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Engineers Model the California Reservoir Network

11-22-17

Professor Venkat Chandrasekaran and graduate student Armeen Taeb have developed an empirical statewide model of the California reservoir network. This work offers reservoir managers insight on how to plan and respond to drought conditions. "The bread and butter of hydrology is using physical laws to describe water phenomena. But the behavior of these reservoirs is not solely determined by physical laws of the water cycle, but also by demands and what these reservoirs are being used for," Taeb explains. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights CMS Venkat Chandrasekaran Armeen Taeb

The Microscopic Origin of Efficiency Droop in LEDs

11-20-17

Marco Bernardi, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science, and his colleagues’ semiconductor research has shown that the coupling between electrons and thermal vibrations may be sapping energy from Light-emitting diodes—or LEDs. "Our work shows for the first time that the ever-present interaction between electrons with lattice vibrations can, by itself, explain why excited electrons can leak out of the active layer and account for inefficiencies in GaN LEDs," Professor Bernardi says. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Marco Bernardi

Professor Rosakis Named AAAS Fellow

11-20-17

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This year's 396 AAAS fellows have been recognized for their "scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications," according to the AAAS. Professor Rosakis was specifically recognized for his “distinguished contributions in the field of aeronautics and mechanical engineering, particularly for fracture mechanics of materials ranging from thin films to earthquakes.” [Caltech story]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis AAAS

Best Paper At IEEE Undergraduate Conference

11-15-17

Undergraduate students Peter Kundzicz, Suraj Nair, and Anshul Ramachandran, have won the the Best Paper Presentation Award at the 2017 IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference. Their paper won out of 60 invited papers from across the United States. The paper entitled "Annotated Reconstruction of 3D Spaces via Drones" was inspired by work they did in a Caltech computational vision course (EE/CNS/CS 148) and a robotics course (ME/CS133). [Read the paper]

Tags: honors CMS Peter Kundzicz Suraj Nair Anshul Ramachandran

Engineers Create Stable Plasma Ring in Open Air

11-13-17

For the first time, Professor Morteza Gharib and colleagues have created a stable ring of plasma in open air using just a stream of water and a crystal plate. The team fired the water jet at surfaces of different textures and found that the smoother the surface, the clearer the structure of the plasma ring. The ring is stable, and as long as the water continues to flow, the ring maintains its shape and size. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE Morteza Gharib

Professor Desbrun Interviews Pixar President and Pixar Animation Senior Scientist

10-27-17

Listen to Professor Mathieu Desbrun’s conversation about the history and future of computer graphics research with Ed Catmull (co-founder, Pixar Animation Studios; president, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios) and Tony DeRose (senior scientist, Pixar Animation Studios). [SIGGRAPH Spotlight: Episode 6]

Tags: research highlights CMS Mathieu Desbrun

Laser-Imaging Technology Brought into Focus

10-26-17

Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, and colleagues have improved a technique for taking three-dimensional (3-D) microscopic images of tissue, allowing them to see inside living creatures with greater precision than before. "This gives us the ability to look through opaque materials and see what's inside," Professor Wang says. "It's like an extension of the human eye, like Superman's X-ray vision."  [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights MedE Lihong Wang

Writing Center Expands Tutoring to Include Assistance with STEM Assignments

10-25-17

Caltech's Hixon Writing Center team has expanded to include two STEM writing specialists, Christina Birch who has a PhD in biological engineering from MIT and Erin Burkett who has a PhD in geophysics from UC Davis. Hixon director Susanne Hall describes, “now a student in any scientific discipline can come into the writing center and get help on their academic writing from a tutor with firsthand experience of the styles and genres of scientific communication." The center has also begun a partnership with the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) to bring STEM writing instruction directly into classrooms. "Communication is of fundamental importance for students today, but it's hard to learn in isolation," Professor Adam Wierman says. "Being able to partner with Hixon to embed writing and communication into my course allowed us to teach students at the moment they needed it.” [Caltech story] [ENGenious snap shot on new EAS course E111]

Tags: CMS Adam Wierman Christina Birch Erin Burkett Susanne Hall

Teaching Machines How to Learn

10-24-17

Animashree (Anima) Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, develops efficient techniques to speed up optimization algorithms that underpin machine-learning systems. Speaking about the connections between industry and academia she explains,“bridging the gap between industry and academia is really important. It is a big part of what brought me to Caltech. The sooner we can take theory and deploy it practically, the faster innovation moves and the more impact it can have.” [Interview with Professor Anandkumar]

Tags: research highlights CMS Animashree Anandkumar

A Crucial Moment in Technological History

10-23-17

 

Take a deep dive into a crucial moment in technological history with Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus. In this first of a series of videos being produced by the Caltech Archives, titled 'My First Chip’, Professor Mead tells the story of meeting Gordon Moore, who would soon predict that every year the semiconductor industry would double the number of transistors that could be fabricated on a commercial integrated circuit. Carver Mead and his students worked on the physics of ultra-small transistors, and showed that, in addition to allowing greater density, they ran faster and used less power. This work proved that Moore’s prediction did not violate any laws of physics, and it became known as 'Moore's Law'–the term coined and made famous by Professor Mead.

Tags: EE EAS history CMS Carver Mead