2019

image of emeritus prof Stephen E Harris
September 2019

Emeritus Professor Stephen E. Harris, the Kenneth and Barbara Oshman Professor in the School of Engineering, has been awarded the 2020 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics. He will receive the award at the 2020 Physics of Quantum Electronics (PQE) Golden Jubilee - the 50th year of the annual meeting.

Stephen joined our faculty after completing his PhD (and MS) in Electrical Engineering at Stanford. He is known for his contributions to electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT)– a technique for eliminating the effect of a medium on a propagating beam of electromagnetic radiation. Additionally, he is known for his collaboration with others, producing results in many areas, including lasers, quantum electronics, atomic physics, and nonlinear optics.

Stephen E. Harris is part of Stanford's Ginzton Lab, Q-FARM, and emeritus professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics.

 

Please join us in recognizing Stephen for his tremendous contributions to a variety of scientific fields!

Photo of Professor Stephen E. Harris, date unknown. source: SALLIE, Stanford's Image Exchange.

 

 

image of professor Tsachy Weissman
September 2019

The Stanford Compression Forum (SCF), recently completed its inaugural summer internship program, alliteratively named – STEM to SHTEM (Science, Humanities, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Professor Tsachy Weisman and the Compression Forum hosted 44 high school students for internships that ranged from 5 to 9 weeks this summer. 

"The internship is a great opportunity for students to experience engineering research in a new light. Working in groups, students from all kinds of backgrounds had the chance to not only research exciting questions at the intersection of different fields, but also learn from their peers unique ways to approach these questions," reports internship coordinator and graduate student Cindy Nguyen. "This early exposure to research helps break down barriers to entry for a lot of underrepresented students and will, hopefully, trickle down into their decisions in becoming the next generation of engineers, doctors, and scientists."

Although, the internship was unpaid, it provided exposure to research, transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries. Students were grouped into eleven projects that spanned 9 topic areas. Topic areas included DNA compression, Facial HAAC, Nanopore Technology, Discrete Cube Mathematics, Olfactory in VR, Artificial Olfaction Measurement, Decision Making in Games, Computer Assisted Image Reconstruction, and Audio File Compression.


Additional information about the Stanford Compression Forum: compression.stanford.edu/summer-internships-high-school-students; for inquiries on the 2019 projects and groups: scf_high_school_internship@stanford.edu


Excerpts from 2019 interns:

"I applied to this internship with the intent on working on something related to the genetics field (which I love), and I never expected to learn how to use Python in the process. If it weren't for this internship I probably wouldn't have ever put myself in a situation where I would have to learn how [to] code. I'm happy to say that although it can be challenging at times, I'm extremely grateful for having been given this opportunity to learn about Python and how to use it."

"This internship introduced me to some amazing people and mentors. This project taught me things like advanced programming, communication skills, and developed my interest in computer science and electrical engineering."

"I had a wonderful experience with this internship! My mentor is not only amazing at what he does – but he is also very funny. I enjoy spending time with my group because whenever one of us makes a small discovery, we all get excited."

"This internship has allowed me to learn so much from basic compression to coding with python. I am glad I was able to participate."

Photo: 2019 STEM to SHTEM interns, faculty, and graduate students. Professor Tsachy Weissman, second from right, an internship coordinator and grad student Cindy Nguyen, third from right.

image of EE professor Eric Pop
August 2019

EE Professor Eric Pop's research was recently published in Science Advances.

Research in the Pop Lab has shown that a few layers of 2D materials can provide the same insulation as a sheet of glass 100 times thicker. "Thinner heat shields will enable engineers to make electronic devices even more compact than those we have today. We're looking at the heat in electronic devices in an entirely new way," reports Pop.

Detecting thermal vibrations
Thinking about heat as a form of sound inspired the Pop Lab researchers to borrow some principles from the physical world. "We adapted that idea by creating an insulator that used several layers of atomically thin materials instead of a thick mass of glass," said lead author Sam Vaziri, Electrical Engineering postdoc.

The team used up to four different compounds: graphene, molybdenum diselenide, molybdenum disulfide and tungsten diselenide – each three atoms thick – to create a four-layered insulator just 10 atoms deep. Despite its thinness, the insulator is effective because the atomic heat vibrations are dampened and lose much of their energy as they pass through each layer.

"As engineers, we know quite a lot about how to control electricity, and we're getting better with light, but we're just starting to understand how to manipulate the high-frequency sound that manifests itself as heat at the atomic scale," Pop said.


 

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This research was supported by the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility, the Stanford Nano Shared Facilities, the National Science Foundation, the Semiconductor Research Corporation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Stanford SystemX Alliance, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Stanford Graduate Fellowship program and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. (ANI)

EE Staff Award Winners! Beverly, John, Chet, Edwin and Denise
August 2019

Congratulations to Beverly Davis, John DeSilva, Chet Frost, Edwin Mendoza, and Denise Murphy.

They are recognized as outstanding staff for their extraordinary work! Each were nominated by peers, faculty and/or students for professionalism that went above and beyond their everyday roles. Staff gift card recipients make profound and positive impact in our department's everyday work and academic environment. Please join us in congratulating each of them!

Nominations may be submitted at any time. There are no restrictions on the quantity, persons, or groups that you can nominate. Submitters are asked to include a citation of how the group or person went above and beyond. The submitter can choose to remain anonymous. Nominate a deserving colleague today.

Please join us in congratulating Beverly, John, Chet, Edwin, and Denise.
Excerpts from their nominations follow.

Beverly Davis, Faculty Administrator, EE

  • Beverly is incredibly kind and supportive. She helps to everyone feel welcome and productive!
  • She has helped make my student experience more enjoyable.

John DeSilva, Systems & Network Manager, EE

  • He always gives the right amount of guidance— John helps get me set in the right direction, with enough freedom to explore and learn.
  • John's reliability is unparalleled.

Chet Frost, Administrative Associate, EE

  • As part of SEES Committee (and beyond!), Chet is always willing to help and can covers a multitude of needs.
  • He is resourceful and efficient –– always adding to the enthusiastic spirit of an event.

Edwin Mendoza, Faculty & Staff Affairs Administrator, EE

  • Edwin adds a great deal of brightness to staff each day with his positive and fun personality.
  • His effort to welcome EE visitors and help them navigate Stanford is exceptional.

Denise Murphy, Faculty Affairs and Staffing Manager, EE

  • Denise always goes above and beyond - she treats absolutely everyone with the utmost care.
  • She is a tremendous resource for staff and faculty!

Through generosity of the School of Engineering (SoE), we are ale to continue the Staff Gift Card Bonus Program. Each year SoE provides several gift cards to distribute to staff members who are recognized for going above and beyond their role. Staff are chosen from nominations received from faculty, students, and staff. Past nominations are also eligible for future months.

Please nominate a deserving staff person or group today! Each recipient receives a $50 Visa card. Nominations can be made at any time.

Stanford EE staff are amazing!

image of published researcher Anastasios Angelopolous, EE BS'19
August 2019

Anastasios Angelopolous (BS '19), et al, recently published a paper titled, "Enhanced Depth Navigation Through Augmented Reality Depth Mapping in Patients with Low Vision." It was published in Nature Research journal Scientific Reports August 2, 2019. The paper describes the use of augmented reality (AR) to assist those diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

After his freshman year, Anastasios started working with USC Professor Mark Humayun, initially focusing on artificial retinal technology. However, in the following two and a half years, their research expanded to explore the possibility of using augmented reality as a way to help people with low vision navigate safely through complex environments.

They combined special glasses and software, which scans an environment, then projects onto the wearer's retina the corresponding obstacles. The team found that the use of their unique AR visual aid reduced collisions by 50% in mobility testing, and by 70% in grasp testing. This striking result is the first to prove clinically that augmented reality can help people with low vision live more independent lives.

Anastasios and team hope that work like this can help people with low vision increase their independence through mobility. They plan to continue their research to include other modalities, such as audio and haptics.

Please join us in congratulating Anastasios and team on the publication of their research work!
This year Anastasios received the Terman Scholastic Achievement Award and completed his BS in Electrical Engineering in an accelerated timeframe.

 

Related Links


Additional Authors:
Dr. & Prof. Hossein Ameri, USC Ophthalmology (bio link)
Dr. & Prof. Mark Humayun, USC Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics (IBT) (bio link)
Dr. & Prof. Debbie Mitra, USC Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics (IBT) (bio link)

Paper Abstract:
Patients diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) show, in the advanced stage of the disease, severely restricted peripheral vision causing poor mobility and decline in quality of life. This vision loss causes difficulty identifying obstacles and their relative distances. Thus, RP patients use mobility aids such as canes to navigate, especially in dark environments. A number of high-tech visual aids using virtual reality (VR) and sensory substitution have been developed to support or supplant traditional visual aids. These have not achieved widespread use because they are difficult to use or block off residual vision. This paper presents a unique depth to high-contrast pseudocolor mapping overlay developed and tested on a Microsoft Hololens 1 as a low vision aid for RP patients. A single-masked and randomized trial of the AR pseudocolor low vision aid to evaluate real world mobility and near obstacle avoidance was conducted consisting of 10 RP subjects. An FDA-validated functional obstacle course and a custom-made grasping setup were used. The use of the AR visual aid reduced collisions by 50% in mobility testing (p = 0.02), and by 70% in grasp testing (p = 0.03). This paper introduces a new technique, the pseudocolor wireframe, and reports the first significant statistics showing improvements for the population of RP patients with mobility and grasp.

image of professor emeritus Hellman. Photo Credit: Michael Steven Walker
July 2019

Martin E. Hellman was the Heidelberg Lecturer at the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (#LINO19). The annual, week-long event occurs each summer on Germany's Lindau Island. Nobel Laureates are invited to the meeting, along with select young scientists. The Heidelberg Lecture is given by one of the Heidelberg Laureates, the winners of the top prizes in mathematics and computer science. Professor Hellman became a Heidelberg Laureate when he received the ACM Turing Award in 2015 for joint work with Whitfield Diffie, for making critical contributions to modern cryptography.

Martin's lecture, "The Technological Imperative for Ethical Evolution" called for scientists and laureates to accelerate the trend toward more ethical behavior. Hellman drew parallels between global and personal relationships as a foundation to build trust and security – regardless of past adversarial history. He shared 8 lessons from his own personal and professional evolution.

Martin encouraged #LINO19 attendees to revisit the Mainau Declaration of 1955 and the Mainau Declaration of 2015, thereby underscoring the efforts of prior attendees – and the responsibilities of today's attendees – to consider global and future consequences when making decisions and to appeal to decision-makers to do the same.

Hellman's Heidelberg Lecture is available online.

The 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting hosted 39 laureates and 600 young scientists from 89 countries–the highest number to date. This year's meeting was dedicated to physics. The key topics were dark matter and cosmology, laser physics and gravitational waves.


Martin E. Hellman is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and is affiliated with the university's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). His recent technical work has focused on rethinking national security, including bringing a risk informed framework to a potential failure of nuclear deterrence and then using that approach to find surprising ways to reduce the risk. His earlier work included co-inventing public key cryptography, the technology that underlies the secure portion of the Internet. His many honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering and receiving (jointly with his colleague Whit Diffie) the million dollar ACM Turing Award, the top prize in computer science. One of his recent projects is a book, jointly written with his wife of fifty years, "A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet," that one reviewer said provides a "unified field theory" of peace by illuminating the connections between nuclear war, conventional war, interpersonal war, and war within our own psyches.

image of Martin Hellman, Heidelberg Lecture, Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting 2019

Martin Hellman speaking at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. Photo credit: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

image of outstanding EE staff, July 2019
July 2019

Congratulations to Doug Chaffee, Meo Kittiwanich, Helen Lin, Dan Moreau, and Lisa Sickorez. They are truly outstanding staff! Each were nominated by peers, faculty and/or students for professionalism that went above and beyond their everyday roles. Staff gift card recipients make profound and positive impact in our department's everyday work and academic environment. Please join us in congratulating Doug, Meo, Helen, Dan & Lisa.

Nominations may be submitted at any time. There are no restrictions on the quantity, persons or groups that you can nominate. Submitters are asked to include a citation of how the group or person went above and beyond. The submitter can choose to remain anonymous. Nominate a deserving colleague today.

 

Please join us in congratulating Doug, Meo, Helen, Dan and Lisa. Excerpts from their nominations follow.

Doug Chaffee, Administrative Associate, Electrical Engineering

  • "Doug is really helpful. I appreciate his patient guidance through required processes."
  • "He is always quick to respond, and handles a number of issues."

Meo Kittiwanich, Director of Student and Academic Affairs, Electrical Engineering

  • "She is one of EE's greats."
  • "Meo genuinely cares for students and is an authority on degree requirements."

Helen Lin, Administrative Associate, Electrical Engineering

  • "Few people are as dependable as Helen."
  • "ROCK STAR!"

Dan Moreau, Program Manager, Electrical Engineering

  • "Dan is like a bridge – he always keeps things moving and makes connections."
  • "I appreciate his effort to support colleagues in a variety of ways."

Lisa Sickorez, Financial Officer, Electrical Engineering

  • "Lisa is always 'going above and beyond'– she is very appreciated!"
  • "She teaches staff and faculty best practices with the intention of smoothing their necessary work."

Through generosity of the School of Engineering (SoE), we are ale to continue the Staff Gift Card Bonus Program. Each year, SoE provides several gift cards to distribute to staff members who are recognized for going above and beyond their role. Staff are chosen from nominations received from faculty, students, and staff. Past nominations are also eligible for future months.

Please nominate a deserving staff person or group today! Each recipient receives a $50 Visa card. Nominations can be made at any time.

image of professor Gordon Wetzstein
July 2019

Gordon Wetzstein was awarded the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Gordon is an assistant professor of Electrical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Computer Science. He is the leader of the Stanford Computational Imaging Lab, an interdisciplinary research group focused on advancing imaging, microscopy, and display systems.

Eleven other Stanford faculty also received the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Link to article below.

 

Please join us in congratulating Gordon for this recognition.


 

Related news:

image of Professor Subhasish Mitra
July 2019

In a recent QandA discussion with Stanford Engineering, EE professor Subhasish Mitra and Computer Science professor Clark Barrett, describe their recent work to secure chips before they are manufactured.

What's new when it comes to finding bugs in chips?

Designers have always tried to find logic flaws, or bugs as they are called, before chips went into manufacturing. Otherwise, hackers might exploit these flaws to hijack computers or cause malfunctions. This has been called debugging and it has never been easy. Yet we are now starting to discover a new type of chip vulnerability that is different from so-called bugs. These new weaknesses do not arise from logic flaws. Instead, hackers can figure out how to misuse a feature that has been purposely designed into a chip. There is not a flaw in the logic. But hackers might be able to pervert the logic to steal sensitive data or take over the chip.

How do your algorithms deal with traditional bugs and these new unintended weaknesses?

Let's start with the traditional bugs. We developed a technique called Symbolic Quick Error Detection — or Symbolic QED. Essentially, we use new algorithms to examine chip designs for potential logic flaws or bugs. We recently tested our algorithms on 16 processors that were already being used to help control critical automotive systems like braking and steering. Before these chips went into cars, the designers had already spent five years debugging their own processors using state-of-the-art techniques and fixing all the bugs they found. After using Symbolic QED for one month, we found every bug they'd found in 60 months — and then we found some bugs that were still in the chips. This was a validation of our approach. We think that by using Symbolic QED before a chip goes into manufacturing we'll be able to find and fix more logic flaws in less time.

Does Symbolic QED find all vulnerabilities?

Not in its current incarnation. Through collaboration with other research groups, we have modified Symbolic QED to detect new types of attacks that can come from potential misuse of seemingly innocuous features.

This is just the beginning. The processors we tested were relatively simple. Yet, as we saw, they could be perverted. Over time we will develop more sophisticated algorithms to detect and fix the most sophisticated chips, like the ones responsible for controlling navigation systems on autonomous cars. Our message is simple: As we develop more chips for more critical tasks, we'll need automated systems to find and fix all potential vulnerabilities — traditional bugs and unintended consequences — before chips go into manufacturing. Otherwise we'll always be playing catch up, trying to patch chips after hackers find the vulnerabilities.

Excerpted from "Q&A: What's new in the effort to prevent hackers from hijacking chips?"


 

Related 

 

professor Krishna Shenoy
July 2019

 

Professor Krishna Shenoy's research team has found that using statistical theory to analyze neural activity provides a faster and equally accurate process.

Krishna's team has circumvented today's painstaking process of tracking the activity of individual neurons in favor of decoding neural activity in the aggregate. Each time a neuron fires it sends an electrical signal — known as a "spike" — to the next neuron down the line. It's the sort of intercellular communication that turns a notion in the mind into muscle contraction elsewhere in the body. "Each neuron has its own electrical fingerprint and no two are identical," says Eric Trautmann, a postdoctoral researcher in Krishna's lab and first author of the paper. "We spend a lot of time isolating and studying the activity of individual neurons."

The team believes their work will ultimately lead to neural implants that use simpler electronics to track more neurons than ever before, and also do so more accurately. The key is to combine their sophisticated new sampling algorithms with small electrodes. So far, such small electrodes have only been employed to control simple devices like a computer mouse. But combining this hardware for recording brain signals with the sampling algorithms creates new possibilities. Researchers might be able to deploy a network of small electrodes through larger sections of the brain, and use the algorithms to sample a great many neurons. This could deliver enough accurate brain signal information to control a prosthetic hand capable of fast and precise motions like pitching a baseball or playing the violin.

Better yet, Trautmann said, the new electrodes, coupled with the sampling algorithms, should eventually be able to record brain activity without the many wires needed today to carry signals from the brain to whatever computer controls the prosthesis. Wireless functionality would completely untether users from bulky computers needed to decode neuronal activity today.

Krishna reports, "This study has a bit of a hopeful message in that observing activity in the brain turns out to be easier than we initially expected."

The paper, "Accurate Estimation of Neural Population Dynamics without Spike Sorting" was published in June's issue of Neuron.

Excerpted from Stanford Engineering news

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