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Counting L.A.’s Trees

07-27-16

Professor Pietro Perona, has developed a method using Google Earth and Google Street View to count the trees in the city of Los Angeles. The process of counting the trees using human tree counters is very expensive and would cost about $3 million today. The last time the city did such counting was more than two decades ago and at the time there were 700,000 street trees. Perona has tested the methodology in a section of Pasadena where the city recently commissioned a sidewalk survey. By comparing the results to the known inventory, he determined that the computer was about 80% accurate. [LA Times story] [KPCC story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Pietro Perona

Professor Doyle Receives Test of Time Paper Award

07-13-16

John Doyle, Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering, and colleagues have received the ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Paper Award for their paper, A first-principles approach to understanding the Internet's router-level topology. The award recognizes papers published 10 to 12 years in the past that is deemed to be an outstanding paper whose contents are still a vibrant and useful contribution today. [List of recipients]

Tags: EE honors CMS John Doyle

122nd Commencement Ceremony

06-10-16

Caltech’s 122nd commencement ceremony was held on Friday June 10, 2016. The commencement speaker was surgeon, writer, and public health researcher Atul Gawande, MD, MPH. He reminded the graduates that, “today, you become part of the scientific community, arguably the most powerful collective enterprise in human history. In doing so, you also inherit a role in explaining it and helping it reclaim territory of trust at a time when that territory has been shrinking.” He also cautioned them and explained, “the mistake … is to believe that the educational credentials you get today give you any special authority on truth. What you have gained is far more important: an understanding of what real truth-seeking looks like. It is the effort not of a single person but of a group of people—the bigger the better—pursuing ideas with curiosity, inquisitiveness, openness, and discipline.” [The Mistrust of Science]

Tags: Commencement Atul Gawande

Winners of the 2016 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes Announced

06-09-16

The student winners of the 2016 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prizes were announced at a special dinner with the Demetriades - Tsafka – Kokkalis family. Rachel P. Galimidi received the prize in Biotechnology for her work with Professor Pamela Bjorkman aimed to further understand the mechanism of HIV evasion of the humoral immune response. Junle Jiang was the recipient of the prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection for his work with Nadia Lapusta which used probabilistic inversion tools to understand the deep-ocean trench generated tsunamis that occurred during the subduction-zone earthquakes in Japan and Chile. Yinglu Tang working with Dr. Jeff Snyder received the prize in Environmentally Benign Renewable Energy Sources for her work on thermoelectric skutterudites for mid-temperature applications such as automotive waste heat recovery. The second winner in this category was Changhong Zhao who worked with Professor Steven Low to study the control and optimization of modern electric power systems. The winner of the prize in Nanotechnology was Gustavo Rios whose research involves development of a modular, scalable, nanofabricated neural probe system for dense 3-D electrophysiology to study animal brains. Rio’s graduate advisor was Professor Thanos Siapas. The prize in Entrepreneurship was given to Anton A. Toutov who was advised by Professor Robert Grubbs. His research interests lie in using fundamental chemistry to development radically new, sustainable ways to make everyday chemical products and generate clean energy.

Tags: APhMS EE honors MedE MCE CMS Jeff Snyder Nadia Lapusta Steven Low Robert Grubbs CNS Junle Jiang Rachel P. Galimidi Pamela Bjorkman Yinglu Tang Changhong Zhao Gustavo Rios Thanos Siapas Anton Toutov

Professor Vaidyanathan Receives Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching

06-08-16

P. P. Vaidyanathan, Professor of Electrical Engineering, is the recipient of the 2016 Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The Prize is awarded to an EAS professor who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching. A nomination for Professor Vaidynathan read, “he has been an incredibly talented, dedicated, consistent, and responsible teacher throughout his career at Caltech. He is simply a great teacher who not only does a great job of conveying pertinent and important material to the students, but also spends the time to convey the thought process.” One of the students in his course stated, “this is one of the best-taught courses at Caltech. Period. That's especially nice since signals and systems are such important topics. He is a great professor and lecturer. His lectures are extremely well-organized, and you never leave a lecture not understanding the concepts he discussed.”

Tags: EE honors P. P. Vaidyanathan

Roarke Horstmeyer Wins Charles Wilts Prize

06-07-16

Roarke Horstmeyer, advised by Professor Changhuei Yang is the winner of this year’s Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis “Computational microscopy: turning megapixels into gigapixels.” The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.

Tags: EE honors Changhuei Yang Wilts Prize Roarke Horstmeyer

Smaller Chips May Depend on Vacuum Tube Technology

06-05-16

A recent New York Times article featured Caltech alumnus, Gordon Moore (PhD ’54), and the research of Professor Axel Scherer on ultrasmall vacuum tube as a candidate to replace the transistor. [Read the article]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights CMS Gordon Moore Axel Scherer

Lidan Yu Receives 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

06-01-16

Electrical Engineering student Lidan Yu, mentored by Professor Michelle Effros, is a recipient of the 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. She enjoys the breadth and depth of the Electrical Engineering program at Caltech. Over the summer she will be working on a behavioral economics project with Professor Colin Camerer supported by the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: EE honors Henry Ford II Scholar Award Michelle Effros Lidan Yu

Caltech’s Smart Charging Network for Electrical Vehicles

04-24-16

Charging electric vehicles (EVs) can require a substantial amount of electricity (most EVs charge at 7 kilowatts, the equivalent of simultaneously running 70 desktop computers). Steven Low, Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, has developed Caltech's adaptive charging network, which uses a smart algorithm to coordinate the charging schedule with the Institute's existing electrical infrastructure. This program helps minimize energy usage and about 30 percent of the electricity at each charging station is from carbon-free renewable sources. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE energy research highlights CMS Steven Low

New Caltech Trustees

03-28-16

Two distinguished leaders in the computing industry—Michelle "Mich" Mathews-Spradlin, and Sabeer Bhatia (BS '91, EE)—have been elected to the Caltech Board of Trustees.  Mich Mathews-Spradlin is an angel investor, primarily in the technology sector. She previously served as a top executive at Microsoft Corp., beginning her career in 1989 as a United Kingdom–based consultant and then joining the company in the United States in 1993.  Sabeer Bhatia, a pioneer of web-based email, is cofounder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Sabse Technologies Inc., a mobile-telecommunications company. He was the cofounder of Hotmail Corporation, guiding that company's rise from a 1996 start-up into one of the world's largest email providers. Microsoft acquired Hotmail in 1998, eventually turning it into Microsoft Outlook. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE CMS alumni Caltech Trustees