Faculty

image of EE professor Eric Pop
April 2019

Professor Eric Pop was featured in a "People Behind the Science" podcast. People Behind the Science's mission is to inspire current and future scientists, share the different paths to a successful career in science, educate the general population on what scientists do, and show the human side of science. In each episode, a different scientist talks about their journey by sharing their successes, failures, and passions.

Excerpts of Eric's conversation follow.
Please visit People Behind the Science for the full episode.


The Scientific Side (timestamp 3:20)

Research in Eric's laboratory spans electronics, electrical engineering, physics, nanomaterials, and energy. They are interested in applying materials with nanoscale properties to engineer better electronics such as transistors, circuits, and data storage mechanisms. Eric is also investigating ways to better manage the heat that electronics generate.

A Dose of Motivation (timestamp 5:17)

Eric is motivated by curiosity and ensuring that the work they do in the lab is useful to people.

Advice For Us All (timestamp 53:40)

Clearly communicating your research is critically important. This includes all forms of communication, whether it is verbal, written, or visual. Before you give a presentation or communicate your work, you should really try to understand your audience. Get a sense of who they are, what they care about, and the best way to convey the cool things you are working on to them. Regardless of what career you choose, being able to share your ideas with people and convince them of the importance of your work will define your career.

 

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image of professor Srabanti Chowdhury
April 2019

Professor Srabanti Chowdhury has been awarded the Gabilan Faculty Fellowship. The Gabilan Fellows comprise a group of faculty whose aim is to contribute to the support of women in the sciences and engineering at Stanford. Srabanti was appointed by Provost Persis Drell and Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity Karen Cook. Gabilan Fellows have the opportunity to be part of a collegial and vibrant community from the biosciences, engineering, and natural and mathematical sciences.

Srabanti's research focuses on wideband gap (WBG) materials and device engineering for energy efficient and compact system architecture for power electronics, and RF applications. Besides Gallium Nitride, her group is exploring Diamond for various electronic applications. She received her B.Tech in India in Radiophysics and Electronics (Univ. of Calcutta) and her M.S and PhD in Electrical Engineering from University of California, Santa Barbara. She received the DARPA Young Faculty Award, NSF CAREER and AFOSR Young Investigator Program (YIP) in 2015. In 2016 she received the Young Scientist award at the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors (ISCS). Among her various synergistic activities, she serves as the member of two committees under IEEE Electron Device Society (Compound Semiconductor Devices & Circuits Committee Members and Power Devices and ICs Committee). She has served the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) technical sub committee on Power Devices & Compound Semiconductor and High Speed Devices (PC) sub-committee in 2016 and 2017. She was the PC subcommittee chair for IEDM-2018, and continues to serve the IEDM executive committee for 2019. She is a senior member of IEEE.

 

Please join us in congratulating Srabanti on her well-deserved recognition!

 

image of Professor Balaji Prabhakar
April 2019

Professors Balaji Prabhakar and Darrell Duffie (GSB) held a moderated conversation about the next generation of finance and high-speed technologies.

Balaji described the accelerating timeframes that gird securities trading infrastructure, where the time from "tick to trade" is now measured in tens of nanoseconds. He also highlighted the potential problems and advantages to be gained by exploiting such lightning-fast speeds. At that nano-scale, it can be hard for networks to properly sequence packets of data being sent over even the faster fiber-optic wires. "If you see a price that's favorable to your trading strategy and you cross the gate ahead of me, then your transactions should happen first," he said. "Unfortunately, in the world where these networks have 'jitters,' this is not easy to guarantee."

The speakers also agreed that one way or another, massive disruption is coming for financial institutions. "There is a mantra that is being repeated on Wall Street, 'We are a tech company that happens to be an investment bank,'" said Balaji. Redefining the role of banks from being consumers of technology to creators of technology will mean that "any bank that's not big enough or not nimble enough is going to lose out," said Duffie.

 

Excerpted from "How is Silicon Valley changing Wall Street?", Stanford Engineering News, April 02, 2019

Watch the conversation in its entirety.

 

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image of Mendel Rosenblum [image credit: ACM]
April 2019

Professor Mendel Rosenblum has been awarded the inaugural ACM Charles P. Thacker Breakthrough Award. The award recognizes individuals or groups with the same out-of-the-box thinking and "can-do" approach to solving the unsolved that Charles Thacker exhibited. Mendel is the DRC Professor in the School of Engineering, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Electrical Engineering. He will formally receive the award at ACM's annual Awards Banquet in June, 2019.

Mendel is recognized for reinventing the virtual machine for the modern era and thereby revolutionizing datacenters and enabling modern cloud computing. In the late 1990s, Rosenblum and his students brought virtual machines back to life by using them to solve challenging technical problems in building system software for scalable multiprocessors. In 1998, Rosenblum and colleagues founded VMware. VMware popularized the use of virtual machines as a means of supporting many disparate software environments to share processor resources within a datacenter. This approach ultimately led to the development of modern cloud computing services such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

"The new paradigm of cloud computing, in which computing services are delivered over the internet, has been one of the most important developments in the computing industry over the past 20 years," said ACM President Cherri M. Pancake. "Cloud computing has vastly improved the efficiency of systems, reduced costs, and been essential to the operations of businesses at all levels. However, cloud computing, as we know it today, would not be possible without Rosenblum's reinvention of virtual machines. His leadership, both through his early research at Stanford and his founding of VMware, has been indispensable to the rise of datacenters and the preeminence of the cloud."

 

Please join us in congratulating Mendel for this well-deserved recognition!

 

Excerpted from "Inaugural ACM Chuck Thacker Breakthrough Award Recognizes Fundamental Contributions that Enabled Cloud Computing", ACM's Latest Awards News, April 10, 2019.


 

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Dick Pantell

Richard H. Pantell, known widely as Dick, was born in New York City on Christmas Day, 1927. He passed away peacefully in San Mateo, CA on March 26, 2019 at age 91. He is survived by two daughters, Laurie Pantell and Sue Pantell, and his partner Carol Bergman. He was married to Leona Siff Pantell ( BA, 53, LLB 56, Stanford) until her passing in 1996.

Dick got his secondary education at the highly regarded Bronx High School of Science in New York City, graduating in 1944. After a year's study at CCNY, he enrolled at MIT as an Electrical Engineering major. He received both the BSEE and MSEE degrees from MIT in 1950, and his PhD at Stanford in 1954. His PhD supervisor was Professor David Tuttle, a very popular teacher of Network Theory to both graduate and undergraduate students. Professor Tuttle had received his PhD at MIT, studying under the direction of Prof. Ernst Guillemin, himself a network theorist of international reputation.

image of Professor Dick Pantell, Ginzton Lab
Dick Pantell's thesis was entitled " New Methods of Driving Point and Transfer Function Synthesis". It proved to be a classic in the field. The earliest work in the general field of passive network synthesis had been done at MIT by Dr. Otto Brune in 1931, who established the necessary and sufficient conditions for a network to be realizable using only resistors, capacitors and inductors. However his realizations sometimes required the use of ideal transformers. The need for ideal transformers was first removed by Dr. S. Darlington at Bell Labs in 1944, but with the constraint that the networks needed to be lossless: composed of only capacitors and inductors.

Dick Pantell's PhD thesis, written in 1954, presented the first general solution to the problem of synthesizing RLC networks with prescribed driving point and transfer characteristics without the limitations required in the Brune and Darlington solutions. It was truly a major contribution to the field. Other work had been done to remove the constraints of Brune and Darlington, but there was no general solution to the problem until Pantell produced one.

Dick was appointed as an Assistant Professor in EE at Stanford in 1956. He proved to be an excellent teacher and supervisor for PhD candidates. He was appointed a Full Professor in 1964.

The breadth of Dick's interests led him to change fields several times, always without fanfare. Following his pathbreaking work in network synthesis, Dick joined the Microwave Laboratory at Stanford to begin working on the design of Megawatt Space-Harmonic Travelling-Wave tubes and related devices. From there, over the next 25 years, he turned sequentially to the study of millimeter wave generation, ferroelectrics, lasers, non-linear optics and photon-electron effects. At the time of his passing, he was working on neutron physics and its application in several areas including materials analysis and medical treatment. His efforts to assist in the commercialization of a small neutron generator for radiology could have important applications in the targeted treatment of specific cancers for decades.

In addition to his scientific interests, he also read widely, bringing a characteristic depth to everything he did, including studying subjects at a sufficient level of detail to write papers and deliver lectures on them. Though he would have bristled at the description, he was what is often called a Renaissance Man.

March 2019

Professor Jelena Vuckovic has been named MPQ Distinguished Scholar, 2019. She leads the Stanford's Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics Lab and is Director of Q-FARM (Quantum Fundamentals, Architecture and Machines), a facility of the Stanford-SLAC Quantum Initiative. Jelena is currently a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics.

The MPQ award recognizes her groundbreaking contributions to the field of Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics. Jelena is the 7th scientist awarded this honor since the Institute was funded. Previous Distinguished Scholars 

 

Please join us in congratulating Jelena on her tremendous research contributions!

About the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics

Research concentrates on the interaction of light and matter under extreme conditions. One focus is the high-precision spectroscopy of hydrogen. In the course of these measurements Prof. Theodor W. Hänsch developed the frequency comb technique for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2005. Other experiments aim at capturing single atoms and photons and letting them interact in a controlled way, thus paving the way towards future quantum computers. Theorists on the other hand are working on strategies to communicate quantum information in a most efficient way. They develop algorithms that allow the safe encryption of secret information. MPQ scientists also investigate the bizarre properties quantum-mechanical many-body systems can take on at extremely low temperatures (about one millionth Kelvin above zero). Finally light flashes with the incredibly short duration of several attoseconds (1 as is a billionth of a billionth of a second) are generated which make it possible, for example, to observe quantum-mechanical processes in atoms such as the 'tunnelling' of electrons or atomic transitions in real time.

 

Excerpted from "Jelena Vučković named MPQ Distinguished Scholar", Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, March 28, 2019.


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Jennifer Widom, Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the SoE and the Fletcher Jones Professor in CS and EE
February 2019

Over the course of three decades, Jennifer Widom has seen computer science evolve from a relatively niche field to an interdisciplinary field that touches on broad swaths of society and promises solutions to global problems such as health care and sustainability.

On this episode of the Women in Data Science podcast, Widom explains that as computer science has become more broadly applicable, it has moved beyond the mere study of software and hardware. Today, she says it's about how you can use the methods and techniques in the discipline to solve problems in other fields.

Women in Data Science (WiDS) podcast welcomes Jennifer Widom, "Math, Computers, & Music"

 

Excerpted from Stanford Engineering Research & Ideas, "​Jennifer Widom: Computer science grows beyond engineering disciplines", February 19, 2019. 

professor emeritus Arogyaswami Paulraj
February 2019

Professor Emeritus Arogyaswami Paulraj has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 IEEE Radio Communications Committee (RCC) Technical Recognition Award. The award was conferred in December at the IEEE Globecom'18 in Abu Dhabi.

His award citation reads, "For seminal contributions to the theory and practice of multiantenna communications systems".

The Radio Communications Committee (RCC) Technical Recognition Award aims to promote radio communications research and development activities in both the academic and industrial community. This award is established as part of the RCC activities in which research and development takes place in areas related to radio communications. The award recognizes members of the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) who have made outstanding contributions to the technological advancement of radio communications.

 

Please join us in congratulating Paulraj for this well-deserved award!

professor emeritus thomas kailath
February 2019

Professor Emeritus Thomas Kailath has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 IEEE Radio Communications Committee (RCC) Technical Recognition Award. The award was conferred in December at the IEEE Globecom'18 in Abu Dhabi.

His award citation reads, "for exceptional contributions to research and education in radio communications".

The Radio Communications Committee (RCC) Technical Recognition Award aims to promote radio communications research and development activities in both the academic and industrial community. This award is established as part of the RCC activities in which research and development takes place in areas related to radio communications. The award recognizes members of the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) who have made outstanding contributions to the technological advancement of radio communications.

 

Congratulations to Tom on this well-deserved award!

 

 

Professor Subhasish Mitra and Professor H.-S. Philip Wong
February 2019

Computers have shrunk to the size of laptops and smartphones, but engineers want to cram most of the features of a computer into a single chip that they could install just about anywhere. A Stanford-led engineering team has developed the prototype for such a computer-on-a-chip.


Electronic computing was born in the form of massive machines in air-conditioned rooms, migrated to desktops and laptops, and lives today in tiny devices like watches and smartphones.

But why stop there, asks an international team of Stanford-led engineers. Why not build an entire computer onto a single chip? It could have processing circuits, memory storage and power supply to perform a given task, such as measuring moisture in a row of crops. Equipped with machine learning algorithms, the chip could make on-the-spot decisions such as when to water. And with wireless technology it could send and receive data over the internet.

Engineers call this vision of ubiquitous computing the Internet of Everything. But to achieve it they'll need to develop a new class of chips to serve as its foundation.

The researchers unveiled the prototype for such a computer-on-a-chip Feb. 19 at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. The prototype's data processing and memory circuits uses less than a tenth as much electricity as any comparable electronic device, yet despite its size it is designed to perform many advanced computing feats.

"This is what engineers do," said Subhasish Mitra. "We create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts."

EE professors Mitra and H.-S. Philip Wong, worked with scientists from the CEA-LETI research institute in Grenoble, France, to design this chip of the future.

New memory is the key

The prototype is built around a new data storage technology called RRAM (resistive random access memory), which has features essential for this new class of chips: storage density to pack more data into less space than other forms of memory; energy efficiency that won't overtax limited power supplies; and the ability to retain data when the chip hibernates, as it is designed to do as an energy-saving tactic.

RRAM has another essential advantage. Engineers can build RRAM directly atop a processing circuit to integrate data storage and computation into a single chip. Stanford researchers have pioneered this concept of uniting memory and processing into one chip because it's faster and more energy efficient than passing data back and forth between separate chips as is the case today. The French team at CEA-LETI was responsible for grafting the RRAM onto a silicon processor.

In order to improve the storage capacity of RRAM, the Stanford group made a number of changes. One was to increase how much information each storage unit, called a cell, can hold. Memory devices typically consist of cells that can store either a zero or a one. The researchers devised a way to pack five values into each memory cell, rather than just the two standard options.

A second enhancement improved the endurance of RRAM. Think about data storage from a chip's point of view: As data is continuously written to a chip's memory cells, they can become exhausted, scrambling data and causing errors. The researchers developed an algorithm to prevent such exhaustion. They tested the endurance of their prototype and found that it should have a 10-year lifespan.

Mitra said the team's computer scientists and electrical engineers worked together to integrate many software and hardware technologies on the prototype, which is currently about the diameter of a pencil eraser. Although that is too large for futuristic, Internet of Everything applications, even now the way that the prototype combines memory and processing could be incorporated into the chips found in smartphones and other mobile devices. Chip manufacturers are already showing interest in this new architecture, which was one of the goals of the Stanford-led team. Mitra said experience gained manufacturing one generation of chips fuels efforts to make the next iteration smaller, faster, cheaper and more capable.

"The SystemX Alliance has allowed a great collaboration between Stanford and CEA-LETI on edge AI application, covering circuit architecture, circuit design, down to advanced technologies," said Emmanuel Sabonnadière, CEO of the French research institute.

 

Source: Stanford News "A Stanford-led enginering team unveils the prototype for a computer-on-a-chip", February 19, 2019.


 

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