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.

Please see Stanford University Health Alerts for course and travel updates.

As always, use your best judgement and consider your own and others' well-being at all times.


image of Mendel Rosenblum [image credit: ACM]
April 2019

Professor Mendel Rosenblum has been awarded the inaugural ACM Charles P. Thacker Breakthrough Award. The award recognizes individuals or groups with the same out-of-the-box thinking and "can-do" approach to solving the unsolved that Charles Thacker exhibited. Mendel is the DRC Professor in the School of Engineering, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Electrical Engineering. He will formally receive the award at ACM's annual Awards Banquet in June, 2019.

Mendel is recognized for reinventing the virtual machine for the modern era and thereby revolutionizing datacenters and enabling modern cloud computing. In the late 1990s, Rosenblum and his students brought virtual machines back to life by using them to solve challenging technical problems in building system software for scalable multiprocessors. In 1998, Rosenblum and colleagues founded VMware. VMware popularized the use of virtual machines as a means of supporting many disparate software environments to share processor resources within a datacenter. This approach ultimately led to the development of modern cloud computing services such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

"The new paradigm of cloud computing, in which computing services are delivered over the internet, has been one of the most important developments in the computing industry over the past 20 years," said ACM President Cherri M. Pancake. "Cloud computing has vastly improved the efficiency of systems, reduced costs, and been essential to the operations of businesses at all levels. However, cloud computing, as we know it today, would not be possible without Rosenblum's reinvention of virtual machines. His leadership, both through his early research at Stanford and his founding of VMware, has been indispensable to the rise of datacenters and the preeminence of the cloud."


Please join us in congratulating Mendel for this well-deserved recognition!


Excerpted from "Inaugural ACM Chuck Thacker Breakthrough Award Recognizes Fundamental Contributions that Enabled Cloud Computing", ACM's Latest Awards News, April 10, 2019.


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Dick Pantell

Richard H. Pantell, known widely as Dick, was born in New York City on Christmas Day, 1927. He passed away peacefully in San Mateo, CA on March 26, 2019 at age 91. He is survived by two daughters, Laurie Pantell and Sue Pantell, and his partner Carol Bergman. He was married to Leona Siff Pantell ( BA, 53, LLB 56, Stanford) until her passing in 1996.

Dick got his secondary education at the highly regarded Bronx High School of Science in New York City, graduating in 1944. After a year's study at CCNY, he enrolled at MIT as an Electrical Engineering major. He received both the BSEE and MSEE degrees from MIT in 1950, and his PhD at Stanford in 1954. His PhD supervisor was Professor David Tuttle, a very popular teacher of Network Theory to both graduate and undergraduate students. Professor Tuttle had received his PhD at MIT, studying under the direction of Prof. Ernst Guillemin, himself a network theorist of international reputation.

image of Professor Dick Pantell, Ginzton Lab
Dick Pantell's thesis was entitled " New Methods of Driving Point and Transfer Function Synthesis". It proved to be a classic in the field. The earliest work in the general field of passive network synthesis had been done at MIT by Dr. Otto Brune in 1931, who established the necessary and sufficient conditions for a network to be realizable using only resistors, capacitors and inductors. However his realizations sometimes required the use of ideal transformers. The need for ideal transformers was first removed by Dr. S. Darlington at Bell Labs in 1944, but with the constraint that the networks needed to be lossless: composed of only capacitors and inductors.

Dick Pantell's PhD thesis, written in 1954, presented the first general solution to the problem of synthesizing RLC networks with prescribed driving point and transfer characteristics without the limitations required in the Brune and Darlington solutions. It was truly a major contribution to the field. Other work had been done to remove the constraints of Brune and Darlington, but there was no general solution to the problem until Pantell produced one.

Dick was appointed as an Assistant Professor in EE at Stanford in 1956. He proved to be an excellent teacher and supervisor for PhD candidates. He was appointed a Full Professor in 1964.

The breadth of Dick's interests led him to change fields several times, always without fanfare. Following his pathbreaking work in network synthesis, Dick joined the Microwave Laboratory at Stanford to begin working on the design of Megawatt Space-Harmonic Travelling-Wave tubes and related devices. From there, over the next 25 years, he turned sequentially to the study of millimeter wave generation, ferroelectrics, lasers, non-linear optics and photon-electron effects. At the time of his passing, he was working on neutron physics and its application in several areas including materials analysis and medical treatment. His efforts to assist in the commercialization of a small neutron generator for radiology could have important applications in the targeted treatment of specific cancers for decades.

In addition to his scientific interests, he also read widely, bringing a characteristic depth to everything he did, including studying subjects at a sufficient level of detail to write papers and deliver lectures on them. Though he would have bristled at the description, he was what is often called a Renaissance Man.

April 2019

In March, students enrolled in "EE367A: Information Theory" collaborated with an elementary school in Palo Alto, bringing the younger students interactive games, activities and performance centered around aspects of information theory. More than 50 different activities were were available to the grade schoolers. Students of all ages enjoyed the activities that covered topics such as communication in the animal kingdom; the basics of how DNA carries genetic information; the fundamentals of coding; and even picture books – all geared toward a K-5 audience.

The event was the first of its kind for Professor Tsachy Weissman and his students (pictured). He was inspired by his daughter who sparked the idea by asking to learn more about what he does at his job. The well-attended event welcomed all family members, who kept EE367A students busy answering questions and sharing their own recently acquired knowledge. The collaboration between the two groups will continue into another Science Night to occur later in the next school year.


Thanks to all the terrific students of EE367A!

Pictured above: Irena Fischer-Hwang (project mentor), Yihui Quek (project mentor), Meltem Tolunay (TA), Joachim Neu (project mentor), Tsachy Weissman (professor), Sofia Dudas (student), Logan Spear (student), Shubham Chandak (TA), Ariana Mann (project mentor), and Jay Mardia (project mentor).

All project mentors and course TAs are graduate students currently advised by Professor Tsachy Weissman.

March 2019

Professor Jelena Vuckovic has been named MPQ Distinguished Scholar, 2019. She leads the Stanford's Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics Lab and is Director of Q-FARM (Quantum Fundamentals, Architecture and Machines), a facility of the Stanford-SLAC Quantum Initiative. Jelena is currently a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics.

The MPQ award recognizes her groundbreaking contributions to the field of Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics. Jelena is the 7th scientist awarded this honor since the Institute was funded. Previous Distinguished Scholars 


Please join us in congratulating Jelena on her tremendous research contributions!

About the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics

Research concentrates on the interaction of light and matter under extreme conditions. One focus is the high-precision spectroscopy of hydrogen. In the course of these measurements Prof. Theodor W. Hänsch developed the frequency comb technique for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2005. Other experiments aim at capturing single atoms and photons and letting them interact in a controlled way, thus paving the way towards future quantum computers. Theorists on the other hand are working on strategies to communicate quantum information in a most efficient way. They develop algorithms that allow the safe encryption of secret information. MPQ scientists also investigate the bizarre properties quantum-mechanical many-body systems can take on at extremely low temperatures (about one millionth Kelvin above zero). Finally light flashes with the incredibly short duration of several attoseconds (1 as is a billionth of a billionth of a second) are generated which make it possible, for example, to observe quantum-mechanical processes in atoms such as the 'tunnelling' of electrons or atomic transitions in real time.


Excerpted from "Jelena Vučković named MPQ Distinguished Scholar", Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, March 28, 2019.

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image of professor Tsachy Weissman
March 2019

The project resulted from a collaboration between researchers led by Professor Tsachy Weissman, and three high school students who interned in his lab.

The researchers asked people to compare images produced by a traditional compression algorithm that shrink huge images into pixilated blurs to those created by humans in data-restricted conditions – text-only communication, which could include links to public images. In many cases, the products of human-powered image sharing proved more satisfactory than the algorithm's work. The researchers will present their work at the 2019 Data Compression Conference.

"Almost every image compressor we have today is evaluated using metrics that don't necessarily represent what humans value in an image," said Irena Fischer-Hwang, an EE grad student and co-author of the paper. "It turns out our algorithms have a long way to go and can learn a lot from the way humans share information."

The project resulted from a collaboration between researchers led by Tsachy and three high school students who interned in his lab.

"Honestly, we came into this collaboration aiming to give the students something that wouldn't distract too much from ongoing research," said Weissman. "But they wanted to do more, and that chutzpah led to a paper and a whole new research thrust for the group. This could very well become among the most exciting projects I've ever been involved in."

Weissman stressed the value of the high school students' contribution, even beyond this paper.

"Tens if not hundreds of thousands of human engineering hours went into designing an algorithm that three high schoolers came and kicked its butt," said Weissman. "It's humbling to consider how far we are in our engineering."

Due to the success of this collaboration, Weissman has created a formal summer internship program in his lab for high schoolers. Imagining how an artist or students interested in psychology or neuroscience could contribute to this work, he is particularly keen to bring on students with varied interests and backgrounds.


Lead authors of this paper are Ashutosh Bhown of Palo Alto High School, Soham Mukherjee of Monta Vista High School and Sean Yang of Saint Francis High School. Weissman is also a member of Stanford Bio-X and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute.

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Stanford Compression Forum and Google.



Excerpted from "Stanford experiment finds humans beat algorithms at image compression", Stanford News, March 25, 2019. 

March 2019

Electrical Engineering staff recognized for their outstanding effort include Chet Frost, Joe Little, Rachelle Mozeleski, Helen Niu, and Ryan Samarakoon. Each were nominated by peers, faculty and/or students for professionalism that went above and beyond their everyday roles. Gift card recipients continue to make profound and positive impact in EE's everyday work and academic environment.

Nominations may be submitted at any time. There are no restrictions on the 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. Link to very brief nomination form.

Please join us in congratulating Chet, Joe, Rachelle, Helen and Ryan. Excerpts from their nominations follow.

Chet Frost, Administrative Associate, Electrical Engineering

  • "Chet is always quick to respond – and always with a sense of humor and kindness."
  • "He always goes out of his way to help our group meet requirements and deadlines."

Joe Little, Principal Systems Architect, Electrical Engineering

  • "Joe always has our back; he was able to fix all my issues really quickly."
  • "He is extremely capable, responsive and efficient."

Rachelle Mozeleski, Web Content Manager, Electrical Engineering

  • "Rachelle's creativity and extensive work on her projects is amazing."
  • "As part of the SEES Committee, she helped transform the annual faculty & staff party into an unparalleled event."

Helen Niu, Administrative Associate, Electrical Engineering

  • "She has found solutions for new practices, and established efficient procedures moving forward."
  • "Helen is positive, helpful, understanding, and always goes the extra mile."

Ryan Samarakoon, Life Science Research Lab Manager, Neurosurgery

  • "Ryan's role is critical and has great complexities - he does a phenomenal job and I trust him completely."
  • "He manages our experiments efficiently and works very hard to make it easy for us."



The Staff Gift Card Bonus Program is sponsored by the School of Engineering. Each year, the EE department receives several gift cards to distribute to staff members who are recognized for going above and beyond their role. Each month, staff are chosen from nominations received from faculty, students, and staff. Past nominations are eligible for future months.

Nominate a deserving staff person or group today! We encourage you to nominate individuals or groups that have made a profound improvement in daily work life. Each recipient receives a $50 Visa card. Nominations can be made at any time.

image of EE Staff Award winners, March 2019

EE alum, astronaut Ellen Ochoa
February 2019

Ellen Ochoa: Ochoa earned her master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at Stanford and soon joined NASA as a research engineer in 1988. In 1990, she was selected as an astronaut and became the first Latina in space, flying aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 1993. She would go on to log almost 1,000 hours on four separate trips to space. Ochoa then became the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center, the second woman director in the center's history and the first Latina to hold the role. Ochoa received the Distinguished Service Medal, NASA's highest award, and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award. She has no fewer than six schools named for her, including an elementary school, a public charter middle school and a prep academy.


The Engineering Heroes program, which inducts its eighth class in 2019, was established in 2010 to recognize the profound contributions of distinguished alumni and emeritus faculty of Stanford School of Engineering. Past winners include Nobel Prize winners, inventors, writers, teachers and entrepreneurs who have shaped the world as we know it.

Engineering Heroes are considered and chosen by a panel of technology experts, faculty, alumni, students and historians who are charged with evaluating each nominee's impact and selecting those whose works and ideas set them apart.

This year's Stanford Engineering Heroes are:

  • Barbara Liskov, computer science
  • Ellen Ochoa, electrical engineering
  • Walter Vincent, engineer degree

Please join us in congratulating our outstanding alumni!

Jennifer Widom, Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the SoE and the Fletcher Jones Professor in CS and EE
February 2019

Over the course of three decades, Jennifer Widom has seen computer science evolve from a relatively niche field to an interdisciplinary field that touches on broad swaths of society and promises solutions to global problems such as health care and sustainability.

On this episode of the Women in Data Science podcast, Widom explains that as computer science has become more broadly applicable, it has moved beyond the mere study of software and hardware. Today, she says it's about how you can use the methods and techniques in the discipline to solve problems in other fields.

Women in Data Science (WiDS) podcast welcomes Jennifer Widom, "Math, Computers, & Music"


Excerpted from Stanford Engineering Research & Ideas, "​Jennifer Widom: Computer science grows beyond engineering disciplines", February 19, 2019. 

professor emeritus Arogyaswami Paulraj
February 2019

Professor Emeritus Arogyaswami Paulraj has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 IEEE Radio Communications Committee (RCC) Technical Recognition Award. The award was conferred in December at the IEEE Globecom'18 in Abu Dhabi.

His award citation reads, "For seminal contributions to the theory and practice of multiantenna communications systems".

The Radio Communications Committee (RCC) Technical Recognition Award aims to promote radio communications research and development activities in both the academic and industrial community. This award is established as part of the RCC activities in which research and development takes place in areas related to radio communications. The award recognizes members of the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) who have made outstanding contributions to the technological advancement of radio communications.


Please join us in congratulating Paulraj for this well-deserved award!

professor emeritus thomas kailath
February 2019

Professor Emeritus Thomas Kailath has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 IEEE Radio Communications Committee (RCC) Technical Recognition Award. The award was conferred in December at the IEEE Globecom'18 in Abu Dhabi.

His award citation reads, "for exceptional contributions to research and education in radio communications".

The Radio Communications Committee (RCC) Technical Recognition Award aims to promote radio communications research and development activities in both the academic and industrial community. This award is established as part of the RCC activities in which research and development takes place in areas related to radio communications. The award recognizes members of the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) who have made outstanding contributions to the technological advancement of radio communications.


Congratulations to Tom on this well-deserved award!




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