local company they co-own. The scholarship is officially called the Quabbin Wire & Cable Co., Inc. Scholarship Endowment, which supports students from Western Massachusetts who are matriculating in the College of Engineering.

Finally, I'd like to invite you all to two events: Senior Design Project Day on Saturday, April 20, 2013; and ECE Research Day, to be held during Homecoming Week in the fall of 2013. Actually, we held our first annual Research Day this past October, when 60 of our Ph.D. students gave poster presentations on their research work. We plan to introduce seminars and lab tours in its second incarnation. And, of course, you don't want to miss this year's Senior Design Project Day. Check out http://www.ecs.umass.edu/ece/sdp/sdp13/ for a preview of this year's projects.

I hope you enjoy catching up with our ECE Department. Please send me a note at hollot@ecs.umass.edu and keep warm during winter's last cold blasts!

NSF CAREER Award Supports Research in Emerging Nanodevice to Go Beyond Moore's Law
Qiangfei Xia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been issued a five-year, $400,000 grant from the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program to develop emerging nanoelectronic devices. The title of his project is "CAREER: Scaling of Memristive Nanodevices and Arrays." Xia's NSF research addresses the biggest obstacle for the continued operation of Moore's Law, which states that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. The law is named after Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore, who first predicted the trend in his 1965 paper.
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Gao Selected as ACM Fellow
Professor Lixin Gao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been selected as a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), an honor achieved by only one percent of that organization. She was cited by the ACM "for contributions to network protocols and internet routing." Gao now becomes the first faculty member in the ECE department to earn selection as a Fellow of both the Instituteof Electricaland Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the ACM.
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ECE Grad Student Wins Best Cyber Security Solution
The Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC), New England's premier consortium of university, industry, and government leaders collaboratively facing cyber security challenges, has named doctoral student Georg T. Becker of the UMass Electrical and Computer Engineering Department as the winner of its Best Cyber Security Solution. The event, designed to showcase New England's emerging cyber security talent, was held at the November 15th ACSC Second Annual Conference, where students presented their work in poster format to national and regional cyber security experts. Becker's winning project, which earned him a $1000 award, was titled "Side-channel based watermarks for embedded devices" and focused on cost-effective technology to block product piracy and IP theft through side-channel based watermarks.
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CASA Installs Its First Weather Radar in Texas
The UMass Amherst News Office reports that on October 28 Deputy Director Brenda Philips of the College of Engineering's Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) program joined engineer Eric Lyons and CASA Innovation Manager Apoorva Bajaj while the first CASA weather radar unit was installed by helicopter atop a building at the University of Texas Arlington (UTA). Philips said, "This represents a great technical and organizational milestone for the project." Over the next several months, CASA will see three more of its radar units installed at partner institutions in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, with support from the North Texas Council of Governments, local elected officials, Dallas and Fort Worth Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, the UTA, and others.
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ECE Holds Inaugural Ph.D. Poster Session
On Friday, October 26, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department held its inaugural Ph.D. Poster Session in the Gunness Student Center of Marcus Hall, when 60 doctoral candidates presented their research in a fitting demonstration of the fine engineering work being carried out in the department.  "The motivation for the ECE Ph.D. Poster Session was to create greater awareness in our graduate student community," explained ECE department head Christopher Hollot, "as well as for ECE's faculty and staff, on the research topics conducted by our Ph.D. students." The 60 posters covered the disciplines of Communications and Network Modeling, Post-CMOS, Sensing Systems, and VLSI, CAD, and Embedded Systems.
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CAREER Research into Smart Buildings Can Make Them Cheaper and Greener
David Irwin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been issued a five-year, $461,434 grant from the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. The NSF grant will support Irwin's research for boosting energy-efficiency in houses and buildings, which represent the largest segment of society's energy usage. The title of Irwin's project is "Model-based Energy Management for Sustainable Buildings." Irwin's CAREER award is the third one received by young faculty members from the College of Engineering in a matter of weeks.
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COE Designates First RM Technologies Award
Rafael D. Guzman (B.S. '88, EE) is a dedicated alumnus and high-honor graduate of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the president and CEO of RM Technologies, Inc. (RMT) of Lawrence, Massachusetts, and a powerful supporter of the Lawrence community and surrounding area, with a special commitment to local young people. All these passions of his came together this year when Guzman's company created the RM Technologies, Inc. Award in the College of Engineering. The first recipient of the award is freshman Erick Aponte of Lawrence. 
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Ferraro Delivers 13th Annual Tang Lecture
On Thursday, October 4, Dr. Ellen J. Ferraro ('89 B.S., '94 Ph.D., ECE), the director of the Systems Architecture Design and Integration Directorate for Integrated Defense Systems at Raytheon in Waltham, Mass., delivered the 13th annual Tang Lecture on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The title of her lecture was "The Art of Systems Thinking Within the Science of Systems Engineering." Dr. Ferraro has been profiled as one of the "Women to Watch" in Massachusetts by Mass High Tech Magazine. Among other responsibilities since joining Raytheon in 1994, Ferraro has worked as a department manager in the Radar Systems Laboratory, where she oversaw 80 engineers working on four major radar programs.
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DIORAMA II Promises to Save Many Lives at Disaster Scenes
Professor Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department has been awarded a $1.6-million, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue the research on her life-saving, disaster-management solution known as DIORAMA II. Ganz's solution is supported by the leadership of the disaster management community. This electronic computer system can quickly organize chaotic, mass-casualty, disaster scenes, such as airliner, bus, and train wrecks, and cut the evacuation time of survivors in half. DIORAMA II works both in daylight and nighttime while overcoming physical obstacles.
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New Hluchyj Fellows Chosen for 2012-2013
Doctoral students Akshaya Shanmugam of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and Jalil Johnson from the School of Nursing have been named the 2012-2013 Hluchyj Fellows at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Hluchyj Graduate Fellowship was started by Dr. Michael Hluchyj, a 1979 alumnus of the ECE department, and his wife, Theresa "Terry" Hluchyj, a 1977 alumna from the School of Nursing. The fellowship supports two graduate students per year in the College of Engineering and the School of Nursing with annual stipends so they can do interdisciplinary research in the area of clinical healthcare.
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Anderson Delivers Best Oral Paper at IEEE NANO Conference
Professor Neal Anderson of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was awarded first place for the Best Oral Conference Paper at the 12th annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Conference on Nanotechnology (IEEE NANO), the top IEEE annual conference in nanotechnology and one of the biggest nanotechnology conferences in the world. The paper, co-authored by Anderson's graduate students Ilke Ercan and Natesh Ganesh, was entitled "Toward Nanoprocessor Thermodynamics." As ECE Department Head Christopher Hollot noted, "This is a very exciting and newsworthy accomplishment, and I believe it's a harbinger of the discipline's further recognition of Neal's contribution to understanding fundamental limitations in the engineering of nanoscale computing."
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Alum's Company Named One of Top-15 Emerging in Wireless Industry
Movik Networks, whose CEO John St. Amand is a 1991 graduate of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, was announced recently as one of the top 15 emerging companies in the wireless industry. The honor came fromFierceWireless, a daily email newsletter focused on matters relating to the wireless technology industry. Movik was also ranked 27th in The Wall Street Journal's third annual ranking of the top 50 venture-capital-backed companies. Chosen from a pool of nearly 6,000 candidate companies, Movik is recognized as having the potential to make a technological breakthrough, topping The Wall Street Journal's "Next Big Thing" list.
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Spotlight on Support: Quabbin Wire & Cable Scholarship
Alumnus Paul Engel (B.S.'74, Computer Systems Engineering) and his wife Debi Engel have been long-time supporters of the College of Engineering, and their legacy here includes a scholarship they established in 2000 and named after the local company they co-own. The scholarship is officially called the Quabbin Wire & Cable Co., Inc. Scholarship Endowment, which supports students from Western Massachusetts who are matriculating in the College of Engineering. The company is a manufacturer and supplier of Polyofin, PVC, TPU, TRE, and low-smoke halogen insulated low-temperature thermoplastic-shielded and unshielded cables. Quabbin employs approximately 100 workers. In total, the renewable scholarship has supported 11 undergraduates since 2000. 
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Swanson Wins 2012 António Champalimaud Vision Award in Portugal
The António Champalimaud Foundation has announced that Eric A. Swanson, a 1982 alumnus of the UMass Amherst Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and a research affiliate in the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics, is one of the recipients of the 2012 António Champalimaud Vision Award. Presented annually, the award recognizes contributions to overall vision research and to the alleviation of visual impairments. Swanson and his collaborators were recognized for the invention of optical coherence tomography (OCT), which plays a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of the most important blinding diseases of the industrialized world: macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.
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