Faculty

December 2015

Collaborative efforts of researchers at Stanford, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Carnegie Mellon University are working toward creating a faster and more efficient computing architecture.

The team describes their approach as 'N3XT, Nano-Engineered Computing Systems Technology.' N3XT will eliminate bottlenecks by integrating processors and memory like floors in a skyscraper and by connecting these components with millions of "vias," which play the role of tiny electronic elevators.

The key is the use of non-silicon materials that can be fabricated at much lower temperatures than silicon, so that processors can be built on top of memory without the new layer damaging the layer below.

N3XT high-rise chips are based on carbon nanotube transistors (CNTs). Transistors are fundamental units of a computer processor, the tiny on-off switches that create digital zeroes and ones. CNTs are faster and more energy-efficient than silicon processors. Moreover, in the N3XT architecture, they can be fabricated and placed over and below other layers of memory.

Mitra and Wong have already demonstrated a working prototype of a high-rise chip. At the International Electron Devices Meeting in December 2014 they unveiled a four-layered chip made up of two layers of RRAM memory sandwiched between two layers of CNTs.

In their N3XT paper they ran simulations showing how their high-rise approach was a thousand times more efficient in carrying out many important and highly demanding industrial software applications.

"When you combine higher speed with lower energy use, N3XT systems outperform conventional approaches by a factor of a thousand," Wong said.

 

Excerpts from the Stanford Report.

November 2015

Professor Jelena Vuckovic has been elected as a 2016 Optical Society of America (OSA) Fellow Member. Fellows of the Optical Society are elected based on their significant contributions to the advancement of optics and photonics. Several factors are considered for election, including specific scientific, engineering, and technological contributions, a record of significant publications or patents related to optics, technical or industry leadership in the field as well as service to OSA and the global optics community. 

The OSA Fellow Members Committee reviews nominations submitted by current OSA Fellows and then recommends candidates to the OSA Board of Directors. No more than 10 percent of the total OSA membership may be chosen as Fellows, making the process both highly selective and competitive. As a reflection of the Optical Society's global reach, 60 percent of this year's Fellows reside outside the United States.

Professor Vuckovic's citation reads, "for field opening contributions to the science and engineering of photonic crystals, and in particular, for the use of 2D microcavites for the Purcell-like enhancement of the spontaneous emission rate of embedded quantum dots."

The 2016 class of Fellows will be honored at OSA conferences and meetings throughout 2016. 

 

Read OSA news release.

June 2016

Abbas El Gamal is the Hitachi America Professor in the School of Engineering and the Fortinet Founders Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering. He has been awarded the 2016 IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal. The award's citation reads, "for contributions to network multi-user information theory and for wide ranging impact on programmable circuit architectures."

IEEE Medals are the highest awards that the IEEE presents on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors. The IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal recognizes exceptional contributions to information sciences, systems, and technology. Established in 1986, the medal is named in honor of Dr. Richard W. Hamming, who had a central role in the development of computer and computing science, and whose many significant contributions in the area of information science include his error-correcting codes.

Professor El Gamal is a Life Fellow of IEEE and member of the NAE. He received the Claude E. Shannon Award in 2012.

Abbas El Gamal’s lasting contributions to information theory, wireless networks, field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and digital imaging have immensely impacted a wide variety of information technology applications critical in today’s society. His early work formed the basis for several new areas in multi-user information theory, paving the way to capacity results integral to today’s communications networks. He determined the capacity of the product of Gaussian broadcast channels and of deterministic interference channels leading to recent advances in multi-antenna and interference-limited wireless networks. Together with Thomas Cover, he established the first upper and lower bounds on the capacity of the three-node relay network. This work introduced the cut-set upper bound for networks, which is widely used in information theory today, as well as the compress-forward and decode-forward schemes, which continue to be the dominant relaying techniques. His recent work has involved the creation of coding schemes for sending multiple sources over noisy networks, and significant contributions to wireless networks through characterizing their optimal delay-throughput tradeoff and devising schemes for energy-efficient packet transmission scheduling. His book Network Information Theory (Cambridge Press, 2011) with Young-Han Kim provides the first unified and comprehensive coverage of the field. El Gamal’s contributions to hardware design include the development of integrated circuit fabrics and tools that significantly reduce design time and cost of systems used in computing, communication, and signal-processing applications. In 1986, he co-founded Actel, where he co-invented the routing architecture used in all commercial FPGAs today. He subsequently pioneered the use of FPGAs in teaching digital system design, which has become standard in all electrical engineering programs. (From IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal Recipients)

The 2016 IEEE Honors Ceremony was held on Saturday, June 18, at Gotham Hall, New York, NY. Professor El Gamal's acceptance speech is timestamped at approximately 1:12:20. View IEEE Honors Ceremony PDF program.

Read more about the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal.

November 2015

Professor Benjamin Van Roy has been named an INFORMS Fellow by the 2015 Fellows Selection Committee. INFORMS Fellows are examples of outstanding lifetime achievement in operations research (OR) and the management sciences (MS). The INFORM citation reads, "for contributions to decision making in stochastic systems and approximate dynamic programming."

Professor Van Roy's research includes the formulation and analysis of mathematical models that address problems in information technology, business, and public policy.

 


INFORMS.org

November 2015

Professor Arbabian and research professo Khuri-Yakub's research was spurred by a challenge posed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), best known for sponsoring the studies that led to the Internet. DARPA sought to develop a system to detect plastic explosives buried underground – improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – that are currently invisible to metal detectors. The task included one important caveat: The detection device could not touch the surface in question, so as not to trigger an explosion.

Professor Arbabian and research professor Khuri-Yakub detail their latest step toward developing such a device through experiments, which are detailed in Applied Physics Letters and presented at the International Ultrasonics Symposium in Taipei, Taiwan.

The work grows out of research designed to detect buried plastic explosives, but the researchers said the technology could also provide a new way to detect early stage cancers.

"We've been working on this for a little over two years," Khuri-Yakub said. "We're still at an early stage but we're confident that in five to ten to fifteen years, this will become practical and widely available."

 

The research team includes graduate students Hao Nan, Kevin Boyle, Nikhil Apte, Miaad Aliroteh, Anshuman Bhuyan and senior research associate Amin Nikoozadeh.

 

Excerpts from Stanford Report.

October 2015

Recent articles published by EE Professors Eric Pop and H.S. Philip Wong describe advances in memory and data storage using graphene. The three experiments demonstrate post-silicon materials and technologies that store more data per square inch and use a fraction of the energy of today's memory chips.

The unifying thread in all three experiments is graphene, an extraordinary material isolated a decade ago but which had, until now, relatively few practical applications in electronics.

"Graphene is the star of this research," said Eric Pop, associate professor of electrical engineering and a contributor to two of the three memory projects. "With these new storage technologies, it would be conceivable to design a smartphone that could store 10 times as much data, using less battery power, than the memory we use today."

Professor H.-S. Philip Wong and Pop led an international group of collaborators who describe the graphene-centric memory technologies in separate articles in Nature Communications, Nano Letters, and Applied Physics Letters.

"Data storage has become a significant, large-scale consumer of electricity, and new solid-state memory technologies such as these could also transform cloud computing," Wong said.

Pop and Wong agree that these studies show that graphene is far from a laboratory curiosity. The material's unique electrical, thermal and atomically thin properties can be utilized to create more energy-efficient data storage. Such properties do not exist in the silicon world, yet could potentially transform the way we store and access our digital data in the future.

 

Excerpts from the Stanford Report

October 2015

Professor Jelena Vuckovic was elected as an American Physical Society (APS) Fellow by the APS Council in October. The election is based on exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise.

Professor Vuckovic's research areas include nanotechnology and NEMS/MEMS, energy harvesting and conversion, photonics, nanoscience and quantum technology, as well as biomedical devices and systems. She leads the Nanoscale and Quantum Physics Lab, and is a faculty member of the Ginzton Lab, Bio-X, and the Pulse Institute.

 

Her citation reads, "For major and field opening contributions to nano photonics and its application to information science; including the design and fabrication of 2D photonic crystals with integrated quantum dot structures."


 

October 2015

Two groups were awarded the 2015 NEC C&C Foundation Awards for their contributions to the development of big data technologies and network virtualization technologies.

Professor Nick McKeown, Dr. Martin Casado (PhD, '07) and Scott Shenker (Berkeley) are the originators of the Software-defined networking (SDN) movement, and OpenFlow protocol which was created as an interface to program the communication devices.

The NEC C&C citation reads, "For Pioneering Research in Advancing Networking Technology and Outstanding Contributions Promoting the Development of Software-Defined Networking".

They have combined their various talents and taken leadership roles in developing technologies for SDN and OpenFlow. The team developed various open-source platforms and tools. In addition, by involving academia, device vendors, telecommunications carriers, and service providers in research at an early stage, they have been able to cultivate and operate eco-systems that have led to widespread practical application of the SDN concepts. They also promoted the development and adoption of SDN by leading the standardization movement and encouraging the open-source community. Their achievements as ICT infrastructure innovators are highly remarkable.

The prize ceremony and acceptance speeches will be held on Monday, December 21 from 15:00 at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo.

 

Excerpts from the NEC C&C press release.


Read EE Spotlight, featuring Professor Nick McKeown

 

 

September 2015

EE Professor Shanhui Fan, research associate Aaswath P. Raman, and doctoral candidate Linxiao Zhu describe their research in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The group's discovery, tested on a Stanford rooftop, addresses a problem that has long bedeviled the solar industry: The hotter solar cells get, the less efficient they become at converting the photons in light into useful electricity.

Their solution is based on a thin, patterned silica material laid on top of a traditional solar cell. The material is transparent to the visible sunlight that powers solar cells, but captures and emits thermal radiation, or heat, from infrared rays.

"Solar arrays must face the sun to function, even though that heat is detrimental to efficiency," Fan said. "Our thermal overlay allows sunlight to pass through, preserving or even enhancing sunlight absorption, but it also cools the cell by radiating the heat out and improving the cell efficiency."

In 2014, the same trio of inventors developed an ultrathin material that radiated infrared heat directly back toward space without warming the atmosphere. They presented that work in Nature, describing it as "radiative cooling" because it shunted thermal energy directly into the deep, cold void of space.

In their new paper, the researchers applied their previous work to improve solar array performance when the sun is beating down.

The Stanford team tested their technology on a custom-made solar absorber – a device that mimics the properties of a solar cell without producing electricity – covered with a micron-scale pattern designed to maximize the capability to dump heat, in the form of infrared light, into space. Their experiments showed that the overlay allowed visible light to pass through to the solar cells, but that it also cooled the underlying absorber by as much as 23 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Excerpts from the Stanford Report.

 

September 2015

The Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ) presented their Funai Achievement Award to Professor Bill Dally, recognizing his accomplishments in computer architecture, particularly in the areas of parallel computing and Very Large Scale Integration processing. The IPSJ noted that Dally has made major contributions in education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and in industry as NVIDIA's chief scientist.

Dally is the first non-Japanese scientist to receive the award since the first two awards were given out in 2002 to Alan Kay (a pioneer in personal computing) and in 2003 to Marvin Minsky (a pioneer in artificial intelligence).

"I'm honored to be selected for one of the world's major prizes in computer science. It's particularly rewarding to be in the company of computer science luminaries like Alan Kay and Marvin Minsky," said Dally, who received the award at an IPSJ event in Matsuyama, Japan. "I'm grateful to the IPSJ for acknowledging the importance of my research in parallel computing."

Professor Shuichi Sakai, dean of the Computer Science Department at the University of Tokyo, said, "Bill Dally has always been a revolutionary rather than a revisionist in computer science."

Dally's achievements across more than 30 years of work and research include developing the system and network architecture, signaling, routing and synchronization technology found in most large parallel computers today. He also introduced the Imagine processor, which employs stream processing architecture, providing high performance computing with power, speed and efficiency.

Prior to joining NVIDIA in 2009, Dally served as chairman of Stanford's Computer Science department from 2005-2009, where he taught beginning in 1997. Previously, he led the group at MIT that built the J-Machine and M-Machine, parallel machines that pioneered the separation of mechanism from programming models.

 

Excerpts from NVIDIA press release.

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