News

During the week of June 13, two separate stories aired on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and on public TV station WGBY Channel 57 looking at the new radar system being developed to track tornadoes and other severe weather by the $43 million, 10-year-old Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). Both the radio and TV interviews involved CASA’s Brenda Philips, the associate director, and Michael Zink, the deputy director for technical integration. A feature story in the June 13 Boston Globe also looks at the new radar system. Link to story: Globe. NPR feed http://www.npr.org/reduce-deaths; WGBY feed http://vimeo.com/25082624

A feature story in the June 13 Boston Globe looks at the new radar system being developed to track tornadoes and other severe weather by the $43 million, 10-year-old Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). CASA involves UMass Amherst and public universities in Colorado, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Delaware, along with the National Weather Service, Raytheon Co., ITT Corp. and other specialty manufacturers. The radar being developed allows observers to see tornadoes much closer to ground than existing technology can track and in much greater detail, says David McLaughlin, project director. Others interviewed include College of Engineering Dean Ted Djaferis and CASA’s Michael Zink, Brenda Phillips, and Apoorva Bajaj. Link to story: Globe.

Dr. Sadiye Guler, who earned her doctorate from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in 1996 and went on to found the intuVision company in 2000, has kept close ties with her alma mater through her company. Guler’s company creates leading-edge intelligent video content analysis technology products for real-world applications, including the specific needs of intelligence, security, and law enforcement personnel. In honor of her accomplishments, Dr. Guler received a Massachusetts High Technology Council’s 2008 Women-to-Watch award for developing and commercializing a new technology that is shaping the future of the video industry.

Jack Keil Wolf, a revered engineer and computer theorist who taught at the College of Engineering from1973 to 1984, died on May 12 at his home in the La Jolla section of San Diego, according to an obituary on May 20 in the New York Times. He was 76. The Times article said that Wolf’s “mathematical reasoning about how best to transmit and store information helped shape the digital innards of computers and other devices that power modern society.” The cause of his death was amyloidosis, a disorder caused by the buildup of a complex protein in body tissue or organs, his daughter Sarah Wolf said. The rest of the Times obituary is below.

Jerome “Jerry” M. Paros, the Founder and CEO of Paroscientific, Inc. and one of the largest contributors to the College of Engineering, received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the university at its commencement ceremonies on May 13. Paros is an internationally recognized innovator and leader in the field of measurement sciences, the owner of more than 20 U.S. patents, a successful businessman, and a visionary philanthropist. Paros has established endowments at a number of national universities, including the Jerome M. Paros Fund for Measurement and Environmental Sciences Research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, created with a gift of $2 million. That fund currently supports the NSF Engineering Research Center on Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere.

InterDigital Communications Corporation will make a donation of $15,000 in the name of its employee Dr. Fatih Ozluturk (pictured on the left with InterDigital's Lawrence F. Shay) to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, his alma mater. The gift recognizes Ozluturk's accomplishments as an inventor and owner of 150 U.S. patents. “We are so proud of the accomplishments of Dr. Ozluturk ('90 M.S., '94 Ph.D. ECE) and are honored to be the beneficiary of a $15,000 gift from InterDigital,” said Director of Engineering Development Paula Sakey. The InterDigital gift will support scholarships for undergrads or graduate students studying telecommunications and wireless communications in our ECE department. 

Undergraduate Brian Giang of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has been chosen to participate in a very selective pilot program for summer research in South Africa. It is run by the National Science Foundation Northeast Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program and called the South Africa Research Experience for Undergraduates. The REU group of five students from UMass Amherst, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Connecticut will be traveling to the Potchefstroom campus of the North West University in South Africa on about June 4, 2011, and returning three weeks later.

WGGB-TV ABC 40 in Springfield has aired an interview with Dr. Michael Zink about the relatively unusual phenomenon of tornados in New England. Dr. Zink is the deputy director of the Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). He cited tornados in Suffield, Connecticut, in 1979 and great Barrington, Massachusetts, in 1995. But the closest and most recent was a so-called “gustado” in 2009 that picked up a tobacco barn in Sunderland and moved it into the middle of Route 47. Dr. Zink said that the technology behind CASA’s network of four Distributed Collaborative Adaptive Sensing (DCAS) radars, now being tested in Oklahoma, would help evacuation people to save lives and property. Watch video: http://www.wggb.com/Global/story.asp?S=14537906.

Hot on the heels of its annual Senior Design Project Day on April 29, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst held its second annual Circuits and Codes event on April 30. Circuits and Codes is described as “a celebration of technology, engineering, science, mathematics, creativity, and the students who are designing and building the products and systems of the future.” Among the many inventions on display for visitors were a fully automated/user-controlled robot, an electric go-kart made out of junked parts, a Weed Warrior (poster pictured) that roams the yard slaying wicked dandelions, and a lifesaving device to help doctors remotely monitor the vital signs of geriatric patients in their homes.

On Friday, April 29, the 21st annual Senior Design Project Day at the University of Massachusetts Amherst unveiled 13 clever, creative, and useful electronic inventions produced by seniors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE). The event is a high-tech floor show for the electronics of the future. Past projects have included everything from home automation systems and wireless drumsticks to assistive robots. This year’s inventions go by such intriguing names as the Wait Watcher, the Weed Warrior, and the Mechanical Autonomous Robot Companion (pictured). To find out exactly what these inventions do, you can go to Senior Design Project Teams.