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. CloudLab will consist of 5,000 linked cores, or computers, that will be free for research and classroom use and should be up and running by the spring of 2015. See coverage in, Electronic Component News magazine, and the UMass Amherst News Office release. More information:

The Nanoscale Computing Fabrics Lab of Professor Andras Moritz from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department has won the Best Paper Award, for the third time in the past four years, at the IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Nanoscale Architectures (NANOARCH). The winning paper, entitled "Wave-based Multi-valued Computation Framework," was written and presented by Santosh Khasanvis, with co-authors Mostafizur Rahman, Sankara Narayanan Rajapandian, and Moritz. As ECE Department Head Christopher Hollot noted, “That’s impressive given that NANOARCH is the leading conference on novel post-CMOS nanocomputing and is a testament to the cutting-edge research that Professor Moritz’s lab conducts.”

As part of a news story for EE Times, Cheryl Brooks, director of career and student development at the College of Engineering, said more companies, both large and small, are recruiting our students. “We hosted more companies for recruiting and posted more jobs this year than last year,” says Brooks. “A wide range of companies recruited here this year, from large firms like ExxonMobil, Cisco, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon, and Google to smaller startup companies like HubSpot and Localytics.” The story reported that students graduating this year with engineering degrees are entering a strong job market. Engineering majors historically tend to have less trouble finding jobs in their chosen field than their counterparts with liberal arts degrees. But during the recent recession, engineering schools saw larger numbers of students choosing to wait it out and go to grad school.

America has always been a nation of tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs, as symbolized best by Ben Franklin and his amazing array of innovations, including bifocals, the Franklin Stove, the lightning rod, swim fins, a glass armonica, an odometer, and mapping the Gulf Stream. In true Franklinesque tradition, a growing number of Americans have recently gained access to technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, open-source, low-cost microcontrollers, easy-to-use design software, and desktop machine tools, democratizing the act of making and enabling citizens to build just about anything. In honor of this inventive tradition, the UMass Amherst College of Engineering would like to join in the national celebration of the so-called “Maker Movement” on June 18, when President Obama is hosting the first ever White House Maker Faire.

Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has been chosen as a 2014 “Spotlight Scholar” by the UMass Amherst Research Next website. Spotlight Scholars are UMass Amherst faculty members who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in research, scholarship, or creative activity. Professor Ganz was picked from an exceptional pool of nominees for this award, which honors and recognizes individual faculty members who exemplify the quality and commitment of UMass Amherst academics. Recognition comes with a $500 cash prize, commemorative poster, and publicity.

The January 31, 2012, edition of the Wall Street Journal included an article with an intriguing title: “Move over MBAs, Here Come the Engineers!” Not only is the demand for engineers “voracious,” the article reported, but engineers increasingly are the go-to leaders chosen to head companies. The Journal recounted that in a recently published study 3,337 company founders and CEOs across all industries held advanced degrees in engineering. By comparison, only 1,016 company founders and CEOs had advanced business degrees. This vital information provides a brilliant opportunity and also a pressing issue for engineers. How do they add the required business skills and management acumen to become company leaders? One perfect answer is the UMass Amherst Master of Science in Engineering Management Program.

On April 7, when the ninth annual University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge final business plan competition was held, mDiagnostics, the  team from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, garnered $15,000 in prize money to support development and marketing of its reliable, portable, single-use, low-cost, Hepatitis C screening device. The team was led by ECE doctoral student Akshaya Shanmugam and guided by her ECE faculty advisor Christopher Salthouse. The Innovation Challenge success only adds to an impressive list of honors earned by Shanmugam over the past two years. During that time, she has been chosen for a 2014 Eugene M. Isenberg Scholarship, was selected as one of the two 2012-2013 Hluchyj Fellows, and won first place in the 2013 ECE Ph.D. Poster Session, held last October.

Walter Everett Brown, a computer systems engineering and computer science major in the class of 2016, has been chosen by Research Next as one of the four 2014 “Rising Researchers” at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Brown’s faculty advisor is Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Maciej Ciesielski. Research Next is a UMass website and netzine which reports on “the research, scholarship, and creative activity that distinguishes UMass Amherst as a top research university.” Jessica Boakye of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was one of the 2013 Rising Researchers. For the most part, Brown is focusing on building software that industry can use to verify hardware designs before sending them out to production.

The Boston Business Journal reports that Newlans, an Acton (Massachusetts)-based maker of broadband analog signal processing devices, has raised $15 million in Series B funding, led by California-based Intel Capital. The founder and CEO of Newlans is alumnus Dr. Dev Gupta '77 Ph.D., an adjunct professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. The money will be used to accelerate the company's development and commercialization of a device that targets front-end radio frequency modules for 4G LTE mobile phones. Existing investors Paladin Capital Group and Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Washington DC and Maryland respectively, also participated in the round.

David Irwin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is one of the researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who are conducting a pilot project with the Holyoke Gas & Electric Co. (HG&E) that will show the utility and its customers how smart electric meters can save money and power. The project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. Prashant Shenoy of the Computer Science Department and Irwin are heading up a team of UMass Amherst researchers who will be using information from several dozen volunteers in HG&E’s customer base to demonstrate how to improve electricity use based on their metered use. See Article in the Springfield Republican.