News

January 2016

The Department of Electrical Engineering is pleased to announce that Gordon Wetzstein has received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER). Professor Wetzstein's award is entitled "CAREER: Optimizing Computational Range and Velocity Imaging."

Gordon Wetzstein, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and by courtesy, computer science, was awarded a five-year grant to develop optimized hardware and software for emerging computational range and velocity imaging.

His research anticipates insights and contributions to advance knowledge and gain an understanding of the limits of time-resolved computational imaging and how to practically achieve them. The developed computational imaging systems and mathematical models are expected to provide fundamentally new building blocks for a diversity of applications in computer and machine vision, medical imaging, microscopy, scientific imaging, remote sensing, defense, and robotics.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. The intention of such activities is to build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.

 

Please join the department in congratulating Professor Wetzstein on this recognition of his work.

December 2015

Collaborative efforts of researchers at Stanford, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Carnegie Mellon University are working toward creating a faster and more efficient computing architecture.

The team describes their approach as 'N3XT, Nano-Engineered Computing Systems Technology.' N3XT will eliminate bottlenecks by integrating processors and memory like floors in a skyscraper and by connecting these components with millions of "vias," which play the role of tiny electronic elevators.

The key is the use of non-silicon materials that can be fabricated at much lower temperatures than silicon, so that processors can be built on top of memory without the new layer damaging the layer below.

N3XT high-rise chips are based on carbon nanotube transistors (CNTs). Transistors are fundamental units of a computer processor, the tiny on-off switches that create digital zeroes and ones. CNTs are faster and more energy-efficient than silicon processors. Moreover, in the N3XT architecture, they can be fabricated and placed over and below other layers of memory.

Mitra and Wong have already demonstrated a working prototype of a high-rise chip. At the International Electron Devices Meeting in December 2014 they unveiled a four-layered chip made up of two layers of RRAM memory sandwiched between two layers of CNTs.

In their N3XT paper they ran simulations showing how their high-rise approach was a thousand times more efficient in carrying out many important and highly demanding industrial software applications.

"When you combine higher speed with lower energy use, N3XT systems outperform conventional approaches by a factor of a thousand," Wong said.

 

Excerpts from the Stanford Report.

November 2015

Professor Jelena Vuckovic has been elected as a 2016 Optical Society of America (OSA) Fellow Member. Fellows of the Optical Society are elected based on their significant contributions to the advancement of optics and photonics. Several factors are considered for election, including specific scientific, engineering, and technological contributions, a record of significant publications or patents related to optics, technical or industry leadership in the field as well as service to OSA and the global optics community. 

The OSA Fellow Members Committee reviews nominations submitted by current OSA Fellows and then recommends candidates to the OSA Board of Directors. No more than 10 percent of the total OSA membership may be chosen as Fellows, making the process both highly selective and competitive. As a reflection of the Optical Society's global reach, 60 percent of this year's Fellows reside outside the United States.

Professor Vuckovic's citation reads, "for field opening contributions to the science and engineering of photonic crystals, and in particular, for the use of 2D microcavites for the Purcell-like enhancement of the spontaneous emission rate of embedded quantum dots."

The 2016 class of Fellows will be honored at OSA conferences and meetings throughout 2016. 

 

Read OSA news release.

June 2016

Abbas El Gamal is the Hitachi America Professor in the School of Engineering and the Fortinet Founders Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering. He has been awarded the 2016 IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal. The award's citation reads, "for contributions to network multi-user information theory and for wide ranging impact on programmable circuit architectures."

IEEE Medals are the highest awards that the IEEE presents on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors. The IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal recognizes exceptional contributions to information sciences, systems, and technology. Established in 1986, the medal is named in honor of Dr. Richard W. Hamming, who had a central role in the development of computer and computing science, and whose many significant contributions in the area of information science include his error-correcting codes.

Professor El Gamal is a Life Fellow of IEEE and member of the NAE. He received the Claude E. Shannon Award in 2012.

Abbas El Gamal’s lasting contributions to information theory, wireless networks, field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and digital imaging have immensely impacted a wide variety of information technology applications critical in today’s society. His early work formed the basis for several new areas in multi-user information theory, paving the way to capacity results integral to today’s communications networks. He determined the capacity of the product of Gaussian broadcast channels and of deterministic interference channels leading to recent advances in multi-antenna and interference-limited wireless networks. Together with Thomas Cover, he established the first upper and lower bounds on the capacity of the three-node relay network. This work introduced the cut-set upper bound for networks, which is widely used in information theory today, as well as the compress-forward and decode-forward schemes, which continue to be the dominant relaying techniques. His recent work has involved the creation of coding schemes for sending multiple sources over noisy networks, and significant contributions to wireless networks through characterizing their optimal delay-throughput tradeoff and devising schemes for energy-efficient packet transmission scheduling. His book Network Information Theory (Cambridge Press, 2011) with Young-Han Kim provides the first unified and comprehensive coverage of the field. El Gamal’s contributions to hardware design include the development of integrated circuit fabrics and tools that significantly reduce design time and cost of systems used in computing, communication, and signal-processing applications. In 1986, he co-founded Actel, where he co-invented the routing architecture used in all commercial FPGAs today. He subsequently pioneered the use of FPGAs in teaching digital system design, which has become standard in all electrical engineering programs. (From IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal Recipients)

The 2016 IEEE Honors Ceremony was held on Saturday, June 18, at Gotham Hall, New York, NY. Professor El Gamal's acceptance speech is timestamped at approximately 0:44:09. View IEEE Honors Ceremony PDF program.

Read more about the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal.

November 2015

Professor Benjamin Van Roy has been named an INFORMS Fellow by the 2015 Fellows Selection Committee. INFORMS Fellows are examples of outstanding lifetime achievement in operations research (OR) and the management sciences (MS). The INFORM citation reads, "for contributions to decision making in stochastic systems and approximate dynamic programming."

Professor Van Roy's research includes the formulation and analysis of mathematical models that address problems in information technology, business, and public policy.

 


INFORMS.org

November 2015

Professor Arbabian and research professo Khuri-Yakub's research was spurred by a challenge posed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), best known for sponsoring the studies that led to the Internet. DARPA sought to develop a system to detect plastic explosives buried underground – improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – that are currently invisible to metal detectors. The task included one important caveat: The detection device could not touch the surface in question, so as not to trigger an explosion.

Professor Arbabian and research professor Khuri-Yakub detail their latest step toward developing such a device through experiments, which are detailed in Applied Physics Letters and presented at the International Ultrasonics Symposium in Taipei, Taiwan.

The work grows out of research designed to detect buried plastic explosives, but the researchers said the technology could also provide a new way to detect early stage cancers.

"We've been working on this for a little over two years," Khuri-Yakub said. "We're still at an early stage but we're confident that in five to ten to fifteen years, this will become practical and widely available."

 

The research team includes graduate students Hao Nan, Kevin Boyle, Nikhil Apte, Miaad Aliroteh, Anshuman Bhuyan and senior research associate Amin Nikoozadeh.

 

Excerpts from Stanford Report.

October 2015

Stanford EE is pleased to have hosted the first sustainability focused make-a-thon: Earth Hacks. During the 21-hour event, which began Friday, October 30th, teams and individuals were challenged to imagine and make novel solutions to current environmental issues. The event welcomed nearly 100 students from several departments. 

Participating teams demonstrated their projects to judges from faculty and industry during the final leg of the event. "It was impressive to see the intensity and productivity of the students," Professor Bob Dutton said. "After working less than 24 hours, the students presented some quite amazing results."

Because electrical engineering intersects a number of disciplines, the EE department is an ideal makerspace hub. The event kicked off with an Arduino workshop sponsored by Atmel. The Atmel Tech On Tour truck provided a lively, fully equipped makerspace. Tech On Tour also provided technical support for the duration of the event.

"I was also glad to see EE students offering to teach their friends skills like programming and Arduino and soldering," said Earth Hacks organizer, Gary Lee (EE, B.S. '17). 

"The best part about Earth Hacks was having the parts, tools, and a mentor from Atmel to explore Arduino freely," said Anna Zeng (CS, B.S. '18). "Suddenly gaining access to a full-fledged makerspace really changed my attitude towards tackling hardware. Additionally – and quite remarkably – what I found curiously liberating was the lack of the pressure of a hack-a-thon, as everyone around me was learning about the platform just as I was."

Earth Hacks first place

Judging took place on Saturday afternoon. Earth Hacks judges included Stanford professors Bob Dutton and Juan Rivas-Davila; aerospace reliability consultant, Gary Swift; and Y.C. Wang, Atmel's University Program Manager.

First place went to Zero Fire team, who fully integrated sensors with an Atmel microcontroller and Bluetooth wireless hardware to create a heat/smoke/combustibles detection system; the software then relayed warnings and initiated first-responder calls. 

The 'Zero Fire' team included Rubi Mendoza (MS&E, M.S. '17), Fabian Badillo (ME, B.S. '19) and Valerie Garcia (CS, B.S. '19). "We had a lot of fun developing our 'zero fire' project", said Rubi Mendoza, a first year MS&E graduate student. "We were encouraged to come up with a crazy idea and make it happen."

The opportunity to move beyond the design stage and into implementation gave the students confidence in new areas, allowing them to expand their comfort zone. 

"I did not have any experience in electrical engineering before participating," said Fabian Badillo (ME, B.S. '19). "This was definitely a rare opportunity to be able to imagine what the future may hold as I become more involved in the maker culture."

Valerie Garcia (CS, B.S. '19) shared this perspective. She said, "I'd never built anything before and I knew next to nothing going into Earth Hacks. But the resources there were amazing. Bob, Atmel's 'Arduino guy' taught me so much and it was a great experience to get to build something, basically from scratch, and see it working and actually being functional."

Earth Hacks 2nd place
Second place went to Anna Zeng (CS, B.S. '18) whose project measured and reported on varying humidity levels, allowing the user to manage percent of humidity in an environment.

Third place went to three students who built an energy conservation system. The team included Monica Chan (ME, B.S. '17), Mary Cirino (CS, B.S. '17) and Qian Li (CEE, M.S. '17). "It was our first time experiencing the magic of Arduino, and we all had a great time solving a real problem using what we had learned about hardware and software," said Qian Li.

The concept behind their energy conservation project developed an advanced illumination system for buildings on Stanford's campus. The basic idea consisted of two main sensors: the photo sensor and the pressure sensor. When there is enough daylight, the lights in the buildings automatically turn off. Otherwise, the lights will turn on only when someone touches the door at the entrance.

Earth Hacks 3rd place

Winning teams received prizes from sponsors, and included Myo armbands, a drone copter, Fitbits, and Kindle Fire tablets. Y.C. Wang, Earth Hacks sponsor and judge thanked the Electrical Engineering department and Stanford Robotics Club for making the event possible. "We were very excited to sponsor the Make-A-Thon at Stanford and really appreciated the opportunity to interact with the many talented students," Wang said. "We are extremely grateful for their support in bringing the Atmel Tech On Tour truck on campus."

Other Earth Hacks sponsors included Stanford IEEE Student Chapter, Red Bull, and DigiKey.

October 2015

Recent articles published by EE Professors Eric Pop and H.S. Philip Wong describe advances in memory and data storage using graphene. The three experiments demonstrate post-silicon materials and technologies that store more data per square inch and use a fraction of the energy of today's memory chips.

The unifying thread in all three experiments is graphene, an extraordinary material isolated a decade ago but which had, until now, relatively few practical applications in electronics.

"Graphene is the star of this research," said Eric Pop, associate professor of electrical engineering and a contributor to two of the three memory projects. "With these new storage technologies, it would be conceivable to design a smartphone that could store 10 times as much data, using less battery power, than the memory we use today."

Professor H.-S. Philip Wong and Pop led an international group of collaborators who describe the graphene-centric memory technologies in separate articles in Nature Communications, Nano Letters, and Applied Physics Letters.

"Data storage has become a significant, large-scale consumer of electricity, and new solid-state memory technologies such as these could also transform cloud computing," Wong said.

Pop and Wong agree that these studies show that graphene is far from a laboratory curiosity. The material's unique electrical, thermal and atomically thin properties can be utilized to create more energy-efficient data storage. Such properties do not exist in the silicon world, yet could potentially transform the way we store and access our digital data in the future.

 

Excerpts from the Stanford Report

October 2015

Professor Jelena Vuckovic was elected as an American Physical Society (APS) Fellow by the APS Council in October. The election is based on exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise.

Professor Vuckovic's research areas include nanotechnology and NEMS/MEMS, energy harvesting and conversion, photonics, nanoscience and quantum technology, as well as biomedical devices and systems. She leads the Nanoscale and Quantum Physics Lab, and is a faculty member of the Ginzton Lab, Bio-X, and the Pulse Institute.

 

Her citation reads, "For major and field opening contributions to nano photonics and its application to information science; including the design and fabrication of 2D photonic crystals with integrated quantum dot structures."


 

October 2015

Two groups were awarded the 2015 NEC C&C Foundation Awards for their contributions to the development of big data technologies and network virtualization technologies.

Professor Nick McKeown, Dr. Martin Casado (PhD, '07) and Scott Shenker (Berkeley) are the originators of the Software-defined networking (SDN) movement, and OpenFlow protocol which was created as an interface to program the communication devices.

The NEC C&C citation reads, "For Pioneering Research in Advancing Networking Technology and Outstanding Contributions Promoting the Development of Software-Defined Networking".

They have combined their various talents and taken leadership roles in developing technologies for SDN and OpenFlow. The team developed various open-source platforms and tools. In addition, by involving academia, device vendors, telecommunications carriers, and service providers in research at an early stage, they have been able to cultivate and operate eco-systems that have led to widespread practical application of the SDN concepts. They also promoted the development and adoption of SDN by leading the standardization movement and encouraging the open-source community. Their achievements as ICT infrastructure innovators are highly remarkable.

The prize ceremony and acceptance speeches will be held on Monday, December 21 from 15:00 at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo.

 

Excerpts from the NEC C&C press release.


Read EE Spotlight, featuring Professor Nick McKeown

 

 

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February 2014

Three staff members each received a $50 Visa card in recognition of their extraordinary efforts as part of the department’s 2014 Staff Gift Card Bonus Program. The EE department received several nominations in January, and nominations from 2013 were also considered.

Following are January’s gift card recipients and some of the comments from their nominators:

Ann Guerra, Faculty Administrator

  • “She is very kind to students and always enthusiastic to help students… every time we need emergent help, she is willing to give us a hand.”
  • “Ann helps anyone who goes to her for help with anything, sometimes when it’s beyond her duty.” 

Teresa Nguyen, Student Accounting Associate

  • “She stays on top of our many, many student financial issues, is an extremely reliable source of information and is super friendly.”
  • “Teresa’s cheerful disposition, her determination, and her professionalism seem to go above and beyond what is simply required.”

Helen Niu, Faculty Administrator

  • “Helen is always a pleasure to work with.”
  • “She goes the extra mile in her dealings with me, which is very much appreciated.”

The School of Engineering once again gave the EE department several gift cards to distribute to staff members who are recognized for going above and beyond. More people will be recognized next month, and past nominations will still be eligible for future months. EE faculty, staff and students are welcome to nominate a deserving staff person by visitinghttps://gradapps.stanford.edu/NotableStaff/nomination/create.

Ann Guerra  Teresa Nguyen  Helen Niu

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