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In this year’s Senior Design Project competition, held annually as the culminating event in the capstone course (ECE 415 and ECE 416) of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, five innovative and eye-catching projects caught the attention of the judges and the audience. Dual Play scored a double whammy by winning first place in the overall competition, along with a People’s Choice second place. Helping Hand, the second place winner in the overall competition, also won first place in the People’s Choice voting. The other prize-winning teams were Smart Desk (third place in overall competition), A-C-C-E-S-S (Coordinator’s Choice Award), and Alfred (People’s Choice third place).

According to the campus News Office, Lixin Gao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was one of three faculty members at UMass Amherst who were appointed Distinguished Professors following approval by the Board of Trustees at its June 20 meeting. The title Distinguished Professor is conferred on select, highly accomplished faculty who have already achieved the rank of professor and who meet a demanding set of qualifications.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has awarded 2018 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships to two recent UMass Amherst College of Engineering (COE) alumni, Ashley Kaiser (B.S., ChE, ’17) and Sanghoon Lee (B.S., EE, ’17). Kaiser and Lee are now first-year graduate students pursuing their Ph.D. degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology, respectively. Kaiser and Lee are among just 69 students selected nationwide to receive these three-year graduate fellowships from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Professors Qiangfei Xia and J. Joshua Yang of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst headed up a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional team whose latest manuscript, entitled "Efficient and self-adaptive in-situ learning in multilayer memristor neural networks," has just been published in Nature Communications. As Xia and Yang summarized the findings in the manuscript, “This work proves that the memristor neural network is ready for machine-learning applications.”

Doctoral student Christopher Merola of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department has been notified that he is a finalist out of 171 entries in the 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S) Student Paper competition, taking place on July 10 at the 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation and USNC-URSI Radio Science Meeting in Boston. Merola’s paper is titled “A Class of Cavity-Based UWB Multi-Beamformers with Applications to Sub-6 GHz 5G,” and his advisor is ECE Professor Marinos Vouvakis.

Congratulations to eight exceptional engineering students who will be receiving alumni scholarships and awards. The students were recognized by the UMass Amherst Alumni Association at a reception on Sunday, April 22, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Five of the best and brightest academics from the College of Engineering (COE) have been chosen to receive COE’s 2017-2018 Outstanding Faculty Awards. Professor Russell Tessier was selected for the Outstanding Senior Faculty Award. The review committee designated Assistant Professors Caitlyn Butler and David Irwin as joint awardees for the Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Finally, Professors Matthew Lackner and Shelly Peyton were named the co-recipients of the COE Outstanding Teaching Award. All five award winners will be recognized during the COE Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 12, 2018.

Apoorva Bajaj, a senior research fellow and innovation manager with the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), was interviewed for a March 22 article in Forbes magazine, which was covering a startup company that manufactures solar-powered sensors to collect data on hyperlocal weather conditions. On behalf of CASA, Bajaj has been working with the new company to help verify the accuracy of the weather data it was gathering.

Zlatan Aksamija, an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the principal investigator in the Nanoelectronics Theory and Simulation Lab (NET Lab), was recently quoted in a Science News story about why scientists are studying how 2-D materials such as graphene behave at high temperatures. In the February 13 edition of Science News, Aksamija said that commonly used silicon-based electronics are “hitting a brick wall” regarding how much smaller they can be manufactured, and that 2-D materials could be ideal for constructing the next generation of tiny devices.

An article co-authored by Zlatan Aksamija, an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and the principal investigator in the Nanoelectronics Theory and Simulation Lab (NET Lab), was included in the 2017 highlights of the scientific journal Nanotechnology. As the journal described its prestigious highlights: “This collection includes outstanding articles and topical reviews published in the journal during 2017. These articles were selected on the basis of a range of criteria including referee endorsements, presentation of outstanding research, and popularity with our online readership.”

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