student

April 2016

DiscoverEE Days welcomes newly admitted grad students, connecting them with EE students, faculty and staff. The 2-day event brings everyone together; encouraging exploration of the department and current research. The event concludes with a student research poster session, social reception and raffle. This year, admits were able to view and discuss 25 posters.

Posters present research from EE's core and subareas, and is an opportunity for graduate students to verbally and visually present their work. Posters are judged by a group of staff, faculty and students. Judging criteria is based on overall oral presentation, visual quality, and presenting within a one minute timeframe. Three winners, one from each core research area, were selected. The awards went to:

Neal Master (pictured center), Information Systems & Science
 Nicholas McDonald (not pictured), Hardware/Software Systems
Ning Wang (pictured left), Physical Technology & Science

Winning presenters were awarded a gift card and certificate, presented by Professor Andrea Goldsmith (pictured right).

The raffle winner was Sawaby Mahmoud, pictured with Professor Goldsmith below. His area of research is Information Systems and Science.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone for participating in DiscoverEE Days.
Additional thanks to the EE Admissions, GSEE, and the EE Student Life Committee for sponsoring the poster contest and generous prizes.


 

October 2015

Stanford EE is pleased to have hosted the first sustainability focused make-a-thon: Earth Hacks. During the 21-hour event, which began Friday, October 30th, teams and individuals were challenged to imagine and make novel solutions to current environmental issues. The event welcomed nearly 100 students from several departments. 

Participating teams demonstrated their projects to judges from faculty and industry during the final leg of the event. "It was impressive to see the intensity and productivity of the students," Professor Bob Dutton said. "After working less than 24 hours, the students presented some quite amazing results."

Because electrical engineering intersects a number of disciplines, the EE department is an ideal makerspace hub. The event kicked off with an Arduino workshop sponsored by Atmel. The Atmel Tech On Tour truck provided a lively, fully equipped makerspace. Tech On Tour also provided technical support for the duration of the event.

"I was also glad to see EE students offering to teach their friends skills like programming and Arduino and soldering," said Earth Hacks organizer, Gary Lee (EE, B.S. '17). 

"The best part about Earth Hacks was having the parts, tools, and a mentor from Atmel to explore Arduino freely," said Anna Zeng (CS, B.S. '18). "Suddenly gaining access to a full-fledged makerspace really changed my attitude towards tackling hardware. Additionally – and quite remarkably – what I found curiously liberating was the lack of the pressure of a hack-a-thon, as everyone around me was learning about the platform just as I was."

Earth Hacks first place

Judging took place on Saturday afternoon. Earth Hacks judges included Stanford professors Bob Dutton and Juan Rivas-Davila; aerospace reliability consultant, Gary Swift; and Y.C. Wang, Atmel's University Program Manager.

First place went to Zero Fire team, who fully integrated sensors with an Atmel microcontroller and Bluetooth wireless hardware to create a heat/smoke/combustibles detection system; the software then relayed warnings and initiated first-responder calls. 

The 'Zero Fire' team included Rubi Mendoza (MS&E, M.S. '17), Fabian Badillo (ME, B.S. '19) and Valerie Garcia (CS, B.S. '19). "We had a lot of fun developing our 'zero fire' project", said Rubi Mendoza, a first year MS&E graduate student. "We were encouraged to come up with a crazy idea and make it happen."

The opportunity to move beyond the design stage and into implementation gave the students confidence in new areas, allowing them to expand their comfort zone. 

"I did not have any experience in electrical engineering before participating," said Fabian Badillo (ME, B.S. '19). "This was definitely a rare opportunity to be able to imagine what the future may hold as I become more involved in the maker culture."

Valerie Garcia (CS, B.S. '19) shared this perspective. She said, "I'd never built anything before and I knew next to nothing going into Earth Hacks. But the resources there were amazing. Bob, Atmel's 'Arduino guy' taught me so much and it was a great experience to get to build something, basically from scratch, and see it working and actually being functional."

Earth Hacks 2nd place
Second place went to Anna Zeng (CS, B.S. '18) whose project measured and reported on varying humidity levels, allowing the user to manage percent of humidity in an environment.

Third place went to three students who built an energy conservation system. The team included Monica Chan (ME, B.S. '17), Mary Cirino (CS, B.S. '17) and Qian Li (CEE, M.S. '17). "It was our first time experiencing the magic of Arduino, and we all had a great time solving a real problem using what we had learned about hardware and software," said Qian Li.

The concept behind their energy conservation project developed an advanced illumination system for buildings on Stanford's campus. The basic idea consisted of two main sensors: the photo sensor and the pressure sensor. When there is enough daylight, the lights in the buildings automatically turn off. Otherwise, the lights will turn on only when someone touches the door at the entrance.

Earth Hacks 3rd place

Winning teams received prizes from sponsors, and included Myo armbands, a drone copter, Fitbits, and Kindle Fire tablets. Y.C. Wang, Earth Hacks sponsor and judge thanked the Electrical Engineering department and Stanford Robotics Club for making the event possible. "We were very excited to sponsor the Make-A-Thon at Stanford and really appreciated the opportunity to interact with the many talented students," Wang said. "We are extremely grateful for their support in bringing the Atmel Tech On Tour truck on campus."

Other Earth Hacks sponsors included Stanford IEEE Student Chapter, Red Bull, and DigiKey.

August 2015

The Marconi Society announced Kartik Venkat as the winner of the 2015 Young Scholar Award. Kartik is an EE doctoral candidate, on track to complete his PhD this December. His principal advisor is Professor Tsachy Weissman, who says, "Kartik's work has helped us develop tools to boost the performance of algorithms in machine learning and AI. He's helping us find smarter ways to process a huge quantity of data—which is applicable to a wide array of disciplines."

Kartik plans to travel to London to receive the award in October. After he completes his PhD, he wants to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities that apply his work to real world problems, taking "deep ideas in research and using them to transform the way an industry is viewed. I don't know if that will be in academia—or in a company of my own," he says.

Marconi Young Scholars are individuals who have, at an early age, already demonstrated exceptional engineering or scientific research and entrepreneurial capabilities with the potential to create significant advances telecommunications and the Internet. They are students whose advisers and nominators believe will make a real difference in science and society, serving as role models and an inspiration for others.

Hearty congratulations to Kartik Venkat!

Read full Marconi Society press release

Professor Weissman and Kartik Venkat

Professor Weissman (left) and Kartik Venkat (right).

June 2015

Students, faculty, and staff gathered in Hewlett auditorium to try their luck at winning one of two $100 gift cards, and of course to hear the presentations and participate in the Q and A session of the 2015 State of the Department event. More than 70 questions were submitted in advance, with others being asked during the event.

An enthusiastic welcome from EE Student Life (EESL) Committee Chair, Professor Andrea Goldsmith, opened the event and also provided an overview of EESL, whose main objective is to initiate and support student activities outside of the classroom and research lab. In addition to the State of the Department event, EESL facilitates and/or co-sponsors numerous activities throughout the year. The activities are highly valued by the students because they provide an opportunity for students to learn about others' experiences and perspectives, and help them navigate a successful path through Stanford and beyond. Says Goldsmith, "EESL was formed to enhance student life, create a strong sense of community within EE, and serve as a conduit for student feedback, input, and new ideas. Our goal is to improve the Stanford experience for every EE student."

Graduating senior and Fuse President, Mersina Simanski (BS '15) represented the EE undergraduate group, Fuse. Having completed its inaugural year, Fuse attracted more than 65 members and hosted many undergraduate events throughout the year. The most popular being the TI Make-a-Thon, the alumni dinner, the faculty mixer, and volleyball games on the Packard lawn. Incoming Fuse president, Iliana Bray (B.S. '17) plans to continue growing Fuse and hosting engaging events for EE undergrads.

GSEE, the graduate student body of the Electrical Engineering department, highlighted their involvement with various EE events throughout the year. Of note, are the popular social HappEE hours, EEPROM, and faculty lunches. The current president, Ziad Shehadeh (MS '15) will pass the role to Kevin Schubert (PhD, '17). Ziad states "Despite the major time commitment involved, it has been a privilege leading this organization in the 2014-2015 academic year. I got heavily involved with EE students from all over the world, interacted with the EE department as a whole, and built several connections with faculty, industry, and other departments and student groups on campus. We tried to target the needs of the EE graduate students and hopefully with a larger leadership team in the future, even more of those needs can be addressed."

EE Department Chair, Professor Abbas El Gamal, provided an update on the department. As the largest department within the School of Engineering, it is home to 58 faculty and nearly 1,000 students. EE welcomes three faculty in 2014 and 2015: John Duchi, Tom Soh, and Gordon Wetzstein.

The EE Department also announced the SystemX Alliance — an industry affiliate program, previously known as CIS. El Gamal reported, "SystemX essentially returns CIS to its' original mission with a 21st century focus: system scaling." SystemX is a multidisciplinary collaboration across 10 departments, with focus areas in energy, bio, quantum, IoE, and others. For EE students, SystemX provides a wealth of research opportunity and faculty collaboration.

The Q and A session, facilitated by Professor El Gamal also stimulated dialogue between students and faculty regarding several important issues. A few of them included:

Q: What change or new initiative in the EE department were you most proud of this year?
A: I think I am most proud of the efforts that our faculty have been putting into developing new undergraduate classes and revamping other classes. Although we started this initiative last year, the big effort started this year and will be continuing over the next years. I think the results are very promising. Another initiative we started this year is to improve graduate admissions. We have many more faculty involved in reviewing applicant folders, and the faculty conducted Skype interviews with the final candidates, which I think worked quite well.

Q: Why do we need to take so many classes in our PhD program?
A: Stanford's EE PhD program is designed to provide students with a strong foundation that will serve them throughout their career. Engineering is a very rapidly changing field and PhD research is by definition very narrow and deep. Courses, if selected correctly, will help broaden students' background and prepare them for moving into new areas in the future.
Or, as one faculty member playfully stated, "Because we said so, It's good for you, and one day you'll thank us," to which the room erupted with laughter.

Q: How is the department helping attract more undergraduate women to the major, especially freshmen who may not even take EE courses their freshman year?
A: EE works very hard to attract the best undergraduates in general. Our revamped undergraduate curriculum helps expose students to the amazing array of application that electrical engineering provides. We hope that students — especially female students — can see themselves being successful in EE. We're continuing to challenge ourselves to teach in new ways, and we want students who learn in new ways.
Student organizations like Fuse, WEE (Women in Electrical Engineering), and GSEE exist to be inclusive. They all do a great job of providing activities that are accessible to every student. Specifically, WEE has a mentoring pair program, and the leadership of Fuse is female. Each student group has it's own focus, and all are outstanding student communities — especially because of the female members.

Another submitted question, was the oft wondered, "Why is Bob Dutton so cool?" Professor El Gamal responded, "The reason Bob is so cool is because he is one of the most passionate and focused people I've ever worked with. When he takes on a mission, he goes all the way. He has done this in his research and is now doing it for the undergrads."

Following the Q and A session, the winning ticket was drawn for the gift cards — Congratulations to Neal Master (PhD candidate), and Atinuke Ademola-Idowu (MS '15) .

The State of the Department event concluded with dinner and drinks, hosted by the EESL Committee and GSEE on the Hewlett/Packard entrance patio.

 Consider joining us at the 2015 EE Commencement Ceremony, Sunday, June 14th on the Medical School Dean's Lawn, where you'll hear more about the EE student experience.

March 2015

During DiscoverEE days on March 12th and 13th, the department welcomed newly admitted grad students. The 2-day event culminated with a student research poster session and contest. Twenty-six posters were presented, representing EE's core research areas:

The DiscoverEE Days Student Research Poster Session is a unique forum for students and postdocs to share their own work and learn about exciting research of their colleagues throughout the department. It also provides newly admitted students the opportunity to see EE's student research in an informal, festive environment.

Poster judging was done by a small group of faculty and staff. Judges offered each presenter an opportunity to summarize their work and answer questions within a set timeframe. Judging criteria was based on 4 components: originality, content, oral presentation, and visual quality. One winner and one honorable mention were awarded from each core area. Winning presenters received a gift card and certificate, honorable mentions received a certificate. The awards went to:

  • Hardware/Software Systems
    Winner: David Lo, "Heracles: Improving Resource Efficiency at Scale"
    Honorable Mention: Sean Fischer, "Low Noise Potentiostat for Quantum Biomolecular Transduction"
  • Information Systems & Science
    Winner: Ethan Johnson, "T2-selective excitation with UTE imaging for bone MRI"
    Honorable Mention: Keshav Datta, "The Spielman Laboratory: Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Multinuclear Imaging"
  • Physical Technology & Science
    Winner: Amelia Christensen, "Optical tools for interrogating spinal cord circuitry "
    Honorable Mention: Colleen Shang, "Strained germanium-tin multiple quantum well microdisk resonators towards a light source on silicon"

 

Congratulations and thanks to everyone for participating in DiscoverEE Days. Additional thanks to the EE Student Life Committee for sponsoring the poster contest and generous prizes.

 

View 2015 DiscoverEE Days photo album on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/stanfordee.official.

February 2015

Congratulations to EE PhD students Aman Sinha and Jinye Zhang. They are the recipients of the 2015 Numerical Technologies Founders awards for being the top performers in the Electrical Engineering Qualifying Exam.


 

The Numerical Technologies Founders awards were established by Dr. Yao-Ting Wang (Ph.D., 1997) and his advisor Professor Thomas Kailath, co-founders of Numerical Technologies, Inc., and their spouses. The company was created to commercialize the resolution enhancement techniques for optical lithography developed in Dr. Wang's dissertation as part of a DARPA-sponsored project (1990-2000) on the applications of Control and Signal Processing to Semiconductor Manufacturing. The theme of the project was to demonstrate the power of the Mathematical Engineering approach: going from an ill-defined physical problem to an idealized mathematical model, its often-approximate solution, and then compromises for practical implementation and transition to industry. The first applications were to Rapid Thermal Processing and then to Optical Lithography where, when the project began, the industry was facing a so-called 100nm barrier. Numerical Technologies, in collaboration with Motorola, were the first to show that the barrier could be broken. This spurred further development of a host of resolution enhancement techniques the barrier has been lowered to 32nm. The company was founded in 1995, went public in 2000, and was acquired by Synopsis, Inc. in 2003. A different measure of the importance of the Mathematical Engineering approach is that the work on Rapid Thermal Processing won outstanding paper prizes in 1994 and 2003 from the IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing.

Doctoral candidate Linxiao Zhu, Professor Shanhui Fan and research associate Aaswath Raman pictured with photonic radiative cooling material
December 2014

Professor Shanhui Fan and interdisciplinary team members from EE, ME, and Applied Physics, reported this 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.

The ultrathin, multilayered material can help cool buildings, reducing the need for air conditioning.

 

Image: Norbert von der Groebe

image of Professor Shan Wang, Joohong Choi and Adi Gani
November 2014

A team of Stanford University students and faculty has been selected as one of five Distinguished Award Prize winners in the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, a global competition to catalyze breakthrough medical sensing technologies that will ultimately enable faster diagnoses and easier personal health monitoring.

The Stanford team was recognized for developing a hepatitis B blood test that can be analyzed in minutes using the microprocessor in a smart phone.

The current prize recognizes a 12-month effort by four PhD students – mechanical engineers Daniel Bechstein and Jung-Rok Lee, and electrical engineers Joohong Choi and Adi W. Gani – to create a mobile version of a technology that [EE Professor] Wang and other Stanford researchers have been developing for years.

In essence, the researchers graft magnetic nanoparticles onto biological markers. In this case they are interested in two biomarkers. One is the hepatitis B virus, called the antigen. The other is the antibody that fights hepatitis B. The magnetic particles are the homing beacons that allow instruments to track these biomarkers.

 

For the full story, visit engineering.stanford.edu/news

Image credit: Eigen Lifesciences

image of Himanshu Asnani
October 2014

EE PhD Candidate Himanshu Asnani (read EE Spotlight) received the 2014 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award, which recognizes academic achievements and leadership in the field of communications and information science. His advisor is Associate Professor Tsachy Weissman.

The selection committee cited Asnani’s outstanding research work on data compression in networks and genomic data, as well as cooperation in multi-terminal source coding; his excellent academic record; and his demonstrated entrepreneurial capabilities.

Marconi Young Scholars are individuals who have, at an early age, already demonstrated exceptional engineering or scientific research and entrepreneurial capabilities with the potential to create significant advances telecommunications and the Internet. They are students whose advisers and nominators believe will make a real difference in science and society, serving as role models and an inspiration for others.

Watch 2014 Marconi Society Young Scholars award video.

 

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