News

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Ph.D. student Xunyi Yu and adviser, ECE Professor Aura Ganz (pictured), won a Best Paper Contender prize at the 7th International Conference on Advanced Video and Signal-Based Surveillance, held from August 29 to September 1 in Boston. Their paper, "Global Identification of Tracklets in Video Using Long Range Identity Sensors," developed a new system, using RFID sensors, to identify people captured in outdoor surveillance videos. This year at the conference, one paper out of the 63 accepted received the Best Paper Award, while another five received Best Paper Contender prizes.

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Ph.D. student Steve Holland won first place in the student paper competition at The Antenna Applications Symposium, which was held from September 21 to 23 at the Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello, Illinois. Holland’s paper is titled, "A Fully Planar Ultrawideband Array," with ECE Professor Marinos Vouvakis as a co-author. Each student paper was rated by the audience members based upon technical merit and presentation quality. Holland is currently a third-year doctoral student and works as a research assistant in the Antennas and Propagation Laboratory. 

On October 1, Lixin Gao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Jeffrey Davis of the Chemical Engineering Department were two of the eight “nationally acclaimed faculty members” presented with the Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity at the Sixth Annual Faculty Convocation. The convocation took place at 11:00 a.m. in Bowker Auditorium of Stockbridge Hall.

In 2005, USA Today published a series of articles about “the 10 hardest things to do in sports.” Number three on that list, ahead of such feats as running a marathon and completing the Tour de France, was pole vaulting. In any ranking of the most difficult academic subjects, electrical engineering must surely finish high on the list. In that regard, Sean Busch is not only an accomplished pole vaulter, but a gifted electrical engineering major. What does that make Sean Busch? Well, busy, for one thing. Skillful, for another. And it also makes him a member of the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference Team and the winner of the UMass Amherst Winter Male Scholar-Athlete Award.

A team of chalk artists led by Paul Siqueira of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department nabbed a third place in the Northampton Chalk Art competition on September 10, after completing a 5'X5' cement "canvas" based on Marc Chagall's "The Fiddler," adapted to incorporate the surrounding Northampton architecture. "Hence, we were very topical," said Dr. Siqueira. The members of his team were three of his students: Razi Ahmed, Tony Swochak, and Benjamin St. Peter.

Even as Hurricane Earl was bearing down on the East Coast with winds of 135 mph, a special radar designed at the Center for Advanced and Communications Antennas (CASCA) was playing a key role in NASA's largest experiment ever launched to study the formation of hurricanes. The High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Profiler, or HIWRAP, is a unique antenna system designed in 2008 by Justin Creticos as part of his Ph.D. research in the Antenna and Propagation Laboratory of CASCA. Beginning on August 15, NASA deployed HIWRAP in a Global Hawk unmanned drone during its Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) hurricane experiment.

This fall, the College of Engineering welcomes two new faculty members and one former faculty member. The new members are Dr. Wei Fan of the Chemical Engineering Department and Dr. Frank C. Sup of the Mechanical Engineering Department. We are also happy to welcome back a former longtime member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE), Dr. William J. Leonard, who served variously as a research associate, senior research associate, lecturer, research assistant professor, and research associate professor in the department from 1988 to 2009.

Massimo Fischetti of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) has won the 2011 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Cledo Brunetti Award, established in 1975 for outstanding contributions to nanotechnology and miniaturization in the electronics arts. Dr. Fischetti’s research specialties are electronic transport in semiconductors, Monte Carlo simulations, quantum transport, and the physics of semiconductor devices. Among other awards, he has received IBM Technical Innovation Awards in 1987 and 1989 and an IBM Research Division Award in 1993.

Imagine being a middle-school kid who knows how to make his or her own “funky electronic music machine.” Heaven right? That’s the agenda for a free, two-week, summer workshop being run in downtown Springfield by our Electrical and Computer Engineering Department from August 2 to 13 every weekday afternoon in the Parish Hall of the Old First Church at Court Square. Circuits and Beats is a summer tech workshop in which 12 middle-school-aged children from Springfield will design, build, and program electronic music machines under the direction of UMass Amherst engineers.

What if we could cure diabetes, save the Great Lakes, relieve sleep deprivation in surgeons, and figure out a faster way to rescue disaster victims, all in one summer? In fact, those goals were only part of the agenda when 25 undergraduate students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst presented posters and talked about their summer research projects on July 30 in the Gunness Engineering Student Center. The students were part of the College of Engineering Research Experience for Undergraduates, in which they worked with nationally recognized faculty researchers to help solve some of society’s most pressing problems.