News

As states move into the digital age and adopt “pay as you go” fee collection for toll roads and bridges, parking, and even public electric car recharging, user privacy, identity theft, and fraud are increasing concerns. Now a team of University of Massachusetts and Brown University researchers, led by Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Wayne Burleson at UMass Amherst, has launched a three-year, $1.17 million study to identify the most efficient, low-cost, and reliable ways to provide secure, private, and trusted transactions.

Associate Dean David J. McLaughlin, the director of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), was the keynote speaker at the statewide Undergraduate Research Conference, held April 23 on campus. His topic was “Chasing Interdisciplinarity While Chasing Tornadoes.” While describing in dramatic fashion the deployment and functions of the CASA Distributed Collaborative Adaptive Sensing test bed in Oklahoma, Mclaughlin addressed “the challenges, the pleasures, and the opportunities inherent in a cross-discipliary, systems-level, research environment.”   

Six students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) have taken advantage of an innovative departmental learning center, called M5, to launch their own enterprising recording studio, which looks to attract lots of business from local musical groups that have trouble finding affordable recording facilities. The new student business is named Studio M5, fittingly enough, and its market plan is to offer professional recording services for reasonable rates. Studio M5 is already attracting recording artists ranging from a classical music professor, to an acappella group, to a funk band.

On Friday, April 23, the 20th annual Senior Design Project Day at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will unveil 13 clever, creative, and useful electronic inventions produced by seniors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE). The event is a high-tech show for electronic wizardry. Last year’s design day, for example, included inventions designed to help find and rescue firefighters in distress, to allow teleconferencing between ambulances and emergency room doctors, and to enable cars to communicate automatically with each other and avoid collisions. Go to design day website: http://www.ecs.umass.edu/ece/sdp/sdp10/.

Engineering students make up two of the five teams in the finals of the two-stage University of Massachusetts Amherst Innovation Challenge, to be held on Thursday, April 22, in the Campus Center. Judges will hand out up to $50,000 in prize money and other incentives to the chosen winners among the five finalists in the annual contest. The Innovation Challenge is designed to reward the most promising enterprises conceived by teams of students, faculty, and recent alumni of the university.The event will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. in Campus Center Room 1009 and is free and open to the public.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Emeritus Dan Schaubert, director of the Center for Advanced Sensor and Communication Antennas (CASCA), has  been selected by the Alumni Board of Directors of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Association at the University of Illinois as one of six recipients for its 2010 Distinguished Alumni Awards. This selection was made in recognition of his outstanding achievements to his profession and for his long-standing loyal support of that department. He will receive the prestigious award at the ECE Illinois Alumni Awards Banquet on Friday, September 17, 2010.

Three College of Engineering juniors – Daniel Bercht in Computer Systems Engineering, Brian Goss in Mechanical Engineering, and Saranthip Rattanaserikiat in Civil Engineering – have each received $750 scholarships from the UMass Amherst Alumni Association. The William F. Field Alumni Scholars Program was established in 1976 to recognize and honor 60 third-year students for their academic achievements at UMass Amherst. The program was named in honor of William F. Field, the university’s first dean of students, for his outstanding support of academic excellence and his personal commitment to bringing out the best in every student. (April 2010)

According to The Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom, an average adult forgets three things a day. With our human tendency toward forgetfulness in mind, a team of electrical engineering students has designed a technology called StuffTracker, which allows anybody with a Smartphone to monitor the location of valuable objects carried around on a daily basis. StuffTracker allows you to forget how forgetful you are. In fact, StuffTracker draws its inspiration from absent-mindedness, itself, and will significantly reduce the problem of forgetting or losing critical personal items such as house keys, purses, wallets, laptops, and mobile phones.

Fellow colleagues, staff, and former and current students of retiring Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Daniel Schaubert have initiated a new scholarship fund that will not only support the economic needs of our students, but will also recognize the lasting contributions he has made over the last 27 years to the university and his field. The Daniel Schaubert Scholarship Fund will benefit ECE students in his area of expertise – antenna design – as the director of the internationally renowned Center for Advanced Sensor and Communication Antennas (CASCA).

Out of 1575 papers submitted to the 2010 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, or INFOCOM, two papers co-authored by faculty and graduate students from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) were chosen for the Best Paper Award and one of the two runner-ups. The Best Paper Award winner was entitled, “On the Feasibility and Efficacy of Protection Routing in IP Networks,” co-authored by ECE Professor Lixin Gao, along with first-author Eric Kwong, Roch Guerin, and Zhi-Li Zhang.