News

Michael Zink of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has come up with a brilliant solution for a very expensive problem: The various applications for networks of electronic sensing devices such as radars or cameras cannot be shared. For example, radar networks are applied for either weather forecasting or tracking aircraft. Camera systems might be applied for border security or Coast Guard life-saving activities. Currently each application for every system requires its own, often expensive, sensing infrastructure to allow the individual units to operate in unison. Zink is about to change all that. Zink has received a five-year grant of approximately $400,000 from the prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program.

Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has been selected to receive the 2014 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, and Shelly Peyton of the Chemical Engineering Department will receive the 2014 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. “Their excellent contributions to scholarship and the profession bring distinction to our college,” said Dean Tim Anderson while announcing the annual awards. “Aura and Shelly, along with the CoE Outstanding Teaching Award winner Rama Janaswamy, will be recognized during the CoE Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Congratulations, Aura and Shelly!”

Dean Tim Anderson is pleased to announce the appointment of three faculty members and one administrator as the new associate deans for the College of Engineering. The new appointments are: Professor John Collura, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, as the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation; Professor David Ford, Chemical Engineering Department, as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor Tilman Wolf, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Operations; and Kathleen Rubin, the current Assistant Dean, as the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Administration. The College of Engineering is indeed fortunate to have these dedicated individuals available to serve in four key positions at this crucial time of growth, evolution, and advancement within the institution.

Alumnus Bob Cramer, a CEO coach and advisor, board member, and private investor with 29 years experience in high-growth, venture-backed businesses, gave an informal talk in M5 (Marcus Hall, room 5) on Tuesday, April 15, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mr. Cramer is a 1980 graduate of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. His topic was “Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Tech Start-up Companies.” Among other companies, Cramer has served as CEO of: LiveVault, one of the first SaaS businesses targeting the SMB market (acquired by IRM in 2005); FirstSense, one of the first application performance management companies (acquired by CCRD in 1999); and Nimbit, one of the first direct-to-fan online sales and marketing platforms (acquired by PreSonus in 2012). The talk was free and open to the public, and refreshments were served.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Alumni Association has announced the recipients of its annual student scholarships and awards, and six high-achieving undergraduates from the College of Engineering were among them. The engineering recipients were: Industrial Engineering major Avery Stroman ’16, who won a $750 Alumni Merit-Based SAA Scholarship; Mechanical Engineering major Aaron Annan '15, Computer System Engineering major Michael Bjorge '15, Civil Engineering major Marissa Shea '15, and Chemical Engineering major Marianne Sleiman '15, who all received $750 William F. Field Alumni Scholarships; and Electrical Engineering major Joshua Hodge ’14, who received a $500 Senior Leadership Award.

On March 5, Professor Christopher Hollot, the head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, delivered a talk for the Boston University Electrical and Computer Engineering Department  Distinguished Lecture Series. The series is billed as “a forum for eminent individuals from the worlds of academia and industry to share their experience and vision in various areas of electrical and computer engineering.” Designed to cover a breadth of topics, the lectures target both undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty. Hollot’s lecture was entitled Regulation of Cell Populations in Individuals Using Feedback-Based Drug-Dosing Protocols.”

On Saturday, April 5, at 3:00 p.m. the UMass Amherst chapter of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) will hold its inaugural, 24-hour “HackUMass, the IEEE Embedded Systems Hackathon” in the M5 maker space (Marcus Hall, room 5) on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest, or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development collaborate intensively on software projects, often with hardware components. “We’re holding this hackathon because we want to give students the opportunity to learn something new,” explains Andrew Sousa, an undergraduate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the vice chair of the UMass IEEE chapter.

The March 16 edition of the Boston Sunday Globe included a long feature article on PERCEPT, the brainchild of Professor Aura Ganz (Electrical and Computer Engineering Department) that will be installed in Boston’s Arlington Metro Station to help the visually impaired navigate the complicated building and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system. The new technology designed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will make subway orienteering easier for blind people by offering step-by-step instructions on how to get to their destinations inside a T station. The electronic navigation system uses a smartphone application to help people detect landmarks inside a station and provides verbal directions for moving from one spot to another. Go to Globe article: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/03/16/new-technology-for-visually-impaired-debut-arlington station/3f78woRN794pBjee3LCFcL/story.html

A student from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, David Joy, has been invited to present a paper on his team’s senior capstone project at the eighth annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Conference on RFID (http://2014.ieee-rfid.org), being held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, from April 8 to 10. The title of the paper is "RFID Solution to Fighting Handicap Parking Abuse," which describes a capstone project being developed by Joy, Redwan Alzain, Andrew Baraby, and Mark Page. Their faculty advisor is Professor David McLaughlin, and the team is named Team HP-ID (for Handicap Parking ID).

Professor Ramakrishna Janaswamy of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department has been named the 2013-2014 College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher. “Rama's effectiveness as a classroom instructor and dedication to the overall teaching mission of the college are truly appreciated by our students,” said Dean Tim Anderson and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dave Ford in making the announcement. Among other accomplishments, Janaswamy was nominated for the UMass Distinguished Teaching Award in 2011, served as the ECE graduate program director for three years, developed four new graduate courses that were highly rated by students from 2003 to 2012, and has received a very high average of 4.44 out of a maximum 5 for his Student Response to Instruction rating from student evaluations over the last 10 years.