News

Doctoral students Akshaya Shanmugam of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and Jalil Johnson from the School of Nursing have been named the 2012-2013 Hluchyj Fellows at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Hluchyj Graduate Fellowship was started by Dr. Michael Hluchyj, a 1979 alumnus of the ECE department, and his wife, Theresa “Terry” Hluchyj, a 1977 alumna from the School of Nursing. The fellowship supports two graduate students per year in the College of Engineering and the School of Nursing with annual stipends so they can do interdisciplinary research in the area of clinical healthcare.

The António Champalimaud Foundation has announced that Eric A. Swanson, a 1982 alumnus of the UMass Amherst Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and a research affiliate in the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics, is one of the recipients of the 2012 António Champalimaud Vision Award. Presented annually, the award recognizes contributions to overall vision research and to the alleviation of visual impairments. Swanson and his collaborators were recognized for the invention of optical coherence tomography (OCT), which plays a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of the most important blinding diseases of the industrialized world: macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.

Alumnus Paul Engel (B.S.’74, Computer Systems Engineering) and his wife Debi Engel have been long-time supporters of the College of Engineering, and their legacy here includes a scholarship they established in 2000 and named after the local company they co-own. The scholarship is officially called the Quabbin Wire & Cable Co., Inc. Scholarship Endowment, which supports students from Western Massachusetts who are matriculating in the College of Engineering. The company is a manufacturer and supplier of Polyofin, PVC, TPU, TRE, and low-smoke halogen insulated low-temperature thermoplastic-shielded and unshielded cables. Quabbin employs approximately 100 workers. In total, the renewable scholarship has supported 11 undergraduates since 2000. 

Professor Neal Anderson of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was awarded first place for the Best Oral Conference Paper at the 12th annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Conference on Nanotechnology (IEEE NANO), the top IEEE annual conference in nanotechnology and one of the biggest nanotechnology conferences in the world. The paper, co-authored by Anderson’s graduate students Ilke Ercan and Natesh Ganesh, was entitled "Toward Nanoprocessor Thermodynamics." As ECE Department Head Christopher Hollot noted, “This is a very exciting and newsworthy accomplishment, and I believe it’s a harbinger of the discipline’s further recognition of Neal’s contribution to understanding fundamental limitations in the engineering of nanoscale computing.”

Assistant Professor Qiangfei Xia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has received a Young Faculty Award (YFA) of approximately $300,000 from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The objective of the program is “to identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions at U.S. academic institutions and expose them to Department of Defense (DoD) needs as well as DARPA’s program development process.” This year, the YFA competition was intense -- of the 560 applications received, only 51 awardees were selected. Xia’s DARPA project is entitled “3D All-silicon-based Resistive Random Access Memory (RRAM).”

Sandra Gross, Administrative Assistant for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and Pamela Rivest, Administrative Assistant for the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, have been chosen as the 2012 winners of the Dean’s Service Award. Gross has been variously described as an “organizer extraordinaire,” a “professional who gets things done,” and the “critical component to a smooth-running department.” Meanwhile, those who nominated Rivest said that she was “an extremely talented, creative, and capable person,” a consummate professional,” the “backbone” of her department, and a “low-profile wonder woman.”

The College of Engineering welcomes new faculty members Dr. Eleni Christofa, who will join the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department after recently earning her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. David Irwin, who will join the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department after earning his doctorate in Computer Science at Duke University. Christofa’s main research areas of interest are intelligent transportation systems, traffic operations and control, sustainable infrastructure management, public transportation systems, and incident detection and management. Irwin’s research focuses on cyber-physical systems, sustainability and green computing, next-generation clouds and networks, and embedded sensor systems.

Ten College of Engineering students from the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) will be participating in a joint poster session with the Institute for Cellular Engineering and the Collaborative Undergraduate Research in Engineering REU programs on Friday, July 27. The sophisticated research being carried out by our REU students ranges from preventing carcinogens in drinking water, to studying fluid dynamics in space, to creating a sturdy rotating base for CASA’s revolutionary phased array radar. The poster session, which is free and open to the public, takes place in the Campus Center, room 1009, from 10 a.m. until noon. Come see this fascinating research!

NASA has selected an ocean-wind study led by Principal Investigator Chris Ruf of the University of Michigan to receive $151.7 million in funding over five years for a NASA mission involving small spaceflight investigations of the Earth system. Dr. Ruf earned his Ph.D. at the UMass Amherst Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and his advisor was Emeritus Professor Calvin Swift. The mission will use a constellation of small satellites carried into orbit on a single launch vehicle.

Former School of Nursing graduate student Kavita Radhakrishnan, whose research at UMass Amherst was supported by a visionary fellowship established by Dr. Michael Hluchyj (B.S. ’76, Electrical Engineering) and Mrs. Theresa Hluchyj (B.S., School of Nursing), has accepted a faculty appointment at the University of Texas School of Nursing in Austin. She has a background as both a telecommunications engineer and a registered nurse, a combination which inspired her to do research in telehealth technology, meaning the delivery of health-related services and information through telecommunications devices. This past year, after getting her doctorate at UMass Amherst, Radhakrishnan pursued post-doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania.