News

On April 20, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at UMass Amherst held its first ECE Showcase, a celebration of the undergrads who are designing and building the products of the future. The ECE Showcase was two fabulous technical events under one roof. The Senior Design Project Expo featured 13 teams of ECE students demonstrating their creative, useful, and socially conscious electronic inventions, created as the capstone projects of their ECE education. Then the 4th biannual Circuits and Code event featured the first, second, and third year ECE students demonstrating the results of their independent design projects.

On Friday, April 19, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst hosted its 23rd annual Senior Design Project Day on campus, when 13 teams of ECE students unveiled their creative, useful, and socially conscious electronic inventions. The event was a high-tech floor show for the electronics of the future. This year’s senior design projects included electronic devices for the fast location of avalanche victims, teaching the guitar quickly, helping sports trainers diagnose concussions, and automating parking payments from a wireless platform. For full descriptions of all the projects, go to Senior Design Project.

The College of Engineering has selected Krysten Moore, a senior in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and a national spokeswoman for several anti-bullying organizations, as the student speaker at its Senior Recognition Celebration for the Class of 2013, to be held on Saturday, May 11, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Recreation Center. Moore, from Mahwah, New Jersey, is a national youth ambassador for Love Our Children USA™ and STOMP Out Bullying™, has educated more than 100,000 school children about bullying, and has won several New Jersey pageants to give her a platform for her cause. She also founded Students Helping Instill New Esteem (SHINE), whose goal is to give children a sense of respect and consideration for each other, while understanding and accepting each other’s differences.

The Engineering Research Center for the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, or CASA, is big in north central Texas, where of course Texans like things big. CASA has generated a front-page article in the Dallas Morning News (morning news article) and additional features in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (star-telegram.html), Cleburne Times (times curve; times system), Joshua Star (Star 22828739), and the City of Arlington website (casa-radar). Just for good measure, CASA was covered on the National Science Foundation Discoveries site (nsf.gov.click). But perhaps the most informative piece on CASA was a marketing video produced by the North Central Texas Council of Governments and local TV meteorologists to promote the CASA project (gdata player).

Michael Zink of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and his graduate student Cong Wang received the Best Research Paper Award at the second Global Environment for Network Innovation (GENI) Research and Educational Experiment Workshop, held from March 21 to 22 in Salt Lake City, Utah. GENI is a national research and education network for exploring future internets at scale, that is, similar in size to the current Internet. The title of the winning paper wasGENI WiMAX Performance: Evaluation and Comparison of Two Campus Testbeds.” Go to Geni workshop website: geni.GREE2013.

On March 21, alumnus Rafael D. Guzman (B.S. ’88, EE), celebrated the grand re-opening his Lawrence Training School Inc., an occupational training center operating since 1998, which just moved into a remodeled building in the Arlington Mills Plaza at 530 Broadway Street in Lawrence, Mass. Guzman, the president and CEO of RM Technologies, Inc. (RMT) of Lawrence, is also the part owner of the Lawrence Training School and its new building. RMT, acquired by Guzman in 1997, is a small specialty contractor that deals in demolition, asbestos, and other hazardous material abatement. In fact, construction crews from RMT worked nonstop on the old mill building to convert it in just 60 days into a beautiful new training facility and office space.

This winter three young researchers at the College of Engineering have scored a collective hat trick by pulling in a trio of $400,000 awards from the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. The much sought-after grants were received by Paul Dauenhauer of the Chemical Engineering Department, and David Irwin and Qiangfei Xia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Nearly one-third of all faculty members at the college have won the esteemed NSF awards.

The FEAST algorithm proposed in 2009 by Eric Polizzi of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department – an algorithm that represents a radical departure from "textbook approaches" to solving the legendary eigenvalue problem – received a major endorsement in early February when it was integrated into the Intel® Math Kernel Library, one of the world’s leading and most used mathematical libraries. Polizzi’s FEAST algorithm is now featured as the Intel library’s main eigenvalue solver, and it can be found under the name "MKL Extended EigenSolver."

On February 17, David McLaughlin, a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the director of the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) at the College of Engineering, spoke about Chasing Storms Across Disciplines during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. McLaughlin gave his presentation during a symposium entitled "Dynamics of Disasters: Harnessing the Science of Networks to Save Lives," organized by Anna Nagurney, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor at the Isenberg School of Management. The symposium took place between 3:00 and 4:30 p.m. in Room 208 of the convention center.

Csaba Andras Moritz, a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the director of the Nanoscale Architectures Laboratory, was featured prominently in a story in Popular Mechanics about how scientists are developing ways of storing data using synthetic DNA. As the Popular Mechanics story explains, scientists in Nature report that they have converted a record number of digital megabytes into genetic code. The entire set of Shakespearean sonnets, a 26-second clip of Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, a photograph—they’ve all been recorded onto synthetic DNA, where they could be safely stored for thousands of years. But, as the article says, “don’t start shopping around for a DNA hard drive yet. It takes a lot of time to both write and read DNA sequences, and it also requires laboratory equipment.”