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UW researchers create an interactive simulation of a nervous system

Cross-platform framework paves the way to study how neural interaction and structure generate behavior

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Shwetak Patel receives ACM prize in computing

Shwetak Patel broke new ground in IoT research and brought innovative products to market

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Shwetak Patel receives ACM prize in computing Banner

UW, Microsoft, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory establish new Northwest Quantum Nexus for a quantum revolution in science, technology

“The technological and societal impact of the upcoming quantum revolution is going to be enormous."

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UW, Microsoft, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory establish new Northwest Quantum Nexus for a quantum revolution in science, technology Banner

ECE professor Denise Wilson's article is second highest downloaded

"Differences in self-efficacy among women and minorities in STEM" among most downloaded in journal.

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ECE professor Denise Wilson's article is second highest downloaded Banner

Mourning the loss of Vikram Jandhyala

The ECE community is heartbroken over the loss of our dear colleague and friend

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Mourning the loss of Vikram Jandhyala Banner

The programmability of biology

Engineering a toolbox of synthetic biological parts to create new living systems

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https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/uw-researchers-create-an-interactive-simulation-of-a-nervous-system/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/shwetak-patel-receives-acm-prize-in-computing/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/uw-microsoft-pacific-northwest-national-laboratory-establish-new-northwest-quantum-nexus-for-a-quantum-revolution-in-science-technology/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ece-professor-denise-wilsons-article-is-second-highest-downloaded/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/mourning-vikram-jandhyala/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ece-alumnus-wins-prestigious-nsf-career-award/
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                    [post_content] => In 1986, the nervous system of Caenorhabditis elegans, a microscopic worm, was fully mapped. At the time, scientists and engineers thought this map would quickly reveal the definite functions of the nervous system. But it turned out that resolving the functions of a nervous system is very complex and even today, researchers still don’t fully understand how neural structure transforms to function.

But recently, the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Applied Mathematics Washington Research Foundation assistant professor Eli Shlizerman and ECE graduate student Jimin Kim, created an interactive simulation of the nervous system of the worm, called the Neural Interactome. The purpose of their open source creation, is to help others better understand the neuronal system.

“We designed this interactive tool for exploring both the architecture and the dynamic functions of neurons at the same time,” said Shlizerman. “Our web platform can be stimulated to see in real-time how neurons’ dynamics change.”

Their research, “Neural Interactome: Interactive Simulation of a Neuronal System,” was published in “Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience,” in March.

[caption id="attachment_14670" align="alignright" width="300"]Neural Interactome Interactive interface for Neural Interactome. Left panel enlists all the neurons classified by type (sensory, inter and motor). Each neuron is a clickable button with a scroll option. Scrolling adjusts the magnitude of constant stimulus; shift + click ablates the neuron from the network. Right: Force-directed graph displays each neuron's membrane voltage (node color denotes the sign; radius denotes the magnitude) and connections between neurons (edges between each pair of nodes).[/caption]

The cross-platform framework that the pair built, which combines graph visualization with the simulation of neural dynamics, shows the many connections and how these support interactions between neurons. On the web platform, a graph represents the full somatic nervous system where each circle is a neuron and the different colors showcase the different classes of neurons: sensory, motor and interneurons. Users can hover their mouse over each neuron and the Neural Interactome will show them where it is in the nervous system, as well as the chemical and electrical connection it has.

“You can see all of the connections and possible interactions between the neurons,” Kim said. “When you choose stimuli and hit play, the circles representing the neurons change in size and color expressing their membrane voltage. Effectively, we see how the full nervous system comes to life and responds to stimuli in real time. You can see how the neurons are communicating which composes the “thinking” of the worm.”

Because the simulation is open-sourced, anyone with interest in the neural system can see how it performs. Click on a neuron, disable it, and see how the system’s dynamics change in real time.

“There are still a lot of neurons which scientists haven’t figured out their purpose, even in the Caenorhabditis elegans,” Shlizerman said. “People thought that by the 90s, researchers would resolve most of the functions of this tiny neural system, but experiments only showed how complex it is, and how much there is to learn.”

The interactome demonstrates that even the effect of disconnecting a single neuron, such that it is not functioning, changes the way of those that are, work.

Shlizerman said that in 1986, John Graham White, a professor of anatomy and molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reconstructed the nervous system of the Caenorhabditis elegans, under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner. This turned out to be a start for simulating all of the neurons in the nervous system.

“Thirty years later, we continued the work and created this tool which simulates the dynamics and connections," Shlizerman said. "We also developed visualization methods to highlight neurons belonging to the same functional groups so it will be easier to cluster them when they are performing their function.”

Kim said the latest data is organized using the common Python 3 platform to simulate the network, and the hope is that computational scientists will keep revising the data and work with the Interactome to add more layers to the network so everyone can see their effects.

[caption id="attachment_14671" align="alignleft" width="300"]interactome Visualization and main functionalities of Neural Interactome.[/caption]

Researchers believe that their work could be applied to other more complex nervous systems, such as the brain of the fly or the mouse. Shlizerman said that brain mappings, called connectomes, for these organisms are currently being rapidly resolved and they include much more neurons than the 302 neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans.

“As mappings of those organisms become more detailed, our framework paves the way to study how neural interaction and structure generate behavior," he said.

The project was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Washington Research Foundation. Shlizerman is also a fellow at the UW eScience Institute and on the leadership team of the UW Computational Neuroscience Center.

 

 

 

 
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                    [post_date] => 2019-04-03 09:14:39
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                    [post_content] => By Jackson Holt
UW News

University of Washington professor Shwetak Patel is the recipient of the 2018 ACM Prize in Computing for contributions to creative and practical sensing systems for sustainability and health, the Association for Computing Machinery or ACM announced today. Patel holds a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and in the Paul G. Allen School and leads a team at Google.

[caption id="attachment_2282" align="alignleft" width="221"]Shwetak Patel Shwetak Patel[/caption]

Until Patel’s work, most systems for monitoring energy and health required expensive and cumbersome specialized devices, precluding practical widespread adoption. Patel and his students found highly creative ways to leverage existing infrastructure to make affordable and accurate monitoring a practical reality. Patel quickly turned his team’s research contributions into real-world deployments, founding companies to commercialize their work.

The ACM Prize in Computing recognizes early-to-mid-career computer scientists whose research contributions have fundamental impact and broad implications. The award carries a prize of $250,000, from an endowment provided by Infosys Ltd. Patel will formally receive the ACM Prize at ACM’s annual awards banquet on June 15, 2019 in San Francisco. This is ACM’s second most prestigious award in all of computing (after the Turing Award – known as the Nobel Prize in Computing).

Despite the fact that he is only 37, Shwetak Patel has been significantly impacting the field of ubiquitous computing for nearly two decades,” said ACM President Cherry M. Pancake. His work has ushered in new possibilities in many applications of ubiquitous computing for sustainability and health. Advances in sensors will be central to the ongoing Internet of Things revolution, and applications which allow individuals to monitor their health with smart phones could revolutionize health care—especially in the developing world. Shwetak Patel certainly exemplifies the ACM Prize’s goal of recognizing work with ‘fundamental impact and broad implications.”

Patel’s research closed the gap between science fiction and reality in many applications in ubiquitous computing for sustainability and health.

“Shwetak’s extensive contributions in sustainability and health through ubiquitous computing are at the forefront of innovation," said Radha Poovendran, professor and chair of ECE. "His ability to turn his research into real-world devices that have revolutionized the way we use sensors, while staying true to his commitment as an educator, shows his incredible ingenuity and promise. He is truly deserving of this high honor. Shwetak is an incredible scholar and we are fortunate that he chose UW as his intellectual home.”

 

Find out more about Patel’s accomplished career and award on the Paul G. Allen School website, UW Today, GeekWire, the Puget Sound Business Journal and Globe Newswire.

 
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                    [post_date] => 2019-03-29 14:41:33
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                    [post_content] => By James Urton
UW News

The University of Washington, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Microsoft Quantum announced this week that they have joined forces in a new coalition to bring about a revolution in quantum research and technology.

The Northwest Quantum Nexus was unveiled during a two-day summit at the UW, an event that included scientists and engineers from the three keystone institutions, as well as potential partners in academia and industry from across the Pacific Northwest.

“The technological and societal impact of the upcoming quantum revolution is going to be enormous,” said Mary Lidstrom, UW vice provost for research and professor of chemical engineering and microbiology. “The UW is thrilled to partner with Microsoft and PNNL in this Northwest Quantum Nexus.”

In alignment with the National Quantum Initiative Act, the Northwest Quantum Nexus aims to develop a quantum-fluent workforce and economy in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and Canada by accelerating research, technological development, education and training in the quantum information sciences, or QIS. Its objectives include:
  • Forming cross-disciplinary research teams working across academia, government and industry toward scalable quantum computing — including quantum algorithms and programming — as well as research and development of quantum materials and devices
  • Cultivating a workforce that is expert in quantum science, engineering and technology through education and training — including undergraduate and graduate education, curriculum development; and internships
  • Promoting public-private partnerships as platforms to exchange knowledge and resources
  • Translating QIS research to testbeds and relevant application areas such as sustainability and clean energy
QIS disciplines include quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum sensing and quantum materials and devices. All of these applications and fields are designed around and enabled by the principles of quantum mechanics, including quantum superposition, which is the property of existing in several different configurations at the same time.  For example, quantum computing uses the principles of quantum mechanics and quantum-mechanical processes to carry out computations, which could revolutionize fields from cryptography to molecular simulation. Quantum materials include materials in which new behaviors emerge from quantum interactions. As QIS technologies progress from research and development to applications in clean energy, sustainability, computing and communications, the Northwest Quantum Nexus seeks to boost the region’s quantum workforce as well as research and educational capacity, according to coalition members. “While there has been a long history of quantum research and education in the UW physics department, the landscape has changed recently,” said Kai-Mei Fu, associate professor of both physics and electrical and computer engineering. “People now see that you can harness the quantum nature of matter to realize new technologies.” “This change means a paradigm shift in education,” added Fu, who is also a faculty member in the UW’s Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. “Understanding quantum mechanics is no longer an academic question but a required skill for people to develop quantum materials, quantum devices, quantum systems and quantum algorithms.” These goals also offer opportunities to expand the Northwest Quantum Nexus. Summit attendees included dozens of scientists, engineers and administrators from the keystone partners, as well as potential partners from private companies, startups and universities from across the Pacific Northwest. Three members of Washington’s congressional delegation also attended the summit: Senator Maria Cantwell, Representative Derek Kilmer and Representative Adam Smith. The keystone partners have complementary strengths in QIS. For the past 15 years, Microsoft has been a major global driver of quantum computing research and software development. The PNNL’s research into QIS includes programming, algorithm development, materials synthesis and characterization, as well as applications in quantum chemistry and sensing. The UW has deep roots in quantum research and discovery. Two UW scientists have earned the Nobel Prize in Physics for QIS research — Hans Dehmelt in 1989 for developing ion traps and David Thouless in 2016 for theoretical work on topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter. Today, researchers across the UW — in the College of Engineering, the College of Arts & Sciences and the Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems — are at the forefront of QIS research. The university recently established UW Quantum X, which joins QIS research endeavors across the UW in fields such as quantum sensing, quantum computing, quantum communication and quantum materials and devices. Fu and Jim Pfaendtner, associate professor and chair of chemical engineering, serve as co-chairs of Quantum X. The three institutions also work together in QIS research and development. UW and PNNL scientists collaborate on quantum materials research through the Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry and Technology. Scientists with Microsoft Quantum are teaching an undergraduate-level course on quantum computing algorithms in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. Microsoft and the PNNL have collaborated on a chemistry library will inform chemistry research relevant to quantum computing. The Northwest Quantum Nexus is a natural next step, according to the summit organizers. “The Northwest Quantum Nexus summit was an amazing success for UW Quantum X and our keystone partners Microsoft and the PNNL,” said Pfaendtner, who is also a faculty member in the UW’s Clean Energy Institute. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work competing for new private and public research funding, continuing UW’s long history of developing innovative and agile graduate and undergraduate education programs in the QIS field, and creating amazing new opportunities for our students and postdoctoral researchers.” [post_title] => UW, Microsoft, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory establish new Northwest Quantum Nexus for a quantum revolution in science, technology [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => uw-microsoft-pacific-northwest-national-laboratory-establish-new-northwest-quantum-nexus-for-a-quantum-revolution-in-science-technology [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-09 09:45:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-09 16:45:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14621 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14507 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2019-03-18 14:31:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-18 21:31:50 [post_content] => "Designed as a unique and much-needed resource for educators, managers, and policymakers, the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering publishes original, peer-reviewed papers that report innovative ideas and programs for classroom teachers, scientific studies, and formulation of concepts related to the education, recruitment, and retention of under-represented groups in science and engineering. Discipline-specific issues related to women and minorities are consolidated to address the entire educational environment from K through post-graduate and on to continuing education. Included are explorations of feminist teaching methods, black student/white teacher interactions, cultural phenomena that affect classroom climate, and new questions to ask of science. The journal includes pertinent book reviews and "reports from the field" by women and men of color in academe, business, industry, and federal and state agencies." -- Begell House, the home for science and engineering. 
[post_title] => ECE professor Denise Wilson's article is second highest downloaded [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ece-professor-denise-wilsons-article-is-second-highest-downloaded [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-20 09:17:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-20 16:17:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14507 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14500 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2019-03-16 10:31:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-16 17:31:22 [post_content] => Dear ECE Community, It is with deep sadness that I am sharing the news of the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Vikram Jandhyala. Vikram was an important member of our faculty for over 18 years, as well as an innovative pioneer within the university. We were fortunate to witness Vikram evolve and grow into an impactful leader. As chair of our department, he paved the way for our name change and as the UW VP for Innovation and Strategy, helped ECE with programs like ENGINE. His students are well placed in industry and academia thanks to his dedication to teaching and mentoring. Vikram put excellence at the forefront of his work and thanks to his efforts with CoMotion and Global Innovation Exchange, the UW is consistently recognized nationally for innovation. Indefatigably, he accomplished all of these things with great compassion and empathy for his colleagues and partners. Vikram was a champion of universities, striving to make entrepreneurship a part of higher education across all disciplines. His passion created opportunities for our students, faculty and community at large to come together and share knowledge and ideas across all fields of study. We will all experience this terrible loss in different ways, and I ask that we come together as a community to support each other with compassion and kindness during this challenging time, and always. If you or someone you know needs help processing this loss or is currently struggling with thoughts of suicide – please make full use of our support and resources and encourage others to do the same. If you would like to share a memory of Vikram or support his two sons, ages 7 and 5, who will be cared for by their mother, Suja Vaidyanathan, his family asks that you do so at the memorial site they have established. Details on a celebration of his life will be forthcoming. Sincerely, Radha Poovendran Professor and Chair of ECE Please read UW President, Ana Mari Cauce's tribute to Jandhyala. The Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering also paid tribute to Jandhyala. GeekWire also wrote his life and legacy.   [post_title] => Mourning the loss of Vikram Jandhyala [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => mourning-vikram-jandhyala [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-26 10:45:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-26 17:45:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14500 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14266 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2019-02-25 16:09:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-02-26 00:09:25 [post_content] => Yurk Dvorkin, Ph.D. student of professor Daniel Kirschen and assistant professor at New York University, was awarded a National Science Foundation Award for his work in power systems. His award will "fundamentally re-think and re-engineer the current US power grid architecture to accommodate a massive penetration level of customer-end distributed energy resources (DERs), while improving the overall reliability, resiliency, and energy efficiency of the power sector." Read more about his research here. [post_title] => ECE alumnus wins prestigious NSF CAREER award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ece-alumnus-wins-prestigious-nsf-career-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-13 19:51:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-14 02:51:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14266 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [_numposts:protected] => 6 [_rendered:protected] => 1 [_classes:protected] => Array ( [0] => view-block [1] => block--spotlight-robust-news ) [_finalHTML:protected] =>
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/uw-researchers-create-an-interactive-simulation-of-a-nervous-system/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/shwetak-patel-receives-acm-prize-in-computing/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/uw-microsoft-pacific-northwest-national-laboratory-establish-new-northwest-quantum-nexus-for-a-quantum-revolution-in-science-technology/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ece-professor-denise-wilsons-article-is-second-highest-downloaded/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/mourning-vikram-jandhyala/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/ece-alumnus-wins-prestigious-nsf-career-award/
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At the time, scientists and engineers thought this map would quickly reveal the definite functions of the nervous system. But it turned out that resolving the functions of a nervous system is very complex and even today, researchers still don’t fully understand how neural structure transforms to function. But recently, the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Applied Mathematics Washington Research Foundation assistant professor Eli Shlizerman and ECE graduate student Jimin Kim, created an interactive simulation of the nervous system of the worm, called the Neural Interactome. The purpose of their open source creation, is to help others better understand the neuronal system. “We designed this interactive tool for exploring both the architecture and the dynamic functions of neurons at the same time,” said Shlizerman. “Our web platform can be stimulated to see in real-time how neurons’ dynamics change.” Their research, “Neural Interactome: Interactive Simulation of a Neuronal System,” was published in “Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience,” in March. [caption id="attachment_14670" align="alignright" width="300"]Neural Interactome Interactive interface for Neural Interactome. Left panel enlists all the neurons classified by type (sensory, inter and motor). Each neuron is a clickable button with a scroll option. Scrolling adjusts the magnitude of constant stimulus; shift + click ablates the neuron from the network. Right: Force-directed graph displays each neuron's membrane voltage (node color denotes the sign; radius denotes the magnitude) and connections between neurons (edges between each pair of nodes).[/caption] The cross-platform framework that the pair built, which combines graph visualization with the simulation of neural dynamics, shows the many connections and how these support interactions between neurons. On the web platform, a graph represents the full somatic nervous system where each circle is a neuron and the different colors showcase the different classes of neurons: sensory, motor and interneurons. Users can hover their mouse over each neuron and the Neural Interactome will show them where it is in the nervous system, as well as the chemical and electrical connection it has. “You can see all of the connections and possible interactions between the neurons,” Kim said. “When you choose stimuli and hit play, the circles representing the neurons change in size and color expressing their membrane voltage. Effectively, we see how the full nervous system comes to life and responds to stimuli in real time. You can see how the neurons are communicating which composes the “thinking” of the worm.” Because the simulation is open-sourced, anyone with interest in the neural system can see how it performs. Click on a neuron, disable it, and see how the system’s dynamics change in real time. “There are still a lot of neurons which scientists haven’t figured out their purpose, even in the Caenorhabditis elegans,” Shlizerman said. “People thought that by the 90s, researchers would resolve most of the functions of this tiny neural system, but experiments only showed how complex it is, and how much there is to learn.” The interactome demonstrates that even the effect of disconnecting a single neuron, such that it is not functioning, changes the way of those that are, work. Shlizerman said that in 1986, John Graham White, a professor of anatomy and molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reconstructed the nervous system of the Caenorhabditis elegans, under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner. This turned out to be a start for simulating all of the neurons in the nervous system. “Thirty years later, we continued the work and created this tool which simulates the dynamics and connections," Shlizerman said. "We also developed visualization methods to highlight neurons belonging to the same functional groups so it will be easier to cluster them when they are performing their function.” Kim said the latest data is organized using the common Python 3 platform to simulate the network, and the hope is that computational scientists will keep revising the data and work with the Interactome to add more layers to the network so everyone can see their effects. [caption id="attachment_14671" align="alignleft" width="300"]interactome Visualization and main functionalities of Neural Interactome.[/caption] Researchers believe that their work could be applied to other more complex nervous systems, such as the brain of the fly or the mouse. Shlizerman said that brain mappings, called connectomes, for these organisms are currently being rapidly resolved and they include much more neurons than the 302 neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans. “As mappings of those organisms become more detailed, our framework paves the way to study how neural interaction and structure generate behavior," he said. The project was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Washington Research Foundation. Shlizerman is also a fellow at the UW eScience Institute and on the leadership team of the UW Computational Neuroscience Center.         [post_title] => UW researchers create an interactive simulation of a nervous system [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => uw-researchers-create-an-interactive-simulation-of-a-nervous-system [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-15 09:30:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-15 16:30:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14668 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14637 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2019-04-03 09:14:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-03 16:14:39 [post_content] => By Jackson Holt UW News University of Washington professor Shwetak Patel is the recipient of the 2018 ACM Prize in Computing for contributions to creative and practical sensing systems for sustainability and health, the Association for Computing Machinery or ACM announced today. Patel holds a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and in the Paul G. Allen School and leads a team at Google. [caption id="attachment_2282" align="alignleft" width="221"]Shwetak Patel Shwetak Patel[/caption] Until Patel’s work, most systems for monitoring energy and health required expensive and cumbersome specialized devices, precluding practical widespread adoption. Patel and his students found highly creative ways to leverage existing infrastructure to make affordable and accurate monitoring a practical reality. Patel quickly turned his team’s research contributions into real-world deployments, founding companies to commercialize their work. The ACM Prize in Computing recognizes early-to-mid-career computer scientists whose research contributions have fundamental impact and broad implications. The award carries a prize of $250,000, from an endowment provided by Infosys Ltd. Patel will formally receive the ACM Prize at ACM’s annual awards banquet on June 15, 2019 in San Francisco. This is ACM’s second most prestigious award in all of computing (after the Turing Award – known as the Nobel Prize in Computing). Despite the fact that he is only 37, Shwetak Patel has been significantly impacting the field of ubiquitous computing for nearly two decades,” said ACM President Cherry M. Pancake. His work has ushered in new possibilities in many applications of ubiquitous computing for sustainability and health. Advances in sensors will be central to the ongoing Internet of Things revolution, and applications which allow individuals to monitor their health with smart phones could revolutionize health care—especially in the developing world. Shwetak Patel certainly exemplifies the ACM Prize’s goal of recognizing work with ‘fundamental impact and broad implications.” Patel’s research closed the gap between science fiction and reality in many applications in ubiquitous computing for sustainability and health. “Shwetak’s extensive contributions in sustainability and health through ubiquitous computing are at the forefront of innovation," said Radha Poovendran, professor and chair of ECE. "His ability to turn his research into real-world devices that have revolutionized the way we use sensors, while staying true to his commitment as an educator, shows his incredible ingenuity and promise. He is truly deserving of this high honor. Shwetak is an incredible scholar and we are fortunate that he chose UW as his intellectual home.”   Find out more about Patel’s accomplished career and award on the Paul G. Allen School website, UW Today, GeekWire, the Puget Sound Business Journal and Globe Newswire.   [post_title] => Shwetak Patel receives ACM prize in computing [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => shwetak-patel-receives-acm-prize-in-computing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-03 09:14:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-03 16:14:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14637 [menu_order] => 2 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14621 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2019-03-29 14:41:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-29 21:41:33 [post_content] => By James Urton UW News The University of Washington, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Microsoft Quantum announced this week that they have joined forces in a new coalition to bring about a revolution in quantum research and technology. The Northwest Quantum Nexus was unveiled during a two-day summit at the UW, an event that included scientists and engineers from the three keystone institutions, as well as potential partners in academia and industry from across the Pacific Northwest. “The technological and societal impact of the upcoming quantum revolution is going to be enormous,” said Mary Lidstrom, UW vice provost for research and professor of chemical engineering and microbiology. “The UW is thrilled to partner with Microsoft and PNNL in this Northwest Quantum Nexus.” In alignment with the National Quantum Initiative Act, the Northwest Quantum Nexus aims to develop a quantum-fluent workforce and economy in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and Canada by accelerating research, technological development, education and training in the quantum information sciences, or QIS. Its objectives include:
  • Forming cross-disciplinary research teams working across academia, government and industry toward scalable quantum computing — including quantum algorithms and programming — as well as research and development of quantum materials and devices
  • Cultivating a workforce that is expert in quantum science, engineering and technology through education and training — including undergraduate and graduate education, curriculum development; and internships
  • Promoting public-private partnerships as platforms to exchange knowledge and resources
  • Translating QIS research to testbeds and relevant application areas such as sustainability and clean energy
QIS disciplines include quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum sensing and quantum materials and devices. All of these applications and fields are designed around and enabled by the principles of quantum mechanics, including quantum superposition, which is the property of existing in several different configurations at the same time.  For example, quantum computing uses the principles of quantum mechanics and quantum-mechanical processes to carry out computations, which could revolutionize fields from cryptography to molecular simulation. Quantum materials include materials in which new behaviors emerge from quantum interactions. As QIS technologies progress from research and development to applications in clean energy, sustainability, computing and communications, the Northwest Quantum Nexus seeks to boost the region’s quantum workforce as well as research and educational capacity, according to coalition members. “While there has been a long history of quantum research and education in the UW physics department, the landscape has changed recently,” said Kai-Mei Fu, associate professor of both physics and electrical and computer engineering. “People now see that you can harness the quantum nature of matter to realize new technologies.” “This change means a paradigm shift in education,” added Fu, who is also a faculty member in the UW’s Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. “Understanding quantum mechanics is no longer an academic question but a required skill for people to develop quantum materials, quantum devices, quantum systems and quantum algorithms.” These goals also offer opportunities to expand the Northwest Quantum Nexus. Summit attendees included dozens of scientists, engineers and administrators from the keystone partners, as well as potential partners from private companies, startups and universities from across the Pacific Northwest. Three members of Washington’s congressional delegation also attended the summit: Senator Maria Cantwell, Representative Derek Kilmer and Representative Adam Smith. The keystone partners have complementary strengths in QIS. For the past 15 years, Microsoft has been a major global driver of quantum computing research and software development. The PNNL’s research into QIS includes programming, algorithm development, materials synthesis and characterization, as well as applications in quantum chemistry and sensing. The UW has deep roots in quantum research and discovery. Two UW scientists have earned the Nobel Prize in Physics for QIS research — Hans Dehmelt in 1989 for developing ion traps and David Thouless in 2016 for theoretical work on topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter. Today, researchers across the UW — in the College of Engineering, the College of Arts & Sciences and the Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems — are at the forefront of QIS research. The university recently established UW Quantum X, which joins QIS research endeavors across the UW in fields such as quantum sensing, quantum computing, quantum communication and quantum materials and devices. Fu and Jim Pfaendtner, associate professor and chair of chemical engineering, serve as co-chairs of Quantum X. The three institutions also work together in QIS research and development. UW and PNNL scientists collaborate on quantum materials research through the Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry and Technology. Scientists with Microsoft Quantum are teaching an undergraduate-level course on quantum computing algorithms in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. Microsoft and the PNNL have collaborated on a chemistry library will inform chemistry research relevant to quantum computing. The Northwest Quantum Nexus is a natural next step, according to the summit organizers. “The Northwest Quantum Nexus summit was an amazing success for UW Quantum X and our keystone partners Microsoft and the PNNL,” said Pfaendtner, who is also a faculty member in the UW’s Clean Energy Institute. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work competing for new private and public research funding, continuing UW’s long history of developing innovative and agile graduate and undergraduate education programs in the QIS field, and creating amazing new opportunities for our students and postdoctoral researchers.” [post_title] => UW, Microsoft, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory establish new Northwest Quantum Nexus for a quantum revolution in science, technology [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => uw-microsoft-pacific-northwest-national-laboratory-establish-new-northwest-quantum-nexus-for-a-quantum-revolution-in-science-technology [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-09 09:45:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-09 16:45:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14621 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14507 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2019-03-18 14:31:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-18 21:31:50 [post_content] => "Designed as a unique and much-needed resource for educators, managers, and policymakers, the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering publishes original, peer-reviewed papers that report innovative ideas and programs for classroom teachers, scientific studies, and formulation of concepts related to the education, recruitment, and retention of under-represented groups in science and engineering. Discipline-specific issues related to women and minorities are consolidated to address the entire educational environment from K through post-graduate and on to continuing education. Included are explorations of feminist teaching methods, black student/white teacher interactions, cultural phenomena that affect classroom climate, and new questions to ask of science. The journal includes pertinent book reviews and "reports from the field" by women and men of color in academe, business, industry, and federal and state agencies." -- Begell House, the home for science and engineering. 
[post_title] => ECE professor Denise Wilson's article is second highest downloaded [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ece-professor-denise-wilsons-article-is-second-highest-downloaded [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-20 09:17:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-20 16:17:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14507 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14500 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2019-03-16 10:31:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-16 17:31:22 [post_content] => Dear ECE Community, It is with deep sadness that I am sharing the news of the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Vikram Jandhyala. Vikram was an important member of our faculty for over 18 years, as well as an innovative pioneer within the university. We were fortunate to witness Vikram evolve and grow into an impactful leader. As chair of our department, he paved the way for our name change and as the UW VP for Innovation and Strategy, helped ECE with programs like ENGINE. His students are well placed in industry and academia thanks to his dedication to teaching and mentoring. Vikram put excellence at the forefront of his work and thanks to his efforts with CoMotion and Global Innovation Exchange, the UW is consistently recognized nationally for innovation. Indefatigably, he accomplished all of these things with great compassion and empathy for his colleagues and partners. Vikram was a champion of universities, striving to make entrepreneurship a part of higher education across all disciplines. His passion created opportunities for our students, faculty and community at large to come together and share knowledge and ideas across all fields of study. We will all experience this terrible loss in different ways, and I ask that we come together as a community to support each other with compassion and kindness during this challenging time, and always. If you or someone you know needs help processing this loss or is currently struggling with thoughts of suicide – please make full use of our support and resources and encourage others to do the same. If you would like to share a memory of Vikram or support his two sons, ages 7 and 5, who will be cared for by their mother, Suja Vaidyanathan, his family asks that you do so at the memorial site they have established. Details on a celebration of his life will be forthcoming. Sincerely, Radha Poovendran Professor and Chair of ECE Please read UW President, Ana Mari Cauce's tribute to Jandhyala. The Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering also paid tribute to Jandhyala. GeekWire also wrote his life and legacy.   [post_title] => Mourning the loss of Vikram Jandhyala [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => mourning-vikram-jandhyala [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-26 10:45:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-26 17:45:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14500 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14266 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2019-02-25 16:09:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-02-26 00:09:25 [post_content] => Yurk Dvorkin, Ph.D. student of professor Daniel Kirschen and assistant professor at New York University, was awarded a National Science Foundation Award for his work in power systems. His award will "fundamentally re-think and re-engineer the current US power grid architecture to accommodate a massive penetration level of customer-end distributed energy resources (DERs), while improving the overall reliability, resiliency, and energy efficiency of the power sector." Read more about his research here. [post_title] => ECE alumnus wins prestigious NSF CAREER award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ece-alumnus-wins-prestigious-nsf-career-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-13 19:51:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-14 02:51:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14266 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 6 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14668 [post_author] => 22 [post_date] => 2019-04-12 15:08:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-12 22:08:24 [post_content] => In 1986, the nervous system of Caenorhabditis elegans, a microscopic worm, was fully mapped. At the time, scientists and engineers thought this map would quickly reveal the definite functions of the nervous system. But it turned out that resolving the functions of a nervous system is very complex and even today, researchers still don’t fully understand how neural structure transforms to function. But recently, the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Applied Mathematics Washington Research Foundation assistant professor Eli Shlizerman and ECE graduate student Jimin Kim, created an interactive simulation of the nervous system of the worm, called the Neural Interactome. The purpose of their open source creation, is to help others better understand the neuronal system. “We designed this interactive tool for exploring both the architecture and the dynamic functions of neurons at the same time,” said Shlizerman. “Our web platform can be stimulated to see in real-time how neurons’ dynamics change.” Their research, “Neural Interactome: Interactive Simulation of a Neuronal System,” was published in “Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience,” in March. [caption id="attachment_14670" align="alignright" width="300"]Neural Interactome Interactive interface for Neural Interactome. Left panel enlists all the neurons classified by type (sensory, inter and motor). Each neuron is a clickable button with a scroll option. Scrolling adjusts the magnitude of constant stimulus; shift + click ablates the neuron from the network. Right: Force-directed graph displays each neuron's membrane voltage (node color denotes the sign; radius denotes the magnitude) and connections between neurons (edges between each pair of nodes).[/caption] The cross-platform framework that the pair built, which combines graph visualization with the simulation of neural dynamics, shows the many connections and how these support interactions between neurons. On the web platform, a graph represents the full somatic nervous system where each circle is a neuron and the different colors showcase the different classes of neurons: sensory, motor and interneurons. Users can hover their mouse over each neuron and the Neural Interactome will show them where it is in the nervous system, as well as the chemical and electrical connection it has. “You can see all of the connections and possible interactions between the neurons,” Kim said. “When you choose stimuli and hit play, the circles representing the neurons change in size and color expressing their membrane voltage. Effectively, we see how the full nervous system comes to life and responds to stimuli in real time. You can see how the neurons are communicating which composes the “thinking” of the worm.” Because the simulation is open-sourced, anyone with interest in the neural system can see how it performs. Click on a neuron, disable it, and see how the system’s dynamics change in real time. “There are still a lot of neurons which scientists haven’t figured out their purpose, even in the Caenorhabditis elegans,” Shlizerman said. “People thought that by the 90s, researchers would resolve most of the functions of this tiny neural system, but experiments only showed how complex it is, and how much there is to learn.” The interactome demonstrates that even the effect of disconnecting a single neuron, such that it is not functioning, changes the way of those that are, work. Shlizerman said that in 1986, John Graham White, a professor of anatomy and molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reconstructed the nervous system of the Caenorhabditis elegans, under the supervision of Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner. This turned out to be a start for simulating all of the neurons in the nervous system. “Thirty years later, we continued the work and created this tool which simulates the dynamics and connections," Shlizerman said. "We also developed visualization methods to highlight neurons belonging to the same functional groups so it will be easier to cluster them when they are performing their function.” Kim said the latest data is organized using the common Python 3 platform to simulate the network, and the hope is that computational scientists will keep revising the data and work with the Interactome to add more layers to the network so everyone can see their effects. [caption id="attachment_14671" align="alignleft" width="300"]interactome Visualization and main functionalities of Neural Interactome.[/caption] Researchers believe that their work could be applied to other more complex nervous systems, such as the brain of the fly or the mouse. Shlizerman said that brain mappings, called connectomes, for these organisms are currently being rapidly resolved and they include much more neurons than the 302 neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans. “As mappings of those organisms become more detailed, our framework paves the way to study how neural interaction and structure generate behavior," he said. The project was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Washington Research Foundation. Shlizerman is also a fellow at the UW eScience Institute and on the leadership team of the UW Computational Neuroscience Center.         [post_title] => UW researchers create an interactive simulation of a nervous system [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => uw-researchers-create-an-interactive-simulation-of-a-nervous-system [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-15 09:30:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-15 16:30:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=14668 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 640 [max_num_pages] => 107 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => 1 [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 0f87fe429e20a1f4e53778b54d8d4588 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) ) )
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