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  COVID-19 Information and Resources for ECE Students, Faculty, and Staff

Wyze camera donation helps UW ECE students connect with their instructors and classmates

A generous donation of 1,000 webcams to UW ECE students, faculty and staff is helping to facilitate online, virtual learning.

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UW ECE grad student Li Chen writes algorithm to depict cardiovascular risk using knee MRIs and AI

Artificial intelligence cuts diagnostic times from hours to minutes; imaging researchers see vast opportunities.

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UW ECE grad student Li Chen writes algorithm to depict cardiovascular risk using knee MRIs and AI Banner

UW ECE faculty receive 2020 FACET awards

UW ECE faculty members Jenq-Neng Hwang and Rania Hussein (pictured) were each formally recognized for their impact on students' academic and professional development.

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UW-Medtronic collaboration accelerates research into deep brain stimulation treatment for essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders

UW ECE researchers funded by the Center for Neurotechnology are partnering with Medtronic to impact a wide range of medical conditions.

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UW ECE student Megan Bui awarded Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship

Bui is one of three UW undergraduates to receive the scholarship for 2019-2020.

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UW ECE student Megan Bui awarded Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship Banner

UW ECE students receive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships and Honorable Mentions

Four UW ECE graduate students will receive a prestigious 2020 NSF GRFP award, and two UW ECE students received Honorable Mention.

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UW ECE students receive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships and Honorable Mentions Banner

News + Events

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/wyze-camera-donation-helps-uw-ece-students-connect-with-their-instructors-and-classmates/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/chen-knee-mri/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/uw-medtronic-collaboration/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/2020-facet-awards/
UW ECE faculty receive 2020 FACET awards

UW ECE faculty receive 2020 FACET awards

UW ECE faculty members Jenq-Neng Hwang and Rania Hussein (pictured) were each formally recognized for their impact on students' academic and professional development.

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/meganbui2020/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/2020-nsf-grfp/
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                    [post_content] => Story by Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News

[caption id="attachment_18567" align="alignright" width="550"]Man working on engineering device, while camera films it onscreen Brody Mahoney, a graduate student working in the lab of UW ECE Professor Josh Smith, uses the Wyze webcam to share engineering prototypes with instructors, classmates and colleagues.[/caption]

When University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) classes went online this spring because of the novel coronavirus, instructors were immediately faced with the challenge of bringing collaborative, hands-on learning experiences into an online, virtual environment. As a result, access to a computer with a dependable video camera connection became an essential need for every student.

To help UW ECE students, faculty and staff meet these unique and timely challenges, Yun Zhang, a 2006 UW Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering alumnus, is generously donating 1,000 Wyze cameras to UW ECE through “Wyze in Response,” his company’s community outreach program that aims to mitigate novel coronavirus impact. The donation came about as a result of a conversation between Zhang and Professor Payman Arabshahi, who is the UW ECE Associate Chair of Advancement and ENGINE Program Director. ENGINE is a UW ECE capstone program, representing the culmination of electrical and computer engineering education and enabling students to work in teams on industry-sponsored projects.

“I had previously been in touch with Yun about ENGINE capstones in years past. This year, I noticed the need in some projects for multiple cameras that could be placed around devices to facilitate remote collaboration,” Arabshahi said. “So, I just emailed Yun and asked if they would consider donating around 50 or so cameras. He immediately said yes, and in fact, Wyze upped their donation to 1,000 cameras, enough for all UW ECE students, faculty and staff!”

A key advantage of the Wyze Cam is that unlike a traditional desktop or laptop camera, it is mobile and adjustable, which makes the camera very useful for students who need to show projects they are working on from multiple angles.

“Our students spend a lot of time working on team projects. For these teams to work effectively, it is important our students have the ability to see each other and to show each other the prototypes that they are developing,” said Professor Daniel Kirschen, UW ECE’s Associate Chair for Education and Entrepreneurship, who along with UW ECE staff members Bill Lynes and Mike Kane, helped coordinate the receipt and distribution of cameras to students.

A generous donation with students in-mind

[caption id="attachment_18569" align="alignright" width="300"]close-up photo of a Wyze camera A key advantage of the Wyze Cam is that unlike a traditional desktop or laptop camera, it is mobile and adjustable, which makes the camera very useful for students who need to show projects they are working on from multiple angles.[/caption] Based in Kirkland, Washington, Wyze launched its first product, Wyze Cam, in October 2017. Since then, the company has served over 3 million customers. The donation of Wyze Cams to UW ECE aligns with the company’s mission to make quality technology accessible to everyone. “During this pandemic, Wyze, like many startups, is dealing with unprecedented difficulties. But we also think about how we can help others,” Zhang said. “Wyze Cam is designed to create visual connections for many different use cases. It can help students livestream their projects or help with video conferencing.” The cameras are being shipped in batches over Spring and Summer quarters. So far, 400 cameras have been received by UW ECE and 260 have been shipped to students. And, students are already benefiting. “When I started working from home a few months ago on my Ph.D., I needed to purchase a nice webcam for virtual meetings,” said Brody Mahoney, a graduate student working in the lab of UW ECE Professor Josh Smith. “I quickly realized that there was a severe shortage of webcams, along with toilet paper! There were very few available, and of those, most were very expensive. I was forced to tape my cell phone to my computer monitor and use it as a webcam. Thanks to Wyze, I now have a solid HD webcam; plus I can use my phone normally again.” These high-resolution cameras can be used online with the Wyze app, and after a simple firmware update, they integrate easily with popular video conferencing services such as Zoom or Skype. “I love how clear the images are — I can conference call with ease,” said Alyssa Rose Johnsen-Krogh, a UW ECE undergraduate student studying biomedical instrumentation. Kirschen, Arabshahi and UW ECE Professor and Chair Eric Klavins all expressed their gratitude for the donation. “Having to carry on with their studies remotely has been stressful for our students. Anything that makes them feel closer to their classmates and instructors reduces that stress and helps make their learning experience a bit more normal,” Kirschen said. “We are therefore extremely grateful to Wyze for helping us ensure that all our students have access to essential technology.” “It was extremely generous of Wyze to donate these cameras,” Arabshahi added. “They have made positive impacts for our students who did not have webcams, or needed one or more for project work.” “This donation will help many of our students who are struggling to attend class remotely,” Klavins said. “The support from Wyze is greatly appreciated.” For more information about Wyze and their response to the novel coronavirus, visit the “Wyze in Response” webpage. A summary of UW ECE’s response to the novel coronavirus can be found on our COVID-19 Resources webpage. [post_title] => Wyze camera donation helps UW ECE students connect with their instructors and classmates [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => wyze-camera-donation-helps-uw-ece-students-connect-with-their-instructors-and-classmates [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-22 10:01:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-22 17:01:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18566 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18437 [post_author] => 25 [post_date] => 2020-05-18 00:02:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-18 07:02:24 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_18447" align="alignright" width="594"] From left, ECE graduate student Li Chen, with UW Medicine researchers Niranjan Balu and Chun Yuan studying artificial intelligence's ability to help read radiology scans.[/caption] MRI scans of 4,796 patients’ knees have become a digital trove, helping to prove that artificial intelligence (AI) can recognize cardiovascular risk as accurately as medical specialists can – and in a fraction of the time. “This will be valuable for cardiologists, neurologists, radiologists, epidemiologists and for patients who need preventive care for heart attack and strokes,” said Chun Yuan, a bioengineer and UW Medicine radiology researcher. Yuan is the principal investigator in a massive study to establish a computer algorithm’s ability to identify an artery and delineate its inner and outer boundaries, just as radiologists do by hand to discern vessel wall thickening. The initial findings were published recently in the journal Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Knee MRIs, of course, are not intended to diagnose atherosclerosis, but rather to reveal sources of musculoskeletal pain. These patient scans had initially been ordered in a study of osteoarthritis. But knee MRIs inevitably include the popliteal artery, which runs vertically behind the knee joint. It has the potential to depict someone’s vascular health as well as vessels nearer the heart.
“This project was among many funded by the American Heart Association to explore AI," said Yuan. "It took more than a year to develop the algorithm that we used to analyze about 3.5 million images.” 
The algorithm was written by Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) Ph.D. student Li Chen, with guidance about knee MRI from Niranjan Balu, a research assistant professor of radiology. Chen is a research assistant in the Vascular Imaging Lab (VIL) led by Dr. Yuan, focusing on MRI vessel wall analysis, including artery tracing, vessel wall segmentation and quantification. By learning new computer vision knowledge under UW ECE professor Jenq-Neng Hwang, Chen has successfully adapted and applied innovative techniques in computer vision to medical problems such as this. AI’s magic lies in its speed and consistency. It would be unthinkable for a radiologist to hand-label 3.5 million blood vessels and contours. It only took seven minutes for AI to process one knee scan, versus as long as three hours for an experienced human (one MRI knee series is comprised of around 70 images, collectively covering about 4 vertical inches of knee joint). Chen believes further exploration in machine learning will transform the current medical system, offering it the ability to deliver more accurate, intelligent and efficient healthcare for patients.

Story adapted from UW Medicine | Newsroom
[post_title] => UW ECE grad student Li Chen writes algorithm to depict cardiovascular risk using knee MRIs and AI [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => chen-knee-mri [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-18 00:02:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-18 07:02:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18437 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18417 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2020-05-13 11:13:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-13 18:13:36 [post_content] => Story by Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_18419" align="alignright" width="600"]Group sitting around table watching man hold device against chest of another man who is sitting UW ECE graduate student Ben Ferleger (standing) calibrates study participant Fred Foy's implanted deep brain stimulator with the CNT research team.[/caption] Ben Ferleger is keenly aware of the positive impact neurotechnology can have on quality of life. “The technology we work with has the potential to really make people’s lives better. Essential tremor affects about five percent of the population over age 65, and as the population ages, the number of people affected is going to balloon substantially,” Ferleger said. “It’s going to become more and more necessary to find treatments for these sorts of conditions, not to mention psychiatric conditions and other motor disorders that affect people of all ages. The ability to really help people is definitely motivation for me.” Ferleger, a graduate student in the University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE), is conducting Center for Neurotechnology (CNT)-funded research seeking ways to improve deep brain stimulation. This is an effective, but imperfect, treatment currently used for essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Commercially available deep brain stimulation devices are always “on” after implantation, which can create troublesome side effects for the patient such as difficulty speaking, tingling in the limbs and uncoordinated or unbalanced walking. Periodic, time-consuming calibration to electrical stimulation levels in the doctor’s office is required. “When you drink a glass of water you don’t care about talking, so stimulation to stop the tremor is important to get the glass to your mouth. But if you’re standing up to give a speech, you do care about talking and probably some tremor in your hand is acceptable. That’s the kind of adjustment we’d like the device to be able to make,” said Howard Chizeck, UW ECE faculty member and director of the UW BioRobotics Lab, where the research takes place. [caption id="attachment_18421" align="alignleft" width="425"]Close up of laptop screen with diagonostics. Man holding hands up in background The implanted device monitors when the patient wants to move their hands and delivers therapy accordingly to prevent hand tremors.[/caption] The research team is investigating ways to address these issues by “closing the loop” on deep brain stimulation in collaboration with CNT industry affiliate, Medtronic. In essence, this means using neural signals and biomechanical feedback from the patient’s own body to regulate the amount of therapeutic stimulation a person’s brain receives at any one time. Closed-loop or adaptive deep brain stimulation reduces and helps manage side effects for the patient, while also saving precious battery life. This means fewer surgeries will be needed to replace batteries in the deep brain stimulator over its lifetime, which translates to reduced surgical risk and enhanced quality of life for the patient. This research team has a track record of success. In 2017, they achieved the first in-human use of a brain-controlled deep brain stimulator for treating essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease. Since then, they have been building on that achievement. And, in the next few months they will be sending clinical trial participants home with fully implanted and embedded devices that will adaptively manage deep brain stimulation and track the patient’s response to the treatment over time.

The importance of investigational research devices

[caption id="attachment_18427" align="alignright" width="425"]A close-up of the Medtronic Activa PC+S Medtronic provided the research team with the Activa PC+S, an implantable prototype device designed for clinical research trials, as well as technical support.[/caption] Collaboration with Medtronic has proven to be a dramatic accelerator for research in this domain. Medtronic provided the research team with the Activa PC+S, an implantable prototype device designed for clinical research trials, as well as technical support. The devices were implanted by CNT member physicians at UW Medicine, Dr. Andrew Ko and Dr. Jeffrey Ojemann. After implantation, the research team works closely with the clinical trial participant to monitor and adjust the device, testing and optimizing stimulation parameters and automated protocols, which are necessary for making the next version of the device useable in the real world. “There is an enormous amount of regulatory work that has to be done in order to implant these devices in humans,” Ferleger said. “But because Medtronic has the resources to produce these sorts of devices, that means we get to do more interesting science, and they receive feedback on how to make their devices even better.” Working with the device in human patients also enables the research team to collect a large amount of data capable of contributing to a better understanding of how the human brain reacts to electrical stimulation. Long-term, analysis of that data could give researchers at UW ECE and elsewhere insight into how to make neuromodulation devices that not only suppress tremors, but actually engineer neuroplasticity in the brain for healing and restoration of function. Jeffrey Herron, UW ECE faculty member and principal investigator of several related studies in Chizeck’s lab, noted the challenges of developing neural devices capable of engineering neuroplasticity. According to Herron, partnerships with affiliates, such as Medtronic, helps to accelerate the movement of this technology into real-world clinical applications. “The problems with neurological disorders and injuries are too complicated for industry to figure out by themselves these days, and the technical burden of building-up systems that can work in a human patient is too high for academics. The only way forward is by working together.” Ferleger and Herron appeared to relish these challenges and both expressed gratitude for the Medtronic partnership. “It’s not often that you get to take a practical output, like helping people, and also get a whole lot of insight into disease states, into how basic neuroscience works,” Ferleger said. “We’re really, really lucky to sit at that nexus.” For more information about the CNT’s research on improving deep brain stimulation treatments for essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, visit the UW BioRobotics Lab website. [post_title] => UW-Medtronic collaboration accelerates research into deep brain stimulation treatment for essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => uw-medtronic-collaboration [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-13 14:25:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-13 21:25:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18417 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18396 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2020-05-14 09:50:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-14 16:50:26 [post_content] => Story by Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_18404" align="alignright" width="500"]woman writing equations on white board while two students watch UW ECE faculty members Jenq-Neng Hwang and Rania Hussein (pictured) were each formally recognized for their impact on students' academic and professional development. Photo by Ryan Hoover | UW ECE[/caption] University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) faculty members Jenq-Neng Hwang and Rania Hussein are known for their dedication to students. This year, each was formally recognized by the UW Career Center @ Engineering (CC@E) with a 2020 Faculty Appreciation for Career Education & Training (FACET) award. The annual award recognizes UW College of Engineering (CoE) faculty who have positively impacted their students’ academic and professional development. This is the second year for the FACET award. Last year, UW ECE faculty members Blake Hannaford, Daniel Kirschen, Mari OstendorfJohn Raiti and Georg Seelig were recognized. In March, the CC@E asked CoE students to nominate faculty for the 2020 award. Any faculty member, lecturer or instructor whose home department is within the CoE is eligible for the honor. Award recipients are nominated and chosen based on demonstrated commitment to their students, mentorship and ability to connect students to internship and/or job opportunities. Hussein and Hwang are among 36 CoE faculty members who received a FACET award this year. The CC@E hopes to hold an event in the fall to recognize the award recipients in-person.

Jenq-Neng Hwang

Jenq-Neng Hwang headshotProfessor Jenq-Neng Hwang joined UW ECE in 1989 and served as the Associate Chair for Research from 2003 to 2005, and again from 2011 to 2015. He is currently the UW ECE Associate Chair for Global Affairs and International Development. Hwang is also founder and co-director of the Information Processing Lab. He has written more than 380 journal, conference papers and book chapters in the areas of machine learning, multimedia signal processing, computer vision, and multimedia system integration and networking. He also has a close working relationship with industry on artificial intelligence and machine learning. “During the discussion of whether or not to pursue a Ph.D. or head directly into industry, Professor Hwang gave solid and practical details about the pros and cons of each option,” said the student who nominated Hwang for a FACET award. “This helped me to identify the best path based on my concerns.” “I am extremely honored to be one of the recipients of the FACET award this year,” Hwang said. “It has been my greatest pleasure to teach and advise all the motivated and hardworking undergraduate and graduate students in my classes and my research lab.”

Rania Hussein

Rania Hussein headshotUW ECE faculty member Rania Hussein is a senior IEEE member and has over 10 years of work experience in higher education where she has developed and taught courses at all levels in electrical engineering and computer science. She has a strong teaching portfolio backed by high ratings from her students’ course evaluations. Before joining UW ECE in 2018, she was an electrical engineering lecturer at UW Bothell. She also has worked as a research engineer at the Walt Disney Company, focusing on data mining, sentiment analysis of the social web, and gamification to increase web presence and customer engagement. Hussein’s current research interests are embedded systems, image processing and machine learning. She is actively involved in supervising undergraduate research, and her students often go on to become successful industry professionals in high-profile companies. Hussein also has experience serving as a board member and executive director to non-profits promoting diversity and the social and educational development of women and youth. “Dr. Hussein is the instructor of my first and second embedded class. She uses fun stories and vivid metaphors to explain challenging concepts. She is also very caring,” said the student who nominated Hussein. “The feeling she left me with was that there are people who care about whether or not I understand my classes. She’s the best.” “I am humbled and honored to be a recipient of a FACET award, along with a great group of established educators from the UW College of Engineering,” Hussein said. “This award is a great morale boost and it inspires me to work even harder to live up to my students expectations of making a positive impact on their education and careers.” In addition to facilitating the FACET award, the CC@E provides students at the CoE with a full suite of job-search and career development services. For more information, visit the CC@E website.   [post_title] => UW ECE faculty receive 2020 FACET awards [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 2020-facet-awards [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-14 16:14:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-14 23:14:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18396 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18309 [post_author] => 25 [post_date] => 2020-05-12 09:23:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-12 16:23:18 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_18313" align="alignright" width="574"] ECE junior Megan Bui awarded the 2020 Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship.[/caption]   Megan Bui, a junior studying Digital Signal and Image Processing in the University of Washington's Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE), was one of just three students at the UW to be awarded a Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship for the academic year 2019-2020. The Endowment for the Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarships was created to provide financial assistance to undergraduate students at the University of Washington who are pursuing degrees in any of the following areas of study: Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, and/or other areas of national need as determined by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This year's Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholars are Megan Bui, Jakub Filipek and Marium Raza.  
"Receiving the Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship is a great achievement and it is a tremendous honor for me," said Bui.
  It was Thomas Joseph Sedlock’s philosophy that the future will be dominated by the best ideas, not the most ideas. Recipients awarded this scholarship break the mold. The scholarship supports self-motivated individuals who demonstrate academic achievement, persistence and follow-through, as well as objectively manifested initiative shown through activities such as (but not limited to): notable self-created experiments in a scientific endeavor, demonstrated leadership in an activity, exceptional writing and others. Bui exemplifies Sedlocks' philosophy. Before transferring to the University of Washington, Megan was a community college student with great interest in science and technology for sustainability. While she admits this wasn't the easiest of transitions, she was able to earn a summer internship during her sophomore year with the Department of Energy and interned at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). After an intensive, thrilling summer where Megan worked with leading experts to make America’s power grid more reliable and resilient, she fell in love with the research environment. Two years later, Megan still works at PNNL as a part-time junior engineer and research assistant contributing original work in renewable energy penetration projects. That experience shaped Megan’s interest in optimizing and implementing energy-efficient systems on the nano and granular levels – from integrating renewable energy into the world’s power grids to use machine learning as a tool for sustainability. [caption id="attachment_18375" align="alignleft" width="722"]Group photo of the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholar Group photo of the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars[/caption]   In the summer of 2019, Megan had the opportunity to do research at the UW Molecular Engineering Materials Center (MEM-C) through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program in collaboration with the UW Clean Energy Institute (CEI). Working under UW ECE Professor Scott Dunham, Megan developed a convolutional neural network, a machine learning (ML) algorithm, for analyzing a promising photovoltaic absorber. This research explored methodologies to accelerate the design, synthesis, and characterization of various materials with the aid of artificial intelligence.          
"Instead of enjoying the beautiful sun of the Pacific Northwest during the summer, I was perfectly happy reading articles and journals in a dark, closed room – I took that as a good sign that I had found my calling! I continue to be captivated by Machine Learning (the mathematical foundation and its capabilities and potential). Professor Dunham and the excellent graduate students in the Nanotechnology Modeling Laboratory, David Sommer and Aaron Gehrke in particular, were all very supportive and helpful on topics pertaining to the research and my future goals."
[caption id="attachment_18376" align="alignright" width="464"]Megan presenting her research at the 2019 Summer STEM Research Poster Session. Megan presenting her research at the 2019 Summer STEM Research Poster Session.[/caption]   Following that transformative experience, Megan now sees a future where ML plays a significant role in sustainability. She believes in the future of energy-efficient devices will be the Internet of Things and smart devices, such as smart buildings, where technologies are interconnected and self-regulating.  "I cannot say enough about the students and staff at the University of Washington," added Megan on her education at ECE thus far. "It is quite humbling to be able to learn from top researchers and experts in the field. In addition to establishing the technical foundation I need for my future aspirations, I've been able to seek the advice of many professors regarding graduate school and industry. The UW community has tremendously been supportive."    Megan will continue her involvement in scientific research throughout her undergraduate years, and after graduation plans to pursue a Ph.D. in electrical engineering with a focus on trying to answer tough environmental concerns. 
Story adapted from the UW Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards. Read about the other scholarship awardees here. [post_title] => UW ECE student Megan Bui awarded Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => meganbui2020 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-14 16:31:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-14 23:31:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18309 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18164 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2020-04-30 17:23:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-01 00:23:46 [post_content] => Story by Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_18380" align="alignright" width="750"]headshots of 2020 NSF GRFP award recipients From left to right: UW ECE 2020 NSF GRFP recipients Nina Vincent, Daniel Tabas, Maksym Zhelyeznyakov, Nicholas Yama, Honorable mention recipients Lane Smith (above) and Kyle Johnson (below)[/caption] This spring, three University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) students and one incoming graduate student were invited to become participants in the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). In addition, two other UW ECE students received Honorable Mention for their applications to the fellowship program, which is considered a substantial achievement. The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. The $138K fellowship award provides an annual $34K stipend for three years, plus $12K per year to be put toward the cost of tuition and fees at the university the fellow chooses to attend.

NSF 2020 Graduate Research Fellows

UW ECE students Nina Vincent, Daniel Tabas and Maksym Zhelyeznyakov are each a 2020 NSF GRFP award recipient. These students are conducting research ranging from optimizing electrical grids for storage and distribution of renewable energy to creating new, compact, low-power sensors for smart devices.

Nina Vincent

headshot of Nina Vincent Vincent is a graduate student in the Renewable Energy Analysis Lab, overseen by Professor Daniel Kirschen, who is a UW ECE and Clean Energy Institute faculty member. Her research focuses on planning for an electrical grid capable of handling large amounts of renewable energy. She creates models that optimize expansion of power-generating capacity, transmission capability and storage in the grid. In regard to Vincent’s work, Kirschen said, “Nina joined my lab because she is passionate about renewable energy. I look forward to working with her on developing solutions for the integration of massive amounts of wind and solar power generation in the grid.” “I’m very honored to receive this award! It will let me focus much more heavily on my research for the rest of my studies and pursue research I’m interested in,” Vincent said. “I’ve worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on projects related to my research, and I look forward to having more time to collaborate with them in the future on projects aligned with my interests.”    

Daniel Tabas

Daniel Tabas headshot Tabas works primarily with Baosen Zhang, a UW ECE and Clean Energy Institute faculty member, and he is also a graduate student in Kirschen’s Renewable Energy Analysis Lab. The focus of Tabas’s research is control and optimization in power systems with high levels of renewable energy. He is developing mathematical techniques that help deal with temporal and geographic variability in wind and solar power production. Zhang praised Tabas’ mathematical abilities, saying, “I find Daniel to be mathematically strong, creative and intellectually curious. He likes to go deep into a problem, which is a rare trait among young graduate students.” “The award will help me to focus on my specific research goals and will allow me to take larger risks,” Tabas said.        

Maksym Zhelyeznyakov

Maksym Zhelyeznyakov Headshot Zhelyeznyakov works in the lab of Arka Majumdar, who is a UW ECE faculty member, as well as faculty in the UW Department of Physics, the Institute for NanoEngineered Systems, and the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. Zhelyeznyakov’s research supported by the award is aiming to combine the computational design of optical metamaterials and computational imaging algorithms to create compact, low-power sensors. These sensors could have applications in various types of smart, technology-empowered everyday objects, also known as the “Internet of Things.” “Maksym has a strong background in Applied Mathematics, which helps him understand and solve complex computational problems quickly,” Majumdar said. “This resulted in several research publications in a very short period of time.” “Receiving this award means I’ll have guaranteed funding for the next three years,” Zhelyeznyakov said. “I’ll also have a lot of freedom in how I tailor my Ph.D. thesis.”  

Nicholas Yama

Nicholas Yama headshotYama is graduating this year from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a degree in electrical engineering. He will be joining UW ECE in the fall as a graduate student. Yama will be working with UW ECE faculty member Kai-Mei Fu, who is also faculty in the UW Department of Physics, director of the Optical Spintronics & Sensing Lab, and member of the Clean Energy Institute and Institute for NanoEngineered Systems. Yama’s research is geared toward studying the physics of optical defects in diamond. This work has applications in quantum information science and communications. “I’m very honored to be recognized for this award, and I am glad that it will help to relieve some financial stress on myself and my adviser,” Yama said. “I hope that this will allow for some extra freedom to pursue research goals that I may not have been able to otherwise.”    

NSF GRFP Honorable Mentions

UW ECE students Kyle Johnson and Lane Smith each received Honorable Mention for their applications to the NSF GRFP, which is also widely considered to be a high honor. Johnson is using principles derived from origami to construct robots capable of jumping-based locomotion, and Smith is finding ways to better integrate renewable energy sources into the electrical grid.

Kyle Johnson

Kyle Johnson headshot Johnson is a graduating senior who was accepted into the University of Southern California’s (USC’s) computer science masters program as well as Cornell’s, Georgia Tech’s, UCLA’s and the UW ECE’s masters programs. He has worked with UW ECE faculty member Sam Burden and took courses from UW ECE faculty member Rania Hussein. The focus of Johnson’s research is on leveraging the unique features and properties of origami structures, specifically leaf-out origami, to build robots capable of jumping-based locomotion. “Kyle was a student in my embedded systems and digital design courses,” Hussein said. “Besides his ability to master new skills quickly and excel in fast-paced and challenging coursework, Kyle is a role model in sharing his talent to promote a community of learners, a quality that I am a big proponent of. It was an easy decision for me to enthusiastically recommend him for this award.”    

Lane Smith

Lane Smith headshot Smith is another graduate student in Kirschen’s Renewable Energy Analysis Lab, along with NSF GRFP recipients Vincent and Tabas. His research broadly focuses on distributed energy resource (DER) participation in electricity markets and utility programs. DERs are small-scale units of local power generation connected to the grid at a distribution level. Home solar panels that send power back to the main electrical grid are an example of DER participation. Through his research, Smith hopes to increase the integration of DERs, particularly renewable energy sources and energy storage, to the main electrical grid. “Lane wrote an excellent research proposal on the integration into the grid of distributed energy resources, such as residential solar power generation,” Kirschen said. “I am very pleased that the NSF recognized his potential as a researcher by awarding Lane with an Honorable Mention.” “The NSF GRFP Honorable Mention is a nice recognition to receive at the beginning of my research career,” Smith said. “I look forward to building on this experience for future grant-writing opportunities.”   To view all of the 2020 NSF GRFP award recipients nationwide, visit the NSF GRFP website. [post_title] => UW ECE students receive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships and Honorable Mentions [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 2020-nsf-grfp [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 15:19:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 22:19:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18164 [menu_order] => 7 [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/wyze-camera-donation-helps-uw-ece-students-connect-with-their-instructors-and-classmates/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/chen-knee-mri/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/uw-medtronic-collaboration/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/2020-facet-awards/
UW ECE faculty receive 2020 FACET awards

UW ECE faculty receive 2020 FACET awards

UW ECE faculty members Jenq-Neng Hwang and Rania Hussein (pictured) were each formally recognized for their impact on students' academic and professional development.

https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/meganbui2020/
https://www.ece.uw.edu/spotlight/2020-nsf-grfp/
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As a result, access to a computer with a dependable video camera connection became an essential need for every student. To help UW ECE students, faculty and staff meet these unique and timely challenges, Yun Zhang, a 2006 UW Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering alumnus, is generously donating 1,000 Wyze cameras to UW ECE through “Wyze in Response,” his company’s community outreach program that aims to mitigate novel coronavirus impact. The donation came about as a result of a conversation between Zhang and Professor Payman Arabshahi, who is the UW ECE Associate Chair of Advancement and ENGINE Program Director. ENGINE is a UW ECE capstone program, representing the culmination of electrical and computer engineering education and enabling students to work in teams on industry-sponsored projects. “I had previously been in touch with Yun about ENGINE capstones in years past. This year, I noticed the need in some projects for multiple cameras that could be placed around devices to facilitate remote collaboration,” Arabshahi said. “So, I just emailed Yun and asked if they would consider donating around 50 or so cameras. He immediately said yes, and in fact, Wyze upped their donation to 1,000 cameras, enough for all UW ECE students, faculty and staff!” A key advantage of the Wyze Cam is that unlike a traditional desktop or laptop camera, it is mobile and adjustable, which makes the camera very useful for students who need to show projects they are working on from multiple angles. “Our students spend a lot of time working on team projects. For these teams to work effectively, it is important our students have the ability to see each other and to show each other the prototypes that they are developing,” said Professor Daniel Kirschen, UW ECE’s Associate Chair for Education and Entrepreneurship, who along with UW ECE staff members Bill Lynes and Mike Kane, helped coordinate the receipt and distribution of cameras to students.

A generous donation with students in-mind

[caption id="attachment_18569" align="alignright" width="300"]close-up photo of a Wyze camera A key advantage of the Wyze Cam is that unlike a traditional desktop or laptop camera, it is mobile and adjustable, which makes the camera very useful for students who need to show projects they are working on from multiple angles.[/caption] Based in Kirkland, Washington, Wyze launched its first product, Wyze Cam, in October 2017. Since then, the company has served over 3 million customers. The donation of Wyze Cams to UW ECE aligns with the company’s mission to make quality technology accessible to everyone. “During this pandemic, Wyze, like many startups, is dealing with unprecedented difficulties. But we also think about how we can help others,” Zhang said. “Wyze Cam is designed to create visual connections for many different use cases. It can help students livestream their projects or help with video conferencing.” The cameras are being shipped in batches over Spring and Summer quarters. So far, 400 cameras have been received by UW ECE and 260 have been shipped to students. And, students are already benefiting. “When I started working from home a few months ago on my Ph.D., I needed to purchase a nice webcam for virtual meetings,” said Brody Mahoney, a graduate student working in the lab of UW ECE Professor Josh Smith. “I quickly realized that there was a severe shortage of webcams, along with toilet paper! There were very few available, and of those, most were very expensive. I was forced to tape my cell phone to my computer monitor and use it as a webcam. Thanks to Wyze, I now have a solid HD webcam; plus I can use my phone normally again.” These high-resolution cameras can be used online with the Wyze app, and after a simple firmware update, they integrate easily with popular video conferencing services such as Zoom or Skype. “I love how clear the images are — I can conference call with ease,” said Alyssa Rose Johnsen-Krogh, a UW ECE undergraduate student studying biomedical instrumentation. Kirschen, Arabshahi and UW ECE Professor and Chair Eric Klavins all expressed their gratitude for the donation. “Having to carry on with their studies remotely has been stressful for our students. Anything that makes them feel closer to their classmates and instructors reduces that stress and helps make their learning experience a bit more normal,” Kirschen said. “We are therefore extremely grateful to Wyze for helping us ensure that all our students have access to essential technology.” “It was extremely generous of Wyze to donate these cameras,” Arabshahi added. “They have made positive impacts for our students who did not have webcams, or needed one or more for project work.” “This donation will help many of our students who are struggling to attend class remotely,” Klavins said. “The support from Wyze is greatly appreciated.” For more information about Wyze and their response to the novel coronavirus, visit the “Wyze in Response” webpage. A summary of UW ECE’s response to the novel coronavirus can be found on our COVID-19 Resources webpage. [post_title] => Wyze camera donation helps UW ECE students connect with their instructors and classmates [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => wyze-camera-donation-helps-uw-ece-students-connect-with-their-instructors-and-classmates [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-22 10:01:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-22 17:01:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18566 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18437 [post_author] => 25 [post_date] => 2020-05-18 00:02:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-18 07:02:24 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_18447" align="alignright" width="594"] From left, ECE graduate student Li Chen, with UW Medicine researchers Niranjan Balu and Chun Yuan studying artificial intelligence's ability to help read radiology scans.[/caption] MRI scans of 4,796 patients’ knees have become a digital trove, helping to prove that artificial intelligence (AI) can recognize cardiovascular risk as accurately as medical specialists can – and in a fraction of the time. “This will be valuable for cardiologists, neurologists, radiologists, epidemiologists and for patients who need preventive care for heart attack and strokes,” said Chun Yuan, a bioengineer and UW Medicine radiology researcher. Yuan is the principal investigator in a massive study to establish a computer algorithm’s ability to identify an artery and delineate its inner and outer boundaries, just as radiologists do by hand to discern vessel wall thickening. The initial findings were published recently in the journal Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Knee MRIs, of course, are not intended to diagnose atherosclerosis, but rather to reveal sources of musculoskeletal pain. These patient scans had initially been ordered in a study of osteoarthritis. But knee MRIs inevitably include the popliteal artery, which runs vertically behind the knee joint. It has the potential to depict someone’s vascular health as well as vessels nearer the heart.
“This project was among many funded by the American Heart Association to explore AI," said Yuan. "It took more than a year to develop the algorithm that we used to analyze about 3.5 million images.” 
The algorithm was written by Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) Ph.D. student Li Chen, with guidance about knee MRI from Niranjan Balu, a research assistant professor of radiology. Chen is a research assistant in the Vascular Imaging Lab (VIL) led by Dr. Yuan, focusing on MRI vessel wall analysis, including artery tracing, vessel wall segmentation and quantification. By learning new computer vision knowledge under UW ECE professor Jenq-Neng Hwang, Chen has successfully adapted and applied innovative techniques in computer vision to medical problems such as this. AI’s magic lies in its speed and consistency. It would be unthinkable for a radiologist to hand-label 3.5 million blood vessels and contours. It only took seven minutes for AI to process one knee scan, versus as long as three hours for an experienced human (one MRI knee series is comprised of around 70 images, collectively covering about 4 vertical inches of knee joint). Chen believes further exploration in machine learning will transform the current medical system, offering it the ability to deliver more accurate, intelligent and efficient healthcare for patients.

Story adapted from UW Medicine | Newsroom
[post_title] => UW ECE grad student Li Chen writes algorithm to depict cardiovascular risk using knee MRIs and AI [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => chen-knee-mri [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-18 00:02:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-18 07:02:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18437 [menu_order] => 3 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18417 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2020-05-13 11:13:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-13 18:13:36 [post_content] => Story by Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_18419" align="alignright" width="600"]Group sitting around table watching man hold device against chest of another man who is sitting UW ECE graduate student Ben Ferleger (standing) calibrates study participant Fred Foy's implanted deep brain stimulator with the CNT research team.[/caption] Ben Ferleger is keenly aware of the positive impact neurotechnology can have on quality of life. “The technology we work with has the potential to really make people’s lives better. Essential tremor affects about five percent of the population over age 65, and as the population ages, the number of people affected is going to balloon substantially,” Ferleger said. “It’s going to become more and more necessary to find treatments for these sorts of conditions, not to mention psychiatric conditions and other motor disorders that affect people of all ages. The ability to really help people is definitely motivation for me.” Ferleger, a graduate student in the University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE), is conducting Center for Neurotechnology (CNT)-funded research seeking ways to improve deep brain stimulation. This is an effective, but imperfect, treatment currently used for essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Commercially available deep brain stimulation devices are always “on” after implantation, which can create troublesome side effects for the patient such as difficulty speaking, tingling in the limbs and uncoordinated or unbalanced walking. Periodic, time-consuming calibration to electrical stimulation levels in the doctor’s office is required. “When you drink a glass of water you don’t care about talking, so stimulation to stop the tremor is important to get the glass to your mouth. But if you’re standing up to give a speech, you do care about talking and probably some tremor in your hand is acceptable. That’s the kind of adjustment we’d like the device to be able to make,” said Howard Chizeck, UW ECE faculty member and director of the UW BioRobotics Lab, where the research takes place. [caption id="attachment_18421" align="alignleft" width="425"]Close up of laptop screen with diagonostics. Man holding hands up in background The implanted device monitors when the patient wants to move their hands and delivers therapy accordingly to prevent hand tremors.[/caption] The research team is investigating ways to address these issues by “closing the loop” on deep brain stimulation in collaboration with CNT industry affiliate, Medtronic. In essence, this means using neural signals and biomechanical feedback from the patient’s own body to regulate the amount of therapeutic stimulation a person’s brain receives at any one time. Closed-loop or adaptive deep brain stimulation reduces and helps manage side effects for the patient, while also saving precious battery life. This means fewer surgeries will be needed to replace batteries in the deep brain stimulator over its lifetime, which translates to reduced surgical risk and enhanced quality of life for the patient. This research team has a track record of success. In 2017, they achieved the first in-human use of a brain-controlled deep brain stimulator for treating essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease. Since then, they have been building on that achievement. And, in the next few months they will be sending clinical trial participants home with fully implanted and embedded devices that will adaptively manage deep brain stimulation and track the patient’s response to the treatment over time.

The importance of investigational research devices

[caption id="attachment_18427" align="alignright" width="425"]A close-up of the Medtronic Activa PC+S Medtronic provided the research team with the Activa PC+S, an implantable prototype device designed for clinical research trials, as well as technical support.[/caption] Collaboration with Medtronic has proven to be a dramatic accelerator for research in this domain. Medtronic provided the research team with the Activa PC+S, an implantable prototype device designed for clinical research trials, as well as technical support. The devices were implanted by CNT member physicians at UW Medicine, Dr. Andrew Ko and Dr. Jeffrey Ojemann. After implantation, the research team works closely with the clinical trial participant to monitor and adjust the device, testing and optimizing stimulation parameters and automated protocols, which are necessary for making the next version of the device useable in the real world. “There is an enormous amount of regulatory work that has to be done in order to implant these devices in humans,” Ferleger said. “But because Medtronic has the resources to produce these sorts of devices, that means we get to do more interesting science, and they receive feedback on how to make their devices even better.” Working with the device in human patients also enables the research team to collect a large amount of data capable of contributing to a better understanding of how the human brain reacts to electrical stimulation. Long-term, analysis of that data could give researchers at UW ECE and elsewhere insight into how to make neuromodulation devices that not only suppress tremors, but actually engineer neuroplasticity in the brain for healing and restoration of function. Jeffrey Herron, UW ECE faculty member and principal investigator of several related studies in Chizeck’s lab, noted the challenges of developing neural devices capable of engineering neuroplasticity. According to Herron, partnerships with affiliates, such as Medtronic, helps to accelerate the movement of this technology into real-world clinical applications. “The problems with neurological disorders and injuries are too complicated for industry to figure out by themselves these days, and the technical burden of building-up systems that can work in a human patient is too high for academics. The only way forward is by working together.” Ferleger and Herron appeared to relish these challenges and both expressed gratitude for the Medtronic partnership. “It’s not often that you get to take a practical output, like helping people, and also get a whole lot of insight into disease states, into how basic neuroscience works,” Ferleger said. “We’re really, really lucky to sit at that nexus.” For more information about the CNT’s research on improving deep brain stimulation treatments for essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, visit the UW BioRobotics Lab website. [post_title] => UW-Medtronic collaboration accelerates research into deep brain stimulation treatment for essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => uw-medtronic-collaboration [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-13 14:25:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-13 21:25:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18417 [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18396 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2020-05-14 09:50:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-14 16:50:26 [post_content] => Story by Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_18404" align="alignright" width="500"]woman writing equations on white board while two students watch UW ECE faculty members Jenq-Neng Hwang and Rania Hussein (pictured) were each formally recognized for their impact on students' academic and professional development. Photo by Ryan Hoover | UW ECE[/caption] University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) faculty members Jenq-Neng Hwang and Rania Hussein are known for their dedication to students. This year, each was formally recognized by the UW Career Center @ Engineering (CC@E) with a 2020 Faculty Appreciation for Career Education & Training (FACET) award. The annual award recognizes UW College of Engineering (CoE) faculty who have positively impacted their students’ academic and professional development. This is the second year for the FACET award. Last year, UW ECE faculty members Blake Hannaford, Daniel Kirschen, Mari OstendorfJohn Raiti and Georg Seelig were recognized. In March, the CC@E asked CoE students to nominate faculty for the 2020 award. Any faculty member, lecturer or instructor whose home department is within the CoE is eligible for the honor. Award recipients are nominated and chosen based on demonstrated commitment to their students, mentorship and ability to connect students to internship and/or job opportunities. Hussein and Hwang are among 36 CoE faculty members who received a FACET award this year. The CC@E hopes to hold an event in the fall to recognize the award recipients in-person.

Jenq-Neng Hwang

Jenq-Neng Hwang headshotProfessor Jenq-Neng Hwang joined UW ECE in 1989 and served as the Associate Chair for Research from 2003 to 2005, and again from 2011 to 2015. He is currently the UW ECE Associate Chair for Global Affairs and International Development. Hwang is also founder and co-director of the Information Processing Lab. He has written more than 380 journal, conference papers and book chapters in the areas of machine learning, multimedia signal processing, computer vision, and multimedia system integration and networking. He also has a close working relationship with industry on artificial intelligence and machine learning. “During the discussion of whether or not to pursue a Ph.D. or head directly into industry, Professor Hwang gave solid and practical details about the pros and cons of each option,” said the student who nominated Hwang for a FACET award. “This helped me to identify the best path based on my concerns.” “I am extremely honored to be one of the recipients of the FACET award this year,” Hwang said. “It has been my greatest pleasure to teach and advise all the motivated and hardworking undergraduate and graduate students in my classes and my research lab.”

Rania Hussein

Rania Hussein headshotUW ECE faculty member Rania Hussein is a senior IEEE member and has over 10 years of work experience in higher education where she has developed and taught courses at all levels in electrical engineering and computer science. She has a strong teaching portfolio backed by high ratings from her students’ course evaluations. Before joining UW ECE in 2018, she was an electrical engineering lecturer at UW Bothell. She also has worked as a research engineer at the Walt Disney Company, focusing on data mining, sentiment analysis of the social web, and gamification to increase web presence and customer engagement. Hussein’s current research interests are embedded systems, image processing and machine learning. She is actively involved in supervising undergraduate research, and her students often go on to become successful industry professionals in high-profile companies. Hussein also has experience serving as a board member and executive director to non-profits promoting diversity and the social and educational development of women and youth. “Dr. Hussein is the instructor of my first and second embedded class. She uses fun stories and vivid metaphors to explain challenging concepts. She is also very caring,” said the student who nominated Hussein. “The feeling she left me with was that there are people who care about whether or not I understand my classes. She’s the best.” “I am humbled and honored to be a recipient of a FACET award, along with a great group of established educators from the UW College of Engineering,” Hussein said. “This award is a great morale boost and it inspires me to work even harder to live up to my students expectations of making a positive impact on their education and careers.” In addition to facilitating the FACET award, the CC@E provides students at the CoE with a full suite of job-search and career development services. For more information, visit the CC@E website.   [post_title] => UW ECE faculty receive 2020 FACET awards [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 2020-facet-awards [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-14 16:14:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-14 23:14:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18396 [menu_order] => 5 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18309 [post_author] => 25 [post_date] => 2020-05-12 09:23:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-12 16:23:18 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_18313" align="alignright" width="574"] ECE junior Megan Bui awarded the 2020 Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship.[/caption]   Megan Bui, a junior studying Digital Signal and Image Processing in the University of Washington's Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE), was one of just three students at the UW to be awarded a Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship for the academic year 2019-2020. The Endowment for the Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarships was created to provide financial assistance to undergraduate students at the University of Washington who are pursuing degrees in any of the following areas of study: Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, and/or other areas of national need as determined by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This year's Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholars are Megan Bui, Jakub Filipek and Marium Raza.  
"Receiving the Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship is a great achievement and it is a tremendous honor for me," said Bui.
  It was Thomas Joseph Sedlock’s philosophy that the future will be dominated by the best ideas, not the most ideas. Recipients awarded this scholarship break the mold. The scholarship supports self-motivated individuals who demonstrate academic achievement, persistence and follow-through, as well as objectively manifested initiative shown through activities such as (but not limited to): notable self-created experiments in a scientific endeavor, demonstrated leadership in an activity, exceptional writing and others. Bui exemplifies Sedlocks' philosophy. Before transferring to the University of Washington, Megan was a community college student with great interest in science and technology for sustainability. While she admits this wasn't the easiest of transitions, she was able to earn a summer internship during her sophomore year with the Department of Energy and interned at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). After an intensive, thrilling summer where Megan worked with leading experts to make America’s power grid more reliable and resilient, she fell in love with the research environment. Two years later, Megan still works at PNNL as a part-time junior engineer and research assistant contributing original work in renewable energy penetration projects. That experience shaped Megan’s interest in optimizing and implementing energy-efficient systems on the nano and granular levels – from integrating renewable energy into the world’s power grids to use machine learning as a tool for sustainability. [caption id="attachment_18375" align="alignleft" width="722"]Group photo of the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholar Group photo of the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars[/caption]   In the summer of 2019, Megan had the opportunity to do research at the UW Molecular Engineering Materials Center (MEM-C) through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program in collaboration with the UW Clean Energy Institute (CEI). Working under UW ECE Professor Scott Dunham, Megan developed a convolutional neural network, a machine learning (ML) algorithm, for analyzing a promising photovoltaic absorber. This research explored methodologies to accelerate the design, synthesis, and characterization of various materials with the aid of artificial intelligence.          
"Instead of enjoying the beautiful sun of the Pacific Northwest during the summer, I was perfectly happy reading articles and journals in a dark, closed room – I took that as a good sign that I had found my calling! I continue to be captivated by Machine Learning (the mathematical foundation and its capabilities and potential). Professor Dunham and the excellent graduate students in the Nanotechnology Modeling Laboratory, David Sommer and Aaron Gehrke in particular, were all very supportive and helpful on topics pertaining to the research and my future goals."
[caption id="attachment_18376" align="alignright" width="464"]Megan presenting her research at the 2019 Summer STEM Research Poster Session. Megan presenting her research at the 2019 Summer STEM Research Poster Session.[/caption]   Following that transformative experience, Megan now sees a future where ML plays a significant role in sustainability. She believes in the future of energy-efficient devices will be the Internet of Things and smart devices, such as smart buildings, where technologies are interconnected and self-regulating.  "I cannot say enough about the students and staff at the University of Washington," added Megan on her education at ECE thus far. "It is quite humbling to be able to learn from top researchers and experts in the field. In addition to establishing the technical foundation I need for my future aspirations, I've been able to seek the advice of many professors regarding graduate school and industry. The UW community has tremendously been supportive."    Megan will continue her involvement in scientific research throughout her undergraduate years, and after graduation plans to pursue a Ph.D. in electrical engineering with a focus on trying to answer tough environmental concerns. 
Story adapted from the UW Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards. Read about the other scholarship awardees here. [post_title] => UW ECE student Megan Bui awarded Thomas Sedlock Icon Scholarship [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => meganbui2020 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-14 16:31:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-14 23:31:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18309 [menu_order] => 6 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18164 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2020-04-30 17:23:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-01 00:23:46 [post_content] => Story by Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_18380" align="alignright" width="750"]headshots of 2020 NSF GRFP award recipients From left to right: UW ECE 2020 NSF GRFP recipients Nina Vincent, Daniel Tabas, Maksym Zhelyeznyakov, Nicholas Yama, Honorable mention recipients Lane Smith (above) and Kyle Johnson (below)[/caption] This spring, three University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) students and one incoming graduate student were invited to become participants in the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). In addition, two other UW ECE students received Honorable Mention for their applications to the fellowship program, which is considered a substantial achievement. The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. The $138K fellowship award provides an annual $34K stipend for three years, plus $12K per year to be put toward the cost of tuition and fees at the university the fellow chooses to attend.

NSF 2020 Graduate Research Fellows

UW ECE students Nina Vincent, Daniel Tabas and Maksym Zhelyeznyakov are each a 2020 NSF GRFP award recipient. These students are conducting research ranging from optimizing electrical grids for storage and distribution of renewable energy to creating new, compact, low-power sensors for smart devices.

Nina Vincent

headshot of Nina Vincent Vincent is a graduate student in the Renewable Energy Analysis Lab, overseen by Professor Daniel Kirschen, who is a UW ECE and Clean Energy Institute faculty member. Her research focuses on planning for an electrical grid capable of handling large amounts of renewable energy. She creates models that optimize expansion of power-generating capacity, transmission capability and storage in the grid. In regard to Vincent’s work, Kirschen said, “Nina joined my lab because she is passionate about renewable energy. I look forward to working with her on developing solutions for the integration of massive amounts of wind and solar power generation in the grid.” “I’m very honored to receive this award! It will let me focus much more heavily on my research for the rest of my studies and pursue research I’m interested in,” Vincent said. “I’ve worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on projects related to my research, and I look forward to having more time to collaborate with them in the future on projects aligned with my interests.”    

Daniel Tabas

Daniel Tabas headshot Tabas works primarily with Baosen Zhang, a UW ECE and Clean Energy Institute faculty member, and he is also a graduate student in Kirschen’s Renewable Energy Analysis Lab. The focus of Tabas’s research is control and optimization in power systems with high levels of renewable energy. He is developing mathematical techniques that help deal with temporal and geographic variability in wind and solar power production. Zhang praised Tabas’ mathematical abilities, saying, “I find Daniel to be mathematically strong, creative and intellectually curious. He likes to go deep into a problem, which is a rare trait among young graduate students.” “The award will help me to focus on my specific research goals and will allow me to take larger risks,” Tabas said.        

Maksym Zhelyeznyakov

Maksym Zhelyeznyakov Headshot Zhelyeznyakov works in the lab of Arka Majumdar, who is a UW ECE faculty member, as well as faculty in the UW Department of Physics, the Institute for NanoEngineered Systems, and the Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute. Zhelyeznyakov’s research supported by the award is aiming to combine the computational design of optical metamaterials and computational imaging algorithms to create compact, low-power sensors. These sensors could have applications in various types of smart, technology-empowered everyday objects, also known as the “Internet of Things.” “Maksym has a strong background in Applied Mathematics, which helps him understand and solve complex computational problems quickly,” Majumdar said. “This resulted in several research publications in a very short period of time.” “Receiving this award means I’ll have guaranteed funding for the next three years,” Zhelyeznyakov said. “I’ll also have a lot of freedom in how I tailor my Ph.D. thesis.”  

Nicholas Yama

Nicholas Yama headshotYama is graduating this year from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a degree in electrical engineering. He will be joining UW ECE in the fall as a graduate student. Yama will be working with UW ECE faculty member Kai-Mei Fu, who is also faculty in the UW Department of Physics, director of the Optical Spintronics & Sensing Lab, and member of the Clean Energy Institute and Institute for NanoEngineered Systems. Yama’s research is geared toward studying the physics of optical defects in diamond. This work has applications in quantum information science and communications. “I’m very honored to be recognized for this award, and I am glad that it will help to relieve some financial stress on myself and my adviser,” Yama said. “I hope that this will allow for some extra freedom to pursue research goals that I may not have been able to otherwise.”    

NSF GRFP Honorable Mentions

UW ECE students Kyle Johnson and Lane Smith each received Honorable Mention for their applications to the NSF GRFP, which is also widely considered to be a high honor. Johnson is using principles derived from origami to construct robots capable of jumping-based locomotion, and Smith is finding ways to better integrate renewable energy sources into the electrical grid.

Kyle Johnson

Kyle Johnson headshot Johnson is a graduating senior who was accepted into the University of Southern California’s (USC’s) computer science masters program as well as Cornell’s, Georgia Tech’s, UCLA’s and the UW ECE’s masters programs. He has worked with UW ECE faculty member Sam Burden and took courses from UW ECE faculty member Rania Hussein. The focus of Johnson’s research is on leveraging the unique features and properties of origami structures, specifically leaf-out origami, to build robots capable of jumping-based locomotion. “Kyle was a student in my embedded systems and digital design courses,” Hussein said. “Besides his ability to master new skills quickly and excel in fast-paced and challenging coursework, Kyle is a role model in sharing his talent to promote a community of learners, a quality that I am a big proponent of. It was an easy decision for me to enthusiastically recommend him for this award.”    

Lane Smith

Lane Smith headshot Smith is another graduate student in Kirschen’s Renewable Energy Analysis Lab, along with NSF GRFP recipients Vincent and Tabas. His research broadly focuses on distributed energy resource (DER) participation in electricity markets and utility programs. DERs are small-scale units of local power generation connected to the grid at a distribution level. Home solar panels that send power back to the main electrical grid are an example of DER participation. Through his research, Smith hopes to increase the integration of DERs, particularly renewable energy sources and energy storage, to the main electrical grid. “Lane wrote an excellent research proposal on the integration into the grid of distributed energy resources, such as residential solar power generation,” Kirschen said. “I am very pleased that the NSF recognized his potential as a researcher by awarding Lane with an Honorable Mention.” “The NSF GRFP Honorable Mention is a nice recognition to receive at the beginning of my research career,” Smith said. “I look forward to building on this experience for future grant-writing opportunities.”   To view all of the 2020 NSF GRFP award recipients nationwide, visit the NSF GRFP website. [post_title] => UW ECE students receive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships and Honorable Mentions [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 2020-nsf-grfp [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 15:19:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 22:19:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18164 [menu_order] => 7 [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] => 18566 [post_author] => 27 [post_date] => 2020-05-22 10:01:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-22 17:01:32 [post_content] => Story by Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News [caption id="attachment_18567" align="alignright" width="550"]Man working on engineering device, while camera films it onscreen Brody Mahoney, a graduate student working in the lab of UW ECE Professor Josh Smith, uses the Wyze webcam to share engineering prototypes with instructors, classmates and colleagues.[/caption] When University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (UW ECE) classes went online this spring because of the novel coronavirus, instructors were immediately faced with the challenge of bringing collaborative, hands-on learning experiences into an online, virtual environment. As a result, access to a computer with a dependable video camera connection became an essential need for every student. To help UW ECE students, faculty and staff meet these unique and timely challenges, Yun Zhang, a 2006 UW Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering alumnus, is generously donating 1,000 Wyze cameras to UW ECE through “Wyze in Response,” his company’s community outreach program that aims to mitigate novel coronavirus impact. The donation came about as a result of a conversation between Zhang and Professor Payman Arabshahi, who is the UW ECE Associate Chair of Advancement and ENGINE Program Director. ENGINE is a UW ECE capstone program, representing the culmination of electrical and computer engineering education and enabling students to work in teams on industry-sponsored projects. “I had previously been in touch with Yun about ENGINE capstones in years past. This year, I noticed the need in some projects for multiple cameras that could be placed around devices to facilitate remote collaboration,” Arabshahi said. “So, I just emailed Yun and asked if they would consider donating around 50 or so cameras. He immediately said yes, and in fact, Wyze upped their donation to 1,000 cameras, enough for all UW ECE students, faculty and staff!” A key advantage of the Wyze Cam is that unlike a traditional desktop or laptop camera, it is mobile and adjustable, which makes the camera very useful for students who need to show projects they are working on from multiple angles. “Our students spend a lot of time working on team projects. For these teams to work effectively, it is important our students have the ability to see each other and to show each other the prototypes that they are developing,” said Professor Daniel Kirschen, UW ECE’s Associate Chair for Education and Entrepreneurship, who along with UW ECE staff members Bill Lynes and Mike Kane, helped coordinate the receipt and distribution of cameras to students.

A generous donation with students in-mind

[caption id="attachment_18569" align="alignright" width="300"]close-up photo of a Wyze camera A key advantage of the Wyze Cam is that unlike a traditional desktop or laptop camera, it is mobile and adjustable, which makes the camera very useful for students who need to show projects they are working on from multiple angles.[/caption] Based in Kirkland, Washington, Wyze launched its first product, Wyze Cam, in October 2017. Since then, the company has served over 3 million customers. The donation of Wyze Cams to UW ECE aligns with the company’s mission to make quality technology accessible to everyone. “During this pandemic, Wyze, like many startups, is dealing with unprecedented difficulties. But we also think about how we can help others,” Zhang said. “Wyze Cam is designed to create visual connections for many different use cases. It can help students livestream their projects or help with video conferencing.” The cameras are being shipped in batches over Spring and Summer quarters. So far, 400 cameras have been received by UW ECE and 260 have been shipped to students. And, students are already benefiting. “When I started working from home a few months ago on my Ph.D., I needed to purchase a nice webcam for virtual meetings,” said Brody Mahoney, a graduate student working in the lab of UW ECE Professor Josh Smith. “I quickly realized that there was a severe shortage of webcams, along with toilet paper! There were very few available, and of those, most were very expensive. I was forced to tape my cell phone to my computer monitor and use it as a webcam. Thanks to Wyze, I now have a solid HD webcam; plus I can use my phone normally again.” These high-resolution cameras can be used online with the Wyze app, and after a simple firmware update, they integrate easily with popular video conferencing services such as Zoom or Skype. “I love how clear the images are — I can conference call with ease,” said Alyssa Rose Johnsen-Krogh, a UW ECE undergraduate student studying biomedical instrumentation. Kirschen, Arabshahi and UW ECE Professor and Chair Eric Klavins all expressed their gratitude for the donation. “Having to carry on with their studies remotely has been stressful for our students. Anything that makes them feel closer to their classmates and instructors reduces that stress and helps make their learning experience a bit more normal,” Kirschen said. “We are therefore extremely grateful to Wyze for helping us ensure that all our students have access to essential technology.” “It was extremely generous of Wyze to donate these cameras,” Arabshahi added. “They have made positive impacts for our students who did not have webcams, or needed one or more for project work.” “This donation will help many of our students who are struggling to attend class remotely,” Klavins said. “The support from Wyze is greatly appreciated.” For more information about Wyze and their response to the novel coronavirus, visit the “Wyze in Response” webpage. A summary of UW ECE’s response to the novel coronavirus can be found on our COVID-19 Resources webpage. [post_title] => Wyze camera donation helps UW ECE students connect with their instructors and classmates [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => wyze-camera-donation-helps-uw-ece-students-connect-with-their-instructors-and-classmates [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-22 10:01:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-22 17:01:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.ece.uw.edu/?post_type=spotlight&p=18566 [menu_order] => 1 [post_type] => spotlight [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 709 [max_num_pages] => 119 [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] => c64914061c8ecf9b16abe746203f6ad7 [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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