The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


ECE Newsletter: Spring 2012

Message from Kris Hollot

Dear UMass Amherst ECE alumni and friends,

I'm pleased to introduce this ECE department update, which includes news about alums, students, and faculty members. Unfortunately, we start off with sad news coming with last-year's passing of Professor Jack Keil Wolf (UMass faculty member 1973-1984) and Dr. Apostle (Butch) Cardiasmenos (Ph.D. '78).

Professor Wolf was an internationally recognized expert in information theory and was a member of both the national academies of engineering and science. He served as our department head before moving to the University of California at San Diego as director of the Center for Magnetic Recording Research. We were fortunate to have Jack back on campus in 2008 as a distinguished lecturer. More details of Professor Wolf's numerous contributions can be found in this ECE news article.

Dr. Butch Cardiasmenos had deep interests in physics, astronomy, and engineering research and enjoyed a rich career of technical leadership at Raytheon, L-3 Communications, and Lockheed-Martin. Butch demonstrated great passion for his alma mater, serving as recent chair of the ECE External Advisory Board, as a cheerleader for the department, and as a persistent advocate for a university innovation institute which, fittingly, became reality this past summer. At homecoming, the department posthumously recognized Dr. Cardiasmenos with the 2011 Outstanding Senior Alumni Award – details of which can be found in the accompanying story.

At this same event in November, we also recognized the 2011 Outstanding Junior Alumni Award winner Brain Huppi (BSEE '98), honored for his technical contributions at Apple, where he helped develop the touchscreen technology used in iPhone and iPad products, at Tesla Motors, at Amazon, where he helped redesign the Kindle, and most recently at Nest Labs, which just announced their first product, the Nest Learning Thermostat.

The department's Ph.D. students had a banner year in winning a number of best paper awards. One story highlighted in this newsletter links a present graduate student with an alum - Dr. Roberto Padovani (Ph.D. '85), who served as Qualcomm's chief technology officer. Professor Dennis Goeckel's Ph.D. student, Adam Polak, demonstrated his technical excellence during a summer internship at Qualcomm, which landed him a prestigious and handsome scholarship named in honor of Roberto.

Finally, we sprinkle this newsletter with the story of a high-GPA and high-vaulting ECE student-athlete and with shameless self-promoting briefs on various faculty accomplishments.

I hope you enjoy catching-up with our ECE department. Send me a note at and please have a Happy New Year!

ECE Celebrates Two Outstanding Alumni
Over the most recent Homecoming Weekend, Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department Head Christopher Hollot presented the College of Engineering Outstanding Senior and Junior Alumni Awards to two individuals who, through exemplary accomplishments, epitomize the potential of an ECE education. Winner of the Outstanding Senior Alumni Award was the late Apostle G. "Butch" Cardiasmenos, who had retired as the Chief Technologist at Lockheed Martin. The recipient of the Junior Alumni Award was Brian Q. Huppi (pictured), the president and CEO of Huppco in San Francisco, California.
Read more »

InterDigital Donates $15,000 to ECE in Name of Ozluturk
InterDigital Communications Corporation is making a donation of $15,000 in the name of its employee Dr. Fatih Ozluturk (pictured on the left with InterDigital's Lawrence F. Shay) to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, his alma mater. The gift recognizes Ozluturk's accomplishments as an inventor and owner of 150 U.S. patents. "We are so proud of the accomplishments of Dr. Ozluturk ('90 M.S., '94 Ph.D. ECE) and are honored to be the beneficiary of a $15,000 gift from InterDigital," said Director of Engineering Development Paula Sakey. The InterDigital gift will support scholarships for undergrads or graduate students studying telecommunications and wireless communications in our ECE department.
Read more »

Gao Wins Test of Time Award
Professor Lixin Gao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has won the "SIGMETRICS Test of Time Award," which recognizes an influential performance evaluation paper whose impact is still felt 10-12 years after its initial publication. In 2000, Gao collaborated with Jennifer Rexford to write the winning paper: "Stable Internet Routing without Global Coordination."
Read more »


Polak Awarded Qualcomm Scholarship
Qualcomm has announced that Adam Polak of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was a 2011 recipient of the company's Roberto Padovani Scholarship. Named after Roberto Padovani, who served as Qualcomm's chief technology officer for nearly a decade, the Roberto Padovani Scholarship is granted to Corporate Research & Development interns who have demonstrated technical excellence during their internships at Qualcomm.
Read more »


Patenting the Technology Revolution
In 1987, after Randy Pritzker had earned his B.S. degree from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, he took a radical sidestep in his career by deciding to go to the Boston College Law School. That juke in his education proved to be a game breaker and led to his remarkable 21-year career as one of Massachusetts' "Super Lawyers" at the Wolf Greenfield law firm, one of the world's leading legal specialists in intellectual property, or IP.
Read more »


IEEE Elevates Burleson to Fellow
Professor Wayne Burleson of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has received official word from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, that he will be elevated to the status of Fellow "for contributions to integrated circuit design and signal processing." As the IEEE announcement letter said, "Recognizing the achievements of its members is an important part of the mission of the IEEE. Each year, following a rigorous evaluation procedure, the IEEE Fellow Committee recommends a select group of recipients for one of the association's most prestigious honors, elevation to IEEE Fellow."
Read more »

Khan Wins Best Paper Award at IEEE Symposium
An article written by Md Muwyid Uzzaman Khan, a graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, won the best student paper award at the 2011 IEEE International Symposium on Defect and Fault Tolerance in VLSI and Nanotechnology Systems, which took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, from October 3 to 5, 2011. Khan is a graduate research assistant in the Nanoscale Computing Fabrics Lab on the research team of Professor C. Andras Moritz. The title of the winning paper was "Biased Voting for Improved Yield in Nanoscale Fabrics." Khan's co-authors were Pritish Narayanan, Priyamvada Vijayakumar, Israel Koren, C. Mani Krishna, and Dr. Moritz.
Read more »

UMass Amherst Engineer Receives $351,000 NSF Grant to Develop Advanced Biomedical Imaging System
Christopher D. Salthouse, an electrical engineer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been awarded a three-year, $351,303 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop integrated circuits that could lead to a new generation of biomedical sensors that are more sensitive, more portable and less costly than existing instruments. Salthouse says a goal of his research is to develop sophisticated integrated circuits that can be used in new devices that will replace the existing generation of fluorescence microscopes used by many biomedical and biological researchers.
Read more »

Busch Named Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year
Senior Sean Busch continued to rake in the accolades in March of 2011 when, in the space of a few days, he shattered the UMass record in the pole vault and was tabbed as the Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year for the indoor track and field season. The award follows a 2011 A-10 Title in the pole vault, brought home by Busch on February 18th. The Stow, Massachusetts, native had tied the old school record of 15-9 twice this season and finally broke it on March 5 by soaring over 16 feet and a fraction of an inch. Busch topped off his landmark indoor track and field season by making the Academic All-Conference Team. In the classroom, Busch posted an impressive 3.7 grade point average as a senior electrical engineering major.
Read more »

Bardin Wins DARPA Award
Joseph Bardin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has been awarded approximately $295,000 for two years by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award Program to do an electronics project entitled "Programmable Front-Ends in Advanced Technologies." Out of 407 applicants for the program, only 39 of what DARPA called "the nation's brightest young scientists" were selected to receive grants totaling $11.7 million. In his research, Bardin will be designing a new generation of flexible, self-optimizing electronic circuits capable of boosting system performance in sensors and wireless devices.
Read more »

Ercan Wins Best Paper Award at IEEE Nano Conference
Ilke Ercan, a graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, was the lead author of the Best Paper Award winner at the 11th Annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers NANO Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, from August 15 through 19 of 2011. The paper, co-authored by her advisor, Professor Neal Anderson of the ECE department, was titled "Heat Dissipation Bounds for Nanocomputing: Theory and Application to QCA." NANO is the flagship IEEE conference in Nanotechnology. The abstract follows.
Read more »

Goeckel Elevated to IEEE Fellow
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world's largest professional organization for the advancement of technology, elevated Professor Dennis Goeckel of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department to the honorary position of Fellow, effective on January 1, 2011. Following a rigorous evaluation procedure, the IEEE Board of Directors announced Dr. Goeckel's recognition with the following citation: "for contributions to wireless communication systems and networks."
Read more »


IntuVision Founder Keeps Ties to College
Dr. Sadiye Guler, who earned her doctorate from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in 1996 and went on to found the intuVision company in 2000, has kept close ties with her alma mater through her company. Guler's company creates leading-edge intelligent video content analysis technology products for real-world applications, including the specific needs of intelligence, security, and law enforcement personnel. In honor of her accomplishments, Dr. Guler received a Massachusetts High Technology Council's 2008 Women-to-Watch award for developing and commercializing a new technology that is shaping the future of the video industry.
Read more »

ECE Grad Student Wins AMS Award
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department graduate student Krzysztof Orzel has won The Spiros G. Geotis Prize, awarded for the best student paper and poster at the American Meteorological Society's 35th Conference on Radar Meteorology, held from September 26 to 30 of 2011 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Orzel's paper was entitled "Mobile X-band dual-polarization phased-array radar: system requirements and development." Orzel's advisor is Professor Stephen Frasier of the ECE department. Some 300 scientists, engineers, students, and commercial suppliers of radar and associated meteorological systems from around the world participated in the meeting.
Read more »