University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Maura Maloney (University of Massachusetts Amherst, B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1985), the Principal Technology Business Operations Analyst at ESPN, visited campus on February 26th along with four of her colleagues from ESPN to give a presentation on “Women in Technology Careers” as part of the UMass Amherst Information Technology TechTalk series.

There are few things more frustrating than being on an online real-time phone call when it suddenly gets the jitters, your caller’s voice doesn’t match up to his or her facial expressions, and your conversation doesn’t sync correctly. Likewise, gamers are infuriated when sudden lags cause them to lose at what they’ve been playing for hours. These lags and jitters are caused by a phenomenon known as “bufferbloat.”

The Imaging Wind and Rain Profiler (IWRAP) developed and built by the Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was being used for sophisticated measurements of precipitation and the ocean surface during repeated flights in January and February as conducted by NOAH’s Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR). IWRAP is a C-band and Ku-band dual-polarized (vertical and horizontal polarization) profiling scatterometer system designed to measure the backscattered signal from precipitation and the ocean surface.

Professor David McLaughlin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is leading an initiative to light up a February 28 dance party, sponsored by the UMass Amherst Stonewall Center, with computerized Arduino lighting and thereby electrify the event in every possible way. The theme of the dance is “Come out as You Are: An LGBTQIA+ Dance.” The affair, taking place in the Student Union Ballroom from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., aims to include everyone.

According to the UMass Amherst Research Next website, Professors Michael Zink and Tilman Wolf of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department are key researchers in two campus projects funded by the Future Internet Architecture (FIA) Program, which is supporting five multi-million-dollar projects nationwide. As part of the two UMass Amherst projects, computing and engineering experts Jim Kurose, Arun VenkataramaniWolf, and Zink are leading the way.

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).