News

August 2015

Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) has awarded Professor Shanui Fan's group funding to develop new techniques for cooling buildings.

Fan reported the energy-saving breakthrough in the journal Nature. Using a thermal photonic approach, the material reflects sunlight and emits heat, demonstrating new possibilities for energy efficiency. The photonic radiative cooler consists of seven alternating layers of hafnium dioxide (HfO2) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) of varying thicknesses, on top of 200 nm of silver (Ag), which are all deposited on top of a 200-mm silicon wafer.

This passive energy source, which exploits the large temperature difference between space and Earth, could provide nighttime lighting without batteries or other electrical inputs.

GCEP is an industry partnership that supports innovative research on energy technologies to address the challenge of global climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project includes five corporate sponsors: ExxonMobil, GE, Schlumberger, DuPont and Bank of America.

 

View full Stanford Report article.

August 2015

The Marconi Society announced Kartik Venkat as the winner of the 2015 Young Scholar Award. Kartik is an EE doctoral candidate, on track to complete his PhD this December. His principal advisor is Professor Tsachy Weissman, who says, "Kartik's work has helped us develop tools to boost the performance of algorithms in machine learning and AI. He's helping us find smarter ways to process a huge quantity of data—which is applicable to a wide array of disciplines."

Kartik plans to travel to London to receive the award in October. After he completes his PhD, he wants to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities that apply his work to real world problems, taking "deep ideas in research and using them to transform the way an industry is viewed. I don't know if that will be in academia—or in a company of my own," he says.

Marconi Young Scholars are individuals who have, at an early age, already demonstrated exceptional engineering or scientific research and entrepreneurial capabilities with the potential to create significant advances telecommunications and the Internet. They are students whose advisers and nominators believe will make a real difference in science and society, serving as role models and an inspiration for others.

Hearty congratulations to Kartik Venkat!

Read full Marconi Society press release

Professor Weissman and Kartik Venkat

Professor Weissman (left) and Kartik Venkat (right).

August 2015

The Staff Gift Card Program awarded five staff members a $50 Visa card. The program recognizes our staff's extraordinary efforts as submitted by students, faculty, and staff. Nominations are collected online and previous nominations are also considered.

Several staff received nominations this summer. The five recipients are listed below along with excerpts from their nominator(s).

 

Sue George, Administrative Associate, Computer Science

  • "Sue is always willing to help out. She is resourceful, hardworking and always good natured."
  • "No matter how busy she is, her responses are very timely."

 

Andrea Kuduk, Administrative Associate

  • "Andrea introduces new and better options to keep us all up-to-date."
  • "She is doing an excellent job at training new support staff. I am grateful that Andrea is part of the EE department."

 

Bill Murphy, Senior Research and Financial Administrator, Engineering Research Administration

  • "Bill always gets the answer, going above and beyond to untangle complex scenarios, and communicating exactly what is needed."
  • "Bill is an expert at management of grants and contracts. His support is truly exceptional."

 

Helen Niu, Administrative Associate

  • "Our group benefits from Helen's efficiency and thoroughness."
  • "Her excellent work made us all more productive and saved a lot of time and effort."

 

Cindy Ornellas, Staffing and Faculty Affairs Administrator

  • "I appreciate Cindy's quick response and dependability."
  • "We are very lucky to have her in the EE department!"

 

The Staff Gift Card Bonus Program is sponsored by the School of Engineering. Each year, the EE department receives several gift cards to distribute to staff members who are recognized for going above and beyond their role. Each month, staff are chosen from nominations received from faculty, students, and staff. Past nominations are eligible for future months. EE faculty, staff and students are welcome to nominate a deserving staff person by visiting gradapps.stanford.edu/NotableStaff/nomination/create.

Be sure to recognize the staff member, or members, that help in your accomplishments!

August 2015

The new light-field stereoscope technology – developed by Wetzstein along with researchers Fu-Chung Huang and Kevin Chen – moves beyond current "flat" VR that essentially is a 2D screen in front of your eyes. The new headset design creates a sort of hologram for each eye to make the experience more natural. A light field creates multiple, slightly different perspectives over different parts of the same pupil. The result: you can freely move your focus and experience depth in the virtual scene, just as in real life.

"If you have a five-hour (robotic) surgery, you really want to try to minimize the eye strain that you put on the surgeon and create as natural and comfortable a viewing experience as possible," Wetzstein said.

"Virtual reality gives us a new way of communicating among people, of telling stories, of experiencing all kinds of things remotely or closely," Wetzstein said. "It's going to change communication between people on a fundamental level."

Wetzstein's computational imaging work is going beyond the lab and into the classroom. In the fall, he will team with Tanja Aitamurto, deputy director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Stanford, to teach an interdisciplinary course at Stanford's d.school focused on the social impacts of virtual reality. The class, EE392D, Designing Civic Technologies with Virtual Reality, will be open to all Stanford students from any major. Wetzstein is also developing a class focused on virtual reality technology for the spring quarter.

 

Professor Wetzstein's research lab, Stanford Computational Imaging Group 

Read full Stanford Report article

July 2015

The Innovation Transfer Program at the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy is providing financial support for 11 new teams trying to put university research to work. The Innovation Transfer Program is in its first year.

Of the 11 teams that have been awarded, three are led by EE faculty advisors.

  • Humblade is an embedded sensor that provides online monitoring of wind power generators, and eventually pipeline, trains, planes and other critical infrastructure. Advisor: Boris Murmann.
  • Spark Thermionics will prototype a device to convert heat to electricity with record-setting efficiency, and is scalable from watts to megawatts. Advisor: Roger Howe.
  • Vorpal (awarded in fall 2014) is developing a handheld device for sterilizing liquids using pulsed electric field technology as an energy-efficient alternative to pasteurization and other means of purification. Advisor: Juan Rivas-Davila.

The Energy Innovation Transfer Program at the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy provides financial support for clean energy technologies.

 

Read full Stanford Report article.

July 2015

Subhasish Mitra, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Computer Science, has received the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) Technical Excellence Award for his research related to Quick Error Detection (QED) technology.

Electronic systems are an indispensable part of all our lives. Malfunctions in these systems have consequences ranging from annoying computer crashes, loss of data and services, to financial and productivity losses, or even loss of human life. To ensure robust operation of electronic systems, it is essential to minimize the effects of design flaws (bugs) in the hardware. Unfortunately, existing test and validation methods cannot cope with the tremendous complexity of today's integrated circuits and systems. As a result, many critical bugs are detected only after integrated circuits (ICs) are manufactured. During post-silicon validation and debug, manufactured ICs are tested in actual system environments to detect and fix bugs in hardware. Existing post-silicon validation and debug techniques are ad hoc and very expensive, and their cost and complexity are rising faster than design cost.

Quick Error Detection (QED) technology overcomes post-silicon validation and debug challenges by detecting bugs a billion times quicker compared to existing approaches, while simultaneously catching critical bugs that would otherwise go undetected and severely jeopardize robust operation of electronic systems. QED also localizes difficult hardware bugs automatically in only a few hours so that the detected bugs can be fixed efficiently. In contrast, it might take days or weeks (or even months) of manual work (per bug) using existing approaches. QED has been successfully used in industry.

"I am honored by this award from the SRC in recognition of the QED technology," replied Professor Mitra. "QED is key to ensuring robust operation of electronic systems we rely on everyday. My sincere thanks to the SRC for funding my research, and for selecting the QED technology for this prestigious award. I am fortunate to work with an excellent group of highly-motivated undergraduate and graduate students at Stanford, as well as fantastic collaborators from industry and academia. The QED technology would have been impossible without them. Finally, I also thank the NSF since the roots of this QED work started with support by the NSF CAREER award."

  • The students that contributed to this QED technology are: David Lin (EE '15), Dr. Yanjing Li (EE '13), Dr. Sung-Boem Park (EE '10), Ted Hong (MS '07), Diana Mui (MS '11), Ziyad Abdel Khaleq (MS '12), Sundaram Ananthanarayanan (MS '14), Eshan Singh (PhD candidate), Christine Cheng (MS), and Dr. Farzan Fallah.
  • Collaborators from industry: AMD, Freescale, Intel, IBM, Renesas
  • Collaborators from academia: Prof. Clark Barrett (NYU), and Prof. Deming Chen (UIUC) and Keith Campbell (UIUC).

Publications by Mitra's group have received other awards including: IEEE/ACM Design Automation Conference Best Paper Award, IEEE International Test Conference Best Student Paper Award, and the Best in Session Award at the Semiconductor Research Corporation's TechCon Conference.


The Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) is a leading research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, sponsoring university research and supporting elite students and faculty around the world. Nominations are reviewed and approved by SRC's Board of Directors. Teams are recognized for their impact on semiconductor productivity through cultivation of technology and talent.

Prof. Solgaard and a 2015 EE graduate
June 2015

June 14th marked Electrical Engineering's 121st commencement, Stanford's 124th. Beginning with a picnic lunch on the Medical School Dean's lawn, EE graduates, their families, and friends, gathered to celebrate. Following lunch, graduates lined up between the Li Ka Shing Center and the Fairchild Center, sorting into B.S., M.S., and PhD lines. Led by Bachelor of Science students, the processional of nearly 400 students made its way into the shaded tent, filled with family and friends.

As the graduates took their seats, a gentle breeze lifted the university, state, and national flags on either side of the stage. Abbas El Gamal, Hitachi America Professor in the School of Engineering, and Professor and Chairman of Electrical Engineering, called the ceremony to order. Professor El Gamal emphasized the extraordinary efforts of the graduating students, complimenting them on their curiosity, creativity and energy.

Prof El Gamal and Maisy Weiman
Three departmental awards were announced. The first being the Departmental Design Project Award, sponsored by Agilent. This year's recipients are from EE 152 – the Green Electronics Capstone Project Course – one of eight Capstone Project courses available to undergraduates. Capstones reflect the breadth of the EE major and the diversity of students' interests and depth areas. The group of recipients include Meredith Burkle, Ned Danyliw, Alex Dewing, Travis Geis, Axel Sly, Nathan Staffa, and Michael Tomasi.

 

The James F. Gibbons Outstanding Student Teaching Award went to Steven Bell (PhD candidate), Jayant Charthad (PhD candidate), Seonghyun Paik (PhD Candidate), and Maisy Weiman (M.S. '15) (pictured above).

The Chair's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education, is awarded each year to peer-elected faculty or staff member for their exceptional contributions to undergraduate education and support of the department as a whole. Professor Simon Wong is the 2015 recipient, acknowledged for his tremendous commitment to undergraduate education.

student speaker Atinuke Ademola-Idowa (M.S.'15)
Student speaker Vince Sparacio (B.S. '15) encouraged those in attendance to care for themselves by practicing balance in all aspects of their lives, beginning with enjoying graduation day and expressing gratitude to those that helped them complete their degree. Atinuke Ademola-Idowa (M.S. '15) (pictured) answered the question, "What next?" by reminding graduates and guests of Stanford's founding idea: to benefit society. She encouraged us to make the world a better place by taking action – not to be indifferent to the world's challenges, but be voices of justice through our work.

 

 

Congratulations to the 2015 Electrical Engineering graduates!

View the 2015 EE Commencement photo album.

June 2015

The citation for Associate Professor Christos Kozyrakis' award reads, "For outstanding contributions to transactional memory technologies.” The Maurice Wilkes Award is given annually by ACM SIGARCH for an outstanding contribution to computer architecture made by an individual in the first 20 years of their career. The award is named after Sir Maurice Wilkes, a pioneer of computing systems that made fundamental contributions to the field quite early in his career.

Prof. Kozyrakis' research focuses on making computer systems of any size faster, cheaper, and greener. His current work focuses on the hardware architecture, runtime environment, programming models, and security infrastructure for warehouse-scale data centers and many-core chips with thousands of general purpose cores and fixed functions accelerators.

SIGARCH serves a unique community of computer professionals working on the forefront of computer design in both industry and academia. It is ACM's primary forum for interchange of ideas about tomorrow's hardware and its interactions with compilers and operating systems.

Congratulations to Christos for this well-deserved recognition of his outstanding research contributions.

 

Read more about the ACM SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes Award

Centennial TA Award winners
June 2015

PhD candidates Steven Bell and Jayant Charthad received the 2015 Centennial Teaching Assistant Award. The Centennial award program recognizes outstanding teaching by TA's in the Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering schools.

Nominated by faculty, peers, and previous students, each will receive a $500 prize and certificate in a June ceremony.

About Steven
Steven is the Head TA for ENGR40M, a wildly popular "maker" course. With Mark Horowitz as lead faculty, the course was re-vamped and taught to a small group of students in Spring of 2014. By Fall quarter, 120 students were enrolled. The current semester has 277 students enrolled; the highest enrollment to date.

Steven worked with his Ph.D advisor Mark Horowitz to create E40M. He created some of the lab assignments, and has worked tirelessly improving all of them to be more clear and fun for the students. He also manages the lab sessions and creates homework assignments, improving the clarity and educational value whenever possible.

A few comments from Steven's nominators include:

PhD candidate Steven Bell
  • "Steven's contributions have been essential to the course's success. Keenly aware that our students are beginners, Steven has worked tirelessly to improve the accessibility of our subject."
  • "He's also always looking to see how the class can be made better. He doesn't just fix current problems, but looks to see how such problems can be avoided in the future. Not only is he hardworking and organized, but he's a wonderful teacher. When explaining concepts to students, he presents them in an easy to understand way and checks in with the students to be sure they are actually understanding what he's saying."
  • "[I]t is clear that he thinks deeply about ways of teaching the introductory concepts in E40M more effectively. None of these efforts are required of a CA or head CA, but they speak to his commitment to improving the educational experience for both students and fellow teaching staff."

 


 

About Jayant

PhD candidate Jayant Charthad
Jayant has been TA for several courses, including EE101B, EE114/214A, 214B, Physics105 and Physics64. Jayant assisted Professor Amin Arbabian with redesigning EE101B's lab. The result was such a success, the course was adjusted to match the lab. Prof. Arbabian states, "Jayant's "secret sauce" is his deep understanding of the technical material, ability to break down complex concepts into smaller pieces and an amazing talent in explaining fundamentals -- and most of important of all -- true passion for teaching."

 

A few comments from Jayant's nominators include:

  • "Jayant's responses were lengthy, often going above and beyond the scope of the question to make sure the student would appreciate the problem in the greater context of IC design and to help the student develop intuition."
  • "He understands that learning is a journey and serves as a wonderful guide through the process. His humble nature makes him intrinsically approachable and helps transform apprehensive freshmen in electrical engineering into inquisitive explorers, itching for intellectual discovery. Long after lab hours have ended, Jayant is always there and welcoming of our questions."
  • "From my experience in this class, I do think Jayant influenced my decision to pursue circuits as my B.S. and M.S. concentrations."

Congratulations to Steven and Jayant! Their efforts are recognized and greatly valued by the Electrical Engineering department.

June 2015

Students, faculty, and staff gathered in Hewlett auditorium to try their luck at winning one of two $100 gift cards, and of course to hear the presentations and participate in the Q and A session of the 2015 State of the Department event. More than 70 questions were submitted in advance, with others being asked during the event.

An enthusiastic welcome from EE Student Life (EESL) Committee Chair, Professor Andrea Goldsmith, opened the event and also provided an overview of EESL, whose main objective is to initiate and support student activities outside of the classroom and research lab. In addition to the State of the Department event, EESL facilitates and/or co-sponsors numerous activities throughout the year. The activities are highly valued by the students because they provide an opportunity for students to learn about others' experiences and perspectives, and help them navigate a successful path through Stanford and beyond. Says Goldsmith, "EESL was formed to enhance student life, create a strong sense of community within EE, and serve as a conduit for student feedback, input, and new ideas. Our goal is to improve the Stanford experience for every EE student."

Graduating senior and Fuse President, Mersina Simanski (BS '15) represented the EE undergraduate group, Fuse. Having completed its inaugural year, Fuse attracted more than 65 members and hosted many undergraduate events throughout the year. The most popular being the TI Make-a-Thon, the alumni dinner, the faculty mixer, and volleyball games on the Packard lawn. Incoming Fuse president, Iliana Bray (B.S. '17) plans to continue growing Fuse and hosting engaging events for EE undergrads.

GSEE, the graduate student body of the Electrical Engineering department, highlighted their involvement with various EE events throughout the year. Of note, are the popular social HappEE hours, EEPROM, and faculty lunches. The current president, Ziad Shehadeh (MS '15) will pass the role to Kevin Schubert (PhD, '17). Ziad states "Despite the major time commitment involved, it has been a privilege leading this organization in the 2014-2015 academic year. I got heavily involved with EE students from all over the world, interacted with the EE department as a whole, and built several connections with faculty, industry, and other departments and student groups on campus. We tried to target the needs of the EE graduate students and hopefully with a larger leadership team in the future, even more of those needs can be addressed."

EE Department Chair, Professor Abbas El Gamal, provided an update on the department. As the largest department within the School of Engineering, it is home to 58 faculty and nearly 1,000 students. EE welcomes three faculty in 2014 and 2015: John Duchi, Tom Soh, and Gordon Wetzstein.

The EE Department also announced the SystemX Alliance — an industry affiliate program, previously known as CIS. El Gamal reported, "SystemX essentially returns CIS to its' original mission with a 21st century focus: system scaling." SystemX is a multidisciplinary collaboration across 10 departments, with focus areas in energy, bio, quantum, IoE, and others. For EE students, SystemX provides a wealth of research opportunity and faculty collaboration.

The Q and A session, facilitated by Professor El Gamal also stimulated dialogue between students and faculty regarding several important issues. A few of them included:

Q: What change or new initiative in the EE department were you most proud of this year?
A: I think I am most proud of the efforts that our faculty have been putting into developing new undergraduate classes and revamping other classes. Although we started this initiative last year, the big effort started this year and will be continuing over the next years. I think the results are very promising. Another initiative we started this year is to improve graduate admissions. We have many more faculty involved in reviewing applicant folders, and the faculty conducted Skype interviews with the final candidates, which I think worked quite well.

Q: Why do we need to take so many classes in our PhD program?
A: Stanford's EE PhD program is designed to provide students with a strong foundation that will serve them throughout their career. Engineering is a very rapidly changing field and PhD research is by definition very narrow and deep. Courses, if selected correctly, will help broaden students' background and prepare them for moving into new areas in the future.
Or, as one faculty member playfully stated, "Because we said so, It's good for you, and one day you'll thank us," to which the room erupted with laughter.

Q: How is the department helping attract more undergraduate women to the major, especially freshmen who may not even take EE courses their freshman year?
A: EE works very hard to attract the best undergraduates in general. Our revamped undergraduate curriculum helps expose students to the amazing array of application that electrical engineering provides. We hope that students — especially female students — can see themselves being successful in EE. We're continuing to challenge ourselves to teach in new ways, and we want students who learn in new ways.
Student organizations like Fuse, WEE (Women in Electrical Engineering), and GSEE exist to be inclusive. They all do a great job of providing activities that are accessible to every student. Specifically, WEE has a mentoring pair program, and the leadership of Fuse is female. Each student group has it's own focus, and all are outstanding student communities — especially because of the female members.

Another submitted question, was the oft wondered, "Why is Bob Dutton so cool?" Professor El Gamal responded, "The reason Bob is so cool is because he is one of the most passionate and focused people I've ever worked with. When he takes on a mission, he goes all the way. He has done this in his research and is now doing it for the undergrads."

Following the Q and A session, the winning ticket was drawn for the gift cards — Congratulations to Neal Master (PhD candidate), and Atinuke Ademola-Idowu (MS '15) .

The State of the Department event concluded with dinner and drinks, hosted by the EESL Committee and GSEE on the Hewlett/Packard entrance patio.

 Consider joining us at the 2015 EE Commencement Ceremony, Sunday, June 14th on the Medical School Dean's Lawn, where you'll hear more about the EE student experience.

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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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