News

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.”

L-R:  Robert Regue, Anna Papio, Jaime Duarte, and Yue Yu. Jan 23, 2014
Engineering Students Test their App in Local Art Center

“In the museum world, we are always looking for ways to deepen visitor’s engagement with art,” explains Kate Hoffman, executive director of the Huntington Beach Art Center (HBAC). So when a group of graduate students from the engineering and computer science departments approached her with an idea for using technology to enhance visitors’ experience, she loved it.

The students tested their idea – a mobile application called Kaleri – at the HBAC in early December. Kaleri (which stems from the Greek word for gallery) does two things. First it provides a technologically savvy way for users to delve into a piece of artwork. Using innovative indoor positioning technology, the application recognizes the art that is closest to the visitor and displays it on a mobile device. Visitors can interact with a given piece of art by rating, bookmarking, using social networks to share with their friends, and storing this interaction for future retrieval. The second objective of Kaleri is to understand visitors’ behaviors – common routes, most viewed items, time spent at each artwork, comments posted, and returning visitor information – to help museums provide more engaging experiences. During the pilot test, 40 people used Kaleri to explore HBAC’s sculpture-based exhibit of contemporary art: Reverberation.

“This was an opportunity for our visitors to instantly learn more about a piece,” says Hoffman. “We are a city owned and operated institution with a limited budget. We aren’t able to offer audio tours. This was a way to access information through a type of technology that many people are familiar with and that generates excitement.”

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.

Dec 19, 2013
Life-changing Technology

Malaria kills a child somewhere in the world every minute. This life-threatening disease, caused by parasites transmitted through infected mosquitoes, can be prevented and cured if detected and treated early. But malaria afflicts primarily the poor, who often do not have ready access to healthcare and who tend to live in malaria-prone rural areas in dwellings that offer few barriers against mosquitoes.

This type of global health challenge inspired biomedical engineering students at UC Irvine who participated in Calit2’s Multidisciplinary Design Program.

The program engages undergraduates campuswide in research teams co-mentored by at least two faculty members from different schools. Under the guidance of biomedical engineering professor William Tang, and public health professor Dele Ogunseitan, two student teams designed portable, low-cost, rapid-diagnostic devices using microfluidic technology. One team’s device detects malaria; the other’s, HIV.

A few students from each team were selected to travel abroad to the very places grappling with these diseases. The expeditions, supported by a $25,000 gift from Edwards Lifesciences, provided the ultimate field research experience.

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.

Soroosh Sorooshian Dec 13, 2013
Professor Sorooshian Honored by his Alma Mater

UC Irvine Distinguished Professor Soroosh Sorooshian has been selected as an inaugural recipient of UCLA’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award.

An internationally recognized expert in water resources engineering, Sorooshian is the director of the Samueli School of Engineering’s Center for Hydrometeorology & Remote Sensing and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

The UCLA citation states: “Sorooshian has made a significant and major impact on the research areas of watershed modeling, parameter estimation, hydro-climatic modeling, and application of remote sensing to hydrology.  He developed optimization methods for parameter estimation for physically-based watershed models in general and the Sacramento model in particular. Sorooshian’s pioneering and ground-breaking work on combining global optimization with maximum likelihood estimation to overcome the inherent difficulties in parameter estimation is well recognized. The methodology that he developed has been adopted by the U.S. Weather Service into its river-forecast system. Clearly, Professor Sorooshian has established himself as a nationally and internationally renowned scholar/research and leader in the field of hydrology. His accomplishments and contributions to research and the profession have been well recognized.”

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."

Peyton Paulick Dec 10, 2013
Now Hear This

Hearing aids, as those who wear them know, have some flaws. Whistling, echoing and feedback often frustrate even the most intrepid user. Biomedical engineering graduate student Peyton Paulick seeks to give those with hearing loss a better option, and if the first human clinical trial of her research device is any indication, she may well succeed.
 
The device, a small voice coil actuator placed deep within the ear canal, responds to an electronic signal by moving the eardrum mechanically – just the right amount – to allow sound waves to enter. This eliminates the problems that occur when sound waves are amplified, as in hearing aids.
 
Currently, options available for the hearing impaired are limited. Cochlear implants require major surgery and can cost upwards of $30,000. Traditional hearing aids have advanced technologically but still present those little annoyances.

“Satisfaction rates are pretty low,” Paulick said. “A lot of people with traditional hearing aids don’t use them.”

Henry Samueli Dec 5, 2013
Henry Samueli Addresses Alumni

This fall’s joint alumni event for The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences doubled as an edition of the two schools’ Top Trends in Tech speaker series. Attendees heard from one of the biggest trend-setters in any technology field: Henry Samueli, co-founder, chairman and chief technology officer of Broadcom Corporation.

Dean Hal Stern of the Bren School and Dean Gregory Washington of the Samueli School introduced Henry Samueli after a convivial reception for alumni and friends the evening of Nov. 7.

Taking to the podium on the Broadcom campus — just blocks away from UC Irvine — Samueli spoke on current technological trends and took questions from the audience. Some 120 people, most of them graduates of ICS and Engineering, attended the event.

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.”

Ida and William Melucci Nov 26, 2013
McDonnell Douglas Seamstress Funds UCI Graduate Fellowships in Engineering

Bequest Creates the Melucci Space Exploration & Technology Fellowship

Ida Melucci, a seamstress who worked for McDonnell Douglas and then Boeing, has left a bequest of $1.5 million to UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering to create graduate fellowships.

“We are honored that Ida Melucci entrusted us with her gift to continue to support and enhance the education of graduate students working in space exploration and space technology,” says Gregory Washington, engineering school dean. “We have researchers working on the Rover guidance system for landing on Mars, on electric propulsion for space craft, as well as people looking at combustion and structures. This gift will be put to good use.”

The Meluccis were both long-standing and dedicated employees of the Huntington Beach aerospace company. The late William Melucci worked in sealing and bonding. Ida Melucci worked on space blankets for the Delta rocket, missile bags and insulation blankets for the Space Station, and slip covers for cargo boxes carrying high-tech space tools on the Endeavor space shuttle.

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.

from left, Noe Rodriguez, Lineker Phuong, Loong Sang Yong, and Greg Tamashiro Nov 20, 2013
UCI engineering school gets grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Funding will support continued development of student-designed solar stove

The Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine will receive a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for developing a solar stove that enables carbon emissions-free cooking.

The Grand Challenges Explorations initiative is intended to foster outside-the-box solutions to persistent global health and development issues. More than 80 grants were announced today by the Gates Foundation in the 11th round of funding.

The stored energy solar stove was initially designed by a group of senior mechanical engineering students at UC Irvine under the guidance of former research adviser John Garman. It permits carbon emissions-free cooking indoors and at night, which not only reduces deforestation, labor time and safety concerns for women who leave their villages to gather firewood, but also pollutes indoor air far less than the traditional in-home cooking methods currently employed in developing countries.

The students developed a working model that uses a solar collector to concentrate sunlight on an energy storage device, which consists of an insulated box filled with potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate. The salts are heated to their melting point by the solar radiation. Within three hours in the sun, the stove stores 0.5 kilowatt-hours of energy, which is released as the molten salt slowly resolidifies. This provides a stable heat source indoors or after sunset with a surface temperature well-suited to making foods such as bread and rice. The technology has gone through two design iterations and, with this grant, will be further refined by a new group of senior engineering students.

 

Adrian Ortega Nov 19, 2013
Balsells Fellowship Program Reaches Milestone: 100th Fellow

Like the 99 Catalans before him, Adrián Ortega Novillo left the northeast region of Spain behind to study engineering at UC Irvine. He is the 100th Balsells Fellow.

ASCE student chapter plaque Nov 13, 2013
CEE Affiliates Meeting Addresses Innovations in Water Infrastructure

Nearly 60 people turned out for breakfast and to hear about innovations in water infrastructure at the fall quarterly meeting of the UC Irvine Samueli School’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Affiliates.

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.”

Jack Brouwer Oct 29, 2013
Austrian Delegation Visits UC Irvine’s NFCRC, Smart Grid Demonstration

The Austrian Ambassador to the U.S. visited UC Irvine during the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in October.

Hung Nguyen Oct 28, 2013
Chemical Engineer’s Research Makes the Cover of Advanced Healthcare Materials

Hung Nguyen’s research is featured on the cover of the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Healthcare Materials. An assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, Nguyen investigates the self-assembly of biological and biomimetic nanoscale materials based on amino acids and nucleic acids for applications in nanotechnology, drug delivery, tissue engineering, gene therapy, disease diagnostics, antiviral therapeutics and imaging agent development.

The Advanced Healthcare Materials journal featured Nguyen’s study involving peptide amphiphiles, an emerging class of self-assembling molecules. He and his team, including first author graduate student Iris Fu, an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, used simulations to examine the self-assembly process in detail.

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Payam Heydari Oct 25, 2013
Electrical Engineering Professor to Deliver IEEE Global Conference Keynote

Electrical engineering professor Payam Heydari has been selected to deliver a keynote speech at the 2013 IEEE Global Conference on Signal and Information Processing to be held in Austin, Texas, in December.

Heydari’s research expertise involves the design and analysis of terahertz, millimeter-wave and radio-frequency integrated circuits. In his keynote talk, he plans to address the challenges and opportunities associated with fully integrated millimeter-wave imaging in silicon.

Heydari most recently presented a panel talk at the 2013 IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference in Northern California. The panel discussed the future systems and integrated circuits supporting high speed connectivity.

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William Cooper Oct 23, 2013
Bill Cooper to Direct NSF Environmental Engineering Program

Professor Bill Cooper has been appointed director of the environmental engineering program in the NSF’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems Division. As a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the UC Irvine Urban Water Research Center, Cooper is used to seeking out funding from government agencies. This new position places him on the other side of the table. As an NSF program director, he will be involved in determining which project proposals to support with agency funding.

The NSF environmental engineering program funds projects looking at the environmental engineering implications of energy and resource consumption; availability of high quality water supplies; and fate and transport of contaminants of emerging concern in air, water, and soils. As director, Cooper will also seek joint funding opportunities with other government agencies and engineering programs.

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