Computer science students Ethan Miller Pronovost, advised by Professor John Doyle, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Ethan is interested in machine learning and algorithmic design. He is also working to develop efficient algorithms for causal learning, and apply these algorithms to human brain data. 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.
Behrooz Abiri, advised by Ali Hajimiri is a winner of this year's Charles Wilts Prize, for his doctoral thesis "Silicon Integrated Arrays: From Microwave to IR." The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research.
Graduate students Ehsan Abbasi and Fariborz Salehi, working with Professor Babak Hassibi, have won a 2018 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. They proposed a new algorithm for data recovery in Massive MIMO systems, which has a near optimal performance while being computationally efficient. Massive MIMO is the key enabler in the upcoming 5G data networks which promise considerably higher data rates in future generations of wireless networks. This year there were 174 submissions to Qualcomm for the fellowship and only 8 winning teams were chosen. Each winning team will be awarded a $100K fellowship and receive mentorship from Qualcomm engineers. [List of winners]
Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, will receive the 2018 Timoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for his pioneering work on unveiling the mechanics behind earthquakes. "Many of my mentors and scientific Idols have received this award, so I really feel especially honored and humbled to be recognized with them," Professor Rosakis says. [Caltech story] [List of award recipients]
Beverley J. McKeon, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, is the recipient of the 2018 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 Mckeon read, “she is a firm believer in the importance of having all students, regardless of their ultimate specialty, participate in laboratory coursework. Her courses serve as a solid foundation for graduate level research across disciplines, both technically and with regards to skills relevant to doctoral and industrial research. She takes tough subjects and uses her colorful approach to make the concept easy to comprehend.” [Caltech story]
Professor Kerry J. Vahala and colleagues have developed a prototype of a miniature device that synthesizes frequencies on demand with about 1 Hertz accuracy. It combines a frequency comb developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with a "fine-toothed" frequency comb developed at Caltech. To create the finely spaced comb teeth, the Caltech resonator must be about 100 times larger than the NIST device. Its larger size can potentially make this comb very power hungry. "Too much power in a small space can damage any electronics to which the resonator is connected," Professor Vahala says. "Also, in the future, these synthesizer devices could operate on battery power in smartphone-sized devices where they cannot draw much power." But the Caltech comb can generate specific frequencies with minimal amounts of power. [Caltech story]
Electrical engineering student Shuqing (Erica) Chen, advised by Professor Michelle Effros, is a recipient of the 2018 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. She is interested in information theory and communication theory and is working on analyzing lossless source coding in the finite blocklength regime with unknown numbers of transmitters. 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 in their discipline.
Mechanical engineering graduate student Kimberley Mac Donald has received the 2018 Gary Cloud Scholarship from the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM). The scholarship is in recognition of her unique aspirations to pursue a graduate degree in experimental mechanics and to create new knowledge that leads to sustainable improvements in the human condition. [List of past recipients]
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]
Professor Harry A. Atwater, Jr. is an advisor to a multi-disciplinary $100-million project aimed at designing a spacecraft that can be launched to planets surrounding other stars and reach them within our lifetime. The Breakthrough Starshot Program has three big technical challenges: The first is to build the so-called photon engine, the laser that's capable of propelling the sail; the second is to design the sail itself; and the third is to design the payload, which will be a tiny spacecraft capable of taking images and spectral data and then beaming them back to the earth. Professor Atwater’s role is to help the program define pathways to making a viable lightsail that's compatible with the other objectives of the whole program. [Caltech story]