Faculty

May 2017

Professor Stephen Boyd was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Institute of Statistics, Biostatistics and Actuarial Sciences of the Catholic University of Louvain for his achievements in the field of data sciences.

The awards ceremony was held earlier in May at the Universite Catholique de Louvain. Stephen participated in a roundtable discussion and presented on Convex Optimization.

 

Please join us in congratulating Stephen for this well deserved recognition of his profound contributions.

April 2017

Professor emeritus Thomas Kailath received an Honorary Degree from National Technical University of Athens.

In a letter from Nectarios Koziris, Professor and Dean of the School, the announcement reads "[...] it is a great honor to announce to you that the School's assembly has unanimously decided to confer on you an Honorary Doctorate Degree. Please consider that as our School's token of appreciation for your lifetime accomplishments that benefited science and added a valuable arrow in the quiver of the people who decided in their lives to attack the big problems."

 

Congratulations to Tom on his many important achievements!

May 2017

"Quantum computing is ideal for studying biological systems, doing cryptography or data mining – in fact, solving any problem with many variables," states Professor Jelena Vuckovic"When people talk about finding a needle in a haystack, that's where quantum computing comes in."

 In her own studies of nearly 20 years,  Vuckovic has focused on one aspect of the challenge: creating new types of quantum computer chips that would become the building blocks of future systems.

"To fully realize the promise of quantum computing we will have to develop technologies that can operate in normal environments," she said. "The materials we are exploring bring us closer toward finding tomorrow's quantum processor."

The challenge for Vuckovic's team is developing materials that can trap a single, isolated electron. Working with collaborators worldwide, they have recently tested three different approaches to the problem, one of which can operate at room temperature – a critical step if quantum computing is going to become a practical tool.

In all three cases the group started with semiconductor crystals, material with a regular atomic lattice like the girders of a skyscraper. By slightly altering this lattice, they sought to create a structure in which the atomic forces exerted by the material could confine a spinning electron.

"We are trying to develop the basic working unit of a quantum chip, the equivalent of the transistor on a silicon chip," states Vuckovic. "We don't know yet which approach is best, so we continue to experiment."

 

 

 

Excerpted from the Stanford News, "Stanford team brings quantum computing closer to reality with new materials".

Photo credit: Amanda Law

April 2017

At the invitation of the Optical Society of America (OSA), professor Jelena Vuckovic (also a Fellow of the OSA since 2015) hosted a Reddit Science Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. The session was primarily directed to students, but the format allows anyone to post a question.

The Reddit format introduced Jelena and her research in the areas of nanophotonics, quantum optics, nonlinear optics, quantum information technologies and optoelectronics. During the afternoon session, Jelena provided answers to more than 25 Reddit users who posted questions. The discussion thread will remain on Reddit, and can be viewed at: www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/5ssbx2/science_ama_series_im_dr_jelena_vuckovic/

AMAs (short for 'Ask Me Anything') were created by the Reddit community as an opportunity for interesting individuals to field questions about anything – and everything! AMAs hosted on Reddit have succeeded in becoming an exciting platform for people to have direct discussions and gain insight into the lives of unique individuals, with some of the historically most-popular AMAs including those from President Barack Obama, Sir David Attenborough, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and many others.

In an effort to bring science education to the public, the Reddit Science community (known as /r/Science) has created an independent, science-focused AMA Series – the Science AMA Series. Their goal is to encourage discussion and facilitate outreach while helping to bridge the gap between practicing scientists and the general public. The series is open to any practicing research scientist, or group of scientists, that wants to have a candid conversation with the large and diverse Reddit Science community.

 

 

April 2017

The paper, "Packet switching in radio channels: Part I – carrier sense multiple-access modes and their throughput-delay characteristics" was coauthored by professor Fouad Tobagi and Len Kleinrock in 1975.

The award citation reads, "A pioneering contribution to the early days of wireless packet networks that is on the reading list of any student interested in the foundation of media access control in packet radio networks. This paper makes a fundamental contribution to the development of carrier sense multiple access (CSMA) that underpins the wireless edge today."

The SIGMOBILE Test-of-Time awards recognize papers that have had a sustained and significant impact in the SIGMOBILE community over at least a decade. The award recognizes that a paper's influence is often not fully apparent at the time of publication, and it can be best judged with the perspective of time.

The ToT awards were presented at the 22nd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking in New York. A half-day session was dedicated to this award comprising presentations and a "Future Mobile Panel" with the several ToT authors.

Professor Tobagi works on network control mechanisms for handling multimedia traffic (voice, video and TCP- based applications) and on the performance assessment of networked multimedia applications using user-perceived quality measures. He also investigates the design of wireless networks, including QoS-based media access control and network resource management, as well as network architectures and infrastructures for the support of mobile users, all meeting the requirements of multimedia traffic. He also investigates the design of metropolitan and wide area networks combining optical and electronic networking technologies, including topological design, capacity provisioning, and adaptive routing.

 

Congratulations to Fouad on this well-deserved recognition.

 

April 2017

Andrea Goldsmith has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the country's oldest and most prestigious honorary learned societies. The 2017 class includes some of the world's most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic, business and philanthropic leaders.

"It is an honor to welcome this new class of exceptional women and men as part of our distinguished membership," said Don Randel, Chair of the Academy's Board of Directors. "Their talents and expertise will enrich the life of the Academy and strengthen our capacity to spread knowledge and understanding in service to the nation."

Members of the 2017 class include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Wolf Prize; MacArthur Fellows; Fields Medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners.

"In a tradition reaching back to the earliest days of our nation, the honor of election to the American Academy is also a call to service," said Academy President Jonathan F. Fanton. "Through our projects, publications, and events, the Academy provides members with opportunities to make common cause and produce the useful knowledge for which the Academy's 1780 charter calls."

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 7, 2017, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country's oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing—and opportunities available to—the nation and the world. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies in science, engineering, and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts, and education; and American institutions and the public good.

Please join us in congratulating Andrea for this very well deserved recognition of her work!

 

American Academy of Arts & Sciences Press Release

April 2017

In partnership with SiriusXM, Stanford University launched Stanford Radio, a new university-based pair of radio programs. The programs are produced in collaboration with the School of Engineering and the Graduate School of Education.

"The Future of Everything" is from the School of Engineering and "School's In" is from the Graduate School of Education.

 

In this segment, Audrey discusses her research on at home urinalysis, photonics, and optics.

March 2017

Professor Shanhui Fan has been selected to receive the 2017 Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship.

"The fellowship program provides research awards to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct revolutionary "high risk, high pay-off" research of strategic importance to the Department of Defense," said Mary J. Miller, acting assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering.

Fellows conduct basic research in core science and engineering disciplines that underpin future DoD technologies, such as, quantum information science, neuroscience, nanoscience, novel engineered materials, applied mathematics, statistics, and fluid dynamics. Fellows directly engage with the DoD research enterprise to share knowledge and insights with DoD civilian and military leaders, researchers in DoD laboratories, and the national security science and engineering community.

"Grants supporting the program engage the next generation of outstanding scientists and engineers in the "hard" problems that DoD needs to solve," Miller said.

DoD congratulates each of these remarkable scientists and engineers on selection as Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellows, bringing the current cohort to 45 Fellows.

 

Please join the department in congratulating Shanhui for this well deserved recognition and support of his outstanding research!

 

DoD press release

March 2017

Kwabena Boahen's research on building brain-like computers, or neuromorphic computers, is moving toward creating physical devices that are more energy efficient and robust. Kwabena envisions this technology would be most useful in embedded systems that have extremely tight energy requirements, such as very low-power neural implants or on-board computers in autonomous drones.

While others have built brain-inspired computers, he and his collaborators have developed a five-point prospectus for how to build neuromorphic computers that directly mimic in silicon what the brain does in flesh and blood.

The first two points of the prospectus concern neurons themselves, which unlike computers operate in a mix of digital and analog mode. In their digital mode, neurons send discrete, all-or-nothing signals in the form of electrical spikes, akin to the ones and zeros of digital computers. But they process incoming signals by adding them all up and firing only once a threshold is reached – more akin to a dial than a switch.

That observation led Kwabena to try using transistors in a mixed digital-analog mode. Doing so, it turns out, makes chips both more energy efficient and more robust when the components do fail, as about 4 percent of the smallest transistors are expected to do.

From there, Kwabena builds on neurons' hierarchical organization, distributed computation and feedback loops to create a vision of an even more energy efficient, powerful and robust neuromorphic computer.

Over the last 30 years, Kwabena's lab has actually implemented most of their ideas in physical devices, including Neurogrid, one of the first truly neuromorphic computers. In another two or three years, Boahen said, he expects they will have designed and built computers implementing all of the prospectus's five points.

He states that neuromorphic computers will not replace current computers. The two are complementary.

An additional challenge is getting others, especially chip manufacturers, on board. Kwabena is not the only one thinking about what to do about the end of Moore's law or looking to the brain for ideas. IBM's TrueNorth, for example, takes cues from neural networks to produce a radically more efficient computer architecture. On the other hand, it remains fully digital, and, Kwabena said, 20 times less efficient than Neurogrid would be had it been built with TrueNorth's 28-nanometer transistors.

Professor Kwabena Boahen is also a member of Stanford SystemX and the Stanford Computer Forum. His work was supported by a Director's Pioneer Award and a Transformative Research Award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and a Long Range Science and Technology Grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

 

Below, Professor Kwabena Boahen shares his research with Electrical Engineering undergraduates who are in the REU program (Research Experience for Undergrads).

Boahen shares his research with EE undergrads who are in the REU program

 


 

Excerpted from Stanford News, "As Moore's law nears its physical limits, a new generation of brain-like computers comes of age in a Stanford lab"

Image credit (top): Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

 

March 2017

At the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, researchers presented work they say shows that molybdenum disulfide not only makes for superlative single transistors, but can be made into complex circuits using realistic manufacturing methods.

The researchers are part of Eric Pop's team. They showed transistors made from large sheets of MoS2 can be used to make transistors with 10-nanometer-long, gate having electronic properties that approach the material's theoretical limits. The devices displayed traits close to ballistic conduction, a state of very low electrical resistance that allows the unimpeded flow of charge over relatively long distances—a phenomenon that should lead to speedy circuits.

Most of the work on molybdenum disulfide so far has been what professor Eric Pop calls "Powerpoint devices." These one-off devices, made by hand in the lab, have terrific performance that looks great in a slide. This step is an important one, says Pop, but the 2D material is now maturing.

Pop Lab's transistors are not as small as the record-breaking ones demonstrated in October. What's significant is that these latest transistors maintained similar performance even though they were made using more industrial-type techniques. Instead of using Scotch tape to peel off a layer of molybdenum disulfide from a rock of the material, then carefully placing it down and crafting one transistor at a time, Pop's grad student started by growing a large sheet of the material on a wafer of silicon.

At these relatively small dimensions, the molybdenum disulfide transistors approach their ultimate electrical limit, a state called ballistic conduction. When a device is small enough (or at low enough temperature), electrons will travel through the conducting medium without scattering because of collisions with the atoms that make up the material. Transistors operating ballistically should switch very fast and enable high-performance processors. Pop estimates that about 1 in 5 electrons moves though the rusty transistors ballistically. By further improving the quality of the material (or making the transistors smaller), he expects that ratio to improve. The important thing, he says, is the way they achieved this: using methods that could translate to larger scales. "We have all the ingredients we need to scale this up," says Pop.

Eric Pop and graduate students talking during an informal lunchtime Q and A session in the Packard building.


 

Excerpted from IEEE Spectrum, "Molybdenum-Disulfide 2D Transistors Go Ballistic"

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