University of Massachusetts Amherst

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As Aksamija says about the research in the Scientific Reports paper, “We study atomic monolayer materials, such as graphene, because of their potential applications in future ultra-nanoscale devices. Graphene is a material of superlatives, including very low electrical resistivity, but it’s missing a key property that other semiconductors have: an energy bandgap. The lack of a bandgap means graphene devices cannot be completely turned off.”


Jay Taneja, an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been funded as a subawardee in a $680,265 grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for a proposal entitled "A Pilot Study of Novel Low-Cost Technologies for Measuring Electricity Reliability in Urban Ghana." Taneja is collaborating with the Development Impact Lab (DIL) and the Energy Institute at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct a pilot deployment of a suite of DIL-developed technologies for monitoring and evaluating the performance and reliability of the electric power distribution grid in Ghana.

The Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is in the process of adapting its weather radar networks so they can also detect small drones. In part, CASA’s new initiative is designed to address industry estimates that there could be as many as 3-million drones in skies worldwide by the end of 2017. As the UMass News Office reports, “The [CASA] system is designed to scan the airspace closest to the ground where drones and severe weather are not currently visible to existing weather radar and aircraft surveillance systems. The project is funded with an 18-month, $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).”

By exploiting a wealth of user-specific data to improve user experiences, the Internet of Things (IoT) will revolutionize people’s lives in the decades ahead through such phenomena as smart cities, connected vehicles, smart homes, and connected healthcare devices. However, as we’ve witnessed with recent much-publicized data hacks, the sharing of such info can compromise users’ privacy. Now Professor Hossein Pishro-Nik of our Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) is the principal investigator (PI) on a $1-million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study this issue so critical to the adoption of the IoT. The new proposal is entitled “A Unified Framework for IoT Privacy.”

On Friday, October 20, the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will hold its eighth annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Celebration during Homecoming Weekend. The college’s celebration will be held in the Marriott Room on the 11th floor of the Campus Center at UMass Amherst. The Homecoming Reception & Awards Celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. During the reception, the College of Engineering will present its Outstanding Senior and Junior Alumni Awards to eight individuals who, through exemplary accomplishments, epitomize the potential of an education at the UMass Amherst College of Engineering.

Professors Qiangfei Xia and J. Joshua Yang of our Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department led a team of scientists who have developed a groundbreaking new type of hardware security device enabled by memristors, or resistive switching devices, as described in an article in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications. The title of the new article is “A Novel True Random Number Generator Based on a Stochastic Diffusive Memristor.” This work paves the way for memristors in hardware security applications for the era of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Professor Neal G. Anderson of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department has been named the Terrence Murray Commonwealth Honors College Professor. The two-year award was approved through a competitive application process. The Murray Professorship supports distinguished faculty members in developing innovative courses and programs for students in the 3,800-member Commonwealth Honors College at UMass Amherst.

The research of Zlatan Aksamija, an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UMass Amherst, and his grad student Adithya Kommini was highlighted in the September 19 “news” section of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) website. The two researchers use computers at the MGHPCC to carry out nanomolecular materials modeling experiments exploring the thermoelectric behavior of materials for use in energy applications. See entire article

Alumnus Ivan Bercovich, the vice president of engineering at Graphiq Inc. and a graduate of our Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, is doing fascinating work at Graphiq, a company that provides solutions for search and data visualization. As the Graphiq website described its product: “Vivid, contextually-rich visualizations of the world's deepest knowledge graph. Graphiq's products put data into context for researchers, journalists, and enterprise. There are currently 10-billion graphic visualizations in the company’s library.”

Researchers at UMass Amherst College of Engineering are developing a multi-purpose radar system that can detect very small drone aircraft and also serve as a severe weather warning system for airports and urban settings. The project is funded with an 18-month, $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.