Wireless ‘pacemaker for the brain’ could be new standard treatment for neurological disorders

A new neurostimulator, described in a paper co-authored by EE Prof. Jan Rabaey, Prof. Jose Carmena, Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller, grad students Andy Zhou, George Alexandrov and Ali Moin, and alumnus Fred Burghardt (B.S. '92/M.S. '94), in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, works like a “pacemaker for the brain" to both monitor electrical activity and therapeutically stimulate electric current to the brain at the same time.  The device, named the WAND, could potentially deliver fine-tuned treatments to patients with diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s.  Muller's research is part of the CZ Biohub, a division of the $5 billion Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.   Rikky Muller and Jose Carmena are both scheduled to present their work at the 2019 BEARS symposium in February titled "The Future of Medicine: An EECS Perspective."

All four 2019 EECS student nominees recognized by CRA

All four students who were nominated for Computing Research Association (CRA) Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Awards in 2019 were recognized:  Dibya Ghosh (nominated by Sergey Levine), Hong Jun Jeon (nominated by Anca Dragan), and  Jonathan Lee (nominated by Ken Goldberg) were named as finalists, and Annie Xie (nominated by Sergey Levine) was named a runner up.  The CRA award program recognizes undergraduate students in North American colleges and universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research.

How Michael Brenndoerfer started a company while going to school full-time

Michael Brenndoerfer, now a Senior Software Engineer at Fitbit, founded a cryptocurrency brokerage platform called Cryptonite last year while pursuing his EECS Master of Engineering (MEng) degree full-time.  The Cryptonite platform allows people to trade every cryptocurrency directly with USD and manage all their coins in one place.  “For the last two or three months of the program, I was basically awake for 35–40 hours straight and then got one regular night of sleep, maybe. It was intense,” Brenndoerfer said.

Rohan Lageweg and Bozhi Yin win EE140/240A Keysight student design competition

Students Rohan Lageweg (a senior joint majoring in EECS/MSE) and Bozhi Yin (first year EECS grad) have won an Analog Integrated Circuits class design competition sponsored by Keysight technologies,  for EE140 and EE240A respectively. The students designed low-power and high-speed LCD display drivers for a smartwatch display for the classes taught by Assistant Prof. Rikky Muller. Competition finalists gave presentations to a guest judges from Keysight. Lageweg and Yan won hand-held digital multimeters generously donated by Keysight.

Connie Chang-Hasnain elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

EE Prof. and alumna Constance Chang-Hasnain (M.S. '84/Ph.D. '87, adviser: John Whinnery) has been elected to the 2018 class of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).  Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.  Chang-Hasnain's research interests range from semiconductor optoelectronic devices to materials and physics, with current foci on nano-photonic materials and devices for chip-scale integrated optics.  She is presently serving as Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances in the College of Engineering as well as the Chair of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Graduate Group.

Bin Yu looks at AlphaZero

CS Prof. Bin Yu was interviewed by PBS Nova about AlphaZero, Google’s self-teaching artificial intelligence software.   The article probes whether there's more to human intelligence than can be mastered by learning how to win games--which AlphaZero can teach itself to do in a matter of hours.   The process requires a great deal of computing power and uses a lot more energy than the human brain.  Yu observes that absolute energy consumption must be considered when evaluating the software, although AlphZero is clearly very fast and flexible.   “It’s impressive that AlphaZero was able to use the same architecture for three different games,” she says.

"Mother of All Demos" 50th anniversary

On December 9, 2018, the Computer History Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous presentation by alumnus Douglas Engelbart dubbed the "Mother of All Demos."  On December 9, 1968, Engelbart (BS ‘52/MS ‘53/Ph.D. '55, adviser: Paul Morton) demonstrated real-time human interaction with a computer for the first time.  His radical presentation introduced the world to the computer mouse, word processing, and clickable hypertext links, and became the benchmark for how entrepreneurs pitch ideas to investors.  The museum is holding an all-day symposium to honor the event.

Eli Yablonovitch wins 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering

EE Prof. Eli Yablonovitch has won the prestigious 2019 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering.  The Franklin Institute Awards recognize outstanding achievements in science and invention.  Yablonovitch, who discovered light-trapping “photonic crystals” and developed “photonic bandgap structures” in the 1980s,  was cited "for widely-used scientific improvements to radio- and light-based technologies in wireless communications and solar energy applications."

Interview with Carmel Majidi, researcher of 'artificial skin'

EE alumnus Carmel Majidi (M.S. '04/Ph.D. '07, adviser: Ron Fearing), now an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon,  is the subject of a SiliconRepublic interview titled "Scientific research is not the only way to discover new technologies."  Majidi is attempting to create ‘artificial’ skin and soft machines inspired by the natural world. "I’m interested in building machines and robots that match the extraordinary ability of natural organisms to change shape, adapt their functionality and recover from damage. This has led me to work on new types of materials that allow sensors, electronics and actuators to share the same properties as natural skin, nervous tissue and muscle." he says.

Kim Keeton and Tom Funkhouser named ACM Fellows

Computer Science alumni Kimberly Keeton (M.S. '94/Ph.D. '99, adviser: David Patterson) and Thomas Funkhouser (M.S. '89/Ph.D. '93, adviser: Carlo Séquin) have been elected 2018 Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).  Keeton, who works at Hewlett Packard Laboratories, was elected "For contributions to improving the dependability, manageability, and usability of storage and novel memory."  Funkhouser, of Princeton University and Google, was elected "For research contributions in computer graphics."