Weekly Memo

April 8, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

Our faculty members and students continue to shine.

Eby Friedman, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will fly to Beijing in May to receive the Charles A. Desoer Technical Achievement Award from the Circuits and Systems (CAS) Society, one of the oldest and most important societies within IEEE. This is CAS' premiere technical achievement award, honoring exceptional technical contributions to a field within the scope of the CAS Society that have been consistently evident over a period of years. Contributions are documented by publications (including but not limited to patents) and based on originality and continuity of effort. Eby's achievements in the field of high performance integrated circuit design include a high citation rate, over 400 publications, 16 books, 12 patents and many examples of how his research has impacted the semiconductor industry, including multiple products developed by many companies. Congratulations Eby!

Congratulations as well to Kai Shen, associate professor of computer science, and Michael Huang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, for receiving a joint NSF/Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) grant (with $207,000 funding from the NSF and $138,000 expected funding from the SRC) to develop a new system to protect against computer system memory errors caused by manufacturing defects, device aging, or particle strikes from cosmic-ray-induced neutrons.

Two of this year's NSF graduate fellowships have been awarded to Optics majors: Sarah Walters ('13) and Patrick Gregg ('11), now a PhD student in electrical engineering at Boston University. This is the country's oldest fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in STEM fields. Sarah and Patrick should both be proud of this accomplishment; we certainly are!

Scientist Igor Igumenshchev and his colleagues at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics are proposing a way to remedy a major source of energy loss in laser driven fusion. The energy loss -- up to 20 percent in the direct-drive concept studied at LLE -- occurs when laser beams exchange energy with each other as they overlap in plasma. Igumenshchev's team has used simulations showing this energy loss could be remedied by adjusting the spot size of the lasers during the laser pulse as they interact with their target, by developing a "zooming phase plate." If so, we would be that much closer to the ultimate goal: Achieving ignition for self-sustaining fusion reactions that could, in effect, provide an inexhaustible supply of energy. Click here to read more.

Here's an important reminder: Students, either as individuals or as teams, have until April 22 to submit business plans for the Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition, which was created to encourage undergraduate engineering and applied science students to consider the commercial potential of their design project or research. The plans, for technical businesses, are often based on senior design projects. Last year, total prize money of more than $8,000 was awarded for the top projects. Groups can also choose to submit their plan to the Mark Ain Business Model Competition, whose top prize was $10,000. Final presentations are Friday, May 3. For more information call 276-3500 or e-mail Maureen Konopka.

And be sure to take a look at a new publication highlighting Big Data research at the UR, including the work of four Hajim School faculty members. Special thanks to Henry Kautz of Computer Science for organizing this and to Matthew Blackwell of Political Science; Huaxia Rui of the Simon School; Vincent Silenzio and Robert Strawderman at the Medical Center; Brendan Mort of the Center for Integrated Research Computing; Axel Wismueller of Biomedical Engineering; Rajeez Raizada (soon to join Brain and Cognitive Sciences), and Daniel Gildea, Jiebo Luo and Kautz of Computer Science, all of whose research or supportive roles are profiled. A team at University Communications did a super job of pulling this all together.

As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean