EECS News

Nov 18, 2014
NSF Funds New UCI Program Addressing Disparities in STEM Majors

UCI partners with community colleges to improve transfer process and retention    
UC Irvine has partnered with three community colleges (Irvine Valley College, Santa Ana College and Saddleback College) to improve the recruitment and retention of  women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors. With a $1.8 million, three-year National Science Foundation grant, UCI has created a program called iStart (Innovate from the Start: Engaging Engineering and Computer Science Undergraduates).

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From left: Yosi Shacham-Diamand, Yossi Rosenwaks, Gregory Washington, Henry Samueli and Howard Gillman Nov 6, 2014
Engineering Sustainability Conference 2025 Addresses Challenges of the Future

For the third year in a row, faculty members from the Samueli School of Engineering and the Iby and Aladar Fleishman Faculty of Engineering at Tel Aviv University (TAU) came together for a joint workshop to address an engineering challenge of the future.

At “Energy and Sustainability 2025,” faculty from the two engineering schools discussed issues involving the higher education of engineers and scientists working in sustainable energy and environmental engineering. Over two days, the engineers presented the latest research in smart grid and energy conversion, energy efficiency and power systems, water technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

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From Left: Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington, Filippo Capolino, Ozdal Boyraz, Regina Ragan and Marc Madou Oct 14, 2014
UCI engineers develop prototype of low-cost, disposable lung Infection Detector

NSF grant supports their efforts to improve manufacturing process for nanodevices

 Imagine a low-cost, disposable breath analysis device that a person with cystic fibrosis could use at home along with a smartphone to immediately detect a lung infection, much like the device police use to gauge a driver’s blood alcohol level.

Timely knowledge of a lung infection would let people with CF or other inflammatory respiratory conditions seek immediate treatment and thereby prevent life-shortening permanent damage to their already vulnerable airways.

Thanks to a nearly $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, UC Irvine engineers can continue developing this type of nanotechnology device – and potentially many others – using a more wide-scale manufacturing process.

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St. Margaret's students with UC Irvine engineering professors Sep 17, 2014
St. Margaret’s High School Summer Internship Program Celebrates 10 Years at Samueli School

Seven high school students participated in this year’s St. Margaret’s Episcopal School Summer Internship Program at the Samueli School of Engineering. They presented their research projects to their parents, teachers and the engineering faculty and graduate students who mentored them at a recent event in the Harut Barsamian Colloquia Room, hosted by Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington.

2014 Saudia Arabia International Program Sep 11, 2014
Saudi Arabia International Program Continues to Improve in its Third Year

Saudi Arabia International Program students celebrated the conclusion of the 10-week accelerated session with a spirited Summer Symposium in the Harut Barsamian Colloquia Room. At the event, 13 international engineering students displayed their hard work with posters and oral presentations, while faculty, staff and guests toured the room and voted on their favorite project. 

Now in its third year, the Saudi Arabia International Program is a collaboration between Salman bin Abdulaziz University and the Samueli School of Engineering. Students are matched with engineering faculty whose special expertise aligns with their own interests and career goals. The curriculum encompasses fundamental knowledge and introduces tools and programs required to pursue an advanced career in technical areas related to their specialization.

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Peter J. Burke Sep 9, 2014
Awards Recognize Excellence in Teaching, Research and Innovation

Seven Samueli School faculty members earned 2014 recognition awards at last spring’s faculty meeting. Dean Gregory Washington initiated the annual awards to acknowledge the valued contributions of faculty.

The awards were given to one junior, mid-career and senior faculty member in each category of research excellence and teaching innovation, and one professor was selected as the Innovator of the Year. Here are the honorees, excerpted from the nomination forms.

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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.

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. All throughout the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) in late May, teams of earnest students, under the watchful eye of their industry, faculty and alumni mentors, gave impassioned presentations about their innovative projects to a panel of distinguished judges, with the results announced at a festive gathering that evening.

But if you’d been to previous installments of the contest, you might have sensed that there were perhaps more snappily dressed students around. Well, there were – roughly twice as many. The 11th annual Butterworth development competition was also the inaugural year for the Beall Student Design Competition.

The Butterworth competition is named for, and generously supported by, Bren School alumnus Paul Butterworth (B.S. ’74, M.S. ’81), chief technical officer of AccessG2 Inc. The Beall competition is made possible by the generosity of the Beall Family Foundation.

Where Butterworth emphasizes software, and requires that at least one team member be from ICS, Beall focuses on hardware, and requires that least one team member be from the Samueli School of Engineering. The two competitions were not only concurrent and complementary, they also overlapped: Several teams entered their projects in both competitions.

There was also more prize money at stake – a total of $30,000 between the Butterworth and Beall contests.

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. The list of highly cited scholars includes preeminent researchers in 21 fields of the sciences and social sciences who have demonstrated great influence in their field as measured by citations to their work. This list is based on papers published during the 11-year period 2002-2012. Researchers are selected not only for total citations but also for the number of highly cited papers contributed. When one researcher cites another’s work, he/she is acknowledging the relevance of that work to the current study. Fewer than one-half of one percent of all published researchers are included in the listing.

Satya Atluri, a Distinguished Professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Center for Aerospace Research and Education, conducts groundbreaking mathematical work, including inventing the so-called “meshless method” that has aided the design of safer materials for aircraft. Throughout his career, his work has encompassed theoretical, applied and computational mechanics of solids and fluids; and structural longevity, failure prevention and health management. Atluri most recently received India’s Padma Bhushan award “for distinguished service of high order in the field of engineering and science.”

Syed Jafar, an associate professor in electrical engineering and computer science, analyzes the capacity of wireless communication networks. In addition to his earlier work on multiple antenna (MIMO) technology and cognitive radio, Jafar is best known for his seminal work on the idea known as interference alignment, in which he shows how a resource such as bandwidth in a network can be shared among competing users in such a manner that each user gets half of the total bandwidth free from interference from others. Jafar and his first year Ph.D. student Viveck Cadambe were among the youngest researchers ever to win the prestigious IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award, and interference alignment has since been recognized as one of the "Top Topics" and as a "Fast Moving Research Front" by Sciencewatch in 2011.

Matt Law, an assistant professor of chemistry who holds a joint appointment in chemical engineering and materials science, develops new nanoscale and Earth-abundant materials for producing electricity and chemical fuels from sunlight. Law’s current research interests include quantum dot solar cells, the physics of metal sulfide semiconductors, and devices that split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

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.”

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