The Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UT-ECE) is delighted to announce that the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has elevated four of our faculty to Fellow status, the highest grade of IEEE membership. The standard for advancement is unusual distinction in the profession and extraordinary records of accomplishments [that have] significant value to society.
Professor Gustavo DeVeciana was promoted for contributions to the design of communication networks. Professor Brian L. Evans was cited for contributions to multicarrier communications and image display. The department's first female IEEE Fellow is Professor Lizy John for contributions to power modeling and performance evaluation of microprocessors. Professor Nur Touba was promoted for contributions to test data compression and built-in self-test for integrated circuits. These promotions are effective Jan 1, 2009.
;2008-12-29 00:00:00 171;Skeet Smith Will Be Remembered;
Harold (Skeet) Smith passed away Tuesday, Dec 21. Dr. Smith received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from UT Austin and was a member of the UT ECE faculty for 54 years. He co-founded and ultimately directed the Electrical Engineering Research Laboratory at UT, which conducted geomagnetic research projects for the Office of Naval Research. He received numerous awards for teaching and research over his long career.
Memorial donations may be made to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Attn: Donor Services, 386 Park Avenue South, 17th Floor, New York, New York, 10016.
;2009-01-05 00:00:00 172;Edison Lecture Series 2009;
Over 2,000 students participated in a free participatory demonstration of the fun and excitment of a career in technology. Companies and governmental organizations showed off robots, computer gaming, renewable energy, solar cars, and more in interactive pre-show demonstrations. The Lecture itself explored the effect of engineering advances on third world economies, communication, and health care.
The Edison Lecture has inspired and informed over 12,000 middle and high school students on The University of Texas at Austin campus over the last 5 years. Next year's topic is Innovation!
;2009-01-12 00:00:00 175;Evans Becomes IEEE Fellow;
Professor Brian L. Evans was elevated to IEEE Fellow, the highest grade of IEEE membership, for contributions to multicarrier communications and image display.
In multicarrier communications, Prof. Evans was recognized for his algorithms to maximize user bit rates in WiMax, cellular and DSL systems. In image display, he was recognized for his algorithms to improve image quality in printers. For both contributions, the algorithms were developed to be amenable for cost-effective implementation in products. Prof. Evans joined the UT Austin faculty in fall 1996.
;2009-01-26 00:00:00 176;Julien, Vikalo, Kwasinski Win CAREER Awards;
The Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UT-ECE) is delighted to announce that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has given three of our new professors a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant.
This highly competitive award is given to young faculty perceived as future leaders in integrating education and research.
Assistant Professor Christine Julien's grant is Opportunistic Middleware for Resource Constrained Delay Tolerant Networks. Haris Vikalo received a grant for Modeling, Estimation and Coding for Biosensor Arrays. Alexis Kwasinski's research project is Highly-available Power Supply through Distributed Generation Technologies: Reliability Analysis Framework Based on Operation Under Critical Conditions.
;2009-02-02 00:00:00 177;Lizy John Elevated to IEEE Fellow;
The department's first female IEEE Fellow, Professor Lizy John, was elevated for contributions to power modeling and performance evaluation of microprocessors. Dr. John has concentrated on allowing microprocessor designers to find problems early in the design process. Since pre-silicon microprocessors cannot be tested with full applications, Dr. John’s team developed a cloning technique to create miniature versions enabling an accurate estimation of performance and power. Dr. John's team has also worked on creating power and thermal stress programs (aka power viruses) to drive designs to extreme conditions and help design robust microprocessors and computer systems.
Another application of the cloning technique from John's group has been to hide the functionality of proprietary applications. Lockheed Martin is supporting John's research to create clones for their proprietary codes, enabling them to share codes without divulging proprietary information.
;2009-02-06 00:00:00 178;Touba Named IEEE Fellow;
Professor Nur Touba was named an IEEE Fellow—the highest grade of IEEE membership—for contributions to test data compression and built-in self-test for integrated circuits. Dr. Touba has developed a number of innovative techniques for automated design of testable and fault-tolerant circuits.
In particular, his research has focused on developing new techniques for built-in self-test (BIST), test data compression, delay fault testing, concurrent error detection, and design-for-testibility (DFT) in core-based designs. His research helps reduce the cost and increase the quality of manufacturing tests.
Dr. Touba served as Program Chair for the 2008 International Test Conference, General Chair for the 2007 Symposium on Defect and Fault Tolerance, and Program Chair for 2008 International Test Synthesis Workshop.
;2009-02-12 00:00:00 179;Neikirk - Wireless Sensors to Monitor Bridge Safety;
ECE professor Dean Neikirk just received funding for a 5-year program to use wireless sensors to identify failing bridges, lower the cost of monitoring those bridges, and improve the safety of new bridges. The $6.8M project addresses a chronic problem for the aging American highway infrastructure.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, deferred maintenance has left one-quarter of the nation’s bridges deficient. Congress mandated 2-year inspections in 1971, but at least 17,000 bridges did not meet the requirement in 2008, including 3 out of every 100 freeway bridges. The wireless sensor system being developed by Dr. Neikirk and principal investigator UT Civil Engineering Chairman Sharon Wood will make real-time monitoring possible for fracture-critical bridges (i.e., bridges in which one failing component could bring the entire bridge down), and lower the cost and time required for all bridge inspections.
;2009-02-20 00:00:00 180;Integrating Wind Power into the Grid;
ECE professors, Mack Grady and Surya Santoso, are collecting the data needed to truly integrate wind power into the existing power grid—and creating the first university-lead phasor measurement network in the country. A collaboration between UT, the State of Texas, Austin Energy, and Schweitzer Engineering Inc. will make it possible for power operators in the future to maximize the use of this inexpensive, renewable, and non-polluting energy source.
Only 1% of the world’s electricity is supplied by wind. The reason is fundamental. Power systems are most efficient when production exactly matches demand and wind power is wildly variable and intermittent. Until recently, power engineers could broadly predict wind patterns, but their measurements lacked a common frame of reference. The ability to measure the relative voltage phase angle between two buses without expensive infrastructure allows Grady and Santoso to collect real data in real time and use real results, not projections, to create accurate simulations.
;2009-03-02 00:00:00 181;Smart Surveillance - Aggarwal;
Professor Jake Aggarwal has devoted the last 30 years of his career to making the world a safer place. His research is in computer vision, specifically in smart surveillance systems that identify suspicious activity and alert humans to follow-up. His approach has evolved from the basic problems of determining movement of a 3-dimensional object from 2-dimensional images to a sophisticated system that can recognize aggressive activity even with multiple players and a cluttered background.
Human sight is highly selective. We focus on what is important and filter the rest. It is unbelievably difficult to replicate the judgment that happens automatically and effortlessly for humans with cameras and computers, says Aggarwal. My group is currently studying ways to identify potential threats from suspicious driving patterns, human-vehicle interactions, and human activities. Preliminary results are very promising.
;2009-03-20 00:00:00 183;Saving Energy using Flywheels;
ECE researcher Dr. Mark Flynn is greening ports world-wide by adding flywheels to cargo handling machinery. Flynn's high-speed motor controller design has been incorporated into flywheel energy storage systems sold by Vycon, Inc.
There are approximately 8,000 Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) cranes operating at sea ports around the world which contribute significantly to port emissions, as such they have become a testing ground for new hybrid technologies. Flywheels provide significant fuel and emissions reductions via the capturing of braking energy generated when a container is lowered. The captured energy is then available to help hoist the next one.
Compared to other energy storage technologies used on RTG cranes such as conventional batteries and ultracapacitors, flywheels do not require routine replacement and offer lower maintenance, higher tolerance for rapid cycling, and freedom from aging and environmental limitations.
;2009-03-23 00:00:00 184;Seth Bank Conducts Nanocomposite Research;
Dr. Seth Bank's research into III-V compound semiconductors could cool down your laptop, increase the capacity and speed of fiber-optics, and make solar cells more efficient. Bank hopes to improve III-V compound semiconductors—used for everything from cell phone transistors to LED's in traffic lights—by embedding semi-metal nanoparticles in them.
One application for his nanocomposites is better connection between layers in multijunction solar cells. Bank is working with a start-up on this and hopes to demo state-of-the-art solar cells later this year. He is also working with ARO and DARPA on developing lasers that can detect trace gases and transmit over fiber-optics. Bank is also trying to grow a new material called graphene (a single layer of carbon atoms) that could replace current computer chip technology, conserving power and producing less heat.
Bank was helped recently when the National Institute of Standards and Technology gave his lab a molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system. Such systems typically cost a million dollars. MBE has evolved into a popular technique for growing III-V compound semiconductors because it produces high-quality layers with good control of thickness, doping, and composition.
;2009-03-31 00:00:00 185;Improving Communications in Remote Areas;
Professor Christine Julien is using a grant from the National Science Foundation to solve persistent problems posed by delay-tolerant networks (DTNs)—heteterogeneous networks with spotty connectivity. DTNs are the norm in remote areas with inadequate energy resources and mobile nodes, complicating search and rescue operations and third world communications.
Previous solutions have been tailored for specific applications. Julien is stepping back and looking for common characteristics. The optimal solution to the frequent and long-lasting disconnects on DTNs would be communication protocols that adapt to changing conditions on-the-fly. The ability to collect and interpret information about the application's environment would be key to success.
Julien's solution is an adaptive middleware that coordinates communication among mobile applications running on devices that are only intermittently connected. The middleware helps software react to frequent configuration changes that occur as devices move and communication capabilities change.
;2009-04-07 00:00:00 187;Dr. Patt Starts a Dialog;
Professor Yale Patt's keynote address at the 2009 PPoPP conference unleashed a hailstorm of protest from industry programmers that may lead to real change in commercial programming and computer architecture education. According to Ed Burnette on ZDNet, Dr. Patt had three main points: multi-core is not the holy grail, most programmers are stupid, and there should be lots of low-level interfaces for the non-stupid ones to use. The immediate reaction were multiple posts on ZDNet defending the use of high level languages as a matter of expediency, but the conversation quickly began to cover topics like:
- Computer Science vs Software Engineering
- Security Risks of High Level Language Programming
- How to get to true Parallel Processing
- Recent Graduate Skill Sets
Dr. Patt is the co-creator of the HPS paradigm and the two-level branch predictor, both used by almost every microprocessor manufacturer in the computer industry.
;2009-04-16 00:00:00 189;Mark Papermaster Named ECE Fellow;
Long-time External Advisory Committee member and UT-ECE alumnus, Mark Papermaster, was named an ECE Fellow last week. Mark has been instrumental in raising our profile and forging relationships with industry, says Chairman Tony Ambler. We have been very lucky to have his help and guidance on EAC.
Papermaster has over 25 years of experience of product and technology experience. He has an international reputation in the chip design field. Papermaster worked at IBM from 1982-2008. His last position was VP of IBM's blade server division. He begins a new job at Apple as senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, reporting to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, on Friday, April 24. Papermaster will lead Apple’s iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams.
;2009-04-20 00:00:00 190;Andrea Alù and Nader Engheta Propose New Cloaking Method;
Cell phone antennas, radio receivers and GPS devices may one day go incognito. In a paper to appear in Physical Review Letters, Andrea Alù and Nader Engheta propose a new cloaking method that cancels out the electromagnetic waves bouncing off an object. The concept may ultimately lead to surreptitious sensors that can collect and send messages without detection.
The new cloak manipulates electromagnetic waves — including light — not by blocking out the waves, but by working with them. Previous cloaks worked by diverting waves around an object. We have shown how plasmonic materials and metamaterials may overcome a general and fundamental limit of currently available sensors, in that they are necessarily required to scatter around, affecting their own measurement, says Alù. In our paper, we have set the ground for a new general class of sensing devices that may see without being seen. This may have fundamental implications in conceiving novel non-invasive probing devices for a wide range of biological, optics, physics, and engineering applications.
;2009-04-29 00:00:00 192;IEEE 125th Anniversary Celebration;
It was a full day, beginning with a Tech Fair at 11 a.m. Thirty seven local tech companies exhibited between sessions about entrepreneurship, consulting, and career development. ECE Chairman, Tony Ambler, and adjunct professor/Cirrus Logic Fellow, Eric Swanson, participated in a Panel Discussion about The Engineer of 2020.
The 3rd Annual BrainParty/125th Anniversary celebration featured UT-ECE graduate research and IEEE student groups. Free food, drinks, and live music preceeded a presentation of a proclamation by Governor Rick Perry. Only 8 celebrations are being held world-wide, with only 3 in the United States.
;2009-05-01 00:00:00 194;Large-Area Graphene on Copper Possible;
UT-ECE research to be published in the journal Science demonstrates, for the first time, that centimeter-square areas of copper foils can be covered almost entirely with mono-layer graphene bringing this intriguing material one step closer to commercial viability. Graphene, formed with carbon atoms linked together like nanoscopic chicken wire, holds great potential for nanoelectronics. It also shows promise for electrical energy storage, for use in composites, for thermal management, in chemical-biological sensing, and as a new sensing material for ultra-sensitive pressure sensors.
ECE Professors Sanjay Banerjee and Emanuel Tutuc and graduate students Seyoung Kim and Junghyo Nah are co-authors of “Large-Area Synthesis of High-Quality and Uniform Graphene Films on Copper Foils.”
;2009-05-11 00:00:00 195;Suzanne Barber Organizes Identity Management Summit;
Dr. Suzanne Barber is a national leader in identity management and the primary organizer of the recent summit: “The Digital Identity: A Double-Edged Sword”. At the summit, experts from industry, government, and academia discussed how shortfalls in even the most fundamental identity management needs, such as basic standards and definitions, are undermining efforts to make our digital identities as secure as our physical ones.
“In the meantime,” says Dr. Barber “we are developing software agents that can assess the trustworthiness of information from different sources. These ‘intelligent agents’ operate in complex environments with massive amounts of conflicting information. They evaluate the reliability of the source, coordinate information exchange, and can take into account cost considerations and timeliness as well. We are very excited by the rapid progress we are making in this area.”
;2009-05-21 00:00:00 196;Graduate Students Excel - 4 Best Papers and Fellowships from IBM and Intel;
Rajeshwary Tayade earned Best Paper Award at the 13th IEEE European Test Symposium (ETS'09): Critical Path Selection For Delay Test Considering Coupling Noise (co-authored by Professor Jacob Abraham)
Muhammad Aater Suleman received the very prestigious Intel PhD Fellowship. Fewer than 30 fellowships were awarded nationwide across all engineering and science disciplines. Suleman was the only UT recipient (and the first UT student to win since 2004). Suleman is supervised by Professor Yale Patt.
Xiaokang Shi received a highly competitive IBM Ph.D. Scholarship. Shi is a member of the Design Automation Group and is supervised by Professor David Pan. His research is in lithography simulation and optimization.
Shobha Sundar Ram earns Best Student Paper Award at the 2009 IEEE Radar Conference: Simulation of High Range-Resolution Profiles of Humans Behind Walls (co-authored by Professor Hao Ling and former ECE graduate student Craig Christianson).
This is the second year Ms. Ram has won this competition. She was the first-place winner in the 2008 IEEE Radar Conference held in Rome, Italy.
Duo Ding earns Best Student Paper Award at the International Conference on IC Design and Technology 2009: “Machine Learning Based Lithographic Hotspot Detection with Critical Feature Extraction and Classification” (co-authored by Xiang Wu, Prof. Joydeep Ghosh and Prof. David Z. Pan)
Ciji Isen received the highly competitive IBM PhD Fellowship. Ciji is a member of the Laboratory for Computer Architecture (LCA) and is supervised by Professor Lizy John. His research is on memory system design and optimization.
Sanghyun Chi earns Best Paper Award at the IEEE Communications Quality and Reliability Workshop 2009: Predicting the Quality of Voice over IP Networks (co-authored by Professor Baxter Womack).
;2009-05-26 00:00:00 199;Dr. Alan Bovik Awarded Grants;
Dr. Al Bovik was recently awarded two separate grants from the National Science Foundation totaling $703,000. The first is an equipment grant to conduct high definition (HD) video processing research, with particular emphasis on video quality assessment. The equipment includes the “Red One”—a revolutionary high-definition cinematic movie camera famously used by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson—as well as high-definition displays and a visual eyetracker and headtracker. Bovik’s research group plans to build a standardized public database of HD videos for video quality assessment and other applications.
The second grant is a joint project with UT-Psychology Professor Larry Cormack. Bovik and Cormack’s grant, entitled “Statistical Measurement, Modeling, and Inference on Natural 3D Scenes.” They are using a precision terrestrial scanner to measure luminance, chrominance, range, and disparity and ultimately develop sophisticated statistical models of natural scenes. Their work will make possible many important engineering applications, including creating better stereoscopic (3-D) image sensors and displays, and higher-quality 3-D movies.
;2009-06-02 00:00:00 200;David Z. Pan Elected Committee Chair;
Professor David Z. Pan has been elected chair of the IEEE Computer-Aided Network Design (CANDE) Committee, a position that he will hold for one year. CANDE is a technical activity of the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation (CEDA) and the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society.
;2009-06-09 00:00:00 201;Alumnus Hired at Penn State;
UT-ECE PhD graduate, Vishal Monga, has accepted a tenure-track position at Pennsylvania State University for fall 2009. Monga's PhD research, supervised by Professor Brian L. Evans, was in a problem in multimedia security and mining known as perceptual image hashing. Perceptual image hashing helps index large image databases for efficient search and retrieval, makes watermarking images easier, and strengthens image/document authentication against attacks.
Monga received his BSEE degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati in 2001, and his MS and PhD degrees from The University of Texas at Austin in 2003 and 2005, respectively. He has been working at Xerox Research since graduation. Prof. Evans notes that Dr. Monga is already a seasoned researcher and accomplished teacher, and is well prepared to be a successful professor at Penn State.
;2009-06-12 00:00:00 202;ACISC Call for Papers;
The 4th Annual Austin Conference on Integrated Systems & Circuits (ACISC) has issued a call for papers. Previous conferences have included keynote addresses from the CEO's of Silicon Laboratories and Cirrus Logic, tutorials on bleeding edge technologies, and wide participation from industry.
Extended abstracts, full papers, and/or presentations are acceptable for submission. Proposals that describe open issues, industry/technology needs, or opinions are welcome. The final version of each presentation will be published via a password-protected site, but authors retain full ownership and may present at other conferences.
;2009-06-22 00:00:00 203;Edward Yu Accepts Chaired Position;
Professor Edward Yu has accepted the Swearingen Regents Chair in Microelectronics and will begin teaching at UT-Austin in September. Dr. Yu's research is in electronic and optical properties of solid-state materials and devices at the nanoscale--including III-V nitride materials and device physics; scanning probe characterization of advanced electronic materials and devices; novel structures for photovoltaic devices; and solid-state nanostructure physics and devices.
Prof. Yu received his A.B. (summa cum laude) and A.M. degrees in Physics from Harvard University in 1986, and his Ph.D. degree in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1991. He comes to us from the University of California, San Diego.
;2009-06-29 00:00:00 204;Deji Akinwande to Join ECE Faculty;
Dr. Deji Akinwande will begin working as an assistant professor in the fall. He is a co-inventor of a high frequency interconnect, and is a recipient of the Ford Foundation and Sloan pre-doctoral Fellowships and the inaugural DARE fellowship from Stanford University. His Ph.D. research focused on the synthesis (chemistry), properties (device physicsA), and applications (circuits) of carbon nanotube devices.
Akinwande received both the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics from Case Western Reserve University. His master's research involved the design, development and characterization of evanescent microwave probes for non-destructive imaging of materials. His doctorate is from Stanford.
;2009-07-06 00:00:00 205;Bank Wins Presidential Early Career Award;
Assistant professor Seth Bank just received a 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on young researchers. Bank will use the $1M grant attached to the award to study metal/semiconductor nanocomposites (metallic nanoparticles embedded in a semiconductor). The goal is to use these new materials to produce efficient sources of terahertz radiation for a number of applications in chemical/gas sensing and security.
These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country, President Obama said. With their talent, creativity, and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world.”