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 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.

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

June 2015

Professor Shenoy is one of 26 finalists appointed as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Shenoy is a leader in the emerging field of brain-machine interfaces to control the movement of computer cursors and prosthetic limbs. He has developed computational methods to dramatically speed up the ability to decode patterns of neural activity in a person's brain. These algorithms have been incorporated into a system designed to allow people with paralysis to control a computer cursor with their thoughts.

Known for their creativity and productivity, HHMI investigators push the bounds of knowledge in biomedical research. Professor Shenoy will continue his research and teaching at Stanford. As an HHMI investigator, additional funding will allow the freedom to explore and follow his research ideas through to completion.

Shenoy's HHMI appointment will begin in September. 


Read School of Engineering News article.

May 2015

On May 18th and 19th, Professor Stephen P. Boyd will present at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. The occasion marks the 56th Chaim Weizmann Memorial Lectures. The Weizmann Memorial Lectures are considered the most prestigious lecture series at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The lectures are intended to review the newest developments in the field chosen for discussion. This year's event consists of two lectures, which are open to the Institute's faculty and staff, and the community. Monday's talk is aimed toward anyone interested in science, while Tuesday's lecture is geared toward scientists from the Weizmann Institute and from other institutions of higher education in Israel.

Professor Boyd's two lectures are titled: 'Convex Optimization' and 'Domain Specific Languages for Convex Optimization.'

May 2015

"A new algorithm enables a moment-by-moment analysis of brain activity each time a laboratory monkey reaches this way or that during an experiment. It's like reading the monkey's mind," states the Stanford Report article.

Professor Shenoy and neuroscientist Matthew Kaufman, a previous student of Shenoy's, published the research findings in eLife.

Shenoy's lab focuses on movement control and neural prostheses — such as artificial arms — controlled by the user's brain.

"This basic neuroscience discovery will help create neural prostheses that can withhold moving a prosthetic arm until the user is certain of their decision, thereby averting premature or inopportune movements," Shenoy said.


Krishna Shenoy is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Courtesy Professor of Neurobiology.

April 2015

Announced April 22nd, the American Academy of Arts and Scientists, elected 197 new members.

The American Academy is one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies, it is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, global security and international affairs, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education.

Members of the 2015 class include winners of the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize; MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. The list of new members is located at www.amacad.org/members.

"We are honored to elect a new class of extraordinary women and men to join our distinguished membership," said Don Randel, Chair of the Academy's Board of Directors. "Each new member is a leader in his or her field and has made a distinct contribution to the nation and the world. We look forward to engaging them in the intellectual life of this vibrant institution."

Academy President Jonathan Fanton added, "The honor of election is also a call to service. Through its projects, publications, and events, the Academy provides its members with opportunities to discover common interests and find common ground. We invite every new member to participate in our important and rewarding work."

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 10, 2015, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Read the full American Academy Press Release

Professor McKeown's EE Spotlight

April 2015

"In theory one fiber could transport perhaps as many as a hundred different beams, each carrying its own data stream of light flashing on and off. Our challenge is creating the optics to gather those beams, flow them through the fiber together and then separate out each data stream at the other end." states David A. B. Miller, the W. M. Keck Professor of Electrical Engineering.

What makes this possible is a series of breakthroughs in the design and fabrication of optical structures that can combine and separate laser beams based on the shape of the wave they generate.

"We now know how to design those structures using efficient algorithms. Some of our approaches automate the designs and adapt them to changes in the fiber. We have also proved mathematically that such designs can always be created for light beams in fibers."

Miller's colleagues, Professors Shanhui Fan and Jelena Vuckovic, are also developing different computational approaches to automate the design of the necessary optical structures.


Read complete Science article
Read complete School of Engineering News article


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