University of Massachusetts Amherst

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On January 6, the Colorado State University Coloradoan carried a feature article about the $2.8-million National Science Foundation project in the Dallas-Fort Worth area being run by the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA).

Joseph Bardin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a five-year grant of approximately $400,000 from the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. Bardin’s research will greatly improve the cryogenic electronics used in scientific instruments, thereby enabling new and more powerful experimental tools for scientific researchers.

On December 6 in the Campus Center Auditorium, 170 junior and senior students in the ECE 361 Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering course showed off some 40 model “smart cars” they had designed during the course as collision-avoiding vehicles. This course is intended to provide non-electrical engineering majors, in this case students from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, with the relevant electrical and electronic engineering concepts and device knowledge to work effectively in multi-disciplined design, development, and manufacturing teams.

Jorge L. Salazar, a doctoral graduate from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was awarded a prestigious National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Advanced Study Program Postdoctoral Fellowship. The postdoctoral program provides an opportunity for recent Ph.D. scientists and engineers to continue to pursue their research interests in atmospheric and related sciences.

In M5 (short for Marcus Hall, room 5), the student hub for hands-on inventiveness in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, innovation is happening faster than an electrical signal jumping a human synapse gap. In M5, change is standard operating procedure. One symbol of the innovation in progress is the antique pump organ centrally located in M5 as it waits to be mechanically restored and electronically synthesized by a team of faculty and students.

On October 30, RailPod, a startup company founded by College of Engineering alumni Brendan English (B.S. 1999 in Computer Systems Engineering) and Blair Morad (B.S. 1998 in Mechanical Engineering), won $100,000 in the 2013 MassChallenge (masschallenge.org), the world’s largest startup accelerator. RailPod was one of five $100,000 first-prize winners out of 128 companies competing in the MassChallenge.

On November 8 and 9, Marco Chiang, a senior BSCSE major, and his team from the Computer Science Department finished in the top six out of more than 500 “amazing hackers” and 200 teams that competed in the Yale Hackathon in New Haven, Connecticut. According to Chiang, the Hackathon is an event in which students compete to create the most innovative and complex computer software and hardware hacks to win a variety of cash and prizes.

A team led by graduate student Akshaya Shanmugam of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department won the $1,000 first prize in the UMass Innovation Challenge MinutePitch competitionon Oct. 29. The competition was featured in a Springfield Republican article on November 11. Shanmugam’s team, mDiagnostic, is developing a low-cost, accurate test for hepatitis C., and the team’s faculty advisor is ECE Professor Christopher Salthouse.

On November 4 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published and posted a long feature article about the network of new weather radars being established in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). The consortium of universities, government agencies, and industry partners is based at UMass Amherst in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

On October 18 the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department held its 2013 Ph.D. Poster Session, in which Akshaya Shanmugam won first place and also received the “Special Tang Award,” sponsored by the Shirley and Ting-wei Tang Endowment. Shanmugam’s faculty advisor was Christopher Salthouse, and the winning poster was entitled “Lensless Fluorescence imaging with height calculation.” The second place poster, entitled “Forest stand height inversion using spaceborne repeat-pass L-Band INSAR correlation,” was created by Yang Lei.

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