The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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A holiday feature story (see feature here: Globe) and sidebar (see sidebar here: Globe) in The Boston Globe looked at the indoor navigation system to help the visually impaired designed by Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Her system will be installed in the Arlington Street station of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The system uses electronic tags placed in the station that can be read by an application on smart phones and tells a visually impaired person how to move through the building.

On December 5, Professor David McLaughlin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department held his second, annual, end-of-class demonstration of model, collision-avoiding  “smart cars,” as built by the students in his Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering course, ECE 361. The event is a sort of anti-demolition derby, in which 60 model smart cars, built in teams by the 193 mechanical and industrial engineering students in McLaughlin’s class, duck, dodge, and dart across the floor in a choreography of collision avoidance.

On November 13 through 17, three graduate students from the UMass Amherst College of Engineering and School of Computer Science won the $5,000 first prize in the Juniper/Comcast Northeast Division Hackathon. The winning team was composed of Rufina Chettiar, School of Computer Science, advisor Professor Jim Kurose; Abhishek Dwaraki, Electrical and Computer Engineering, advisor Professor Tilman Wolf; and Divyashri Bhat, Electrical and Computer Engineering, advisor Professor Michael Zink.

Two College of Engineering students, senior Andrew Sousa of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and graduate student Angela Berthaume of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, have been accepted for an National Science Foundation sponsored project to bring about transformative changes to engineering curricula, pedagogy, and academic culture. The workshop is entitled “Transforming Undergraduate Education in Engineering” (TUEE). 

C.V. Hollot, the head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, is a member of the interdisciplinary research team from UMass Amherst and the University of Minnesota that received a four-year, $2.4-million, National Science Foundation grant to study the increasingly complex ways in which content is delivered to users on the Internet and to invent new architectural and algorithmic mechanisms to coordinate these interactions better. Hollot’s expertise is in control theory and its applications

According to an article by the UMass Amherst News Office, the Engineering Center for Collaborative Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) at UMass Amherst has a four-year, $2.48-million National Science Foundation grant to study how mobile devices carried in our pockets, bags, and backpacks can serve as the next generation of weather warning systems in the coming decade.

Paul Siqueira of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is one of 15 scientists selected by NASA to serve on the Science Definition Team of a $600-million collaborative mission between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). In a meeting in Toronto on September 30, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of ISRO, signed two documents to launch a NASA-ISRO satellite mission to observe Earth and establish a pathway for future joint missions to explore Mars.

Recently the Engineering Research Center for the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA Engineering Research Center) installed the fifth of eight planned weather radars in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. This newest radar was installed in Johnson County, Texas. The new radar network, which offers higher resolution data and potentially earlier warning of severe weather, is being installed by a consortium of government agencies, universities, and industry partners that was initially funded by a 10-year, $40-million grant from the National Science Foundation.

According to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Tilman Wolf, the Associate Dean of Engineering (Graduate Studies and Operations) and a professor in our Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, has been selected among 77 of “the nation's most innovative, young engineering educators” to take part in the NAE's sixth Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium. Faculty members who are developing and implementing innovative educational approaches in a variety of engineering disciplines will come together for the two-and-a-half-day event, where they can share ideas, learn from research and best practices in education, and leave with a charter to bring about improvement in their home institutions.

The research on IT security of Christof Paar, adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was the object of a recent article by Mark Anderson in the September 3 edition of IEEE Spectrum. The article, titled “Vulnerable ‘Smart’ Devices Make an Internet of Insecure Things,” explains that there are good engineering, technological, and even cultural reasons why security of the so-called “Internet of Things” is a very hard problem.