EECS News

Sabee Molloi Jul 24, 2014
Academy of Radiology Research honors Sabee Molloi as Distinguished Investigator

Sabee Molloi, professor of radiological sciences at UCI, has been named a Distinguished Investigator of the Academy of Radiology Research. The honor recognizes imaging researchers for their significant contributions in the field of medical imaging. Molloi, who holds joint faculty appointments in biomedical engineering and electrical engineering, focuses on developing novel diagnostic imaging techniques for breast cancer and cardiac disease.

At UCI, his research group has developed a dual-energy mammography technique that takes images of a breast at different energy levels to measure tissue density, which is important because women with dense breast tissue are four to five times more likely to develop tumors. And partnering with Carlos Iribarren, a research scientist from Kaiser Permanente, he is assessing whether breast arterial calcification detected by mammography can be used to gauge cardiovascular disease risk. For this effort, the two have received a $6.8 million grant from the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute to study mammography-identified calcium buildup in breast arteries in more than 5,000 African American, Latino, Asian and white women at three Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Northern California. The researchers will test whether these calcifications correlate with several cardiovascular disease risk factors. A technique to accurately measure breast arterial calcium mass was developed in Molloi’s laboratory.

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Jul 3, 2014
Research Leads to Novel Inhaler

Asthma sufferers and others with pulmonary disorders are well acquainted with nebulizers. They’re those sometimes bulky gadgets, also known as inhalers, which disperse an aerosol stream of medication directly into the lungs.

Unfortunately, though, most commercial nebulizers are capable only of poly-disbursement, meaning they disperse droplets of varying sizes. That is not efficacious for many pulmonary drugs, which are effective only when droplets are a specific size: 2-6 microns. Adding mesh screens to the commercial inhalers helps create some droplets of desirable size, but the often-viscous medicines can get stuck in the mesh, clogging the devices.
 
UC Irvine Chancellor’s Professor of Electrical Engineering Chen Tsai had a better idea.

He and his research team have developed a silicon, MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems)-based, clog-free ultrasonic nozzle. Their success was highlighted recently in Technology, a new journal that covers cutting-edge technologies from a variety of science and engineering fields.


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Jul 2, 2014
Butterworth and Beall competitions reward the best in both hardware and software

To the naked eye, this year’s Butterworth Product Development Competition at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences looked much as it always has.

From left: Satya Atluri, Syed Jafar and Matt Law Jun 25, 2014
Three Engineering Faculty -- Satya Atluri, Syed Jafar and Matt Law -- Among Most Highly Cited Researchers

Three Samueli School engineering professors – Satya Atluri, Syed A. Jafar and Matt Law – have been recognized as among the world’s leading scientific minds, according to the 2014 Highly Cited Researchers list published by Thomson Reuters.

Ana Papio, Saman Kabiri and Franco De Flaviis Jun 17, 2014
Donation Expands Simulation Opportunity

Design. Test. Adapt. Repeat. For many years, trial and error guided product development. Engineers designed on paper, built a prototype, tested it in the lab, and made changes based on test results. They repeated the process an untold number of times, until the product met specifications. It was costly and time-consuming.

Today, engineers design and test products on their computers with CAD (computer-aided design) and simulation software. And now, thanks to a generous donation from software company ANSYS, Inc., a new generation of UC Irvine students has the opportunity to use the software simulation tools, making them ready and able to compete for jobs after graduation.

ANSYS has donated more than 500 licenses that cover both electrical and mechanical engineering software packages, as well as multi-physics (multidisciplinary) simulations. The donation also includes High Performance Computing (HPC) licenses for cluster computing, so that multiple computers can work together as one supercomputer to solve large-scale problems.

The simulation software predicts how specific devices will react in real-world situations. For example, what happens when you run electromagnetic currents through a printed circuit board? How does the antenna work in the system? What happens when you bend certain materials, drop them, or heat them up?
 
Engineering professor Franco De Flaviis has used the software for years in his research, and has had access to a limited number of licenses to share with his graduate students. He was instrumental in securing the new, much larger donation. “We’re really excited about this partnership with ANSYS,” he says. “Because everybody in industry uses this software, our students will be much more competitive when they graduate.”

Hua Sun with Henry Samueli Jun 17, 2014
UCI student is finalist in global Broadcom competition

UC Irvine graduate student Hua Sun presented innovative engineering research June 4 at the Broadcom Foundation University Research Competition. He was awarded $1,000 for his work on how to provide efficient, reliable wireless networks in the future. Sun, who’s seeking a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, was among 12 student finalists from 11 universities competing in a poster session at Broadcom’s annual Technical Conference. They shared insights into their projects and discussed how eventual applications of their research could improve lives and contribute to society.

"Hua Sun's enthusiasm for research is truly infectious," says Syed Jafar, an associate professor and Sun's Ph.D. adviser. "He is not intimidated by hard problems. He has the ability to quickly recognize the most meaningful aspect of a challenge and works tirelessly with great ingenuity to solve it. Collaborating with him is always a great pleasure."

More than 400 distinguished engineers judged the entries. “This competition, spearheaded by Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli, celebrates academic excellence and social awareness among students who perform extraordinary research at the doctoral level,” said Paula Golden, executive director of the foundation. “The intellectual power of the finalists, who come from universities across the world, is profound, and we are honored to have them compete.”

Hamid Jafarkhani May 7, 2014
Jafarkhani’s Seminal Paper on Wireless Communications Technology Recognized

UCI Chancellor’s Professor Hamid Jafarkhani has been recognized by the IEEE for a paper he published 15 years ago.  The IEEE Communications Society Award for Advances in Communication is given to an outstanding paper that opens new lines of work, envisions bold approaches to communications, formulates new problems to solve and essentially enlarges the field of communications engineering.  

Jafarkhani’s paper, published in 1999, described his research on space-time block coding, a technique used today in wireless communication systems. Jafarkhani was working at AT&T Labs when he and his colleagues established the concept of space-time block coding and showed how to design codes for a wireless communications system with multiple antennas, such as Wi-Fi. Today, space-time block coding is a well-established field in communications, actively researched and widely used. This paper has been cited more than 1,000 times.

“It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award,” says Jafarkhani, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and director of UCI’s Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing.

From left: Rainer Doemer, Weiwei Chen and Giovanni De Micheli Apr 23, 2014
Two from UCI Earn Awards at DATE

Engineering professor Rainer Doemer won a Best Paper Award at the 2014 the Design, Automation and Test in Europe (DATE) conference held in Germany last month.

The DATE conference and exhibition brings together designers and design automation users, researchers and vendors, as well as specialists in the hardware and software design, test and manufacturing of electronic circuits and systems. Doemer’s paper, “May-Happen-in-Parallel Analysis based on Segment Graphs for Safe ESL Models,” was selected out of a record number of over 1,000 submissions.

At the same conference, engineering alumna Weiwei Chen received the Outstanding Dissertation Award.  Chen earned her doctorate from UCI in 2013. Her dissertation topic was “Out-of-Order Parallel Simulation for Electronic System-Level Design.” She worked under the guidance of Doemer in the Center for Embedded Computer Systems (CECS).

“It’s rewarding to see our work so recognized in front of an international audience of experts in design automation and embedded systems,” says Doemer an associate professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. “Receiving the Best Paper Award is extraordinary, but seeing Weiwei's dissertation winning another prize at the same event is just fantastic.”

This project is designed to help patients with Parkinson's Disease Mar 31, 2014
97 Senior Projects Displayed at Winter Design Review

Engineering students proudly showed off their senior design projects at the 2014 Winter Design Review in mid-March. More than 500 students were involved in 97 projects.

Assistant Professor Kristen Davis judges the water filtration competition Mar 14, 2014
Samueli School Celebrates E-Week

Nearly 900 engineering students participated in E-Week 2014, organized by the Samueli School’s Engineering Student Council (ESC).  This year’s theme was “The Art of Engineering,” and all students who checked in received a Samueli School t-shirt. The celebration featured the Dean’s Pancake Breakfast, an Awards Banquet, 10 competitions, a BBQ and the annual softball game, pitting students against faculty. Students broke the professors’ long-running winning streak with a tie game. 

E-Week is an annual event aimed at increasing public awareness and appreciation for the engineering profession. Established in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the weeklong celebration provides an avenue for students to demonstrate inventiveness and imagination through a variety of events.

“This week is intended to benefit the engineering students, and if they take advantage of the opportunity, they can get a lot out of it,” says Liz Brooks, ESC president. “The week is put on to celebrate engineering and acknowledge all of the hard work engineers do every single day. After participating in UCI’s E-Week since I was a freshman, I can say it is continuously improving every year.”

Payam Heydari (center) with officers of the Orange County Engineering Council Mar 13, 2014
OC Engineering Council Names Payam Heydari a Distinguished Educator

The Orange County Engineering Council honored Payam Heydari with a Distinguished Engineering Educator Award at its National Engineering Week awards banquet in February. Heydari, a professor of electrical engineering, was recognized for his academic excellence.

Heydari has contributed to the advancement in his field through his significant research accomplishments. His expertise is in the design and analysis of novel terahertz, millimeter-wave and radio-frequency integrated circuits. His research group recently showcased the most complex imaging receiver chip in the world at the 2014 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference.

A former associate chair for graduate affairs, Heydari is actively involved in the effort to attract graduate students to the Samueli School. His teaching was recognized by the UCI Engineering Student Council in 2010 with a Faculty of the Year Award.

“It is nice to be recognized on a local level with this award,” says Heydari.

Anima Anandkumar Feb 18, 2014
Anandkumar Receives ‘Early-Career’ Sloan Research Fellowship for her Work in Machine Learning

Anima Anandkumar, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has been awarded a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship for her work at the interface of theory and practice of large-scale machine learning and high-dimensional statistics. Bestowed annually since 1955 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the two-year fellowships go to 126 early-career scientists and scholars in the U.S. and Canada whose achievements and potential identify them as the next generation of scientific leaders. Fellows – who are nominated by their peers – receive $50,000 to further their work. “It’s a great honor to join the prestigious ranks of Sloan Fellows,” Anandkumar says. “The support from the Sloan Foundation will enable me to continue my research on large-scale machine learning.”


Her work, broadly speaking, involves building intelligent computers that can learn from the world around them, said her colleague Padhraic Smyth, a professor of computer science and statistics in the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences. “This field is very hot right now, both in academic research and in the commercial world,” he said. “Companies such as Google and Microsoft and many others are using machine learning to develop self-driving cars, intelligent speech recognition, smart cameras, search engines that can better understand what you type, and more.” Machine learning also is helping biologists better understand cancer data and climate scientists to interpret patterns in vast quantities of climate data, said Smyth.

From lef: Payam Heydari, Hamid Jafarkhani, Syed Jafar Jan 30, 2014
Samueli School Engineers Named IEEE Distinguished Lecturers

The IEEE has selected two Samueli School professors to serve as 2014-2015 Distinguished Lecturers: Professor Payam Heydari for its Solid-State Circuits Society and Chancellor’s Professor Hamid Jafarkhani for its Communications Society.

IEEE Distinguished Lecturers are engineering professionals who lead their fields in new technical developments that shape the global community. They serve two-year terms and deliver lectures at chapter meetings and regional seminars around the world.

Heydari’s research expertise involves the design and analysis of novel terahertz, millimeter-wave and radio-frequency integrated circuits. His group at the Nanoscale Communication Integrated Circuits Labs recently showcased the world’s highest frequency wireless transceiver, operating at a record breaking 210 GHz in complementary metal oxide semiconductor process, at the 2013 International Solid-State Circuits Conference and is slated to present the world’s highest frequency synthesizer at 300 GHz at next year’s conference. “I am honored and privileged to be recognized as part of this selected group of scientists/researchers within the IEEE society,” says Heydari.

Jafarkhani’s expertise is in distributed beam-forming in wireless relay-interference networks, cooperative communications, limited feedback beam-forming in MIMO, and distributed space-time coding.

Another Samueli School electrical engineer, Professor Syed Jafar is in the midst of a two-year term as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Communications Society. “These lectures have been rewarding, as the audience tends to have broader interests than those of a typical technical conference audience,” says Jafar, who has shared his expertise in interference alignment and index coding with IEEE chapters in Cleveland, Columbus, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Iowa.

Hamid Jafarkhani (right) receives IEEE Sumner Award Jan 27, 2014
Engineering Professor Receives the IEEE Sumner Award

The IEEE presented UC Irvine Chancellor’s Professor Hamid Jafarkhani with the 2013 Eric E. Sumner Award at its Global Communications Conference in Atlanta in December. Jafarkhani is a co-recipient of the award, which recognizes researchers’ outstanding contributions to communications technology.

“It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award,” says Jafarkhani, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing.

The collective work of Jafarkhani and two colleagues has helped the wireless communications industry improve quality of service and increase network capacity and has been a key enabler for fourth generation OFDM/MIMO systems. The trio’s research has greatly influenced the standardization, commercialization and advancement of space-time codes. In particular the award citation called out Jafarkhani’s contributions to “block signaling for multiple antennas.”

water jet cart testing Dec 20, 2013
Fall Design Review Showcases Senior Design Projects

Around 860 people attended the 2013 Fall Design Review, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and industry representatives.

clockwise from top left: Andrei Shkel, Syed Jafar, Nader Bagherzadeh, Franco De Flaviis Dec 17, 2013
Four Engineers Named IEEE Fellows

Four Samueli School of Engineering faculty members have been designated Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest engineering society. Selected by the IEEE Board of Directors, Fellows are named in honor of a member’s outstanding record of accomplishments.

From the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department, Professor Nader Bagherzadeh was recognized for his contributions to the design and analysis of coarse-grained reconfigurable processor architectures, Professor Franco De Flaviis for his contributions to reconfigurable antennas and tunable dielectrics for wireless communication systems, and Associate Professor Syed Jafar for his contributions to analyzing the capacity of wireless communication networks. From the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, Professor Andrei Shkel was noted for his contributions to micro-machined gyroscopes.

H. Kumar Wickramasinghe Dec 12, 2013
Engineer Named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Professor H. Kumar Wickramasinghe is among 143 innovators to be named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for 2013. Wickramasinghe is a UC Irvine professor and the Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in electrical engineering and computer science, with joint appointments in biomedical engineering and chemical engineering and materials science.

Being named a NAI Fellow is distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

Wickramasinghe, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, is a well-respected pioneer in nanotechnology. He currently holds 94 patents. Some of his most significant inventions and contributions to the nano field include the development of the vibrating mode atomic force microscope (AFM), the magnetic force microscope, the electrostatic force microscope, the Kelvin probe force microscope, the scanning thermal microscope, and the apertureless near-field optical microscope. Most of these scanning probe microscopes are standard instruments used today for nano-scale characterization.

"I am humbled and honored to be among this distinguished group of Nobel Laureates and National Medal Prize winners,” says Wickramasinghe. “The greatest thrill I get is to see some of my inventions translated to practice and in use all over the world."

Athina Markopoulou Nov 26, 2013
Engineering Professor Serves as an Ambitious Advocate for Calit2

In 2006, soon after arriving at UC Irvine, a new assistant professor was introduced to an engineering school administrator who asked what her major was.

“I’m not an undergrad,” the new hire said politely.

“Oh, you’re here for the graduate program?” inquired the woman.

“No,” answered Athina Markopoulou.

Was she a postdoc, then? Markopoulou explained that she was joining the electrical engineering and computer science faculty.

As the embarrassed administrator learned, appearances can be deceiving. Markopoulou, who still can pass for a grad student, is now a highly regarded EECS associate professor, well-funded researcher, entrepreneur, wife and mother, and an ardent and active Calit2 affiliate.
 
“In the beginning, it bothered me,” Markopoulou recalls of being mistaken repeatedly for a student. “But now I am used to it and I think it’s fun. It can be a good ice-breaker.”

Chen Tsai accepts IEEE-UFFC Achievement Award Nov 25, 2013
Chancellor’s Professor Chen Tsai Accepts Lifetime Achievement Award

Chen Tsai grew up in a small village in Taiwan, where he and his older brother, without any tools, would fix things. He fondly remembers repairing the broken spring of an antique phonograph. He has turned his propensity to tinker into a formidable academic career, and it was with great pride that the UC Irvine’s Chancellor’s Professor accepted the 2013 lifetime achievement award from the IEEE-Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Controls Society this past summer in Prague. The award, bestowed annually, is the highest honor given by the society for research achievement.

A professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Tsai was recognized for pioneering contributions in the “science and technology of integrated acousto-optics, ultrasonic monodisperse micro-droplet generation, acoustic microscopy, and guided-wave magneto-optics.” He was honored at the plenary session of the international joint conference of three affiliated societies, with some 3,000 attendees from many countries. Tsai proudly shared with conference attendees UCI’s recent top national and high worldwide rankings as well as some of the exciting new initiatives at the Samueli School of Engineering.

A. Lee Swindlehurst Oct 30, 2013
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Named

Professor A. Lee Swindlehurst has been appointed the new associate dean for research and graduate studies. Swindlehurst, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has been at UC Irvine since 2007 and most recently served as associate department chair for EECS.

"The school has made great strides over the past two decades in both the reputation of its scholarly research and the quality of its graduate programs,” says Swindlehurst. “We have exceptional faculty and a growing and very talented group of graduate students. I'm excited to work with Dean Washington and the rest of the faculty to keep the momentum going."

This is an expanded position, established upon the recommendation of a special committee that looked at cost-effective ways to manage the huge growth in graduate and undergraduate programs over the past 15 years. Graduate studies had formerly been under Associate Dean for Student Affairs John LaRue, but it will now report to Swindlehurst. LaRue’s title will change to Associate Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs.

“Professor Swindlehurst has held administrative positions at multiple universities and in industry,” says Dean Gregory Washington. “His research contributions are outstanding, and his teaching and supervision of graduate students are regarded as excellent. I have no doubt that his experience and qualifications will prove most valuable to our school.”

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