News

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department graduate alumnus Yong Liu, now an associate professor at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, has won the best paper award at the 2012 Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), presented by the Association for Computing Machinery. The paper is entitled "Video Telephony for End-consumers: Measurement Study of Google+, iChat, and Skype." The authors are: Yang Xu, Chenguang Yu, Jingjiang Li, and Liu. ECE Professor Weibo Gong was Liu’s advisor at UMass Amherst. The conference was held from November 14 to 16 in Boston.

The UMass Amherst News Office reports that on October 28 Deputy Director Brenda Philips of the College of Engineering’s Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) program joined engineer Eric Lyons and CASA Innovation Manager Apoorva Bajaj while the first CASA weather radar unit was installed by helicopter atop a building at the University of Texas Arlington (UTA). Philips said, “This represents a great technical and organizational milestone for the project.” Over the next several months, CASA will see three more of its radar units installed at partner institutions in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, with support from the North Texas Council of Governments, local elected officials, Dallas and Fort Worth Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, the UTA, and others.

On Friday, October 26, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department held its inaugural Ph.D. Poster Session in the Gunness Student Center of Marcus Hall, when 60 doctoral candidates presented their research in a fitting demonstration of the fine engineering work being carried out in the department.  “The motivation for the ECE Ph.D. Poster Session was to create greater awareness in our graduate student community,” explained ECE department head Christopher Hollot, “as well as for ECE’s faculty and staff, on the research topics conducted by our Ph.D. students.” The 60 posters covered the disciplines of Communications and Network Modeling, Post-CMOS, Sensing Systems, and VLSI, CAD, and Embedded Systems.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have received a two-year, $867,040 grant from the National Science Foundation to equip the campus with a high-bandwidth optical data network, dedicated to handling computational research information. This new cyber-physical infrastructure will separate research data traffic from the rest of the data traffic on campus and specifically benefit researchers who require high speed transport of very large data sets. Examples of such research are genomics, remote sensing, severe weather warning and prediction, biostatistics, and planetary science.

Electrical engineering junior Maxine Attobrah of Yonkers, New York speaks from good experience when she addresses high school students about finding a career path in college. “Be passionate about anything you want to do!” she advises. “Whatever you want to be, just make sure you love what you’ll be doing.” One thing Attobrah is passionate about is encouraging minority students like herself, as well as every young person everywhere, to follow their star. This lesson was impressed upon her by caring teachers, mentors, family, and friends while she was growing up in Yonkers, and she plans to give the same kind of guidance to young people once she becomes a professional engineer.

Movik Networks, whose CEO John St. Amand is a 1991 graduate of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, was announced recently as one of the top 15 emerging companies in the wireless industry. The honor came from FierceWireless, a daily email newsletter focused on matters relating to the wireless technology industry. Movik was also ranked 27th in The Wall Street Journal's third annual ranking of the top 50 venture-capital-backed companies. Chosen from a pool of nearly 6,000 candidate companies, Movik is recognized as having the potential to make a technological breakthrough, topping The Wall Street Journal's "Next Big Thing" list.

Rafael D. Guzman (B.S. ’88, EE) is a dedicated alumnus and high-honor graduate of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the president and CEO of RM Technologies, Inc. (RMT) of Lawrence, Massachusetts, and a powerful supporter of the Lawrence community and surrounding area, with a special commitment to local young people. All these passions of his came together this year when Guzman’s company created the RM Technologies, Inc. Award in the College of Engineering. The first recipient of the award is freshman Erick Aponte of Lawrence. 

On Thursday, October 4, Dr. Ellen J. Ferraro (’89 B.S., ’94 Ph.D., ECE), the director of the Systems Architecture Design and Integration Directorate for Integrated Defense Systems at Raytheon in Waltham, Mass., delivered the 13th annual Tang Lecture on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The title of her lecture was “The Art of Systems Thinking Within the Science of Systems Engineering.” Dr. Ferraro has been profiled as one of the “Women to Watch” in Massachusetts by Mass High Tech Magazine. Among other responsibilities since joining Raytheon in 1994, Ferraro has worked as a department manager in the Radar Systems Laboratory, where she oversaw 80 engineers working on four major radar programs.

Professor Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department has been awarded a $1.6-million, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue the research on her life-saving, disaster-management solution known as DIORAMA II. Ganz’s solution is supported by the leadership of the disaster management community. This electronic computer system can quickly organize chaotic, mass-casualty, disaster scenes, such as airliner, bus, and train wrecks, and cut the evacuation time of survivors in half. DIORAMA II works both in daylight and nighttime while overcoming physical obstacles.

Professor Stephen Frasier of the Electrical and Computer Department gave one of the keynote addresses at the 7th European Conference on Radar in Meteorology and Hydrology (ERAD-2012), hosted by Météo France in Toulouse, France this summer. His keynote address, entitled “Signal processing challenges in phased-array radar meteorology,” surveyed the state of the art in phased-array weather radar and the challenge of implementing cost-effective systems that will support the recent adoption of dual-polarization by many national weather services. Frasier also chaired the session on Signal Processing and co-authored six additional papers related to theory and observations by X-band radar in meteorology.