News & Events


As artificial intelligence becomes mainstream, who will guide it?


In a recent Techer interview Electrical Engineering alumna Fei-Fei Li (PhD ’05) explains, “As we see artificial intelligence impacting the real world, it’s no longer a niche computer science, technical field. Policymakers, business leaders, educators, social scientists—they all need to take part and guide the future of A.I.” [Check out the full interview]

Tags: EE CMS alumni Fei-Fei Li

Alumnus to Exploring Ways to Tackle California’s Housing Crisis


Caltech has awarded the inaugural Milton and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize to EAS undergraduate alumnus, Sean McKenna (BS ’17, ACM) for his proposed project “Exploring Ways to Tackle California’s Housing Crisis.” McKenna plans to spend the next year connecting with residents, housing developers, homeless shelters, technology innovators, and policymakers in California and Washington, DC to learn more about the roots of the housing crisis. He is grateful for the “incredible amount of freedom" the Chang Prize will give him "to figure out how the skills and passions I developed at Caltech might translate into making a difference in the housing crisis, a problem that is very real for me, other Techers, and all residents of California.” [Alumni Association story]

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EE Alumnus on Forbes 30 Under 30 List


Fei Chen (BS ’11 EE) is on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for “building better microscopy technologies … that could help explain how complex tissues like the brain, made of a large collection of diverse cell types, are organized.” As an Electrical Engineering undergraduate student at Caltech Fei Chen was an Axline Merit Scholar for his outstanding record of personal and academic accomplishments. Currently he is a Principal Investigator at the Broad Institute, Harvard-MIT. [Forbes 30 Under 30 Full List]

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Learning Directly From Data Rather Than Human-Provided Expertise


Alumnus Yong Sheng Soh (PhD ’18, ACM), advised by Professor Venkat Chandrasekaran, has won the 2018 INFORMS Optimization Society Student Prize for his paper entitled Learning Semidefinite-Representable Regularizers. Regularization-based algorithms are widely used in the solution of data-driven inverse problems arising in statistics, operations research, signal processing, and machine learning. These approaches typically require a great deal of prior domain-specific expertise about the structure of the underlying problem. Such expertise is especially challenging to obtain in the modern era of 'Big Data' in which our ability to sense all manner of phenomena and produce massive datasets far exceeds our ability to understand the underlying mechanisms governing the phenomena. In his award-winning work, which has been accepted for publication at the Journal of the Foundations of Computational Mathematics, Yong Sheng has developed a new framework for learning suitable regularization methods directly from data rather from human-provided expertise. [INFORMS Optimization Society Award] [Read the paper]

Tags: honors CMS alumni Venkat Chandrasekaran Yong Sheng Soh

Caltech Startup Aims to Make Solar Panels More Efficient


Translational technology developed in Professor Harry A. Atwater’s laboratory seeks to improve the efficiency of solar panels by tweaking the architecture of the metal-grid layout of individual cells. The new startup company—ETC Solar, LLC—which is marketing the technology, took first place at the DOE's 2018 Cleantech University Prize national collegiate business plan competition in Houston. "To have been selected as a winner is a huge point of validation for the concept, both the innovation and also the impact," says Professor Atwater, who is also a co-founder of ETC Solar along with Thomas Russell, and Rebecca Saive. "It has helped us to make contacts with potential industrial partners and private equity investors," [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS honors research highlights Harry Atwater alumni Thomas Russell Rebecca Saive

Alumna Wins Woman of the Year Award


CMS alumna, Ashley Williams, was named 2018 Woman of the Year by the Aerospace Corporation. Dr. Williams received her Caltech PhD in 2011 and was advised by Professors Jerry Marsden, Richard Murray, and Mathieu Desbrun. Currently she is the director of the Studies and Analyses Office at the Aerospace Corporation. [Dr. Williams’ Caltech thesis]

Tags: honors CMS Jerrold Marsden Mathieu Desbrun alumni Richard Murray Ashley Williams

Student-Built Satellite Telescope Prepares for Space


After nearly a decade of work, a modular reconfigurable space telescope designed by students in the Ae 105 Aerospace Engineering class is nearly ready to launch. That telescope, which came to be known as AAReST (Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope), was designed and built in large part by the students in the class, working in collaboration with the Surrey Space Centre in England and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology. Professor Pellegrino says that the students working on AAReST have learned how to collaborate across continents and gained skills that will continue to serve them for years to come. In addition, he says, he's proud to have given several generations of aerospace students the opportunity to work on a real space mission. When the mission launches in 2019, dozens of past and present Caltech students—along with their collaborators nearby and abroad—will be watching and holding their breath to see whether their hard work pays off. [Caltech story]

Tags: GALCIT alumni Sergio Pellegrino AAReST

A Network of Support


Early in his freshman year CMS and BEM alumnus Ramsathwick “Sathwick” Pathireddy (BS ’17) realized just how challenging a Caltech workload could be and turned to his housemates and friends for help. “When I had questions about time management, what classes to take, or what internships to go for, I always had someone to talk to,” Sathwick says. [Breakthrough story]

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For the Record


CMS alumnus Ramruthwick “Ruthwick” Pathireddy (BS ’17) is described as curious, ambitious, and rigorous. “When people talk about Caltech, they think of students studying really hard,” Ruthwick says. “While we do study hard, there’s more to it than that. I don’t think people realize the social opportunities that are available here, how enriching the activities are, and how close the entire undergraduate community is. It’s really like a family.” [Breakthrough story]

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2018 Caltech Distinguished Alumni


Caltech has recognized three Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. Gary Demos (BS '71, Engineering and Applied Science), Gary A. Flandro (MS '60, PhD '67, Aeronautics), and Ronald H. Willens (BS '53 Physics, MS '54 Mechanical Engineering, PhD '61 Engineering Science). Demos was recognized “for his pioneering achievement in the development of computer-generated images (CGI) for use in motion pictures, and in digital film scanning and recording.” Flandro was recognized for “his seminal contributions to the design and engineering of multi-outer-planet missions, including the Grand Tour, the course set for the epic explorations of the Voyager spacecraft.” Willens was honored for “his innovative and revolutionary contributions to advanced internet connectivity and telecommunications. He pioneered the Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service (RADIUS) as an access server authentication and accounting protocol, which was adapted by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards.” [Caltech story] [Techer article]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE alumni Gary Demos Gary Flandro Ronald Willens