EE Student Information

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EE Student Information, Spring Quarter through Academic Year 2020-2021: FAQs and Updated EE Course List.

Updates will be posted on this page, as well as emailed to the EE student mail list.

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2019

image of EE and CS professor Dorsa Sadigh
July 2019

Professor Dorsa Sadigh and her lab have combined two different ways of setting goals for robots into a single process, which performed better than either of its parts alone in both simulations and real-world experiments. The researchers presented their findings at the 2019 Robotics: Science & Systems (RSS) Conference.

The team has coined their approach, "DemPref" – DemPref uses both demonstrations and preference queries to learn a reward function. Specifically, "(1) using the demonstrations to learn a coarse prior over the space of reward functions, to reduce the effective size of the space from which queries are generated; and (2) use the demonstrations to ground the (active) query generation process, to improve the quality of the generated queries. Our method alleviates the efficiency issues faced by standard preference-based learning methods and does not exclusively depend on (possibly low-quality) demonstrations," as described in the team's abstract.

The new combination system begins with a person demonstrating a behavior to the robot. That can give autonomous robots a lot of information, but the robot often struggles to determine what parts of the demonstration are important. People also don't always want a robot to behave just like the human that trained it.

"We can't always give demonstrations, and even when we can, we often can't rely on the information people give," said Erdem Biyik, EE PhD candidate, who led the work developing the multiple-question surveys. "For example, previous studies have shown people want autonomous cars to drive less aggressively than they do themselves."

That's where the surveys come in, giving the robot a way of asking, for example, whether the user prefers it move its arm low to the ground or up toward the ceiling. For this study, the group used the slower single question method, but they plan to integrate multiple-question surveys in later work.

In tests, the team found that combining demonstrations and surveys was faster than just specifying preferences and, when compared with demonstrations alone, about 80 percent of people preferred how the robot behaved when trained with the combined system.

 

"This is a step in better understanding what people want or expect from a robot," reports Dorsa. "Our work is making it easier and more efficient for humans to interact and teach robots, and I am excited about taking this work further, particularly in studying how robots and humans might learn from each other."

Excerpted from Stanford News article (link below).

 

Related Links

Dr. Irena Fischer-Hwang, EE PhD 2019
June 2019

Excerpted from "Stanford grad trades STEM for storytelling," June 2019.

 

EE graduate, Irena Fisher-Hwang,PhD '19 said she realized early in her graduate studies that it was important to communicate science to wider audiences.

"There's an unexpected side to science that is really fun to communicate to people," she said. "I think if we can make science more approachable, it could really help people understand why scientists do what they do."

Little did she realize that her earlier interest in science communication would lead her to a new career path.

Irena's first foray into storytelling was through Goggles Optional, a humorous science podcast written, produced and hosted by Stanford graduate students. For the past two years, she has written and hosted dozens of episodes of the show, including one about lucid dreaming and another about how sound can hack smartphones.

"In academic science, not a lot of people will be able to understand what you are working on," she said. "But the whole goal of journalism is to take difficult concepts and explain them to the public in interesting ways."

Irena's doctoral adviser, Professor Tsachy Weissman, was so impressed by her journalistic leanings that he asked her to help him launch a podcast about his own field of expertise, information theory. Irena produced the pilot episode of the series and then trained 14 students in the new freshman seminar EE25N: The Science of Information to write scripts and edit audio so they can continue producing the series.

Turning Data analysis into storytelling

In communication Professor James Hamilton's class, Irena discovered how journalists and computer scientists are overlapping, as many reporters are now turning to big data analysis to help them with their reporting.

Irena found that the skills she honed during her graduate studies – sorting and evaluating data, managing large amounts of information and running statistical analysis, for example – are as relevant in the newsroom as they are in the lab.

"Now, finally, I feel like I've found a great way to combine my love of human stories with my rigorous training in STEM through journalism. I've had this creative streak for as long as I can remember, but until recently I didn't know what to do with it."

 

Please join us in congratulating Irena, and we look forward to seeing her on campus in the fall quarter!

 

Related News and Links:

image of Professor Jelena Vuckovic
June 2019

Professor Jelena Vuckovic has been appointed the inaugural Jensen Huang Professor in Global Leadership.

Jelena joined the Stanford faculty in 2003. Since then, she has established herself as one of the most distinguished theoretical researchers and innovative experimentalists in nanoscale and quantum photonics of her generation. Jelena is leading a new initiative to bolster quantum research at Stanford and SLAC, called Q-FARM (Quantum Fundamentals, ARchitecture and Machines).

Jelena has received numerous honors for her work, including, most recently, a Distinguished Scholar award from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, where she holds a visiting position and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board. She has also been recognized with the Humboldt Prize (2010) and the Marko V. Jaric Award, awarded to scholars for outstanding achievements in physics (2012). Jelena is a Fellow of the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers, the American Physical Society, and the Optical Society of America.

Excerpted from Dean Jennifer Widom's announcement.

 

Please join us in congratulating Jelena on this well-deserved honor.

Related News:

image of 2019 student speaker, Meera Radhakrishnan, BS'19; MS'20
June 2019

In 1894, the Electrical Engineering Department awarded its first Bachelor's Degree to Lucien Howard Gilmore, at Stanford's Third Annual Commencement. 

125 years later, Samsung Professor in the School of Engineering and Chair of Electrical Engineering, Stephen P. Boyd introduced the 2019 graduates and faculty, to a large audience of family and friends. The event took place on the Medical School Dean's Lawn. Stephen acknowledged the students, families, staff, and faculty for their tremendous support of this year's graduates.

Throughout the academic year, students, faculty and staff are recognized for their contributions to the well-being of the department. The commencement event provides an opportunity for spotlighting many of these awards and tremendous contributions by individuals.

 

The 2019 Design Award Recipients

Professor John Pauly awarded two undergraduate students with the Student Design Project Awards. The capstone projects coalesce curriculum and allow students to innovate in novel ways.

  • Annie Elizabeth Brantigan (EE 168)
  • Caroline Braviak (EE 168)

2019 Centennial Teaching Assistant Award Recipients - EE News Article
Teaching Assistants who excel in teaching are recognized by students and faculty. The centennial Award recognizes tremendous service and dedication in providing excellent classroom instruction.

  • Mohammad Asif Zaman

2019 James F. Gibbons Award for Outstanding Student Teaching
The James F. Gibbons Award for Outstanding Student Teaching Award highlights students who have been nominated by faculty and peers for their extraordinary service as teaching assistants. We are deeply appreciative of the commitment to learning and sharing that our students display.

  • Mitch Pleus
  • Georgia Murray
  • "Jack" Humphries

Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award - EE News Article, Jonathan & Meera ; EE News Article, Anastasios 
The Terman Award is presented to the top 5% of each senior class in the School of Engineering. We are pleased that 3 of our undergraduates received this recognition for their outstanding work.

  • Anastasios Angelopoulos, BS '19.
  • Jonathan Taylor Lin, BS '19; MS '20
  • Meera Radhakrishnan, BS '19; MS '20 (pictured below)

Nine EE students were elected to Phi Beta Kappa for their academic excellence and breadth of their scholarly accomplishments. Seven are 2019 graduates!

  • Anastasios Angelopoulos
  • Caroline Braviak
  • Sabar Dasgupta
  • Breno de Mello Dal Bianco
  • Vickram Gidwani
  • Joseph Yen
  • Robert Young
  • Namrata Balasingam (future graduate)
  • Milind Jagota (future graduate)

The 2018-19 Tau Beta Pi (TBP) Teaching Honor Roll recognizes engineering instructors for excellent teaching, commitment to students, and great mentoring. Professor Mary Wootters received this award for her excellent instruction and commitment, and EE lecturer David Obershaw was also honored for his outstanding commitment to students and instruction.

Chair's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education
As in past years, this award is a surprise for the audience and the recipient. Meo Kittiwanich recieved the 2019 Chair's Award. She has mastered a number of student services roles, giving her deep insight into student, faculty and staff perspectives. Most recently, she accepted a promotion to Director of Student and Academic Affairs for EE. Meo has guided, directly or indirectly, each and every one of our graduates.

The 2019 Student Speaker was coterminal student Meera Radhakrishnan (BS '19; MS '20). She spoke of her path to EE – realizing a brain MRI was the closest she would get to doing magic, while taking Professor Dwight Nishimura's introductory seminar on medical imaging, freshman year. Since then she and her EE friends have continued to develop their superpowers in various directions, including overcoming challenging labs, solvong infinite problem sets, attending midnight breakfasts with Stanford's President, and efficiently solving escape room puzzles.

"[...] I hope that in the years to come we will share our hard-won superpowers with the rest of the world and make a positive impact in whatever way is most meaningful to each of us. Thank you all for a wonderful four years, and I'm excited to see where our new adventures will take us. Again, congratulations 2019 Graduates and I wish you all the best for a bright future ahead!"  ~Meera Radhakrishnan


 

image of professor John Duchi
June 2019

Congratulations to Professor John Duchi on receiving the 2019 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award.

John's research interests span statistics, machine learning, computation, and optimization. Modern techniques for data gathering have yielded extraordinary mass and diversity of data. Yet the amount of data is no panacea; it is challenging to identify the best ways to analyze and make inferences from the information collected. How can we balance multiple criteria – such as computation, communication, or privacy –while maintaining statistical performance?

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Program seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers who are in their first or second full-time tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment, who have received their doctorate or equivalent degree on or after 01 January 2011, and who show exceptional promise for doing creative research. The objectives of this program are to attract outstanding faculty members of Institutions of Higher Education to the Department of the Navy's Science and Technology (S&T) research program, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers.

View 2019 ONR Young Investigator Award Recipients


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

Related News & Event

Mohammad Asif Zaman Stanford's 2019 Centennial TA Award Winner
June 2019

Congratulations to Mohammad Asif Zaman!

Mohammad Asif ZamanPhD candidate, is recognized for his outstanding teaching in electrical engineering. He has been awarded the 2019 Centennial Teaching Assistant Award. The award program recognizes outstanding instruction by TA's in the Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering schools.

Asif was nominated by faculty, peers, and students. He received a stipend and certificate in recognition of his extraordinary contributions as a TA in EE134: Introduction to Photonics, taught by EE Professor Lambertus Hesselink.

About Asif

Asif is a committed, and extremely organized colleague. As an instructor, he took on massive tasks to organize, repair, inventory, order, and label optical components in the lab. His effort allowed EE134 students to make the most of their experience— several indicated they chose EE as a concentration because fo their experience during the course.

A few excerpts from Asif's nominations:

  • Asif has been one of the best – if not the best – TA I have had the pleasure to co-teach with.
  • The students and faculty are deeply impressed by Asif's knowledge, support and friendly manner of teaching students the secrets of good optical experimentation.

 

 

Please join us in recognizing Asif's outstanding effort and abilities!

image of the Stanford Student Robotics Mars rover
June 2019

Congratulations to the Mars Rover Team, part of the Stanford Student Robotics Club. The team won 3rd place in the 2019 University Rover Challenge (URC) competition which took place at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in southern Utah. Thirty-four teams from 10 countries competed throughout various challenges in the Utah desert.

2018 was the first time Stanford Student Robotics participated in the MRC – they placed 34th, and began immediately planning for the 2019 competition. The execution of their planning paid off, earning 3rd place this year. First place went to the IMPULS team from Poland's Kielce University of Technology.

Placing 3rd, Stanford's Student Robotics Mars Rover Team moved up thirty-one spots!

The 2019 Stanford Student Robotics Mars Rover Team members include,

  • Michal Adamkiewicz - Team Lead
  • Claire Huang - Mechanics and Software
  • Neil Movva - Electrical and Software
  • Connor Tingley - Mechanical
  • Connor Cremers - Mechanical and Software
  • Rita Tlemcani - Mechanical and Science
  • Amy Dunphy - Science
  • Alan Tomusiak - Science
  • Patin Inkaew - Mechanics
  • Derian Williams - Electrical and Mechanics
  • Jasmine Bayrooti - Software
  • Julia Thompson - Science
  • Mei-Lan Steimle - Science

As in past years, the teams and their rovers competed in four incredibly difficult and unique events,

  • Science Mission (soil and rock samples),
  • Extreme Retrieval and Delivery Mission,
  • Equipment Servicing Mission, and
  • Autonomous Traversal Mission.

"Reliability and ingenuity were the keys to success for several teams throughout the 3 day event," states the URC Mars Society website. Event judges included astrobiologists from NASA Ames Research Center.

 

Congratulations to all of the teams and participants! And an EXTRA congratulations to Stanford Student Robotics!


 Related links & news

 

portrait of professor Andrea Goldsmith
June 2019

Congratulations to Professor Andrea Goldsmith for receiving the 2019 Qualcomm Faculty Award. Andrea is the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering. Her research interests are in information theory, communication theory, and signal processing, and their application to wireless communications, interconnected systems, and neuroscience.

Andrea introduced innovative approaches to the design, analysis and fundamental performance limits of wireless systems and networks. Her efforts helped develop technologies used in long-term evolution (LTE) cellular devices as well as the Wi-Fi standards that are used in wireless local area networks. She founded two companies to commercialize her work, which has led to the adoption of her ideas throughout the communications industry.

The Qualcomm Faculty Award (QFA) supports key professors and their research through a charitable donation. The goal of the QFA funding is to advance wireless communications research and to strengthen Qualcomm's engagement with faculty who are playing a key role in Qualcomm's recruitment of top graduate students.

 

Please join us in congratulating Andrea for this award!

 

Related news:

image of Anastasios Angelopoulos (BS '19), 2018-19 Terman Scholar
May 2019

The Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Award for Scholastic Achievement was awarded to Anastasios Angelopoulos (BS '19). The Terman Award is one of the most selective academic awards. It is based on overall academic performance and is presented to the top five percent of each year's School of Engineering seniors. Anastasios is a third-year undergraduate – completing his Bachelor's degree in a reduced amount of time, while maintaining high academic performance.

Anastasios' most influential secondary instructor is Aquita Winslow, the Polytechnic School librarian, who generously spent hundreds of hours of time as his high school debate coach and was a transformative force in his life. His Stanford advisor is Professor and Chair Stephen Boyd.

Anastasios will graduate with a B.S. EE in Spring 2019.

Please join us in congratulating Anastasios on his scholastic achievements.

 

2018-2019 Terman Engineering Award also awarded to Jonathan and Meera. Read more


This award is named after Fred Terman (BS; MS Stanford) who was the fourth Dean of the School of Engineering at Stanford, serving from 1944-1958, after which he became the Provost at the University, and is generally credited, along with President Wally Sterling, as having started the process that has led Stanford to its present position among the leading universities of the world. View Frederick Terman on EE's Timeline.

incoming EE professor Chelsea Finn
May 2019

Congratulations to incoming EE and CS professor Chelsea Finn. She was awarded the 2019 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for her dissertation, "Learning to Learn with Gradients." In her thesis, Finn introduced algorithms for meta-learning that enable deep networks to solve new tasks from small datasets, and demonstrated how her algorithms can be applied in areas including computer vision, reinforcement learning and robotics.

Deep learning has transformed the artificial intelligence field and has led to significant advances in areas including speech recognition, computer vision and robotics. However, deep learning methods require large datasets, which aren't readily available in areas such as medical imaging and robotics.

Meta-learning is a recent innovation that holds promise to allow machines to learn with smaller datasets. Meta-learning algorithms "learn to learn" by using past data to learn how to adapt quickly to new tasks. However, much of the initial work in meta-learning focused on designing increasingly complex neural network architectures. In her dissertation, Finn introduced a class of methods called model-agnostic meta-learning (MAML) methods, which don't require computer scientists to manually design complex architectures. Finn's MAML methods have had tremendous impact on the field and have been widely adopted in reinforcement learning, computer vision and other fields of machine learning.

At a young age, Finn has become one of the most recognized experts in the field of robotic learning. She has developed some of the most effective methods to teach robots skills to control and manipulate objects. In one instance highlighted in her dissertation, she used her MAML methods to teach a robot reaching and placing skills, using raw camera pixels from just a single human demonstration.

Finn is a Research Scientist at Google Brain and a postdoctoral researcher at the Berkeley AI Research Lab (BAIR). In the fall of 2019, she will start a full-time appointment as an Assistant Professor at Stanford University. Finn received her PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Join us in congratulating Chelsea on this well-deserved award!

 

 

Source: www.acm.org/media-center/2019/may/dissertation-award-2018

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