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2018 Watson Fellow

03-23-18

Electrical engineering senior Michelle Wang, working with Professor Ali Hajimiri and Postdoctoral Scholar Alex Pai, has been selected to receive the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She will spend a year abroad working on a series of projects related to the augmentation of humanity through machines. "Prosthetics for children need to be flexible, durable, and need to be able to grow with the child so that they don't have to be replaced constantly," she says. "But beyond that, we want to find ways to make them proud of their prosthetics. We don't just want to give them mobility but dignity." [Caltech story]

Tags: EE honors Ali Hajimiri alumni Michelle Wang Alex Pai

Inventor of Smart Concrete

03-21-18

EAS alumna Deborah Chung transferred to Caltech from Wellesley College seeking richer opportunities to study math and science. In June 1973, she became one of the first women to earn undergraduate degrees at Caltech.  She is the inventor of smart concrete, a material in which short carbon fibers are added to concrete so that stress and deformation can be easily detected even before cracks appear. "A broad-based education, that's what Caltech gave me—basic science and engineering," Chung recalls. "With that under my belt, I was able to learn things on my own. I never took any concrete or cement course in my life, never mixed cement in my life. In fact, in my studies, I was more toward the electrical side. Concrete was something totally out of my realm. But, somehow, I married the electrical side with the concrete, and that led to smart concrete. The broadness of the education laid the foundation so that I could really jump across disciplinary boundaries. Most innovations nowadays are really the marriage of two different things that reside in two different disciplines." [Caltech story]

Tags: alumni Deborah Chung

Winding Back the Clock

03-12-18

Electrical Engineering alumnus Osman Kibar (BS ’93) wants to turn back time. His business, Samumed, makes drug therapies that may reboot the body’s capacity to renew damaged or diseased tissue. If these efforts pay off in full, society will see cures for everything from baldness to cancer. “Caltech showed me that there’s no reason to put arbitrary boundaries between different fields, whether it be science or business,” he says. “If you’re trying to solve a problem, you go at it with everything you’ve got—what you’ve learned in every other field.” [Breakthrough story]

Tags: EE alumni Osman Kibar

In Grueling Combat, The Riveters Emerge Victorious

03-08-18

This year's ME 72 design competition consisted of fleets of robot tanks built by undergraduate students climbing hills, capturing bases, and shooting each other with foam balls in an epic series of battles on the Caltech Beckman Mall. After 20 rounds of battle, the Riveters—Mohar Chatterjee, Caroline Paules, Diandra Almasco, and Hannah Chen, who dubbed their team in honor of Rosie the Riveter—emerged victorious, having never lost a single match. They utilized a track-wheeled tank design topped by flywheel-based cannons, and relied on a consistent and effective strategy of capturing two key bases quickly and holding onto them for the remainder of the match. Though the Riveters were the only all-female team, women actually outnumbered men in this year's ME 72 course for the first time in its 33-year history. [Caltech story]

Tags: MCE ME72 Mohar Chatterjee Caroline Paules Diandra Almasco Hannah Chen

Build I.T. and They Will Come

03-02-18

When Adam Wierman joined Caltech’s faculty in 2007, he set out to find a new challenge. “I wanted to do something about a problem of fundamental importance,” he says. “Climate is the problem.” To help clean up computing, he decided to design new algorithms for the management of data centers, communication networks, and our power grid. He hoped to find ways to improve the energy efficiency of I.T. infrastructure. But these efforts lead to Jevons paradox—a variation of “If you build it, they will come.” Economist William Jevons wrote in 1865, “It is wholly a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to a diminished consumption.” In other words, as people like Wierman make computing and the grid more efficient, we use more, out-spending the savings. [Breakthrough story]

Tags: CMS Adam Wierman

Gift Enables Transformative Advances in Health Care

03-01-18

The Heritage Medical Research Institute (HMRI), a nonprofit founded by physician and Caltech trustee Richard Merkin, has extended its partnership with Caltech for a minimum of three more years. “I firmly believe that one person can change the world. Imagine what nine, focused HMRI investigators can do for understanding, diagnosing, and treating diseases,” says Merkin, who has served on the Caltech Board of Trustees since 2007. Caltech’s current HMRI investigators include EAS Professors Hyuck Choo, and Azita Emami. [Breakthrough story]

Tags: EE MedE Hyuck Choo Azita Emami Richard Merkin

Professor Wang Receives Biophotonics Award

02-28-18

Lihong Wang, Bren Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, has received the 2018 Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award from the Optical Society (OSA) for “invention of the world’s fastest two-dimensional receive-only camera; enabling real-time imaging of the fastest phenomena on earth.” The award recognizes individuals for their innovative and influential contributions to the field of biophotonics, regardless of their career stage. [OSA release]

Tags: EE honors MedE Lihong Wang

Engineered Metasurfaces Replace Adhesive Tape in Specialized Microscope

02-28-18

The latest advance in a new type of optics aimed at improving microscopy started with a game of tennis three years ago between Mooseok Jang a graduate of Professor Changhuei Yang's lab and Yu Horie working with Professor Andrei Faraon. "The hope is that our work will prompt further interest in this area of optics and make this type of microscopy and its advantages feasible for practical, everyday use—not just as a proof of concept," says Josh Brake, a graduate student in Yang's lab who continues to work on the project with Faraon and Yang. [Caltech story]

Tags: EE research highlights Changhuei Yang MedE alumni Andrei Faraon Mooseok Jang APh Yu Horie Josh Brake

Meet the 2017 Amazon Fellows

02-23-18

Four graduate students from the Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) Department and one from the Electrical Engineering (EE) Department have been selected as 2017 Amazon Fellows. This fellows program is the result of a partnership between Caltech and Amazon AWS around Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The EE fellow is Srikanth Tenneti who is exploring the potential of deep learning for Direction of Arrival applications, and extending Ramanujan Sums based techniques for multi-dimensional periodicity extraction. CMS graduate student Navid Azizan Ruhi is researching faster optimization algorithms for machine learning.  He is looking forward to visiting Amazon AI as a fellow and exchanging ideas with their researchers. Computer science graduate student Hoang Le is developing methods for efficient and intelligent sequential decision making in realistic systems. Florian Schaefer, whose focus is applied and computational mathematics, is researching the interface of statistical estimation and the design of fast algorithms. Control and dynamical systems graduate student Ellen Feldman, working with Professor Joel Burdick, has used part of the funding to present her research at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting and looking forward to other future opportunities to share her research. 

Tags: EE honors CMS P. P. Vaidyanathan Babak Hassibi Joel Burdick Yisong Yue Navid Azizan Ruhi Hoang Le Ellen Feldman Florian Schaefer Srikanth Tenneti Houman Owhadi

Material Science Student Joins Inaugural Class of Knight-Hennessy Scholars

02-20-18

Aadith Moorthy, a senior majoring in materials science and computer science, has been named to the inaugural class of Knight-Hennessy Scholars, a graduate-level scholarship program founded by Stanford University. The program aims to develop a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation. Aadith will receive a scholarship providing full tuition, room and board, and a living stipend while he pursues a PhD in materials science. [Caltech story]

Tags: honors CMS Aadith Moorthy MatSci