News

March 2017

EE's Krishna Shenoy and neurosurgeon Jaimie Henderson are co-senior authors on a clinical research paper, which demonstrated that a brain-to-computer hookup can enable people with paralysis to type via direct brain control at the highest speeds and accuracy levels reported to date.

Their paper involved three study participants with severe limb weakness — two from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease, and one from a spinal cord injury. They each had one or two baby-aspirin-sized electrode arrays placed in their brains to record signals from the motor cortex, a region controlling muscle movement. These signals were transmitted to a computer via a cable and translated by algorithms into point-and-click commands guiding a cursor to characters on an onscreen keyboard.

Behind those results lie years of efforts by an interdisciplinary team of neurosurgeons, neuroscientists and engineers who brought different scientific vantages together to solve challenges that would have stumped any single discipline. Institutional support was another key ingredient in this long-term effort aimed at ultimately helping people with paralysis affect the world around them using only their minds.

Though more work lies ahead, this ongoing research shows that new engineering and neuroscience techniques can be directly applied to human patients. The milestone is heartening for Krishna Shenoy, who has led the effort to create brain-controlled prosthetic devices since he came to Stanford in 2001. Integral to that success has been his 12-year partnership with Jaimie Henderson, which he describes as a professional marriage of engineering, science and medicine.

"When you have a clear vision, you involve yourself in as many details as possible and you work with absolute mutual respect, as coequals, it's pretty interesting what you can do over a couple decades," Krishna said.

The study's results are the culmination of a long-running collaboration between Henderson and Shenoy and a multi-institutional consortium called BrainGate. Leigh Hochberg, MD, PhD, a neurologist and neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brown University and the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology in Providence, Rhode Island, directs the pilot clinical trial of the BrainGate system and is a study co-author.

 

Excerpted from Stanford Medicine News Centers "Brain-computer interface advance allows fast, accurate typing by people with paralysis" and "Listening in on the brain: A 15-year odyssey".

 

Related News:

Brain-Sensing Tech Developed by Krishna Shenoy and Team, September 2016.

Krishna Shenoy receives Inaugural Professorship, February 2017.


 

March 2017

 

Jennifer Widom is the Fletcher Jones Professor in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. She served as Computer Science Department chair from 2009 to 2014 and senior associate dean from 2014 to 2016.

Jennifer's interest in helping the world adopt knowledge of computer science led her to create one of the first three Stanford MOOCs in the fall of 2011, a course called Introduction to Databases that continues to attract thousands of students in an online self-study version. She chose to spend her sabbatical this academic year teaching short-form courses on big data and design-thinking workshops in 15 countries around the globe, including Peru, Tanzania and Bangladesh. Jennifer will curtail her spring travel plans to assume her new role as dean.

"This is an amazing time to be taking the reins of the School of Engineering, just as the university is embarking on its own long-range planning under a new administration," Widom said. "While Persis was dean, a number of exciting initiatives were launched as a result of the SOE-Future planning process, and I'm extremely excited to see them through: the Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions, new initiatives in improving diversity at all levels, and support for our non-tenure-line educators are a few examples that I feel very passionate about."

As dean, Widom will oversee a school that enrolls about 5,300 students and has more than 240 faculty members, including 130 national and international academy and society members. All nine of the school's departments are ranked in the top five nationally. Stanford Engineering has been at the forefront of innovation for nearly a century, creating pivotal technologies that have transformed the worlds of information technology, communications, health care, energy, business and more.

Widom said that one of her primary objectives will be to further integrate the school with the rest of the university.

"It has become evident to me that there are many opportunities for the School of Engineering to become better integrated across the university," Widom said. "I've set a long-term end goal: I'd like every faculty member in the university, regardless of field, to feel fortunate that they are in a university with a top engineering school, just as engineering faculty benefit tremendously from Stanford's strengths across the whole range of disciplines."

Widom will also seek to expand opportunities for engineering undergraduates to explore a wide curriculum.

Widom is an Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She received the ACM-W Athena Lecturer Award in 2015, the ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award in 2007 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000.

 

Excerpted from the Stanford News. Read full article

 

February 2017

John Duchi has been selected as a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Mathematics. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers as recipients of the 2017 Sloan Research Fellowships. The fellowships, awarded yearly since 1955, honor those early-career scholars whose achievements mark them as the next generation of scientific leaders.

"The Sloan Research Fellows are the rising stars of the academic community," says Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "Through their achievements and ambition, these young scholars are transforming their fields and opening up entirely new research horizons. We are proud to support them at this crucial stage of their careers."

Open to scholars in eight scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics—the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded in close coordination with the scientific community. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists and winning fellows are selected by an independent panel of senior scholars on the basis of a candidate's independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in his or her field.

Congratulations to John for this outstanding achievement!

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics. www.sloan.org

 

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Press Release

February 2017

Excerpted from acting Dean Thomas Kenny's announcement:

 

Krishna Shenoy has been appointed as the inaugural Hong Seh and Vivian W. M. Lim Professor in the School of Engineering. This professorship was established with an endowed gift from Hong Seh and Vivian Lim

Krishna joined the Stanford faculty as an assistant professor in 2001, was promoted to associate professor in 2008, and has been a full professor at Stanford since 2012. He currently leads the Neural Prosthetic Systems Laboratory (NPSL) and co-directs the Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory (NPTL) with Professor Jaimie Henderson, MD. Krishna is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator and currently serves on advisory boards for the National Science Foundation's Research Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the University of Washington, Heal Inc., and Cognescent Inc.

A senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) since 2006, Krishna is also a fellow at the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and an investigator for the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain. He is a recipient of the McKnight Foundation's Technological Innovations in Neurosciences Award and the National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award. Additionally, Krishna was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Research Foundation fellowship in 2002 and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences in 1999. He has also served on the Defense Science Research Council (DSRC) for DARPA and was elected a fellow of the DSRC in 2003.

Krishna received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Irvine, and his master's degree and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, in 1992 and 1995, respectively. He was a postdoctoral scholar (1995 to 1998) and a senior postdoctoral scholar (1998 to 2001) in neurobiology at Caltech.

Krishna's innovative research, which blends a deep understanding of signal processing and neuroscience with techniques to build clinical innovations, makes him a deserving recipient of this endowed chair.

 

Please join us in congratulating Krishna on this well-deserved honor.

 

Related News:

Krishna Shenoy's translation device; turning thought into movement, March 2017.

Brain-Sensing Tech Developed by Krishna Shenoy and Team, September 2016.


 

February 2017

Tom Kailath has been selected as an Eminent Member of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN). The designation of Eminent Member is the organization's highest membership category and is conferred upon those select few whose outstanding technical attainments and contributions through leadership in the fields of electrical and computer engineering have significantly benefited society.

Eta Kappa Nu established the Eminent Member recognition in 1950 as the society's highest membership classification. It is to be conferred upon those select few whose attainments and contributions to society through leadership in the fields of electrical and computer engineering have resulted in significant benefits to humankind. Since 1950, only 134 individuals have been selected to receive this honor.

Designation of Eminent Member is the organization's highest membership category and is conferred upon those select few whose outstanding technical attainments and contributions through leadership in the field of electrical and computer engineering have significantly benefited society.

IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), the honor society of IEEE, is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing individual excellence in education and meritorious work, in professional practice, and in any of the areas within the IEEE-designated fields of interest.

 

Please join us in congratulating Tom for this very well deserved honor.

 

Related News:

The President Awards the National Medal of Science to EE Professor Kailath, November 2014. Read article

February 2017

Andrea Goldsmith has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering with the citation, "For contributions to adaptive and multiantenna wireless communications."

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

A professor of Electrical Engineering, Goldsmith is the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering. Dr. Goldsmith's research is focused on the design, analysis, and fundamental performance limits of wireless systems and networks, as well as the application of communications and signal processing to biology and neuroscience.

Professor Goldsmith is chair of the national Rising Stars Faculty Job Preparation Workshop for Women Ph.D./Postdocs in EE and CS; part of the University Budget Group, Committee on Research, Task Force on Women and Leadership, and the Planning and Policy Board.

Please join us in congratulating Andrea Goldsmith for this well-deserved recognition of her profound contributions and leadership.

 

Read NAE Press Release, February 8, 2017

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub includes four Stanford EE faculty
February 2017

Four EE faculty have been awarded an opportunity to join the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a project of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The CZ Biohub vision is to find and support the best and brightest scientists, engineers and technologists. [To] foster an environment that emphasizes intellectual freedom and true collaboration. [To] provide the best scientific tools available – and when they don't exist, [to] invent them. (source: https://czbiohub.org/vision/)

"The research by these extraordinary scientists receiving CZ Biohub awards exemplifies the exciting opportunities that lie in collaborative research at the intersection of biology and engineering," states Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Stanford's President. "We look forward to the new discoveries benefiting human health that will be made possible by their collaborations."

The EE faculty currently involved are Adam de la Zerda, Ada PoonH. Tom Soh, and James Zou.

 

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub is a project of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. CZI is committed to harnessing the power of science, technology and human capacity to cure, prevent or manage all disease in our children's lifetime.

Working collaboratively is at the heart of everything Biohub is doing. It starts with bringing together—for the first time ever—three of the world's leaders in biomedical and engineering innovation: University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco and Stanford.

[The] three university partners provide the very backbone of Biohub's work. Investigators come from these outstanding research institutions, and their faculty will be an integral part of day-to-day operations at Biohub.

 

Visit CZBiohub.org

February 2017

In an article titled, "Graphene-Girded Interconnects Could Enable Next-Gen Chips," work by EE PhD candidate Ling Li, a Nanoelectronics Lab researcher, provides insight to the possible future of copper and graphene.

At the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco in December, researchers described the coming problems for copper interconnects, and debated ways of getting around them. One approach studied by H.-S. Philip Wong's Nanoelectronics Lab, is to bolster copper with graphene. The research group found that the nanomaterial can alleviate a major problem facing copper, called electron migration.

Copper wires are getting so thin, and must carry so much current, that the atoms in the wire can literally get blown out of place. "The electron wind can physically move the copper atoms and create a void," says Wong. Growing graphene around copper wires prevents this, according to research Wong's group presented at the meeting. It also seems to bring down the resistance of the copper wires.

The Stanford group worked with Lam Research, which makes chip manufacturing tools, as well as researchers from Zhejiang University, in China, to make and test the composite interconnects. The materials are a good pair: graphene is often made by growing it on copper. Lam Research has developed a proprietary process for doing this at temperatures that won't damage the rest of the chip—below 400 °C. Compared to copper alone, the composite improved electromigration by a factor of 10. And the composite wires had half the electrical resistance.

Wong says the interconnect problem can no longer be dismissed. "Before, most of the time we were hearing about transistors," he says. "Now it's not just transistors but wires, memory—many other things that were previously not a problem are beginning to be a problem."

 

Excerpted from IEEE Spectrum, 6 January 2017.

February 2017

Mingyu Gao (PhD '18) and co-authors received the acknowledgement at ISCA 2016. Their paper is titled, "DRAF: A Low-Power DRAM-Based Reconfigurable Acceleration Fabric".

IEEE Micro will include a complete list of 2016's significant papers in its annual publication, "Micro's Top Picks from the Computer Architecture Conferences" in its May / June 2017 issue. The issue collects some of the year's most significant research papers in computer architecture based on novelty and potential for long-term impact. Any computer architecture paper (not a combination of papers) published in the top conferences of 2016 (including MICRO-49) is eligible. The Top Picks committee will recognize those significant and insightful papers that have the potential to influence the work of computer architects for years to come.

 


 

Abstract:
FPGAs are a popular target for application-specific accelerators because they lead to a good balance between flexibility and energy efficiency. However, FPGA lookup tables introduce significant area and power overheads, making it difficult to use FPGA devices in environments with tight cost and power constraints. This is the case for datacenter servers, where a modestly-sized FPGA cannot accommodate the large number of diverse accelerators that datacenter applications need.

This paper introduces DRAF, an architecture for bit-level reconfigurable logic that uses DRAM subarrays to implement dense lookup tables. DRAF overlaps DRAM operations like bitline precharge and charge restoration with routing within the reconfigurable routing fabric to minimize the impact of DRAM latency. It also supports multiple configuration contexts that can be used to quickly switch between different accelerators with minimal latency. Overall, DRAF trades off some of the performance of FPGAs for significant gains in area and power. DRAF improves area density by 10x over FPGAs and power consumption by more than 3x, enabling DRAF to satisfy demanding applications within strict power and cost constraints. While accelerators mapped to DRAF are 2-3x slower than those in FPGAs, they still deliver a 13x speedup and an 11x reduction in power consumption over a Xeon core for a wide range of datacenter tasks, including analytics and interactive services like speech recognition.

 

Congratulations to Mingyu and co-authors. His research advisor is Christos Kozyrakis

January 2017

SPF is a place to use and share expertise; nurture innovation and learning; build efficient, specialized electronics; and reduce researchers' burden of developing electronics without expertise.

Located in the Allen Building, the newly renovated space sports glass-topped walls, surrounded by sleek workstations. Inside the SPF, workbenches and collaborative areas provide organized space for system design, building, and testing.

"The SPF's mission is to support electronic sub-system design for cutting-edge research across our campus," states Professor Boris Murmann, lead SPF faculty. "We are currently working on projects with Principal Investigators in the departments of Physics, Applied Physics, Electrical Engineering, Psychology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Bioengineering, looking to enable new possibilities in a wide range of disciplines."

Professor Murmann is also pleased that SPF – together with ExFab (Experimental Fabrication lab) – provides a complete spectrum of device development from creation to software interfacing. Similar to ExFab, SPF usage will help inform the design of future system prototyping facilities on campus.

The SPF welcomes researchers from any department on campus, accommodating project needs with a tiered service and support structure. The tiered structure is based on how much expertise is needed – from independently using the tools to requesting a turnkey solution. Stanford researchers are able to design and build a system themselves, or collaborate with SPF's electrical engineers.

 

SPF is made possible by funding from SLAC and School of Engineering.

Interested in SPF? Please email lab director, Angelo Dragone: dragone@slac.stanford.edu

Pictured above: SPF faculty director, Professor Boris Murmann speaks with Professor Marty Breidenbach, Dr. Angelo Dragone,  Professor Chi-Chang Kao and Sawson Taheri.

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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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