University of Massachusetts Amherst

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According to two independent websites, Executive Biz and UASWeekly, the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) at UMass Amherst is part of a team including Bell Helicopter, Xwing, and Textron Systems that has just announced a cooperative agreement with NASA to help conduct an unmanned aircraft flight demonstration in 2020. CASA will provide weather avoidance technology for the ambitious project.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a four-year grant of $953,300 to a research team led by Professor Guangyu Xu of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to study the neural activity underlying complex animal behaviors. The research being funded by the NSF will allow scientists to find precise connections within and between different regions of the brain and trace the origin of animal behaviors down to cellular levels.

Once again the UMass Amherst College of Engineering ranks among the nation’s top engineering programs, climbing this year to No. 33 public in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2019.

Professors Joshua Yang and Qiangfei Xia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UMass Amherst led a research team from multiple institutions – including the NASA Ames Research Center, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, and the Air Force Research Lab – which has realized the first “capacitive neural network” experimentally, a leap forward in the development of a new neuro-biological architecture that can mimic very useful qualities of the human brain and nervous system.

A news story by Brian Murphy in the August 7 Charlotte News & Observer says officials in Charlotte, N.C., are considering installing weather radars designed by the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), developed at UMass Amherst and currently employed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where they are used to detect tornadoes and other severe weather. The CASA radars have a short range and can see weather events much closer to the ground than conventional weather radars.

Doctoral student Christopher Merola of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department was the winner 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.

See Merola’s poster summarizing his paper »

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.”

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