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.

2020

image of Prof. Paulraj
April 2020

Congratulations to Professor Arogyaswami J. Paulraj for his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock, and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good.

Two hundred and forty years later, the Academy continues to dedicate itself to recognizing excellence and relying on expertise – both of which seem more important than ever.

"The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms," said Academy President David W. Oxtoby. "With today's election announcement, these new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy's work to advance the public good."

 

Please join us in congratulating Paulraj on this well-deserved recognition.

 

Excerpted from AAAS 2020 Member Announcement.

 

Related News

image of EE 276 students in the main quad
April 2020

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Tsachy Weissman's Information Theory class transformed their in-person outreach event into a digital version. The students prepared videos that present an aspect of information theory, geared toward middle school students. EE276 students could also create blog entries as part of their coursework.

Students from EE276 created videos for middle school students in lieu of the planned in-person outreach event.

The outreach goal of the class is to teach middle school students a range of topics related to information theory. Some teams talk about mapping political landscapes while others delve into the theory of code breaking. Some groups demonstrate military applications when flying jets and others show information theory through Fortnite (https://www.epicgames.com). Each video presentation is unique and appeal to various interests and learning styles of students in middle school.

Tsachy and EE276 students encourage the use of their videos and blogs to help teach and understand concepts in information theory. Outreach project videos are listed below, those with related blogs are also included.

image of prof. Shan X. Wang
April 2020

Professor Shan X. Wang helped author a paper titled, "A mountable toilet system for personalized health monitoring via the analysis of excreta" that was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

The 'smart toilet' is fitted with technology that can detect a range of disease markers in stool and urine, including those of some cancers, such as colorectal or urologic cancers. The device could be particularly appealing to individuals who are genetically predisposed to certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, prostate cancer or kidney failure, and want to keep on top of their health.

"Our concept dates back well over 15 years," said lead author Sanjiv "Sam" Gambhir, professor and chair of radiology. "When I'd bring it up, people would sort of laugh because it seemed like an interesting idea, but also a bit odd." With a pilot study of 21 participants now completed, Gambhir and his team have made their vision of a precision health-focused smart toilet a reality.

Gambhir's toilet is an ordinary toilet outfitted with gadgets inside the bowl. These tools, a suite of different technologies, use motion sensing to deploy a mixture of tests that assess the health of any deposits. Urine samples undergo physical and molecular analysis; stool assessment is based on physical characteristics.

The toilet automatically sends data extracted from any sample to a secure, cloud-based system for safekeeping. In the future, the system could be integrated into any health care provider's record-keeping system for quick and easy access.

 

Excerpted from "'Smart toilet' monitors for signs of disease," Stanford Medicine News Center, April 2020

 

Related

prof Andrea Goldsmith
April 2020

By Tom Abate, School of Engineering

After 21 years as a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, Andrea Goldsmith has been named dean of Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, effective September 1.

"A piece of my heart will always remain at Stanford," said Goldsmith, who has supervised 27 doctoral students and 23 postdoctoral scholars, in addition to serving as a former chair of the Faculty Senate, and current member of that body, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance and of the University Budget Group.

Goldsmith, who received her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, taught at the California Institute of Technology before joining the Stanford faculty in 1999. She was named the Stephen Harris Professor of Engineering in 2012.

A leader in the fields of information theory and communications, Goldsmith helped lay the mathematical foundations for increasing the capacity, speed and range of wireless systems, and among her 29 patents are many inventions central to cell phone and Wi-Fi networks. Through her affiliation with Stanford's Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Goldsmith has continued to explore the interdisciplinary ramifications of some of the theories and principles she discovered in her communications and signal processing research.

As a scholar, she has been the author, co-author or editor of six books, and has produced hundreds of journal papers and conference publications and papers. Among her many professional affiliations, she has served on the Board of Governors for the IEEE Information Theory Society and the IEEE Communications Society, and as president of the IEEE Information Theory Society. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, two of the highest honors in U.S. academia.

An advocate for increased diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in academia and the tech industry, Goldsmith served on the Stanford Faculty Women's Forum Steering Committee, a group focused on improving recruitment, retention, support and overall satisfaction of women faculty, and serves as founding chair of the IEEE Board of Directors Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Ethics.

On the business front, Goldsmith co-founded a company that produces chips for high-performance Wi-Fi systems, which went public in 2016, and later co-founded a privately held firm that makes home Wi-Fi mesh networks. In addition to serving as a technical advisor to two companies, she sits on the board of directors of Medtronic, a medical device maker, and Crown Castle, a communications infrastructure company.

"I am deeply grateful to my esteemed faculty colleagues and my brilliant and passionate students and postdocs for the honor and privilege of working with them these last 21 years," Goldsmith said. "I am also grateful to my department and school for providing the framework in which my research and teaching could thrive. Stanford's innovative spirit and constant quest for excellence and impact, coupled with its thoughtful and wise faculty and leaders, have been a source of inspiration throughout my time here."

As dean at Princeton, she will oversee a school comprising six departments and four research centers, and will oversee new initiatives in bioengineering, data science and robotics, among others.

"I know I speak for all of us in the School of Engineering when I say we will miss Andrea greatly," said Jennifer Widom, the Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the School of Engineering and the Fletcher Jones Professor in Computer Science and professor of electrical engineering.

"Simply put, she is an extraordinary scholar, educator and university citizen. Her outstanding innovative research and mentorship, commitment to diversity, and leadership in a range of significant university-wide committees and working groups have set an example for us all," Widom said. "We are proud of all that she has accomplished, and we know that the students, faculty and staff at Princeton's School of Engineering and Applied Science are incredibly fortunate that she will be their new dean."

 

Please join us in congratulating Andrea on her exciting future at Princeton!

Professor Chelsea Finn
April 2020

Professor Chelsea Finn studies intelligence through robotic interaction at scale, and is affiliated with SAIL and the Statistical ML Group. In addition to teaching, she does research projects with her PhD students, and runs her lab. She also does research work with the Google Brain Team.

She was interviewed by Synced as part of their 'Women in AI' special project. Modified excerpts from that article follow. 

Chelsea graduated with her Bachelor's in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and completed her PhD in computer science at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation "Learning to Learn with Gradients" won the 2018 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award.

Chelsea is actively concerned about the broad impacts of underrepresentation. "I worry about people feeling like they don't fit in, that there aren't people that look like them in a place," she said.

At a young age, Chelsea really enjoyed solving puzzles and problems, and with both parents being engineers she knew that engineering was one way to do that. Chelsea chose to major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering because she believed that would leave many doors open for her to try different things later down the line. As she became more and more drawn to robotics, machine learning, and AI, she realized the need to go to grad school and do research if she hoped to make new advances and develop new algorithms.

Chelsea says when she started her PhD she wasn't planning to stay in academia because making products in the industry was more appealing. But things didn't go as planned when she later realized the greater long-term impact she could have through research and teaching.

Currently Chelsea helps pair undergrads with grad students in AI so that they can learn firsthand what grad school is like, what's exciting about doing research, and steps they should consider if they are interested in research and AI. 

She has also been helping with other outreach programs for high school students through AI4ALL, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion in AI education, research, development, and policy. The nonprofit was co-founded in 2015 by Professor Fei-Fei Li. The first program that the team launched was SAILORS — a summer outreach program for high school girls to learn about human-centered AI.

Chelsea is also well aware that it takes time for any trends to really lead to concrete, measurable improvement, especially since the number of women studying or pursuing a career in computer science has remained low over the past decade.

It's still a work in progress, and fixing the pipeline isn't the entire problem, she added. "I think there's still more that can be improved — in terms of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment."

 

Excerpted from Synced, "Women in AI | Chelsea Finn: 'I Certainly Feel Like a Minority'" March 30, 2020


 

Related

image of professor Krishna Shenoy
April 2020

Researchers from Professor Krishna Shenoy's Group: Saurabh Vyas (Bioengineering PhD candidate), Daniel O'Shea (EE postdoctoral researcher), and Professor Stephen Ryu, M.D. have found that the brain is deeply interested in what happens before you make a movement. Their paper was published in cell.com's Neuron.

Existing theories focus on the practice part — the repetition — not the preparation.
In fact, prior to this study, neuroscientists had no reason to think this preparatory state played any part in learning, says Krishna Shenoy. "We're saying that preparation not only has something to do with learning, it might actually be one of the biggest parts of it," adds Krishna who is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

To arrive at this new understanding, the researchers explored how monkeys learn a relatively simple motion: how to use a videogame joystick. In a series of experiments, they first trained the monkeys to use the joystick to direct a computer cursor toward a target on the screen. Next, the scientists altered how the joystick worked so that when the monkeys moved the joystick in the direction they thought was upward or leftward or rightward, the cursor moved in a different direction than expected. Thus, the animals had to learn to move the joysticks anew to get the cursor to the target.

Saurabh Vyas uses an analogy to explain the significance of these findings. Imagine LeBron practicing free throws. He shoots the ball, and gets close, and his learning system uses the error to make some changes in the brain. But if his brain activity is disrupted during the planning period — or he doesn't take an instant to pre-visualize the shot — his next attempt will not do as well because he wasn't mindful enough during the critical, pre-movement period.

These findings significantly advance our understanding of the neurological underpinnings of learning. It has long been known that motor and other areas in the brain become active prior to movement. During this preparatory phase, brain activity reflects precise details of how the body should complete a movement.

Consequently, giving the mind more time to prepare — more time to visualize the task at hand — substantially improves learning. From a purely practical standpoint, the findings could reshape how athletes, artists, musicians or anyone who moves their body gets better at what they do.

Ultimately, Krishna and Saurabh hope to apply this new understanding to their specialty: developing prosthetic devices that are controlled by chips implanted in the brain that transform an individual's thoughts into movement. Krishna adds, "The more we understand about how the brain learns new motor skills and performs movement calculations, the more lifelike and realistic we can make thought-controlled prosthetics."

 

Excerpted from Stanford Engineering,"A team of scientists explore how the brain trains muscles to move" February 26, 2020.

 

Related

image of Cindy Nguyen, EE PhD candidate and Prof. Tsachy Weissman
March 2020

A collaboration on image compression between researchers and three high school students found human-powered image sharing proved more effective than an algorithm's work. Professor Tsachy Weissman realized the algorithm had hundreds of thousands of human engineering hours, but didn't include human-centric factors that three high schoolers had.

 

This was the seed for STEM to SHTEM– an internship program for high school students whose various backgrounds, brings tremendous benefit to the research collaboration.

 

The STEM to SHTEM program kicked off in 2019. 

All of the projects from summer 2019 are included in the "Journal for High Schoolers" which was produced by last year's interns and mentors. Several projects have resulted in papers submitted to scholarly journals, with one planning to be presented at the Human-Robot Interaction Conference in spring. The work also lives on in new collaborations between other research groups who may have remained unacquainted if not for STEM to SHTEM.

Professor Weissman, PhD candidates Cindy Nguyen and Kedar Tatwawadi are currently figuring out what workshops and presentations they and their colleagues can give to the interns this summer. Their goal is to offer sessions that are educational, fun and encouraging.

"During the process of designing what the program would look like, I thought about my experiences as a high school intern and as a first-generation, low-income undergraduate," said Cindy Nguyen (EE PhD candidate). "Being able to give other students the opportunity that I had is such a privilege."

With the program open for applications, the team hopes to draw broad interest from students – including those who lack confidence in their STEM skills, whose talents lie outside STEM or who aren't yet sure about their future academic plans after high school. The program also offers some financial support to students who would otherwise be unable to participate.

"We aim to give every student a taste of the college adventure," said Kedar Tatwawadi (EE PhD candidate). "It could inspire them to take that adventure on and, perhaps, they will even go for graduate studies."


2019 mentors and collaborators included producer and director Devon Baur, sketch artist Frank Hom, and professors Srabanti Chowdhury, Subhasish Mitra, Dorsa Sadigh, Debbie Senesky and Gordon Wetzstein, and the members of their labs.

Note on COVID-19 and STEM to SHTEM program: We plan to proceed with the program for the time being. If needed, we intend to take the program fully online (e.g. weekly lectures via video, mentoring meetings online, etc.) and possibly adapt the start and end date of the program to fit the summer schedules of high schools that are currently dismissed.


Related

image of Prof. Goldsmith, framer of NAE's diversity statement
March 2020

Approved by NAE Council in early February, the statement, definitions and goals establish a clear framework relevant to NAE members, staff and volunteers.

Members of NAE's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion are Aziz I. Asphahani, Lauren Bartolozzi, Corale L. Brierley (committee chair), David E. Daniel, Andrea Goldsmith, Wesley L. Harris, Enrique J. Lavernia, Julia M. Phillips and Wanda A. Sigur.

In addition to the statement, the committee established goals and how they will be implemented and measured. Complete definitions and goal details are available on NAE.edu.

 

Please join us in embracing the important work being done by the NAE to promote a vibrant and diverse engineering profession.

National Academy of Engineering's Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Statement and Goals

The National Academy of Engineering requires and values the diversity of its members, staff, volunteers, and others who seek to contribute and recognizes inclusion and equity are vital to ensure all viewpoints, perspectives, and talents are brought to bear in addressing our nation's critical engineering and technology challenges and promoting a vibrant engineering profession.

Goal 1: Embrace Diversity
Goal 2: Drive Inclusion
Goal 3: Expect Equity

Read full statement on NAE.edu


Related News

image of Professor Pat Hanrahan, 2019 Turing Award winner
March 2020

Congratulations to professor Pat Hanrahan and Ed Catmull

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) named Pat Hanrahan and Edwin (Ed) Catmull recipients of the 2019 ACM A.M. Turing Award for fundamental contributions to 3-D computer graphics, and revolutionary impact of these techniques on computer-generated imagery (CGI) in filmmaking and other applications.

Pat Hanrahan, Canon Professor in the School of Engineering, said "The announcement came totally out of the blue and I am very proud to accept the Turing Award. It is a great honor, but I must give credit to a generation of computer graphics researchers and practitioners whose work and ideas influenced me over the years."

"All of us at Stanford are tremendously proud of Pat and his accomplishments, and I am delighted that he and his colleague Ed Catmull are being recognized with the prestigious Turing Award," said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. "Pat has made pioneering contributions to the field of computer graphics. His work has had a profound impact on filmmaking and has created new artistic possibilities in film, video games, virtual reality and more."

The ACM A.M. Turing Award, often referred to as the "Nobel Prize of Computing," carries a $1 million prize, with financial support provided by Google, Inc. It is named for Alan M. Turing, the British mathematician who articulated the mathematical foundation and limits of computing.

Please join us in congratulating Pat and Ed on receiving the 2019 ACM A.M. Turing Award.

 

Excerpted from ACM Turing Award and news.stanford.edu/2020/03/18/pat-hanrahan-wins-turing-award/

 

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Image credit: Andrew Brodhead

image of Meo Kittiwanich, 2020 Shah Award winner
March 2020

Congratulations to Meo Kittiwaniwich, director of student and academic affairs, at Stanford's Department of Electrical Engineering (EE). Meo manages EE's student services team that oversees admissions, degree progress, course scheduling and financial aid.

The Shah Award recognizes School of Engineering staff for outstanding competence, dedication, and accomplishments. Engineering Dean Jennifer Widom stated in her announcement, "We are fortunate to have a superb staff at Stanford Engineering, so selecting the winners is never an easy task! Please join me in congratulating these outstanding individuals and thanking them for their commitment and service to the school."

Excerpts from Meo's nominators include, "Meo has always been a wonderful, collaborative colleague. But this past year she was the "quiet anchor" in the midst of intense challenges." Colleagues also cited Meo's calm compassion for all of those in our community, as well as her knowledge of the university, and a collaborative style that make her "an amazing and important colleague."

 

Please join us in congratulating Meo on her tremendous commitment to EE, her colleagues, and Stanford's students.

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