The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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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.

ECE faculty members voted on the three best posters, based on clarity of presentation, and the winners were: first place, Ibis Benito, “Resilient Interconnect Signaling,” advisor Wayne Burleson; second place, Sheng Xiao, “Dynamic Secrets in Wireless Communications,” advisors Weibo Gong and Don Towsley; third place, Wei Wang, “Model Order Reduction Methods in Electromagnetic Computations,” advisor Marinos Vouvakis.

First-place winner Benito explained in her poster abstract that “As transistors scale to follow Moore’s Law, we obtain the performance and area advantage of new technologies. However, on-chip interconnects do not scale at the same rate as transistors and become the performance bottleneck. Repeaters are commonly used to partition a long on-chip interconnect and reduce the quadratic relationship of delay with wire length to a linear relationship. However, process, voltage, and temperature variations cause uncertainty in signal characteristics, which may further lead to errors such as timing violations. This work aims to explore how the combination of novel circuit techniqueseffectively detects, reacts, and avoids these timing failures on a long on-chip interconnect.”

The second place poster by Xiao introduced “a new framework to manage secrets in secure communications, such as passwords and crypto-keys.” As Xio explained in his poster, “Password theft and key theft can be automatically recovered. Fraudulent messages using stolen key are guaranteed to be detected.” His research was used as the basis for a best paper nomination in INFOCOM 2010 and securing U.S. Patent 8,204,224.

As third-place finisher Wang explained about his research, “Full-wave computational EM methods have become the industry-standard for high-frequency and RF design automation and optimization. Such optimization usually needs repeated simulation for different parameter sweeps (e.g., material and geometry optimization of today’s cell phone antenna design in a broad frequency bandwidth). Model order reduction (MOR) is an effective and efficient alternative to such brute-force parameter sweep. This work outlines the first general (readily applicable to all kinds of parameter sweeps) and reliable (error controllable) MOR-based framework for fast EM parameters sweeps.”

“Our longer-term goals are to host an ECE Research Day that includes, in addition to the Ph.D.Poster Session, alumni seminars and lab tours,” noted Hollot. “We would broaden the invitation list beyond the COE community to include alums, ECE industrial friends, and prospective graduate students.”