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EE Student Information, Spring Quarter 19-20: FAQs and Updated EE Course List.

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Faculty

image of prof Shanhui Fan
May 2020

Professor Shanhui Fan and Sid Assawaworrarit (PhD candidate) recently published "Robust and efficient wireless power transfer using a switch-mode implementation of a nonlinear parity-time symmetric circuit" in Nature Electronics.

They have been working on improving the distance of a wireless charger. Previously they were able to transmit electricity as an object moved, but it wasn't practical.

In their new paper, the researchers show how to boost the system's wireless-transmission efficiency to 92%. The key, Sid Assawaworrarit explained, was to replace the original amplifier with a far more efficient "switch mode" amplifier. Such amplifiers aren't new but they are finicky and will only produce high-efficiency amplification under very precise conditions. It took years of tinkering, and additional theoretical work, to design a circuit configuration that worked.

The new lab prototype can wirelessly transmit 10 watts of electricity over a distance of two or three feet. Shanhui says there aren't any fundamental obstacles to scaling up a system to transmit the tens or hundreds of kilowatts that a car would need. He says the system is more than fast enough to re-supply a speeding automobile. The wireless transmission takes only a few milliseconds – a tiny fraction of the time it would take a car moving at 70 miles an hour to cross a four-foot charging zone. The only limiting factor, says Shanhui, will be how fast the car's batteries can absorb all the power.

Though it could be many years before wireless chargers become embedded in highways, the opportunities for robots and even aerial drones are more immediate. It's much less costly to embed chargers in floors or on rooftops than on long stretches of highway. Imagine a drone, says Shanhui, that could fly all day by swooping down occasionally and hovering around a roof for quick charges.

Excerpted from "Stanford researchers one step closer toward enabling electric cars to recharge themselves wirelessly as they drive"

 

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image of prof Jelena Vuckovic
May 2020

Professor Jelena Vučković announced as the CLEO 2020 James P. Gordon Memorial Speaker. Jelena is the Jensen Huang Professor in Global Leadership in the School of Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering and by courtesy of Applied Physics. She leads the Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics Lab, and is a director of Q-FARM, Stanford-SLAC Quantum Science and Engineering Initiative.

Jelena's research focuses on studying solid-state quantum emitters, such as quantum dots and defect centers in diamond, and their interactions with light. Her team is transforming conventional nanophotonics with the concept of inverse design, by designing arbitrary optical devices from scratch using computer algorithms with little to no human input. These efforts aim to enable a wide variety of technologies ranging from silicon photonics to quantum computing.

The Optical Society (OSA) Foundation memorial speakership pays tribute to Dr. James P. Gordon for his numerous high-impact contributions to quantum electronics and photonics, including the demonstration of the maser.

CLEO 2020 is an all-virtual web conference this year. All are invited to view Dr. Vuckovic's talk and ask questions remotely. There is no fee for CLEO attendees, simply register for online participation. You can also watch previous talks from Gordon speakers by visiting osa.org/Gordon.

 

Jelena's talk will be on 11 May 2020 at 2pm PDT.


 

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image of prof Andrea Goldsmith
April 2020

Electrical Engineering Professor Andrea Goldsmith has won the prestigious Marconi Prize of the Marconi Society for "her ground-breaking work to deliver high-performing cellular and wifi services."

Andrea's technical innovations that have shaped the fundamental performance of cellular and WiFi networks, combined with her leadership to radically improve diversity and inclusion in engineering, have changed both the consumer experience and the profession.

Andrea is the first woman to win the Marconi Award in the 45 years that it has been given.

"Andrea has enabled billions of consumers around the world to enjoy fast and reliable wireless service, as well as applications such as video streaming and autonomous vehicles that require stable network performance," said Vint Cerf, Chair of the Marconi Society and 1998 Marconi Fellow. "As the Stephen Harris Professor of Engineering at Stanford University, Andrea's personal work and that of the many engineers who she has mentored have had a global impact on wireless networking."

About the Marconi Society - The Marconi Society envisions a world in which all people can create opportunity through the benefits of connectivity. The foundation celebrates, inspires and connects individuals building tomorrow's technologies in service of a digitally inclusive world.

Please join us in congratulating Andrea for her numerous contributions to the field.

Excerpted from "Shattering the Silicon Ceiling: 2020 Marconi Prize Awarded to Wireless Innovator Dr. Andrea Goldsmith," The Marconi Society.

 

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image of prof Balaji Prabhakar
April 2020

Congratulations to Professor Balaji Prabhakar. He has been awarded the 2020 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award for outstanding contributions to the integration of computers and communications. His citation reads:

"For contributions to the theory and practice of network algorithms and protocols, in particular Internet routers, data centers, and self-programming networks."

The IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award was established by the IEEE Board of Directors in 1986. The Award is named in honor of Dr. Koji Kobayashi, who was a leading force in advancing the integrated use of computers and communications.

 

Please join us in congratulating Balaji for this well-deserved recognition.

 

Related News

image of Prof. Paulraj
April 2020

Congratulations to Professor Arogyaswami J. Paulraj for his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good.

Two hundred and forty years later, the Academy continues to dedicate itself to recognizing excellence and relying on expertise – both of which seem more important than ever.

"The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms," said Academy President David W. Oxtoby. "With today's election announcement, these new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy's work to advance the public good."

 

Please join us in congratulating Paulraj on this well-deserved recognition.

 

Excerpted from AAAS 2020 Member Announcement.

 

Related News

image of prof. Shan X. Wang
April 2020

Professor Shan X. Wang helped author a paper titled, "A mountable toilet system for personalized health monitoring via the analysis of excreta" that was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

The 'smart toilet' is fitted with technology that can detect a range of disease markers in stool and urine, including those of some cancers, such as colorectal or urologic cancers. The device could be particularly appealing to individuals who are genetically predisposed to certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, prostate cancer or kidney failure, and want to keep on top of their health.

"Our concept dates back well over 15 years," said lead author Sanjiv "Sam" Gambhir, professor and chair of radiology. "When I'd bring it up, people would sort of laugh because it seemed like an interesting idea, but also a bit odd." With a pilot study of 21 participants now completed, Gambhir and his team have made their vision of a precision health-focused smart toilet a reality.

Gambhir's toilet is an ordinary toilet outfitted with gadgets inside the bowl. These tools, a suite of different technologies, use motion sensing to deploy a mixture of tests that assess the health of any deposits. Urine samples undergo physical and molecular analysis; stool assessment is based on physical characteristics.

The toilet automatically sends data extracted from any sample to a secure, cloud-based system for safekeeping. In the future, the system could be integrated into any health care provider's record-keeping system for quick and easy access.

 

Excerpted from "'Smart toilet' monitors for signs of disease," Stanford Medicine News Center, April 2020

 

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prof Andrea Goldsmith
April 2020

By Tom Abate, School of Engineering

After 21 years as a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, Andrea Goldsmith has been named dean of Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective September 1.

"A piece of my heart will always remain at Stanford," said Goldsmith, who has supervised 27 doctoral students and 23 postdoctoral scholars, in addition to serving as a former chair of the Faculty Senate, and current member of that body, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance and of the University Budget Group.

Goldsmith, who received her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, taught at the California Institute of Technology before joining the Stanford faculty in 1999. She was named the Stephen Harris Professor of Engineering in 2012.

A leader in the fields of information theory and communications, Goldsmith helped lay the mathematical foundations for increasing the capacity, speed and range of wireless systems, and among her 29 patents are many inventions central to cell phone and Wi-Fi networks. Through her affiliation with Stanford's Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Goldsmith has continued to explore the interdisciplinary ramifications of some of the theories and principles she discovered in her communications and signal processing research.

As a scholar, she has been the author, co-author or editor of six books, and has produced hundreds of journal papers and conference publications and papers. Among her many professional affiliations, she has served on the Board of Governors for the IEEE Information Theory Society and the IEEE Communications Society, and as president of the IEEE Information Theory Society. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, two of the highest honors in U.S. academia.

An advocate for increased diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in academia and the tech industry, Goldsmith served on the Stanford Faculty Women's Forum Steering Committee, a group focused on improving recruitment, retention, support and overall satisfaction of women faculty, and serves as founding chair of the IEEE Board of Directors Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Ethics.

On the business front, Goldsmith co-founded a company that produces chips for high-performance Wi-Fi systems, which went public in 2016, and later co-founded a privately held firm that makes home Wi-Fi mesh networks. In addition to serving as a technical advisor to two companies, she sits on the board of directors of Medtronic, a medical device maker, and Crown Castle, a communications infrastructure company.

"I am deeply grateful to my esteemed faculty colleagues and my brilliant and passionate students and postdocs for the honor and privilege of working with them these last 21 years," Goldsmith said. "I am also grateful to my department and school for providing the framework in which my research and teaching could thrive. Stanford's innovative spirit and constant quest for excellence and impact, coupled with its thoughtful and wise faculty and leaders, have been a source of inspiration throughout my time here."

As dean at Princeton, she will oversee a school comprising six departments and four research centers, and will oversee new initiatives in bioengineering, data science and robotics, among others.

"I know I speak for all of us in the School of Engineering when I say we will miss Andrea greatly," said Jennifer Widom, the Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the School of Engineering and the Fletcher Jones Professor in Computer Science and professor of electrical engineering.

"Simply put, she is an extraordinary scholar, educator and university citizen. Her outstanding innovative research and mentorship, commitment to diversity, and leadership in a range of significant university-wide committees and working groups have set an example for us all," Widom said. "We are proud of all that she has accomplished, and we know that the students, faculty and staff at Princeton's School of Engineering and Applied Science are incredibly fortunate that she will be their new dean."

 

Please join us in congratulating Andrea on her exciting future at Princeton!

Professor Chelsea Finn
April 2020

Professor Chelsea Finn studies intelligence through robotic interaction at scale, and is affiliated with SAIL and the Statistical ML Group. In addition to teaching, she does research projects with her PhD students, and runs her lab. She also does research work with the Google Brain Team.

She was interviewed by Synced as part of their 'Women in AI' special project. Modified excerpts from that article follow. 

Chelsea graduated with her Bachelor's in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and completed her PhD in computer science at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation "Learning to Learn with Gradients" won the 2018 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award.

Chelsea is actively concerned about the broad impacts of underrepresentation. "I worry about people feeling like they don't fit in, that there aren't people that look like them in a place," she said.

At a young age, Chelsea really enjoyed solving puzzles and problems, and with both parents being engineers she knew that engineering was one way to do that. Chelsea chose to major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering because she believed that would leave many doors open for her to try different things later down the line. As she became more and more drawn to robotics, machine learning, and AI, she realized the need to go to grad school and do research if she hoped to make new advances and develop new algorithms.

Chelsea says when she started her PhD she wasn't planning to stay in academia because making products in the industry was more appealing. But things didn't go as planned when she later realized the greater long-term impact she could have through research and teaching.

Currently Chelsea helps pair undergrads with grad students in AI so that they can learn firsthand what grad school is like, what's exciting about doing research, and steps they should consider if they are interested in research and AI. 

She has also been helping with other outreach programs for high school students through AI4ALL, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion in AI education, research, development, and policy. The nonprofit was co-founded in 2015 by Professor Fei-Fei Li. The first program that the team launched was SAILORS — a summer outreach program for high school girls to learn about human-centered AI.

Chelsea is also well aware that it takes time for any trends to really lead to concrete, measurable improvement, especially since the number of women studying or pursuing a career in computer science has remained low over the past decade.

It's still a work in progress, and fixing the pipeline isn't the entire problem, she added. "I think there's still more that can be improved — in terms of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment."

 

Excerpted from Synced, "Women in AI | Chelsea Finn: 'I Certainly Feel Like a Minority'" March 30, 2020


 

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image of professor Krishna Shenoy
April 2020

Researchers from Professor Krishna Shenoy's Group: Saurabh Vyas (Bioengineering PhD candidate), Daniel O'Shea (EE postdoctoral researcher), and Professor Stephen Ryu, M.D. have found that the brain is deeply interested in what happens before you make a movement. Their paper was published in cell.com's Neuron.

Existing theories focus on the practice part — the repetition — not the preparation.
In fact, prior to this study, neuroscientists had no reason to think this preparatory state played any part in learning, says Krishna Shenoy. "We're saying that preparation not only has something to do with learning, it might actually be one of the biggest parts of it," adds Krishna who is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

To arrive at this new understanding, the researchers explored how monkeys learn a relatively simple motion: how to use a videogame joystick. In a series of experiments, they first trained the monkeys to use the joystick to direct a computer cursor toward a target on the screen. Next, the scientists altered how the joystick worked so that when the monkeys moved the joystick in the direction they thought was upward or leftward or rightward, the cursor moved in a different direction than expected. Thus, the animals had to learn to move the joysticks anew to get the cursor to the target.

Saurabh Vyas uses an analogy to explain the significance of these findings. Imagine LeBron practicing free throws. He shoots the ball, and gets close, and his learning system uses the error to make some changes in the brain. But if his brain activity is disrupted during the planning period — or he doesn't take an instant to pre-visualize the shot — his next attempt will not do as well because he wasn't mindful enough during the critical, pre-movement period.

These findings significantly advance our understanding of the neurological underpinnings of learning. It has long been known that motor and other areas in the brain become active prior to movement. During this preparatory phase, brain activity reflects precise details of how the body should complete a movement.

Consequently, giving the mind more time to prepare — more time to visualize the task at hand — substantially improves learning. From a purely practical standpoint, the findings could reshape how athletes, artists, musicians or anyone who moves their body gets better at what they do.

Ultimately, Krishna and Saurabh hope to apply this new understanding to their specialty: developing prosthetic devices that are controlled by chips implanted in the brain that transform an individual's thoughts into movement. Krishna adds, "The more we understand about how the brain learns new motor skills and performs movement calculations, the more lifelike and realistic we can make thought-controlled prosthetics."

 

Excerpted from Stanford Engineering,"A team of scientists explore how the brain trains muscles to move" February 26, 2020.

 

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image of Prof. Goldsmith, framer of NAE's diversity statement
March 2020

Approved by NAE Council in early February, the statement, definitions and goals establish a clear framework relevant to NAE members, staff and volunteers.

Members of NAE's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion are Aziz I. Asphahani, Lauren Bartolozzi, Corale L. Brierley (committee chair), David E. Daniel, Andrea Goldsmith, Wesley L. Harris, Enrique J. Lavernia, Julia M. Phillips and Wanda A. Sigur.

In addition to the statement, the committee established goals and how they will be implemented and measured. Complete definitions and goal details are available on NAE.edu.

 

Please join us in embracing the important work being done by the NAE to promote a vibrant and diverse engineering profession.

National Academy of Engineering's Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Statement and Goals

The National Academy of Engineering requires and values the diversity of its members, staff, volunteers, and others who seek to contribute and recognizes inclusion and equity are vital to ensure all viewpoints, perspectives, and talents are brought to bear in addressing our nation's critical engineering and technology challenges and promoting a vibrant engineering profession.

Goal 1: Embrace Diversity
Goal 2: Drive Inclusion
Goal 3: Expect Equity

Read full statement on NAE.edu


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